Contact Costco Executive Customer Service

James Sinegal, CEO
jsinegal@costco.com
Tel: 800-774-2678 (and Press 6) or 425-313-8163
PO Box 34331
Seattle, WA 98124

General Member Service #:800-774-2678

RELATED: What To Do Once You Call And Reach A CEO’s Office

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  1. hallik says:

    Excellent, I was planning on calling on Monday to sort out the old grandfathers clause ordeal with their new policies. Great find!

  2. Thrust says:

    Seriously, never had an issue at Costco in my life. Especially proud of them for busting my brother for shoplifting, and they gave full refunds anytime something wasn’t up to my expectations.

  3. SOhp101 says:

    Hmm what’s this for? Letting the CEO know what an awesome return policy Costco has and therefore allows me to shop there with confidence?

    If there is a CEO phone number that I would REALLY like, it would be State Farm. My friend has been screwed over by their adjusters who have not been following him up in his claim problems.

  4. samftla says:

    I found this information on my own (following the advice on Consumerist to check Google Finance) and emailed James Sinegal after COSTCO’s regular customer service failed, after numerous attempts to respond to a problem. I emailed him mid day and within two hours an executive customer service agent phoned me and two days later I received a replacement for the defective battery. And on the third day he phoned back to make sure that part worked. GOOD SERVICE!!!

  5. zolielo says:

    Maybe I will drop a letter or a line to state that Costco is the pinnacle of what a big box should be and to keep up the good work.

  6. Thrust says:

    It’s funny. We slam Big Boxmart companies all the time here on Consumerist, but the biggest, boxiest mart of all is one of the best places ever.

    Costco is the one true god (RA Heinlein), and all the other big box companies are false prophets (Jesus, Yaweh, Chuck Norris, Steve Jobs) trying to lead us away from the glory that is Big BIG box.

  7. Caveat says:

    Perfect timing! Costco sucked big time for me this week. A few months ago they offered a coupon deal of $5 off on laminate (it seems they do it every 4 months). I bought enough boxes to cover my whole house plus extra (I was told I had 2 years to return the unused portion). I was so pleased with the quality of the material and the ease to install it that I decided to also place laminate in a rental apartment. Although I had bought extra (well over $1200) I ended up having to buy an extra four boxes, by which time the coupon had expired, which means I paid $5 x 4 = $20, plus tax, more than I had paid for the other laminate.
    Lo and behold, less than three months later the coupon is back in force! Personally I don’t like the coupons, but if they mean savings I will use them. I figured that as an Executive Costco member I could just go to the Reno store and get the $20 credited to me. Keep in mind that this is $20 out of thousands of dollars already spent. The first guy I talked to seemed inexperienced. Even with the receipt, he said he could not credit me the $20. He indicated that I would have to go home and bring back the 4 boxes. Why waste my time and gas to do that? I just went and bought 4 boxes with the coupon discount. Then I went back to customer service, and asked to return the four boxes under the old receipt, which was less than 90 days old. It was exactly the same laminate.
    That is when all hell started breaking loose. An older female associate, Ms. T, said she could not process a refund unless I gave her the NEW receipt. I explained to her that I wanted the refund based on the old receipt at the higher price, and that the new receipt was not relevant. She said she must have the NEW receipt because I could have stolen the material since I did not walk out and walk back in with a return sticker. I asked for a manager , but she ignored my request. I handed her the NEW receipt, at which time she started processing a refund based on the NEW receipt and lower price. I told her to stop and demanded my receipts back. I then wheeled my four boxes of laminate out the door, and wheeled them back in with the proverbial return sticker and presented only the older receipt.
    By that time Ms. T was furious. She had called a manager (finally) and said her reason for doing so is that “Around here we don’t put up with that kind of s**t”. I am not a prude, but I was taken aback at her using that kind of language with a customer, particularly since I was standing up for my rights.
    The assistant manager was young and impatient. He was too busy to hear the whole story, but just wanted the bare bones. I told him I bought 4 boxes within the last 90 days, I had the receipt and credit card history to prove it, the boxes were new and unopened in the cart, and I wanted a refund. There was no basis for refusing the refund, but I think he told Ms. T to review my whole purchase history to find some basis for denying my refund. Fifteen minutes later, after finding nothing on my record except that I am an excellent customer, they acted on my refund. However the manager told me that I did not need to do all of what I did, as an Executive member I would have gotten and adjustment anyway. Duhh?? That is what I asked for in the first place! He also told me that Costco loses money when people do things like I did. I asked him to explain how that was possible, considering I returned brand new material whose price would return to my refund price at the end of July, not to mention that many customers fail to make use of the coupon. I also suspect that those coupons are subsidized by the manufactured, not by Costco. The manager then backtracked on his statement about losing money. I asked him to focus his attention on the language used by his employee, which I resented. He promised he would talk to Ms. T later in private, but I got the impression he would sweep it under the rug because he is considerably younger and Ms. T seems to be running the Customer “Service” show at that store.
    I just moved to Reno from Southern California and I found the utmost courtesy at the various Costco stores there. This is my first Costco Reno experience and I am definitely disappointed… I called the 800 number but they seemed uninterested and did not support the idea of returning merchandise just because it becomes available at a lower price later. I have not run into that kind of problem at Wal-Mart.

  8. banned says:

    Boy, he’s gonna’ be happy tomorrow morning!

  9. zolielo says:

    @Caveat: I can see why you did what you did as you had buyer’s remorse but seemingly I can also see what they saw, that you were trying to do an end run to get what you wanted. There was definitely a communication break down at some point in the deal… I most likely would have left to come back another day with the original items, returned them, then bought using the coupon. I generally go to Costco several times, for general shopping, during the time window a typical coupon is valid.

  10. geeniusatwrok says:

    Heh. I sent an email to the CEO bitching about the ridiculous overpackaging of many things in the stores and got a call a few days later addressing my issue. She even asked for my input on new packaging ideas (I work in the printing biz).

  11. Thrust says:

    @Caveat: I hate to say this, but the problem is not Costco, its you. You were being a douche over twenty fucking dollars. Trying to abuse their wonderful refund policy all because you couldn’t get a coupon price when the coupon was not in use. I’m sorry buddy, that coupon deal was not on when you picked up the extra boxes, sucks to be you.

  12. nequam says:

    @Caveat: Yeah, I understand your frustration, but you should have taken up the credit issue with the manager before going through the hassle of buying the items and immediately trying to return the. It went out of control only because you tried an end-run.

  13. rockosolido says:

    I’m inclined to think Caveat’s padding his story more to his own credit.

    I’ve worked at a Costco for several years, and while our floor plans and product layout constantly changes from day to day, the one thing that remains consistent is our lack of tolerance for poor member-relations. If an employee so much as even bad mouths a member, he/she is written up and sent home immediately.

    As far as Caveat’s complaint with his price adjustment; the Reno store was completely within their right. Our coupon ads are set by corporate, every store in the country will receive the same booklet at the same time, every page exactly the same, advertising the same product with the same discount.

    For one, I can almost guarantee the six-digit warehouse item number had changed during that 3 month period, thereby making it an entirely different product as far as the coupon was concerned. Coupons are item number specific, even if you think the item is “exactly the same thing.” More often than not, it isn’t.

    Now if I’m to understand him correctly, he went into a warehouse demanding a credit adjustment for product that was advertised on coupon three months prior, when company policy only allows a payment adjustment within 30 days of the date of purchase and the coupon dates.

    Example being that a member purchases flooring on August 1st and the coupon dates run from August 5-12, he/she now has until August 31st to come in and receive an adjustment for the difference. Three months after is considered ridiculous even by highest level management, who typically disregards “softer” policies in favor of keeping a member satisfied.

    When it comes to our coupons, it is AS WRITTEN. We cannot give you the deal a day sooner or a day late. Just bare in mind the 30 day window for adjustments; if you’re afraid what you want will be gone due to the coupon demand, wait until 30 days before the start date, purchase your item, then come back once the sale starts with your receipt and coupon in hand, talk to the people at the member service counter, and they’ll happily pay out the difference.

    Wait 3 months and make ludicrous demands, you wont leave happy.

  14. mconfoy says:

    Congratulate him for paying employees well, having reasonable store hours for them and only drawing a salary of $900K.

  15. alhypo says:

    @Thrust: I disagree. They have a policy that says he could return the unused portions up to two-years later. So he very easily could have returned the items then walked back into the store a purchased new ones with the coupon. Instead, he thought he would save Costco the hassle of processing a return and restocking the items but they failed to capitalize on his offer.

    I think these particular employees were acting in very much a manner unbecoming of Costco. I have never heard of anyone–employee or customer–having a problem with them.

    @mconfoy: I believe his salary is only $350K. He probably gets stock options and such.

  16. Thrust says:

    @alhypo: Costco does not advertise price protection of any form, and if something is cheaper one day than another, that’s just business. His right to return the items I will not argue, that’s one of costco’s plus items. But to return them means they are defective, the wrong item, or he bought too many. To return them and repurchase because of a lower price is NOT fair business, neither is demanding a cash reimbursement for the difference had he bought them while on sale.

    I can’t buy twenty cases of Pepsi at safeway, then a week later return them because they are now on sale and I can rebuy them cheaper. If he knew the coupon was a recurring item, and chose to buy it when they weren’t on sale, then why should Costco reimburse him anything? And to make a total ass of yourself infront of tellers and the manager over twenty dollars? Don’t be so cheap!

  17. ferris209 says:

    Heh, I’m not really happy about there new restrictions on there guarantees they put into effect a few months back. I’m probably gonna drop Costco and go to Sam’s again.

  18. zolielo says:

    @ferris209: The unlimited was nice but their still long return police is ok.

  19. rockosolido says:

    @alhypo: Yes, our policy will allow you up to two years on most items for a return, however that does NOT include up to two years for a price adjustment, which is seemingly what Caveat misunderstood. As I stated, item numbers change constantly, even when it appears to be the exact same product. Item specific coupons cannot be applied towards anything other than the exact six digit item number they’re intended for.

    Yes, Caveat could return his flooring and receive a full refund. Yes, Caveat could purchase the new flooring. Caveat can not, however, use the three month old item number specific coupon on the new product. Is that kind of silly? Sure, maybe, afterall it does look exactly like the kind he bought three months ago. Unfortunately, that’s now what our policy allows for.

    @zolielo:
    And just to address this quickly, we’ve never offered an unlimited or lifetime return policy. While it may seem like we would have taken anything back at anytime, that was a gross abuse of our old policy, which accounts for our revised and often viewed as “stricter” policy. I’m in no way blaming our members for it, it was an internal problem that shouldn’t have been left unchecked. Bottom line, though? Our policy still outshines the competition; no restocking fee and you don’t even need a receipt…

    As long as you don’t mind being refunded your money on a Cash Card. Otherwise, keep your receipts!

  20. zolielo says:

    Seemed near unlimited. I only used it once or twice: one time being an extra copy of the last Harry Potter novel, unread and mint. 7 months after no problem (I had the receipt). Reversed charges back to my card…

  21. Caveat says:

    I wish to clarify a few points:
    1. I used a current coupon to buy current product at a discounted price. It has the exact same part number as what I bought less than 2 months ago (I misstated the time earlier by stating 3 months, so I have gone back to check the receipts). I have decades of experience in inventory management with Fortune 200 companies and I know that companies avoid changing part numbers if they can avoid it. To do so means that they would have to obsolete old inventory on a regular basis and that would get VERY expensive.
    2. To the individual suggesting that I should have driven home and gotten the old material, I repeat that I should not have had to waste my time and gas. The people at the Customer Service desk have no clue at what is happening at checkout, and my only mistake was being too open. I should have just bought the new discounted laminate, exited the store, reentered, and gotten my refund.
    3. For those that say that I should have forfeited my $20 plus tax, I remind them that Costco last year had over $60 billion in sales, and over $1 billion in profits. The $20 means a lot more to me than to Costco.
    4. The real issue is that Costco is trying to take advantage of consumer as much as any other major corporation, but some customers are oblivious to it because it employs methods different than other retailers.
    • It charges for membership $50 or $100 (executive) to preserve an image of exclusivity and pretends to check the membership cards when you enter.
    • It refuses to accept any credit card except its own American Express.
    • It makes you think you are getting a special deal by giving you back a puny percentage once a year (assuming you keep paying your membership fees). Why not just reduce the price of what you buy at the time you buy it by that small percentage?
    • They come up with the silly coupon scheme whereby they stagger the validity of different coupons over a period of a couple of months. That means that you have to go to Costco every week to take advantage of a different coupon. Not only do you spend time and gas, but once in the store you are likely to fall prey to buying stuff you don’t really need.
    • Many of the offerings are sold in very large portions, so that consumers end up buying too much and then throwing it out.
    • As already mentioned, there is no price guarantee, unlike many stores that don’t require membership fees.
    • The only exceptional thing about Costco is the return policy, which I consider overly generous and which has clearly been abused. I clearly understand why they no longer want to take back a functional television that customers have been watching for a year for free.

    I do not feel I took advantage of Costco in ANY way. I am convinced that their aggressive buyers negotiate prices long term, and the same coupons offered four times a year (that is what the Costco manager told me) is just an advertising game that they play which has little bearing on true product cost. If the corporation is willing to play games, why shouldn’t the consumer look after his own interests? I did nothing illegal, and I did nothing that violated any written Costco rule. Who is winning the game? Well Costco is making $1 billion a year in profits (that’s 10 digits) and I am making 5 digits… James Sinegal is one on the lowest paid CEOs, BUT he owns 2.4 million Costco shares, worth about $1.3 billion, and has options to buy 1.2 million more shares. Therefore I don’t feel guilty about standing up for my $20.

  22. rockosolido says:

    @Caveat:

    – “It charges for membership $50 or $100 (executive) to preserve an image of exclusivity and pretends to check the membership cards when you enter.”

    An image? Not only are hourly door counts tallied at day’s end, its doubtful you’ll make it through the entrance without your membership (unless of course you use the alcohol or pharmacy excuse), let alone purchase anything. While your membership information is stored in our systems, without a physical card, you wont be contributing to our daily sales regardless of how many flat carts you have loaded up. To me, that sounds exclusive.

    – “It refuses to accept any credit card except its own American Express.”

    Any AmEx, actually. Unless you’d rather pay processing fees on any other card.

    – “It makes you think you are getting a special deal by giving you back a puny percentage once a year (assuming you keep paying your membership fees).”

    Feel free to share information of any other warehouse or retail companies that offer anything back at all, including their, percentage then we’ll compare and contrast.

    – “That means that you have to go to Costco every week to take advantage of a different coupon. Not only do you spend time and gas, but once in the store you are likely to fall prey to buying stuff you don’t really need.”

    Actually, the membership fees bring them back, otherwise what’s the point in going twice a year? The majority of our members are reoccurring and considered as “regulars;” we know names and remember faces at our store, develop rapport, and in some cases, even know about family events (ie: weddings, graduations, etc.) This should speak for our member return rate, who happily and willingly make the trip once or more a week. That’s why we’re in business, and why we value our members.

    – “Many of the offerings are sold in very large portions, so that consumers end up buying too much and then throwing it out.”

    After all, we ARE a bulk-orientated warehouse. We cater to large families, businesses, or people that have the money to spend. You know exactly what you’re buying. Whether you exercise good judgment in buying a pack of 12 muffins for yourself in a single room apartment or for a family of 5, that’s up to the member.

    – “As already mentioned, there is no price guarantee, unlike many stores that don’t require membership fees.”

    Our buyers do a fantastic job with our vendors, one of the few instances where having a middleman is actually beneficial. Due to the volume of product ordered through the vendor, we receive these items at a discounted price, which is reflected on the tag in our warehouses. Because we have several companies that purchase the product for us, this also aids in offering our items are a cheaper price. While there may be no guarantee to your liking, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better price elsewhere.

    Caveat, its unfortunate you feel the way you do. When it comes down to it, though, you’re still paying for that membership…there must be a reason for that, something you still enjoy about our company. Whether it be our still generous return policy or the product we offer, hopefully your differences are reconcilable.

    Oh, and just a little tip; if you’re $20 was that important, and you want it back, don’t ask to speak with a manager. Instead walk to the front end, there’s always a manager on duty along with our supervisors. Explain the situation, though I’d omit the rant about how much Jim makes and how Costco can certainly afford $20. Make your case clear, keep cool, and you’re likely to be refunded your money. Again, it IS contrary to our policy, though a manager will gladly bend the rules to keep a member happy, even if it makes other employees look like jerks.

  23. Karl says:

    There was an article in Sunday’s Seattle Times about his visit to the busiest Costco in the world, located in Hawaii. They mentioned that unlike most CEOs, he actually answers his own phone.

  24. j-yo says:

    Costco actually pays living wages and benefits to its employees. I’ve always had good experiences with its customer service, both in the stores and with the online site. But I’m a realist — I’m not going to bitch and moan if something gets marked down after I’ve already purchased it and I can’t get the difference back. They’re a business (a damned good one), not a charity.

  25. chemmy says:

    Just sent this to him. Hope he enjoys the read….

    I had a “Business” membership card with my former
    company. The fee is usually $50 per person, per year
    but since so many people in my former company joined,
    it cost us $20 per person, per year.

    I’ve been a member of Costco for several years, with
    the same card. When I had resigned from the company, I
    called the local Costco member services to see if I
    needed to transfer my membership to a regular one or
    if I could keep my business membership. They informed
    me that as long as I kept my membership fees paid
    current, I didn’t have to worry about it. I’d just
    very recently paid the this year. My husband and I
    have been thinking of changing to BJ’s because they
    are much closer to home (Costco was close to my former
    job) but since we had the Costco card already, we
    opted to stay with them.

    Fast forward to last night. My husband and I sorely
    needed to go to Costco. First, we weren’t even allowed
    into the door until we showed our membership card.
    That’s never happened before and was creating quite a
    back-up at the entrance….

    We shopped for about an hour and were in line for
    another 30 minutes. When the cashier asked for my
    card, he took it. The register beeped and he removed
    it and put it back. The register beeped again. I still
    don’t know what’s going on… I think it’s a technical
    problem. He calls for a manager. 5 minutes later, one
    comes down to look at the card. The cashier tells her
    there is a problem with a rogue card. She asks me if
    I’m Rachael…… I tell her yes. She asks for ID. I
    show her my license. She asks me if I’ve recently
    reported my card stolen. I tell her no – I’ve had it
    in my possession since I got it originally a few years
    ago. Then she tells me that since it was reported
    stolen, I can no longer use that card and I will have
    to go to member services and sign up for a new
    membership. I ask for my card back and she tells me
    that since I was using a stolen card, I forfeit my
    card and my membership. I ask about the fees I’d just
    paid in fall to renew it for a year and can I take my
    card to Member Services and see about signing up for a
    new card with any pro-rated membership fees they still
    had since I’d just paid for a year renewal in
    September or October. She said again since my
    membership was terminated, I also forfeit any
    membership dues paid.

    Nice, huh? Turns out the company I resigned from is
    still bitter that I left and reported to Costco that
    my card was stolen and I was not to use it.

    Costco did let me complete checking out… But I guess
    now I don’t have to worry about having to trek all the
    way over to them… I’ll just go to BJ’s now anyway.

    Is it normal for Costco to interrogate customers -
    even though they’ve provided proof of ID and
    everything… and then still cancel their membership
    and cause them to forfeit membership dues?

  26. Albert Siaotong says:

    2% reward. Costco failed to give for last 3 years.Now I have been promised to get those reward but only seen this year rewards. Customer service rewards have no control over rewards because that is issued by the wharehouse. If corporate says issue $100.00 wharehouse doesn’t then your SOL.

  27. gigi says:

    I have just been into the new Costco in Manchester, MO 63011. Not one aisle is labeled and I missed a lot of items I needed. I even asked an employee where the popcorn was and he couldn’t find it. I left without popcorn and frustrated. I commented to 2 different employees about there being no labels on the aisles. They both gave me the same answer. Because things are always moved around. This told me Costco gets this comment alot and it also told me they do not listen to their customers. I was going to switch from Sams. But now I know I will not be a regular Costco customer where they do not value a customer’s time and make it productive and not spent looking for things we cannot find.

  28. elkoholic says:

    I have a complaint about a COSTCO employee here in Pocatello, ID. I am attending and also have a booth here at the POW-MIA Awareness Rally held every yr here in Pocatello. COSTCO has a booth as well. Your Marketing Manager said that it was a waste of her time, and a waste of COSTCO’s time to even be up here. She has no clue about much of anything, let alone why we are all here. I find this comment very offensive, and so does every Vet that I’ve told so far. And so should everyone who is a Vet, or has a vet or active duty member in their family. To think I served my country for trash like that woman sickens me. I certainly hope this is her attitude and not COSTCO’s position. I will always shop at COSTCO but not while she is employed in Pocatello. It’ll be safe to say I can sway other vets to do the same.