Costco Leak: Electronic Returns Limited To 90-Days Starting Today

Costco’s return policy for certain electronics downgrades to 90-days starting today at some locations, according to an internal memo send to Costco managers, a salesman at the company, store employees, FatWallet members and a document on Costco’s website.

The following items will be affected: Televisions, Computers, Cameras, Camcorders, iPod/MP3 players, and Cellular phones.

The policy change, confirming rumors floated back in December, only affects merchandise bought after Feb 25. Goods previously purchased will be honored under the old “Costco Warranty.”

Concurrently, Costco is extending the manufacturer’s warranty on TVs and computers to two years.

The change in return policy starts in the California today and gets rolled out eastward through April 2, 2007.

Full memo, inside…


http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/costcomemo-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=632

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/costcopdf1-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=306

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/costcopdf2-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=305

— BEN POPKEN

Previously: Costco To Make Return Policy Stricter?

Comments

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  1. NeoteriX says:

    I don’t shop at Costco: While regrettable that such a great policy is going away, I can’t help but think about all the abuse people have mentioned over the years. If it helps keep a company like Costco alive, so be it.

  2. This just means that I have to buy my Xbox 360 at Costco by March 31. I’m pretty sure a poor college student like myself can muster up the money for a lifetime supply of 360s by then.

  3. lipso_facto says:

    This policy already looks to be in place for Costco.com purchases.

    From: http://www.costco.com/Service/FeaturePageLeftNav.aspx?Prod

    “We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, with a full refund. Exceptions: Televisions, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD/MP3 players and cellular phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund.”

  4. nweaver says:

    It makes sense, as such open return policies are so easily returned. EG, the horror stories from “Behind the Counter” blog for Wal*Mart, and I’m sure a cosco CSR could give similar stories.

    Even with the revision, the policies are really good, eg, 90 days on a computer? Fry’s gives 15, and fry’s have a pretty reasonable return policy.

  5. homerjay says:

    It was only a matter of time.

  6. huygir says:

    I can’t believe that Game Consoles are not primary on that list… and I’m surprised that the PS3 debacle hasn’t forced all electronics retailers to implement strict return policies.

    90 days is still a long time.

  7. Nick says:

    Costco is really going downhill. I left Costco for Sam’s Club. Despite the fact that Sam’s is owned by WalMart, the employees are nicer, the selection is better, and now the return policy is much better (still 6 months on computers, unlimited on anything else).

  8. @schwnj: I don’t know what’s up with your Costco, and I may be a bit biased as my mom works at mine, but I’ve never encountered an employee at Costco that was any less nice than an employee at Sam’s Club. You should have taken that up with someone; could’ve scored you some free stuff, and maybe a fired employee or two.

  9. Chris says:

    I suspect that Costco will be loose in their interpretation of this rule. If you have a legitimate problem with a product, I bet they take it back. They just need something to protect themselves from the jerks who see a friendly return policy as a “lifetime new tv” policy.

  10. Kornkob says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk and schwnj : *shrug* While consumers have been trained to think that chains mean that you have the exact same experience in every location, the fact is that is an unrealistic expectation. There will be local variences to the quality of expereince, especially with respect to how ‘nice’ people are based on a variety of factors.

    Heck— there are regional differences in how PEOPLE treat each other in the US. It seems obvious to me that those regional differences are going to express themselves in retail outlets.

  11. hop says:

    most electronic stuff will crap out almost after plugging in…..leave the stuff turned on for acouple of days, then turn it off and on, leaving about a minute between cycles…..

  12. kevjohn says:

    I dunno, 90 days seems like a very reasonable timeframe these days. We don’t have a Costco in my town, so I’ll have to stick with Wally-mart and WorstBuy, which have worse policies.

  13. captainmicahp says:

    I am glad to see Costco implement this reasonable return policy, I know people who have returned computers to Costco after two years, when they feel like getting a new computer. It was shameful abuse of this policy that forces one of the friendlier companies in that industry to start acting more miserly. If it weren’t for all the jerks, everyone would be nice.

  14. CanuckGreg says:

    A friend is on his 3rd plasma TV from Costco. After 11+ months of happy ownership, he boxed up the first one, took it back, and got a refund. Said friend bought a nicer, bigger TV for same price. After 11+ months of happy ownership, he boxed up the 2nd one, took it back, and got a refund. Friend bought an even nicer, even bigger TV for same price. And I have no doubt that this TV will be going back in the same fashion as the first two.

  15. mad_oak says:

    I guess if you ‘stick it to the man’ long enough, he eventually turns around and says ‘stop sticking it to me’. I wish I had known about Costco’s ‘Free TV Upgrade’ program years ago!!!

  16. nequam says:

    I also suspect Costco will continue to be accomodating with legitimate returns. I have found Costco customer service to be helpful and reasonable. I purchased a computer there last year with some software problems (that I was able to fix on my own). I didn’t want a replacement, I just wanted them to be aware of the problem. I sent a message to their online customer service system. The next day, I got a voicemail from the manager local warehouse, asking me to call him back (and leaving the names of 2 assistant managers in case I called while he was in a metting). When I reached him, he was very concerned and gave me a free 6-month membership (not much, but I appreciated the gesture).

    Even with the revised policy, Costco still kicks ass on electronics. Save yourself the Best Buy or Circuit City hassle. Do your own product research and buy from Costco. The prices are better (even if you have to purchase a $40 membership). The only problem is delivery (there is none, unless you purchase online).