Costco Changes Its Policy

Thursday, March 01, 2007
Costco has made a decision to change it's return policy on certain electronics. Most noticeably this affects people who buy televisions and other high priced electronics at Costco.

For those that don't know, Costco has always had a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This meant that at any time in the lifetime of a product, if you weren't happy with it, you could return it. This meant that if for any reason, say the TV just stopped working, you could return it back to Costco and they would refund the money back to you.

Of course, this policy is going to be abused by some people. You can see how easily it can be abused. I can buy a Plasma TV today and then 5 years later decide I want a new TV, return it, get my money back, and then buy another TV.

Of course, most people are probably not this unscrupulous. This is clearly one of those times that a few bad people ruin it for everybody else. I was seriously considering buying a new TV from Costco. I had in fact been visiting the store a lot recently checking out the TVs that they have. The biggest reason I wanted to buy from them was the safety net it would provide in case something did indeed go wrong. I would of course not abuse the system, I wouldn't return the TV just to get a new one, but I would return it if indeed it broke. Now that Costco has changed the policy, I will probably be looking elsewhere for a TV.

I totally get why Costco had to change the policy. But I also think they could have done something to mitigate the whole problem. If it were me, I probably would have amended the policy rather than completely revoke it. They could have been creative and say give you one return of $500 or more during the life of the product. This would limit their losses from people who are really abusing the policy, but still service the people like myself who would truly benefit and not abuse the system.