Costco Return Policy: 2 Reasons Why It Sucks & 6 Reasons Why It’s Great

Costco Return Policy

Do you know what Costco’s return policy is? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Costco is known for their risk free, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Although a 100% satisfaction guarantee sounds great on paper, does Costco really honor their guarantee, and are there any exceptions?

In this article, we are going to take a close look at Costco’s return policy, including its advantages and disadvantages.

Scroll down for a complete review of Costco’s return policy and to learn what you can return at this store.

2 Things We Don’t Love About the Costco Return Policy

Although there are a lot of things we love about the Costco return policy, there are some things that we hate about it as well.

Understanding the pros as well as the cons will give you a full idea of the Costco return policy and how it compares to other policies.

1.    Not All Products Fall Under the Hassle-Free Warranty

Overall, Costco’s return policy is fantastic because it is hassle-free and provides 100% satisfaction on all products.

That being said, not all products fall underneath this glorious warranty. Other products have their own policy.

Products like electronics, diamonds, cigarettes, alcohol, custom-made items, and limited use items do not fall under any time, any reason policy.

Instead, these items have their own policies, which can make it confusing to return items to Costco.

Even though the return policy is relatively lenient for these exceptions, it might be stressful to keep up with these exceptions.

When it comes time to return items, you might waste your time by trying to return items that fall underneath the exception policy.

2.    Gifted Items Cannot be Returned by Someone Without a Membership

As covered above, membership is required to return any item to Costco. In order to purchase an item from Costco, you need a Costco membership as well.

As such, the requirement of a membership for return is not a big deal if you are the person who purchased the product in the first place.

Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for individuals who are gifted items. Let’s say that you purchase an item from Costco and gift it to a loved one.

Your loved one loves the product, but they find that it doesn’t fit them. If your family member does not have a Costco membership, they cannot return the product or even exchange it for a product that fits them right.

Instead, they will have to talk to you in order to return the product. In some situations, talking to the original buyer may not be that big of a deal and allow for easy, convenient returns.

However, it can be really awkward and embarrassing to ask the gifter to return a gift.

As a result, the requirement for a membership for returns is absolutely terrible for gifts. We wish that Costco had some sort of gift receipt so individuals who are gifted items can still return the item to Costco, even without a membership.

6 Reasons We Love the Costco Return Policy

Now that we have looked at an overview of the Costco return policy, let’s specifically look at the benefits of this policy and the reasons why we love it.

1.    Hassle-Free

Most importantly, the Costco return policy is hassle-free. Generally speaking, anything can be returned, for any reason, at any time.

This approach to returns makes the entire process hassle-free and enjoyable for all Costco buyers.

2.    No Warranty Timeframe

The fact that the Costco return policy does not come with a warranty timeframe is a huge deal. Almost all stores have a return policy timeframe that you must abide by.

The second that timeframe is over, you can no longer return the product. This fact gets really problematic if you only miss the window by a day.

When returning items to Costco, you don’t have to worry about this situation. Instead, you can return products back to Costco for any reason at any time.

This open window makes returns so much more convenient and easier since you don’t have to worry about timeframes.

3.    No Receipts Necessary

There’s nothing worse than having to keep up with all of your receipts in order to return items. Especially in the digital age, most people simply forget to keep up with receipts.

For many storefronts, receipts are a necessary part of a return. Without the receipt, you won’t be able to return a product.

At Costco, you don’t have to undergo the hassle of keeping up with the receipts or fretting whenever you lose them. Whether you have your receipt or not, it doesn’t matter.

Just bring your items to Costco, and you will be able to return the item. It’s as easy as that.

Read also > > What Is Costco Return Policy Without Receipt? (Secrets You`ll Never Imagine!)

4.    Lost Boxes Aren’t a Problem

Many storefronts require you to return all original packaging and box contents whenever you are returning a product. Sometimes, returning boxes and all packaging items is not feasible.

For example, you may have ripped the box or simply tossed it out. It’s ridiculous that you can’t return products just because the box is gone.

Luckily, Costco recognizes the ridiculousness of this scenario as well. As such, you don’t need the original packaging in order to return products.

So, don’t panic if you threw out the box or your cat has claimed it as a home. Instead, just bring the items to Costco, and you can still return them without the packaging.

Read also >> Costco Return Policy Opened Electronics (Secrets Nobody Is Talking About)

5.    Can Return For Any Reason

Many return policies will only accept returns for certain situations, such as product failure or damage. Sometimes, you simply change your mind and don’t want that product any longer.

In situations like these, strict return policies are annoying since you cannot return the products for any reason.

At Costco, the hassle-free return policy means that you can return products for any reason. Obviously, you can return products if they are defective or broken, but you can also return products just because you change your mind.

There’s no shame in being fickle.

6.    Return Online or In-Store

Something we haven’t covered yet is Costco’s method of returns. At Costco, you can return items in store or online.

Both processes are convenient and offer multiple ways to get refunds. We will look more closely at the return process shortly.

For now, you just have to know that the return process is easy and convenient because there are different methods to choose from.

Read also >> Costco TV Return Policy (What’s Covered, Online, In Store + More)

Overview of the Costco Return Policy

Costco has a risk free, 100% guarantee that applies to almost all of their products.

Almost all of Costco’s products can be returned at any time for any reason. In other words, there is no timeframe or specific reasons for approved returns.

You do not need a receipt or the original packaging to return items either, but you will need a Costco membership and the original membership number or card.

Although this is the standard Costco return policy, there are some exceptions, and there are more details to be aware of to get a complete picture of the return policy.

Here is a closer look at the specifics of Costco’s return policy, including the exceptions.


Costco allows you to return your items at any time, for any reason. What this means is that there is no timeframe on the Costco return policy.

Whether it’s been one day or one year, you can still return your items to Costco.

Acceptable Reasons for a Return

The reasons for returning an item to Costco are lenient as well. You can return items if you change your mind, decide you don’t like your purchase, or find that the purchase does not meet your needs.

No matter what the reason is, you can bring the items back for a return.


Most storefronts require you to have a receipt in order to return your products. At Costco, this is not the case.

You do not need the original receipt. Instead, Costco can look up purchases using your membership, making it super easy to return items without a receipt.

Required Items

What about packaging? Do you need the original packaging to return items? Surprisingly, no. Costco does not require you to have the original packaging. You only need to bring back the item in order to return it.

One thing you will need is a Costco membership. You will need your membership card or number in order to complete any return.

If you purchase the item from Costco, you should have this item since membership is required to shop at Costco in the first place.

This requirement only becomes a problem if you gift items from Costco to someone without a Costco membership.

They will not be able to return that item without a membership, even if it was gifted to them. So, all Costco returns require Costco membership.


Costco’s any reason, anytime return policy applies to most products, but there are some exceptions. It’s important to know these exceptions beforehand because Costco may not accept the return.

Here are the items that come with exceptions:

  • Electronics: You only have 90 days after the original purchase to return electronics of all kinds, including TVs, projectors, major appliances, computers, tablets, cameras, smartwatches, drones, MP3 players, camcorders, and phones.
  • Diamonds 1.00ct or Larger: To return diamonds, you must have all original paperwork in order for the Costco graduate gemologists to inspect the diamond within 48 hours and confirm authenticity.
  • Cigarettes and Alcohol: Cigarettes and alcohol are not eligible for returns by law.
  • Custom-Made Items: Anything that has been custom-made or special ordered cannot be returned unless the item is received damaged, faulty, or does not meet specifications.
  • Limited Use Products: Limited use products, such as batteries and tires, are sold with product specific limited warranties. You will have to look on your receipt to learn the specific warranty for these products.

How to Return an Item to Costco

Returning items to Costco is relatively easy. If you purchase an item at a physical warehouse location, all you need to do is visit that location again.

There is a return counter inside the warehouse. Bring your item for return to that counter.

In the case that you purchased something through, you can also return the product online.

You will need to initiate a return, and prompts will walk you through the return process. Returning an item through is just as easy as returning the product to a warehouse.

Refund Process

After you have returned the product, you can be refunded through a variety of payment methods. Note that approved refund methods differ between warehouse locations and

Warehouse locations can refund you the money through debit cards, credit cards, shop cards, cash, personal checks, business checks, travelers checks, and mobile payment. can only refund through credit cards, debit cards, and shop cards.

If you want a refund at a Costco gas station specifically, the refund options are even more limited. You can only be refunded through visa cards, pin based debit cards, and Costco shop cards.

Costco Return Policy FAQs

Can you return anything to Costco at any time?

Yes. Most products sold at Costco can be returned for any reason at any time. There are some notable exceptions to this policy.

As a rule of thumb, anything can be returned at any time, except for electronics, diamonds, cigarettes, alcohol, custom-made items, and limited use items.

How long do you have to return a Costco item?

Most Costco items can be returned at any time to Costco. So, there is no time limit on their return. A few exceptions apply.

Most notably, all electronics must be returned within 90 days of the original purchase.

What can I not return to Costco?

Cigarettes, alcohol, and custom-made items cannot be returned to Costco. Cigarettes and alcohol cannot be returned because it is against the law.

Custom-made items cannot be returned because it is Costco’s policy.

The one exception is that custom-made items can be returned if they were received faulty or not meeting the specifications of the buyer.

Can I return something to Costco after 2 years?  

Yes. You can return most things to Costco after two years. Most Costco products can be returned at any time for any reason.

The only products that cannot be returned after two years are limited use items and electronics.

 Electronics have a 90 day return window, whereas limited use items have individual policies based on the item.

Read also >> Can I Return a Mattress to Costco After 2 Years? (Do This Now!)

Can I return an item to Costco without the receipt?

Yes. You can return any item to Costco without the original receipt. Because items are purchased through your membership card, Costco can look up the purchase through using your account.

So, you will need your Costco membership card or number, but you will not need the receipt.

Can I return an item to Costco that was gifted to me?

No. You cannot return an item to Costco if it was gifted to you. Only the person who originally purchased the item can return it.

You need the original membership card or number in order to complete all returns at Costco. In other words, you can return gifted items to Costco, but you will need the original buyer to do so.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Costco has a great return policy that is flexible and hassle-free.

Whether it has been over a year since you purchased the item or you’ve lost your receipt within a couple of days, you can still return practically anything to Costco at any time for any reason.

Still, Costco’s return policy isn’t perfect. Most notably, there are exceptions to the hassle-free return policy, and you can’t return Costco items that were gifted to you.

Although these downsides are quite annoying, the benefits of Costco’s return policy outweigh the cons, making Costco’s return policy a win in our books.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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