This Is Why Costco Revoked Their Super Nice Return Policy

This picture shows why Costco changed their really nice return policy recently: because of jerkwads abusing it. Here’s the IM conversation we had with a Costco employee who processed this return.

mrbox: so Im here at work and this guy tries to return a phone
mrbox: from a year and a half ago
mrbox: like you can see all he brought was the box and accessories
mrbox: this is why they took the policy away
benpopken: What did you tell him?
mrbox: well
mrbox: he was like “I lost the phone, Costco’s return Policy should cover everything.”
mrbox: I of course denied him the return, he got really upset, left, came back about 20min ago with the phone and said he found it
benpopken: Where did he “find” it?
mrbox: said at home.
benpopken: did you process his return after that?
mrbox: had to
mrbox: yeah

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. e10 says:

    DId Mr. Box accept the return at this point?

  2. Mr_Human says:

    I wonder if Consumerist itself doesn’t sometimes inadvertantly promote the “I deserve everything, at all times, at the cheapest price possible, and woe to the company that doesn’t provide it” attitude that led to Costco’s change of policy.

  3. mopar_man says:

    “I lost the phone, Costco’s return Policy should cover everything.”

    Holy shit. What kind of skewed thinking is that?!?

  4. This kind of game makes me wary too. It’s really great to be able to return something without a receipt or get store credit for something that’s legitimately broken, doesn’t fit, etc. But Cost Co. Wal-Mart, Target and the like aren’t rental companies. You shouldn’t be able to return things just because you don’t want them anymore, 10 months down the road, or because you broke something, or stole something and just want the money.

    Another case of “a few bad apples.”

  5. @Mr_Human: I don’t think they’ve ever suggested that people should try to get refunds for items they themselves lost.

    They may encourage paying as little as possible for as much as possible but they don’t promote fraud or abuse of consumer friendly policies.

  6. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wow. First he says that he lost the phone, and then he mysteriously finds it later? What a jerk. When I worked retail, I hated dealing with these types of people. Often times they would return the core product (no box, manuals, accessories, etc), present me with a receipt, and demand a full refund. Of course, they do this one day before the return period ends. Thankfully, we had a strict return policy and I could tell these people to go away.

  7. TedSez says:

    So what if some people do dumb things, like trying to get a refund or exchange without returning the original item? Obviously, that wasn’t covered under Costco’s old return policy anyway. So how could it be responsible for them changing it?

    The new policy makes sense, because electronics are replaced by new models and lose their value much more quickly than they used to. But that’s not the customers’ fault. If I wanted to go to a store whose attitude is “Our customers are trying to rip us off,” I might as well shop at Best Buy.

  8. mac-phisto says:

    i was behind this lady at staples that was trying to return a wireless-g notebook adapter she had bought 3 months prior.
    “why are you returning it?”
    “i don’t need it anymore.”
    “sorry, but this return is outside our normal 14-day return policy.”
    “well, what do you want me to do with it? i just bought a new laptop that has wireless built-in.”

    just for comic relief, i stepped up with my used toner cartridge & said, “i’d like to return this for a new one…it’s no longer working.”

    i wonder where if she tried to return the old laptop when she was done with it too….

  9. zolielo says:

    @mac-phisto: I bet that was funny.

    Yeah Costco had the greatest return policy. I never abused it.

  10. Americana says:

    At Barnes and Noble people try to return books they don’t want anymore all the time – like we’re a library.

  11. dohtem says:

    Funny enough, these same people are the type that would raise hell when a store sells them something that’s been previously returned.

  12. dugn says:

    This just burns me up. Anytime the rest of us suffer because of the ‘bad apples.’ I wish these bad apples could be banned from a store after particularly egregious usury.

    My family lives off of Costco. We love it. To date, we’ve never had to return anything. But the fact that their return policy has to change because of abuse sours me like little else.

  13. healthdog says:

    That reminds me of the only time I’ve returned something to Costco. I grabbed King size sheets for the Queen size bed. D’oh! I figured it out before opening the package and brought everything back the next day.

    The woman behind the counter nodded wearily and asked, “Have these sheets been used?” That’s when I realized that there must be idiots out there who “borrow” sheets when they want to impress company. ewww

  14. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    It’s about time they tightened up their refund policy. It’s always good for a business to have a good policy but they were getting taken advantage of with people returning their notebooks for a new one each year and other items that drop in price like HDTV’s and such.

    They had to draw the line between being nice to customers and getting taken to the cleaners by the people who game the system. Retail isn’t a high margin business to begin with for most things, so I’m glad to see they did that. Nobody needs a year to decide if they like their big screen TV.

  15. Maulleigh says:

    It’s always the one or two who ruin it for everyone. They suck.

  16. stillthesame says:

    I wish they’d extend this new policy a little more.

    After this past christmas, we went to the newer Costco in South San Francisco.

    We watched this jerk unload 10 folding chairs from his car, return them for a refund and walk out while wearing a big smile the whole time.

    And of course, he was in everybody’s way.

    It was obvious he had a lot of company over the holidays and he was proud of his “getting over” instead of getting chairs at a rental.

    The whole thing made us feel pretty icky.

  17. Rajio says:

    So much for the honor system

  18. FezMan88 says:

    This makes me actually want to shop at CostCo more, having worked in retail i know what it’s like to uphold one of the return policies, and CostCo is making the right move here. If you want to return everything, the item of most importance must at least me in decent condition or at least existent.

    Props to you CostCo, Don’t let people abuse your policy to get a new phone that they would probably sell on eBay anyway. You’re the last company i want to see shut down.

  19. WV.Hillbilly says:

    The big question is: Was the phone rusted?