Costco Allegedly Revokes Membership Of Customer Who Abused Its Extremely Lenient Return Policy
Costco is known for having one of the most lenient return policies of any major chain store, but it seems they can (and do) cut off those who abuse it.
According to Business Insider, at least one customer claims she had her membership revoked when trying to make a return.
The super store’s website has a blanket return policy on merchandise stating that they “guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price.” Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as electronics (returns accepted within 90 days), diamonds (within 48 hours with original paperwork), and cigarettes and alcohol (returns never accepted).
Beloved by customers, the extremely broad policy has created some serious issues for the store — and tales of abuse are starting to circulate.
Stories began popping up on Reddit and Facebook from Costco employees who shared the craziest returns they’ve ever processed (and accepted!) at the store, which include a dead Christmas tree, a half-eaten steak, a decade-old boombox, a 13-year old fish, and an empty bottle of wine because the customer claimed it gave her a headache.
“Costco goes overboard on the whole member is always right s—,” one Reddit user wrote.
However, according to a new report by Business Insider, Costco’s return policy might not be as lenient as you think. According to the publication, at least one woman has claimed her membership was revoked due to an excess of returned items.
Maryam Nicksolat told the outlet she’d been a member of Costco since 2006, but lost her membership in 2018 after she tried to return a printer she purchased in 2010. Nicksolat said the printer malfunctioned shortly after she purchased it, but she didn’t ever get around to returning it.
Printers are not listed under Costco’s 90-day exception for electronics, so she attempted to return the product to the store eight years later. She was allegedly told she couldn’t return the printer to her local store in Fairfax, Virginia, and was confronted by a manager, who held a list of all of her previous returns and cited them as the reason they couldn’t process the transaction.
Nicksolat then claims she called customer service and spoke to Jeff Long, the senior vice president of Northeast operations for Costco, who told her that they would be terminating her membership. BI cites a letter Nicksolat received, which stated she would be refunded for the printer, its ink and the yearly membership cost, which ranges from $60-$120.
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“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 in the letter.
However, BI points out this instance might not be precedented, and even employees seemed confused by protocol for revoking memberships due to returns. They called two locations in Virginia and were told there was no limit on items to be returned and that was not grounds for membership termination.
According to Costco’s website, they reserve the right to “cancel and refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”
“In the event a member is not satisfied with Costco merchandise, the membership fees may be refunded and the membership canceled,” a representative for the company told BI in a statement. “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.”
Costco did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.