Magic Pricematching Fairy Visits Costco

Reader Lyn is happy to report that he is not suffering any buyer’s regret. A week after buying a big ol’ 52″ Sony Bravia LCD TV from Costco for $1950, one of “my wife’s and I’s once-in-ten-years type deals,” he saw the same one sitting in the TV section for $200 less.

So I was a little ticked. So I casually mention it to the cashier guy Kevin and he told me that they would work with me if i brought the receipt in. So i hightailed it home and found my receipt. I went right back and a nice supervisor named Fernanda and she said that if you buy something and within 30 days it goes down they will refund you the price difference plus tax. So that’s what did. And like most people i used that money on the groceries that the shrink rays don’t touch.

I guess it pays to ask.

-Lyn

It certainly does, Lyn, it certainly does. (Photo: ubrayj02)

Comments

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  1. redskull says:

    Man, how I wish there was a Costco near me. When are they coming to Indiana?

  2. fantomesq says:

    So CostCo honors price-matching policy? Shouldn’t we be praising this company or at least recognizing them as an honest dealer rather than chiding them with overly cynical titles? This is the kind of corporate behavior we want to encourage, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      @fantomesq:
      Not only do they price match, but f the “30 day gaurentee” thing.
      If the price drops in 90 days you can return it, and get a new one. Even if the price Doesn’t drop, you have 90 days for any electronics to return for ANY reason. 1 year for anything else, including the Membership.
      I just returned a 6 month old car battery that needed to be charged, didn’t feel like charging it, so i returned it, and bought another one, and it was $4 cheaper.

    • SOhp101 says:

      @fantomesq: Agreed. The pricematching fairy visited Costco a LONG time ago and this has always been their policy, albeit one that isn’t plastered on walls.

      I’ve done it a few times and it’s generally painless as long as you have your receipt.

  3. Pylon83 says:

    “My wife’s and I’s”? Seriously?

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Pylon83: You’s just needing to calm down wif all this grammer nazi stuff.

      • orlo says:

        @howie_in_az: In this case the level of ridiculousness just goes too far. “I’s” is just too far out there, especially because it would be confused with “eyes” if we consider it as a hypothetical word. It might be used in philosophical discourse, but the writer needs to read more before he drifts into illiteracy.

  4. Hawk07 says:

    If I understand the post correctly, Costco honored their new low price on the set. I don’t think they PM’d it to another story.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’ve always found Costco and BJs to be very fair in their pricing, and without pretension. You want a 5 lb. tub of pretzels? There it is! Their electronics have generally been lower than their competitors on a regular day (in which neither retailer had the same TV on sale). Recently, there was a coupon for BJs members taking $200 off for a really great TV. I thought that was a pretty good offer, and if I was in a market for a gigantic TV, I might have taken them up on it because their prices are generally very, very good.

  6. Caprica Six says:

    yea, they are really good at price matching in-store items. I have not done it with Best Buy vs Costco or New Egg vs Costco. I mean getting it about 3 – 5% cheaper in store plus tax beats getting it online with shipping and tax (since New Egg is a Kalifornia company, I get dinged on the tax).

    • milqtost says:

      @big keytee: Another nice thing about Costco is their return policy: 90 days on most electronics now (I think). It used to be pretty much forever but too many assholes used that as an excuse to buy a tv or computer and then “upgrade” every year. They also provided an extended warranty on the plasma I bought there (2 years instead of the manufacturer’s 1 year). No upselling or anything, it came on the box.

  7. outoftheblew says:

    Customer is ticked at the store because the price went down after he bought it? My reaction has always been “Darn, I guess I should’ve waited to buy it. Especially technology products that will ALWAYS decrease in price over time.” Now I know to be angry with the store for trying to swindle me. Thanks, Consumerist!

    And how the heck does CostCo appear BAD in this situation. They followed their policy and offered to give him the new price. Should they have called up all the customers they knew bought this TV within the previous 30 days? Consumers shouldn’t expect to be coddled.

    • Kyle Kienapfel says:

      @outoftheblew: Costco appearing on consumerist doesn’t mean they’re being bad

    • ugly says:

      @outoftheblew: It’s clearly a pro-costco post though. Consumerist is about consumers reporting to each other interactions or behavior of companies. This provides a valuable resource to the consumer because we can rely somewhat on each other and the comments to provide a picture of what a relationship (read: dealing with or buying from) with a specific retailer.

      Unsurprisingly, sometimes those are good stories, which can positively reinforce a choice for some stores. Other store who primarily have universally poor reputations or poor customer service are to be avoided.

  8. nakedscience says:

    Yep, Costco honors price-matching, even within their store. My friend buys ALL (well, most) of his electronics there. He has a very high-end projector that he bought, saw a few weeks later it was cheaper, and was able to get the difference back without any problems. He’s also had no problems whatsoever exhcanging and returning products that he didn’t like or just weren’t working properly. Basically Costco is the best place to buy this kind of stuff if you can justify the membership fee.

  9. fantomesq says:

    On second look, Costco doesn’t have a pricematching policy. They do, however, have a very liberal, 90-day return policy which necessitates matching the price for this customer lest he return the TV, just to repurchase it, leaving them with an unnecessary open box TV to handle.

  10. nakedscience says:

    Oh and he’s had them honor returns, price-matching, etc., after their policy dates without problems too, though I’d imagine it would depend in the store/management/etc. Still, he has nothing but praise, and he is a huge, hardcore geek.

  11. Dave J. says:

    I worship Cost-Co (I’ve been going to them since they opened as “Price Club” back in San Diego), and here’s my favorite story: I once went there to pick up some random stuff, and accidentally left something (I forget what, but it was like a $20 item) in the cart, and didn’t realize it until I got home. My wife convinced me to go back and tell them the story, and see if they’d help me out. I didn’t think they would because, really, it sounds like a scam, right? But, I went back, went to customer service, showed my receipt, and said I left it in the cart. They just shrugged and say “ok, go get another one” and let me go. Insane! They also have the most hassle-free returns, great customer service, and the $1.50 hot-dog/soda deal is the best food deal around. I am completely unashamed to admit that I truly love Cost Co.

    • jake7294 says:

      @Dave J.: Is it Cost-Co, Cost Co. or Costco? I know, but do you?

    • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

      @Dave J.:
      Yeah, but since Best Kosher went out of business at the end of January, Costco switched most of its store’s hot dogs to something called Kirkland Supreme around Chicago.
      Absolute shit hot dogs, they were getting dozens of complaints at each store that switched.

      • Robotic Bilbo Bagins has no use for fleshy ones says:

        @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Kirkland Supreme is the “Costco” brand. It’s used on a tons of products. I miss Best Kosher.

        I must count myself lucky for being close to a regular and a business Costco.

        And yes, best hassle-free returns around.

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    nakedscience: And the membership fee isn’t even really high if you are in the market for one big-ticket item and the savings are more than the membership fee, and if you can’t find those savings anywhere else.

  13. philmin says:

    To be fair here, Best Buy and the now-dead Circuit City would do the same thing. Not for 90 days, but 30 days. In fact, I think this is a fairly standard practice.

  14. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Dave J.: I remember when it was price club too! Back in the day…I was a kid, though, so it didn’t really strike me until much later when I started going to the warehouse clubs.

  15. edwardso says:

    I love Costco. I find the entertainment value of seeing 5 pound cans of corned beef has to be worth half of the membership dues

  16. bonzombiekitty says:

    Isn’t this fairly standard practice, or at least used to be? If a price goes down within X days, a lot of stores will just give you difference since in these cases there’s often nothing preventing you from just returning the item and buying the item again at the lower price.

  17. nybiker says:

    @redskull: There are 2 that I found in Indiana:

    Castleton: [www.costco.com]

    Indianapolis: [www.costco.com]

    Hopefully they are close to where you live.

  18. Principia says:

    I’m not getting why the title of this is so snarky. It connotes that Costco is normally a problem retailer, when in fact they’re one of the good guys most of the time.

    Costco has always had a generous electronics returns policy; they don’t charge restocking fees, and if you ordered it from Costco.com, they’ll even refund the shipping costs. They only reduced the electronics returns window to its current 90 days in the face of some massive fraud by a customer out in California, who was using the old policy to run a rent-to-own business.

    In the case related in this article, they implemented the policy by giving the guy the price difference. Otherwise, he could’ve packed up the whole kit and caboodle and brought it back to the store for a refund, and then turned around and rebought the set at the lower price.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the correspondent bought right before a change in sales cycles, when the “coupons” available on the various electronics goods at Costco swap from one set of models to another.

  19. cristiana says:

    @outoftheblew:
    I thought the same thing, almost everything will go down in price at some time, especially with electronics. Therefore you just have to learn to live with that otherwise you would never ever buy a piece of technology.
    But, regardless if this story, anything that praises CostCo is good, because they have been a great company to me, and everything I read about them almost never has a bad word to say about them.

  20. jallen80 says:

    Nothing special to see here. This is a simple price adjustment. Bonzombiekitty has it absolutely correct.

  21. Aussiedogz says:

    I recommend buying every big ticket item at Costco. They are ridiculously good about returns. I brought a 3 year old lawn mower that I bought at Costco to Sears for repair but they no longer fix mowers at my branch. On the way home I thought I’d try Costco because I had returned other things there easily. With no receipt they checked my history, asked me what was wrong with it; I said it stopped working and they gave me $400 in cash. I turned around and bought another mower. I will be a Costco customer for life.

    However I find Sam’s not to be as amenable.

  22. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Of course it’s standard practice. Most stores have a 30 day “no questions” return policy, so if they didn’t have a price matching garuntee, they’d just have to process a return and another sale.

    Either way, you should never pay full price for a TV, most big ticket items are quite negotiable (if perhaps not at costco etc).

  23. ZukeZuke says:

    I did the same thing with an external hard drive that dropped $30 two weeks after I bought it. No grief at all from the customer service counter.

    Costco’s return and price-match policy rules!

  24. ionerox says:

    Is this really pricematching? Costco dropped the price on a product they sold.

    Most retailers will honor a sale price on something you buy if it goes on sale within the timeframe they usually allow for returns. (Because, really, what’s going to prevent you from return the product and re-buying it?)

    • krunk4ever says:

      @ionerox: After reading the story, it sounded to me that Costco price matched their own store price, and not a competitors.

      • Antediluvian says:

        @krunk4ever: Which is exactly what ionerox said — it’s not “pricematching” to me, because that implies matching a competitor’s price.

        What happened here was honoring the new lower selling price within a certain window. I’ve always done this at retailers — if they refuse, no problem. Buy another item, return it with the old receipt. But I have never actually had to do that.

  25. Anonymous says:

    One factor overlooked in all of these find comments is the personnel. I’ve been a regular at 2 Costco in my area for over 10 years, and they have very stable employees, no turnover. They treat their employees fairly and they in turn provide excellent service.

    Frankly, I don’t comparison shop, just go to Costco and I know the price is lowest, or at least, in the ballpark.

  26. Shaftoe says:

    “I guess it pays to ask.

    -LynIt certainly does, Lyn, it certainly does.”

    I was buying a new cargo van with a friend last week. We were having lunch trying to decide on the deal offered. He gave me a great piece of advice.
    “You are never going to make more money per hour then you will while negotiating.”
    Meaning that the Hour or so you spent dealing with getting the price reduced payed you about 200 per.
    When you look at it that way it changes how much time you are willing to haggle

  27. vicali says:

    we ordered window blinds for our whole house a few months ago at Costco, the next week there was an ad for 20% off blind orders in the flyer. we went back with our reciept expecting to have to cancel and re-order but they processed a gift card for us of that amount.
    no problemo.

  28. albear says:

    I love Costco!

  29. Dillenger69 says:

    I got a 42″ LCD from costco fro $1000 last summer, saw it for $800 within a month (they were discounting the old ones and rolling out a new model). The only question I had to answer was “do you want that in cash?”

  30. HogwartsAlum says:

    I live in Missouri; we don’t have Costco, but Sam’s.

    I wish we did. :(

  31. krunk4ever says:

    Tsk Tsk Tsk. Shame on you Ben Popken. The title is misleading and untrue.

    Costco has always price matched to their own store.

    Costco still doesn’t price match against competitors.

  32. hamburglar says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:

    I haven’t tried them recently, but at the Chicago store on Clybourn they still have a Vienna Beef Hot Dogs sign up in the food court. This is probably a unique situation, though, since the Vienna Beef factory is basically right across the street from that store.

  33. hamburglar says:

    To everyone complaining about the post’s title being unfair to Costco, did you consider that the only “visitor” described in the story is “Reader Lyn,” so perhaps it is he who Ben is calling fairy?

  34. RogueWarrior says:

    Costco is okay but I do have an issue with them regularly discontinuing good things and replacing them with mediocre substitutes. A few years ago, their cheese danish was excellent. Then then changed the recipe to something with less cheese, more sugar, and added cinnamon. Meh. Then the axed that for something that was also meh. Now, they’ve stopped making them in-house altogether and started selling this prepackaged made-god-knows-how-long-ago-or-where stuff. That’s one example, but they’re frequently getting you hooked on a name brand item and then axing it for Kirkland brand which is usually inferior.

    Costco also sells different stuff in different regions. In Scottsdale, you can actually buy PRIME beef. And it’s less expensive than choice found in a more rural Costco. And some stores had in-house coffee roasters which IMHO, kicks Starbucks ass every time.

    Unfortunately, their customer feedback usually falls on deaf ears. If they can’t make the requisite 11% on an item, they don’t stock it.

  35. Antediluvian says:

    Our TV was later sold for a lower price so I asked the customer service if we could get a refund of the difference. She said sure, as long as we brought the receipt back in within 90 days.

    We couldn’t remember when we bought it, so the woman looked it up on the computer, and it was 90 days ago. Raced home, got the receipt, came back $200 richer. One day later and we’d have missed the window.

  36. kompeitou says:

    I bought a Nikon N90 from costco…. 2 months later there was a rebate knocking the price down $100. I took my receipt in and asked if they would refund the difference. They said they wouldnt because they only pricematch the first 30 days.

    So I told them i could return it within 90 days no questions asked. What if i just return it and then buy it again? The customer service guy just looked at me and kinda shrugged.

    So I went home, boxed up my camera and went to the Costco where i bought the camera and said i want to return it because its selling for less than when i bought it. The guy (a different guy this time) said oh, no problem… ill just refund the difference.

    I guess its just a matter of who you talk to.

  37. nuton2wheels says:

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Costco. I purchase nearly everything there, if not Trader Joe’s. Their in-house brand (Kirkland) is excellent and usually lives up to the standard of being better than national name brands. I feel good about spending money there because I know they’re an exemplary company and treat their employees well while maintaining a high quality standard. The same can’t be said about Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure I can think of store that wouldn’t price match their own price within 30 days. Why wouldn’t they? Pennsylvania requires retailers to accept returns for 30 days unless posted otherwise at the point of sale so they might as well price match their own price rather than have the customer do a return/rebuy. In fact many stores in my area (except the wholesale clubs and Target) will price match competitors prices as well.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Good on Costco and other stores that will honor internal price changes for at least 30 days. Target only does it within a one week period. I got pinched when a product went on sale two weeks later and they wouldn’t credit the difference. Space limitations forced me to toss the packaging for the items or I would have taken them back under the 90 day policy. I wrote a complaint to the CEO after getting nowhere with other customer service channels and after talking to an executive customer relations specialist got a gift card for the difference. I pointed out how illogical it was to allow 90 days to return items and only 7 to match price differences. I also pointed out I could have been unethical and abused the policy by buying the items on sale and returning them to another store using the original receipt. Bottom line was lack of consideration or understanding. The rule is the rule no matter how illogical it is in relation to the return policy. For now on I will take my business elsewhere, including to Costco. Sorry for the thread jack but the similar predicament with favorable results set me off.

  40. Bob Higgins says:

    Don’t even mention Sam’s Club or BJ’s in the same breath as Costco. From quality of merchandise to return policies to the way it treats its employees (and in turn how pleasant and helpful they are), Costco is in a different league.

  41. Dillon Barfield says:

    Costco is very willing to treat their customers right as they want them to continue paying for their membership. Given how much money you can save there anyway, I think it’s a nice extra perk of the situation.

    I plan on heading out with my roomie (he has a membership) to look at HDTVs. My friend bought one there recently and he said they offered a 3 year warranty on top of the manufacturer’s warranty, which is a big plus in my book. Only heard good stories about them :)

    Also, this isn’t really price matching, it’s price adjusting. Price matching tends to imply they lower their price to a match a competitor’s and in this case they just refunded the difference because the product had dropped in price within a certain time period.

    Quite a few places will do this, especially if they already have a decent return policy. Worst comes to worst – return the item, re-purchase it at the lowered price.

  42. Rohini Jasavala says:

    With electronics, don’t you get 90 days to return it? I think they should do that the whole 90 days, otherwise you could just “return” your TV, and buy the new one at a cheaper price.

    With other items, I had a friend return a chair, purchased years ago, in a bag, and they took it – No receipt either since they had the record of it on his costco account.

  43. oregongal says:

    I remember shopping at the very first Costco in Kirkland! We got a membership as a gift and have been members ever since. In fact, we just went today. Unfortunately we have to drive ~140 r/t because an ex-county commissioner doesn’t want one next door. Never mind she had the ugliest building built to house her charity foundation. I have no kind words to say about the situation so I’ll shut up now.

  44. Jaime Flores says:

    I work for Costco and ran the Major Sales (electronics) area for a year. We do not consider it a price matching policy. Will honor the price of a product you bought within 30 days of your purchase date (this will exclude display units and of course, warehouses will differ slightly on how they handle this).

  45. Anonymous says:

    Here in Canada, Costco has a 90 day return policy on TVs, so when mine dropped by 150$ after 2 months I asked for a price adjustment and although the rep original tried saying that they only match prices up to 30 days, she agreed pretty quick once I pointed out the logic that otherwise I’m going to go home, pack up my tv and return it for the same model, thereby leaving them with a TV they can’t sell and me with my price adjustment. Afterall, the 90 day policy is the main reason why I bought from Costco in the first place – TVs always drop price within 3 months.