Costco Return Policy
slobo/istockphoto

28 Products Costco Will Take Back That Are a Pain to Return Anywhere Else

View Slideshow
Costco Return Policy
slobo/istockphoto

Happy Returns

One of the biggest, and perhaps most overlooked, perks of Costco membership: the liberal return policy. The much-loved club store lets members return just about anything, regardless of cost or condition, and a recent viral TikTok even featured Costco workers claiming they would give a refund for used bed sheets and dead Christmas trees. "We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price," is the store's deadline-free return policy, but even exceptions such as electronics, diamonds, tires, and batteries tend to have return policies that rival those of competitors. (Note that Costco does draw the line on taking back booze or special-order merchandise, and has occasionally limited returns of items like toilet paper and wipes due to the pandemic.) The chain will even refund membership fees for dissatisfied customers. 


Not a Costco member? You can apply here.


Related: Surprising Finds From Costco

Air Conditioner
Costco

Air Conditioners

Summer is three months at the least. If an air conditioner bought in May conks out by August, how unhappy will Walmart's 90-day return policy for A/C make you as the weather goes on sweltering? Costco doesn't include air conditioners in its return-policy exemptions.


Related: How to Keep Cool Without AC

Lawn Mower
Costco
Samsung Curved 4K Television
Costco

Electronics

Costco puts rare limit on returns for televisions, projectors, computers, tablets, smart watches, cameras, drones, camcorders, MP3 players, and cellphones. Even then, the return window is 90 days (though phones vary by carrier). At Best Buy, even customers with "Elite Plus" don't qualify for even the 45-day returns they used to for phones, tablets and  wearables such as fitness trackers — it's now just 45 days to return an item and must pay a $45 restocking fee or 15% of the purchase price for drones, cameras, projectors, and the like. Best Buy isn't alone: Kmart, Sears, Target, Macy's, and other outlets freak out about electronics and limit returns to 15 to 45 days. Walmart has a bunch of 30-day exceptions for consumer electronics and toys.


Related: Electronics and Accessories That Are a Complete Waste of Money

Patio Sets
Costco

Patio Sets

Home Depot gets stringent with furniture and limits returns to just 30 days, knowing what the elements can do to a patio set. Wayfair will take back a patio set within 30 days, but only if it hasn't been assembled and it's in its original packaging. If you bought a patio set at Costco a year ago and the wind turns its umbrella inside out tomorrow, you can return it for a full refund.


Related: Tips for Reviving Your Outdoor Furniture

Stock Up on Staples
Cassiohabib/shutterstock
Books
Costco

Books

Amazon has a 30-day return policy on books and will provide a complete refund during that window. It will even take back Kindle ebooks for up to seven days. Barnes & Nobles gives customers 30 days to return a book. You could decide tomorrow that a book bought from Costco five years ago is just taking up space and return it for a full refund.


Related: The Coolest Bookstores in America

Underwear
Costco
Signateur 5-Burner Grill
Costco

Grills

If your grill gets a summer of use but didn't really get the job done, where you bought it makes a difference. Home Depot and Lowe's will give 90 days to make a return, but may refuse if they see a grill as overused. Costco will take a grill back at any time, even if you make it to the next Labor Day and can't bear the thought of another season with it.


Related: Best Cheap Electric Grills for Indoors and Out

Costco Cyber Monday Deals
Casimiro PT/shutterstock

Online Purchases

One would think we've reached the point of just bringing back any item bought online to a corresponding bricks-and-mortar store, but there are still some stores that don't quite play along. For example, JCPenney has restrictions for certain items sold only on its website. Costco will take back just about any item bought in its online store.


Related: Insider Tips and Secrets for Frugal Online Shopping

1TB Xbox One S
Costco
Sporting Goods
IlexImage/istockphoto
Swimwear
Costco

Swimwear

Beach Bunny swimwear will accept unworn/unwashed returns only within 45 days of a purchase. Likewise PacSun and Zaful won't take returns at all if the swimwear's not in its original condition, and there’s also a 30-day window with them. Costco, which sells a lot of swimwear and seemingly keeps a blast furnace in the back of each store for burning compromised returns, will gleefully accept returned swimwear no matter where, when, or how it's been worn.


Related: Where to Donate Clothes and Clutter for Money

Area Rugs
Costco
Pet Toys
Costco

Pet Toys

Pet stores are generally pretty understanding about returns. PetSmart and Petco have broad 60-day return policies covering the toys your dogs and cats don't love. If that toy gets lost for a month or two and the animal seems to wish it stayed hidden, though, Costco will take it back any time for a full refund.


Related: Homemade Toys to Spoil Your Dog

Pest Pet Control
Costco
Pet Vitamins
Costco
18K White Gold Diamond Earrings
Costco

Jewelry

If you aren't feeling 100% sure about the prospects of an engagement or marriage, shop for wedding jewelry at Costco. JCPenney will give all of 60 days to return jewelry with a receipt, and Macy's also limits such returns to 60 days. Costco will take back jewelry, but diamonds of more than one carat don't just need all original paperwork (IGI and/or GIA certificates) to get a Jewelry Credit Memo, but must also be inspected for authenticity. That takes up to five business days.


Related: Affordable Wedding and Engagement Ring Alternatives

Sleep Science Memory Foam Mattress
Costco

Mattresses

This is where return policies start to vary wildly. Kmart thinks mattress returns are icky and won't accept them after seven days. Ikea extends that deadline to 90 days, while Sears will take back mattresses after up to 180 days, but not before it's been slept on for a month. Macy's demands that the mattress be undamaged, unsoiled, and free of stains, but won't refund delivery fees and will charge a $99 pickup fee and 15% restocking fee. Costco may not have the biggest selection of mattresses, but also doesn't care when you return it, why you're returning it, or what condition it's returning in.


Related: 16 Sleep Myths That Could Explain Why You're So Tired

AeroBed Opti-Comfort Queen Air Mattress
Costco
Exercise Equipment
Costco
Furniture
Costco
Opened Medications
Costco

Opened Boxes of Medication

Waiting in line at the service desk of a local Costco, we watched a customer return multiple boxes of Prilosec OTC after noting that the tablets he'd taken for heartburn didn't have the desired effect. Had he tried to return an open package to CVS, it's likely that the store wouldn't have accepted it. A similar return at Walgreens may have stood a chance within the 30-day return window, but even Walgreens can refuse to take back an open package.


Related: Prescription Drugs That Cost More Than a Car

Whirlpool Refrigerator
Costco

Appliances

This is a bit trickier. Costco will give refunds for returns on appliances — of which it has surprisingly many — but won't refund for services such as installation or delivery. That's still a better deal than at Home Depot, which accepts returns for only 48 hours after delivery, and only if a product is damaged or defective. Lowe's offers a 30-day return policy on major appliances, as does Sears (though with a 15% restocking fee). Costco's return policy on major appliances isn't as generous as for most other items — 90 days for refrigerators, freezers, stoves, dishwashers, and the like — but it's lenient relative to most competitors.


Related: Kitchen Gadgets That Are a Waste of Money

Shoes
Costco

Shoes

Zappos has an incredible return policy that allows returns for a up to a year with free shipping. Compare that with DSW, with a 90-day overall return policy (watch for 60-day policies too) and an $8.50 shipping charge deducted from a refund. But even that yearlong policy doesn't compare to Costco's open-ended returns for shoes. The selection isn't the same, but that isn't really the point.


Related: Where to Buy Shoes and Boots That Are Made in America

Generac 5000W Diesel Generator with Electric Start
Costco

Generators

Generators are not typically items stores will take back after any amount of time. Neither Home Depot nor Lowe's will accept a generator return after 30 days. Costco has an array of generators that you can return any time they aren't working or fall short of expectations.


Related: The Best Cheap Portable Generators

Kirkland Signature Upright 21.5-Inch Carry-On
Costco
Christmas Trees
ImagePixel/istockphoto
christmas garland
GMVozd/istockphoto

Holiday Items

There are some big retail scrooges out there once the holidays roll around. Lowe's won't let you return lights, lawn ornaments, or other Christmas-specific items after Dec. 26. Sears also won't take back Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, or Christmas items after the holiday has passed.  


Related: The Top Items Our Readers Bought During Past Holidays