Costco Allegedly Revoked Someone's Membership for Abusing the Return Policy

Costco Allegedly Revoked Someone's Membership for Abusing the Return Policy

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Elizabeth Licata
Aug 31, 2018
(Image credit: Trong Nguyen)

Costco's return policy is famously generous. If you're not happy with something, they'll take it back. That's one of the perks of membership, but a lot of people take that lenient return policy way too far. People have been spotted returning dead Christmas trees in January, seven-year-old dog beds, half-eaten food, and even a used litter box, still full of kitty litter. Now, however, it sounds like it might actually be possible to take return-policy abuse too far, because one customer says Costco revoked her membership for abusing the return policy.

According to Business Insider, one woman says she had a Costco membership since 2006, but lost it this year after Costco canceled her membership when she tried to return a broken printer purchased in 2010. She claims the printer had problems right after she bought it, but she didn't get around to returning it for eight years.

Costco's return policy says electronics can't be returned more than 90 days after purchase, but printers aren't included in that, so she apparently thought she could just return it whenever she wanted. When she brought it to the store, the manager said it could not be returned.

The customer might not have gotten around to returning the printer for eight years, but it sounds like she had time to make a lot of other returns in the interim, because she said the manager brought out a list of all her returns and said she'd been making too many.

She tried to go over the manager's head and contacted a higher-up executive in her region to complain. At that point, the woman says Costco's Senior Vice President of Northeast Operations said her membership was being revoked and her membership fee would be refunded.

"It is apparent from a review of your membership account that you are not happy with the products you have purchased from Costco, and we are unable to satisfy you as a member," Long wrote, according to Business Insider.

Costco also gave her a refund for the eight-year-old printer and the ink she'd purchased for it. I like to imagine it as a parting gift.

The customer was not happy about losing her membership, and she told Business Insider that her main problem was that she has items at home she was planning on returning, and now that her membership was canceled, she's stuck with them.

Costco does not officially have a limit on the number of items a person can return, but that doesn't mean they don't notice when someone is abusing the return policy.

"In the event a member is not satisfied with Costco merchandise, the membership fees may be refunded and the membership canceled. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and is at the discretion of each location manager. Additionally, memberships may be canceled due to abuse of the Member Privileges and Conditions," a spokesperson for Costco said to Business Insider.

Costco's return policy is still extraordinarily generous, and you really have to go pretty far to stand out in a world where people shamelessly return empty bottles of wine and decades-old mattresses. But people abusing the return policy really need to cut it out before they ruin everything for the rest of us.

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