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Why I Buy Big Ticket Items from Costco


Becki emailed in the following tip:

I thought I’d share why I always buy big ticket items at Costco. My husband really wanted to buy a treadmill many years ago. We used it for 3 1/2 years, and then the display panel broke.

First he looked into repairing it, but the part cost almost as much as the treadmill. I knew Costco has a good return policy, but by the time I was considering returning it to Costco, we were at 4 1/2 years from the purchase date.

I had no receipt… so I was shocked when I called to ask if I could return it, and they said, “Sure. Bring it in!”

Since I knew the approximate purchase date, they looked it up on their computer by our membership card and gave us a FULL REFUND on a Costco gift card. I don’t think I’ll ever buy something Costco sells from another store again. That is an amazing return policy.

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  • Kelly Hess says:

    Wow – that is impressive! I had a dual car DVD player we had bought at Costco which was over a year old, they took it back no questions asked and I was amazed at that! Your story is even better! Love me some Costco!!

  • says:

    Oh wow! I am really impressed by this. And by Kelly’s comment too. I had no idea CostCo’s policies were this good. Definitely going to make me really think about looking at things at Costco for bigger purchases. Thank you for this tip!

  • says:

    We did the same thing with a carpet cleaner that broke after a year (well before it should have!). Costco took it back with no questions, and we replaced it with the one they had in-store that day.

    • SarahB says:

      I can attest to that! They gave me a full refund for a printerthat broke after 3 years. I turned right around and bought another one from them that same day.

  • Elizabeth H. says:

    Just another reason I really wished there was a Costco closer than 2 hours away!

  • Cheri A says:

    I totally agree. We purchased a big tube that you pull behind a boat several summers ago. The tube broke after a few months of use. We returned it and got a refund, buying another tube from them. We used that tube all last summer and twice this summer, when it broke also. I returned it to Costco and got another new tube from them. No problems returning them at all.

  • says:

    Nordstrom has a very similar policy. I splurged on a pair of clearance boots about 4 years ago. The year after I bought them, the zipper broke. I brought them back, thinking there’s no way they are going to do anything about clearance boots. They didn’t even need to see my receipt – they shipped them off for repair right away (at no charge, of course) and they’ve held up the last few years beautifully! I’ll be a Costco & Nordstrom customer for life!

  • Amelia Wright says:

    That is exactly why we consider buying big ticket items from them. We returned a 1 year old 50 inch tv to them for a full refund because the screen cracked. My neighbors returned a fridge to Costco after seven years.

  • Ruth says:

    Does anyone know if Sams Club is the same with returns?

    • Michelle says:

      No!!!! Sam’s is much harder about returns. I bought a box of their trash bags, and halfway through the roll found that one side of the bag hadn’t been sealed. They told me I couldn’t return the product because I’d had it for three months. Seriously? Like trash bags have some sort of use-by date? I made a bit of a scene (telling everyone waiting in line my story) and the associate called over a manager who went ahead and let me make the return. Ever since that happened I have not bought one major item at Sam’s Club. Costco let me return a computer monitor that died well outside the warranty period. They’ve let me return peaches that were under recall when I wasn’t even certain that I’d bought the peaches from them!

  • Lise says:

    I love Costco. My husband purchased a bottle of organic vanilla for $10 and I thought that was overpriced so he and my daughter went to return it and my daughter dropped it right in front of the returns counter and the plastic bottle broke and spilled the vanilla all over the floor. 🙁 The returns cashiers were so nice and even gave us our money back even though it was totally our fault. Just another reason we love Costco.

  • hardcle says:

    FYI: the return policy is different for electronics, it’s only 90 days. It used to be the same as everything else, but too many people abused it by returning and upgrading their old computers and TVs.

  • Charlie says:

    I had a wildly different experience at Costco several years ago. I was a college student and really had to watch what I spent. I would buy a product (mostly electronics) and if it wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted/needed, I’d return it, WITH the receipt. I’d simply tell them the reason for my dissatisfaction and they would begrudgingly refund my money.

    One day, I returned a Canon DSLR camera. I told them I found it at B&H Camera and Video online for less money with no tax and free shipping ( a savings of about $120). The manager was called over and refused to refund my money, $1,500, saying that there was a note on my account about my “excessive” returns. I pointed to the double guarantee on the wall. If you’re dissatisfied with a product or your membership, we will refund either or both. How can they say I return too many things when I am simply operating within my rights based on THEIR policy? I explained why I return things the way I do. As a consumer, I have a right to be 100% satisfied with my purchase and with their return policy, I can do so risk free.

    They basically told me that I was abusing the policy and my membership was being revoked. They refunded the cost of the camera and my membership.

    I’ve shopped at Sam’s Club ever since…

    • Ellen says:

      You had to “watch what you were spending” so you bought a $1500 camera and then wanted to return it to save less than 10% of the cost?? And you had a history of doing this sort of thing? I don’t blame Costco for revoking your membership. Returned electronics are impossible to resell at regular price, so they were probably taking a loss every time you invoked your “right” to return something. Costco has a reputation for good customer service, and maybe part of their ability to do that involves being selective about who their customers are. Business is a two-way street.

  • April says:

    I love Costco. Whenever I need to buy something, I first check Costco as you can’t beat price. I believe that some people do abuse it’s amazing return policy. Returning a product if it stopped working or it broke after only months is one thing but returning things after years of use doesn’t a seem ethical to me.

  • SarahB says:

    They will also refund their membership any time before it expires of youre not happy.

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