What Does Costco Do With Returns (3 Surprising Facts)

Stores with generous return policies may win the buyers hearts, but they constantly face one issue: What to do with the items that people return? Should they end up in landfills, get donated, or are they worth reselling? I recently requested a return of jewelry set to Costco, in response to which the team was quite accommodating. This made me wonder what Costco does with returns. My detective alter-personality was able to dig out interesting facts, and here’s the scoop!

Quick Summary

Costco has a generous return policy allowing most items to be returned for a full refund. Canned food items, furniture, and electronics are accepted for returns. Costco accepts returns without a receipt, but refunds may be in the form of store credit. Costco may accept returns on certain electronics and appliances after 90 days, but refunds may be prorated. Returned items are sold through Costco Liquidation Auctions in bulk.

What Will Costco Do With Products I Return?

Costco handles a considerable volume of returns within its warehouses. Let’s explore how the company manages these returned products.

Clothing Return

If the packaging of returned clothing at Costco has been opened, the company does not restock these items. Even if the labels are intact and the customer has not used the clothes, they are sent to liquidation auctions.

Food/Perishable Items Returns

Costco’s return policy for food is that it does not do the resale of food and perishables after they have been returned for health and safety concerns.

Instead, the preceding is immediately disposed of. But canned foods are only disposed of once opened or tampered with.

Certain items, like eggs, frozen meals, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and eggs, are kept from the shelves but are swiftly dumped away. On the contrary, Costco pays credit to vendors in return for returning bread to them.

Furniture Returns

Costco carefully examines the condition of returned furniture upon receiving it. If any defect occurs, the furniture is considered unfit for sale and either sent back to the designers or scrapped.

However, Costco also offers the option of selling these goods to many companies specializing in remodeling and reselling furniture. Inquiring customers may buy the furniture from such companies in its present condition or as-is.

Electronics Return

When someone returns an electronic item to Costco, the manufacturer tests it again.

The product gets sent back to Costco to become available again for showcase and sale if it is in good working order. When an item is proven inadequate, it is scrapped instead of resold.

Costco can send the returned electronic item to the manufacturers in exchange for repayment if it is defective or beyond repairable. If everything is correct with the product, Costco repacks and sells it cheaper.

Unused Return

Costco can restock unsold items and put them up for display on the warehouse floor, particularly non-perishable items.

Items such as electronics, outdoor furniture, and other household products that fit into this category often end up in a special clearance section. They are offered for sale at lower rates.

However, Costco returns an item to the sales floor only if it has been utilized or opened. Instead, Such products are sent right to B-stock liquidation auctions where they could be sold.

Returns With Opened Boxes

Costco commonly places something new back on the shelf and takes its total price. A product will still function effectively even if it is lowered and sold as an “open box” item by Costco if it shows sure signs of wear.

Costco will return an item to the manufacturers for refurbishing if it doesn’t meet the criteria required for resale. It is also possible to send the item to a liquidator who is an expert in purchasing and selling vast quantities of goods.

Costco Return Policy Without Box

Costco Wholesale members may return any item, including TVs and devices such as vacuums, with or without its original packaging. I contacted Costco shop locations across many states to check this policy’s terms.

It is a must to return all the items packaged initially in the box together, despite the fact the box is not required. In addition, I learned that a return doesn’t need the original receipt. If you lack a ticket, you can show your Costco membership card as proof that you made the purchase.

Returns of Defective or Damaged Items

Defective goods deemed unfit for selling at Costco are returned to the manufacturer.

However, Costco will safely dispose of a product if it is worthless or seriously damaged.

Costco Return Without Receipt

You can still get an exchange or a refund when you return items to Costco, even though you have yet to receive a receipt.

But you need to display a legitimate Costco membership card to get a refund for an item you returned without an invoice. The exact payment approach initially used to complete the purchase will be used to execute the refund.

What Is Costco Return Policy Time Limit?

You must return specific articles within 90 days to retain the affordable rates for which Costco is known.

As a further treat, Costco provides free lifetime support for various devices, including TVs, desktops, smartphones, printers, and more.

Does Costco Accept Returns After 90 Days?

Costco offers a policy that permits returns after 90 days.

This rule does not apply to some electronics, including televisions, projectors, laptops, smartwatches, cameras, and large machines like refrigerators. These items have a 90-day return period under Costco’s return policy.

Can I Buy Costco Returns?

Customers at Costco have a choice to purchase returned products as long as they are viable and in good condition.

Electronics and housewares, among other items, are made ready to sell on the shelves of Costco stores at reduced prices when they are unused and intact. Perishable food items are the sole exemption to this rule due to their perishable nature.

Where Does Costco Sell Returned Items?

Costco works with various other companies that take care of their returns, after which they resell them through conventional stores and online markets.

These returned items fall into categorizations such as Grade A/B or C/D liquidated products, which are diligently repaired to their original condition before being sold at auction. Costco does a rigorous screening procedure to ensure that each item returned meets the criteria for being eligible for resale.

Costco Liquidation Auctions

A liquidation auction lets one buy overstocked, returned, or damaged products at lower prices. Also, getting rid of dated products that may not be as popular with buyers is beneficial.

B-Stock Solutions Inc., a separate entity, manages these liquidation auctions at Costco. Products for auction comprise gadgets, furniture, food, and many other items. You must take these measures to join the liquidation auction bidding process:

  1. If you already have a membership with B-Stock, you may apply for membership as a buyer or sign into your account.
  2.  Once accepted, go to the auction page, and type your most favorable price into the box marked “My maximum bid.”
  3.  You can find out if your bid is the greatest by clicking the “Bid Now” icon and checking the message that appears.
  4.  You will be sent an email confirmation once you successfully make a bid.
  5.  If you place the highest bid, you must provide the money by wire transfer between two business days of the auction’s completion.

All Costco Liquidations auctions occur in Monroe Township, New Jersey. Each auction has a unique title and summary that disclose the precise location of the items up for bids.

Will Costco Pickup The Items I Need To Return?

Costco has a simple pickup option if you’d like to return something.

Once you file a return, a carrier will contact you via the phone number you provided when you made the order within 5-7 working days.

You can set a convenient collection date to collect the items during this interaction. Costco will begin processing your reimbursement as soon as the carrier picks up the things and they return to the warehouse. The refund may not be transferred to your account for a few business days, so stay patient.

Steps To Return a Product To Costco

You can return something to Costco anytime and get a full refund.

When returning the item, it is suggested that you bring the original receipt (though it’s not required) and your Costco membership card or give your membership number.


You do not need to return to the store where you made the original purchase to return products to Costco, making the process simple.

You may take them to the nearby Costco warehouse instead. Use the warehouse locator on the Costco site to find the nearest one.

Make sure to have the Costco membership card or the just membership number on hand while completing the return. When your return is approved, Costco will issue a quick payback that accounts for any necessary handling and shipping charges.


Please follow these easy steps to initiate returning the item or a replacement request online:

  1. Open your account and log in.
  2.  Click on “Orders and Returns” from the menu that appears.
  3.  Select a suitable order you want to return.
  4.  Hit the “Return Items” link beside that order.
  5.  Finish your return request according to the instructions provided.

You will get a confirmation email from Costco with the return label upon registering your return request. If eligible, you may schedule the pickup of the items. For oversized items, you will get additional details on how to proceed with the return procedure.

Costco will give a full reimbursement to the first credit card used for the purchase as soon as Costco receives and reviews the return. You won’t be charged for returning shipping expenses because all shipments will be subtracted from the refund.

List of Items You Can Not Return To Costco

The following products are barred from returns at Costco, in-store and online:

  • Alcohol
  •  Cigarettes
  •  Special kiosk order items
  •  Items with limited life expectancy, like tires or batteries
  •  Apple products
  •  Jewellery
  •  Optical products
  •  Digital tickets and goods
  •  Perishable items

Due to various reasons, such as legal constraints, health and safety considerations, or the products’ features, such items are not eligible for the return policy.

Did Costco Change Its Return Policy During Covid 19?

Responding to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, Costco temporarily altered its return policy to put the safety of its workers and clients first.

Toilet paper, water bottles, sanitizing swabs, and rice were among the products that were exempt from returns during this time since they were in great demand and were subjected to hoarding.

To maintain proper social distance guidelines, Costco also caps the number of individuals who might be in the food court all at once. However, it is noteworthy to highlight that the return and refund policy is now back to normal operations, which includes the usual terms and conditions for returns.

Does Costco Keep Track Of Items I Return?

Although Costco does not track individual returns, they keep an eye on them to safeguard against any exploitation of their return policy.

Customers who have a pattern of regular returns may be identified in the Costco systems and given a closer look. The measure maintains the legitimacy of the return processes and ensures all clients are treated equally.

What Will Happen If I Return Too Many Items To Costco?

Although Costco offers a highly lenient return policy, there are limitations. If you return any items, Costco can flag your account as invalid and reject you for a refund. The worst-case scenario is that Costco may terminate your membership.

You will probably have to return quite a few items briefly, although the exact number of returns that will flag you needs to be clarified. Also, Costco might look over what kind of goods you’re returning. Costco will flag the account if you must return expensive or old goods.

The following suggestions can help you avoid getting penalized for returning a surplus of goods to Costco:

  1. You should be extra mindful about your return practices if you feel concerned about getting flagged upon returning many items.
  2.  Keep track of the things you’ve produced during a particular period. Try to return products within 90 days after purchase.
  3.  Only return something once you are dissatisfied, and plan to keep an eye on how many things you sent back in a specific time frame.
  4.  You can speak with someone from customer service if you are flagged to find out if there is something they can do.
  5.  Kindly approach customer service staff with respect and courtesy.
  6.  Remember that if Costco feels you are violating their return policy, they can decline a refund.

Key Takeaways

  • Customers can return most of their purchases to Costco for a complete refund within the first 90 days of purchase: owing to Costco’s accommodating return policy.
  •  Costco maintains a record of returns, and frequent returns or potential violations of the return policy can end up with inspection or limitations.
  •  Customers are not able to buy returned products directly from Costco. Instead, Costco Liquidation Auctions commonly sell returned items in numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Costco take back bottles?

The parking lot next to Costco comprises automatic vending machines where you can recycle your cans and bottles. You might get a small fee for each return you undertake, which you can utilize later at Costco.

Can I return a mattress to Costco?

Costco accepts returns of air mattresses, mattresses, and memory foam mattresses with or without a receipt.

Can I return something to Costco after the manufacturer’s warranty period?

Yes, Costco accepts returns of products even after the manufacturer’s expired warranty. Costco has increased the security of big appliances by two years.

Can I return something after my Costco membership has expired?

No, you must be a current member to return items to Costco. You must first renew the membership if exchanging or returning an item is no longer valid.

People Also Asked

Can I return something to Costco after two years?

Even two years after buying, Costco customers can return products. Except for some electronic items, the company offers an unlimited return policy with no time limit.

Does Costco refund a return with cash if payment was made through a credit card?

Items purchased using a credit card cannot be refunded in cash. Costco will only handle paying your credit card balance with the reimbursement.

Can I return a gift to Costco?

Items purchased at Costco can be returned as gifts. However, you’ll need to have the invoice or the membership number of the individual who made the gift payments.

Can someone else return an item to Costco that I bought?

Only those people who are mentioned on the membership card can make returns on behalf of you. Otherwise, you’ll have to do the returns manually.

Does Costco lose money when I make a return?

You can return an item to its manufacturer for a full refund if it has missing components or is over repair. If there aren’t any issues, Costco repackages and sells it at a reduced rate.

Where to buy Costco open-box items?

You can buy Costco open-box products from a nearby warehouse, via the internet at Costco.com, or through third-party retailers on eBay or Amazon.com.