Everyone knows that Costco has a famously lenient return policy. But just how lenient is it really? What can customers really get away with? Most people don't push the limits too hard. Most people think that they've "won" if they return a legitimately malfunctioning toaster a few days after buying it. But the boundaries can be pushed much further than that. In fact, they can be pushed further than one would ever believe possible.
There are plenty of moms out there who have walked into Costco, returned absolutely ridiculous things, and went on to brag about it. These items might be perfectly fine. They might not even exist (except in the woman's mind). They might even be over ten years old.
Yet every single time, these moms manage to get a full refund. It seems too easy. It doesn't seem possible. How can Costco even be considered a profitable business model with such a lenient return policy? What were they thinking?
These real accounts of moms returning things to Costco are bizarre. But in a way, they're inspiring. After all, it takes serious courage to walk into Costco and make such wild demands for returns. Sometimes, readers just have to sit back and admire their audacity; the sheer boldness and attitude.
20 She Returned A 3-Year-Old Fridge
When most people buy a fridge, they understand that they're probably never going to get that money back. Well, in the case of one mom, this wasn't exactly true. After three years of owning and operating a fridge, she managed to return it... For full price!
"Several years ago I bought a Samsung refrigerator. I had it three years. Cost was about $1200. It stopped working. I had a mechanic try to fix it. Bad motherboard. He said impossible to get part. Called supply houses, eBay, everywhere. Nope. Called Costco. Nope. Brought it back. Spoke with manager. I'm willing to pay repair costs. Full refund was provided. Store credit. Permanent customer."
19 One Woman Returned Literally Everything In Her House
Desperate times call for desperate measures. One mom was very thankful of Costco's exchange policy when she lost her job. Why? Because she was able to go through her house and return literally everything possible. Well, that's one way to make a quick buck...
"I'm not proud of this, but several years ago after I lost my job and we were in a really tough place between making our house payment and buying food. I went through our house and returned everything I could think of. Costco was super cool about it. I will be a lifelong member because of it."
18 This Mom Returned Some Old Strawberries
Everybody knows that you can't return food... especially not after you've taken a bite already. But apparently Costco never got that memo. One mom decided to return a bunch of strawberries. Granted, they were very over ripe... But it's still amazing that Costco allowed her to this in the first place!
"I also bought some strawberries there a few months ago that were so over ripe they spoiled on me within 2 days being in the fridge. I actually got a refund without having them present because they saw that I'd been buying strawberries every week for almost a year straight."
17 An Old Rug Started To Smell Weird... So She Returned It
Everybody knows that furniture really gets a lot of love. People sit on it, animals scratch it, and kids spill all kinds of stuff all over it. But when it comes to furniture, rugs take more damage than most. That's why it's so surprising to hear that one mom succeeded in returning a smelly rug to Costco!
"I returned a living room rug a few years ago–and it was 3 years old. I bought it during one of those 'special show' times in the store, really liked it. But then it started to stink (about 2 years after having it). I tried everything to get rid of that smell and finally found a website that explained that the rubber backing was deteriorating. At first only I could smell it, then my friends started commenting on the funny smell in my house."
16 She Actually Returned A Christmas Tree
The implication is that Christmas trees are non-refundable. This is one of the biggest unwritten rules about Christmas. Well, apparently not when you buy a tree from Costco! One mom managed to do the impossible... Yep, that's right, she actually returned a Christmas tree. This wasn't a day afterwards either. By the time she lugged it to the return desk, there were actually needles falling off the tree!
Sometimes, you just have to sit back and admire the pure audacity and attitude of some moms out there...
"This past year I brought back a Christmas tree after all the needles had already fallen off."
15 One Mom Returned Ribeye... After Eating It
Get ready, because we're about to learn about a mom who had some serious courage. In fact, she might be even more extra than the other moms in this article. She bought some ribeye to cook over the holidays... And she did just that. She cooked it, ate it, and saved the bones and fat.
Well, what she did next is incredible. She returned all the bones and fat, and got a full refund. No, we can't believe it either...
"I bought a ribeye bone in cryovac around 200 dollars during the holidays and returned a cooked container of bones and fat. Yes, I was completely reimbursed for returning literally .13 cents worth of fat and bones."
14 She Returned Some Stinky Fish
Sometimes, returning things is totally justified. After all, why should you pay full price for a substandard product? This is the whole reason why "returns" were invented in the first place. They protect the customer from being totally screwed over! Well, in the case of one mom, she wasn't going to let Costco sell her some stinky fish!
"A couple of years back, during wild salmon season, we were unfortunate enough to get some really stinky, inedible fish during two shopping visits. The first time I thought it was my dumb luck and swallowed the loss. The next time, the fish seemed slightly dodgy raw but after cooking, smelled awful and stank my home up. I called up and said this was the 2nd time this happened. I went with the entire cooked and raw fish and was refunded."
13 Thought That Was Strange? What About 13-Year-Old Fish?
Returning fish is one thing. But what about fish that has been lying around in your fridge for 13 years? Yes, you read that right. Some woman had fish in their freezer for over a decade before finding it. And what did she do? That's right, she returned that old fish to Costco! And you better believe that she got a full refund for that fish!
"13-year-old fish. I left it in my freezer and forgot about it. Wanted to return it and when they said no I threatened calling corporate and all that jazz. In the end, they let me return it."
12 She Returned A Four-Year-Old Air Conditioner
Here's another crazy mom who has a seriously bold refund game: She returned a four-year-old air conditioner. But if you actually check out what she has to say, she might have been justified in returning the appliance...
"We bought a window unit air conditioner toward the end of the season one year, and something went wrong with it at the very beginning of the next season (so technically only got a month or two use out of it). So, my husband takes it in to return it... we didn't have the receipt anymore so they looked it up... turns out this AC was actually like 4 years old, and I guess we just got mixed up about when we had bought which units. They gave him cash back though, haha."
11 One Wife Literally Returned Old Flowers
What's the downside to buying flowers? Probably the fact that they eventually wilt away, shrivel up, and dry out. At that point, most people just accept it as part of life. Perhaps they see it as some kind of symbolic lesson about the world. But one wife took a very different approach to this problem. She actually decided to return the shrivelled old flowers, and she got a full refund from (where else?) Costco.
"Purchased 2 dozen red roses for my wife which usually last a week or more. They had started to wilt within 3 days. Wife wasn't having it and returned them..."
10 She Returned Mandarin Oranges And Will Admit
This mom has an interesting point of view when it comes to returns. In her opinion, you shouldn't be ashamed to return something. As long as you're actually not satisfied with the product, you're completely justified. This mom sees it as a way to teach the company a lesson. Maybe if tons of people return an item, they'll get the message that this product just isn't good enough...
"I've returned those icky dried mandarin orange wedges because they have a seriously gross preservative taste (and not that I have things against most preservatives either, but seems so un-Costco-like!). They can throw them away for me, and realize they shouldn't be selling them!"
9 One Mom Returned Melted Gummy Bears
At first glance, returning a bag of unopened candy might not seem like a big deal. After all, who what kind of cashier wouldn't accept that, right? Well, what if that bag of candy was completely melted? What if that bag of candy USED to be a bag of gummy bears... But now it's just one melted piece of goop?
"My mom always bought those huge bags of gummy bears. She left an unopened one in her car, for who knows how long, during the summer and it melted into a giant gummy log, no sign of bears anymore. She took it back and they let her return it."
8 This Mom Returned A DVD For The Funniest Reason
Some items are a little more suspicious than others when it comes to returns. Obviously there are things which are only really meant to be enjoyed once. And when people return these items, we have to ask... Was there anything wrong actually wrong with the product? Or did they just get bored of it?
Well, in the case of one mom, she actually had a pretty legitimate reason for returning a DVD. But even though it was understandable, it was also pretty hilarious! Read her story, and you'll understand why...
"My mom returned the DVD for the film A History of Violence. The reason? IT WAS TOO GOREY."
7 She Returned An Actual Twig
We can hardly believe this. But somehow, there seems to be a grain of truth to this story. Everyone knows that in order to actually return an item, you have to actually bring the item to the store... Right? Well, not in this case... Yes, this woman returned a literal twig, and got a refund for an entire tree.
"When I was a supervisor a few years ago someone returned a twig from a tree. No pot no tree. Just a twig. Honestly could've been a twig they found walking into the store for all I know. My manager approved of it. $50 and the real tree is probably in that lady's backyard."
6 One Worker Saw A Woman Return An (Eaten) Cake
Of all the things you could witness being returned, a cake is probably one of the weirdest. You might even say that it "takes the cake." Bad puns aside, this actually happened, and a Costco employee was even there to see it. A lady really did come in and return a cake that had already been eaten. And her reasoning for her decision was probably the funniest part of this story...
"I wasn't there, but a lady 'returned' (NPR) a cake that they had eaten at a party. The person doing the refund was told that the 'lines on the cake looked wrong.'"
5 She Returned Her Old TV (For Full Price)
Returning an old TV might seem like abusing Costco's famously lenient return policy. But at the end of the day, one mom decided she was going to do it anyway...
"So, I figure, 'maybe I should return my 2004 Pioneer plasma TV.' When they asked: 'What is the reason for your return?' 'I’m no longer satisfied with this product,' I answered, with as much of a straight face as I could maintain. Despite my answer having some degree of legitimacy, we both knew that I was exploiting the vulnerability in Costco’s old return policy. The returns person then asked: 'Would you like your return in the form of a Costco gift card or would you prefer cash?' 'I’ll take the cash.' I love Costco."
4 Her Cat Ate All Its Food... And She Still Returned The Box
Cat food is something that is actually pretty hard to shop for. Those of us who have cats know that these feline creatures can be quite picky about their food. It probably makes sense to return a box of food if our cats just don't like the taste. But not when the entire box had already been eaten.
At this point, you've lost the excuse of "my cat didn't like it." If your cat didn't like it, then how on Earth did it manage to eat an entire box of the food? Yes, this really happened, and one mom actually managed to get a full refund!
"I once returned an entire box of canned cat food. The cat had eaten all of the food, except for the last can. They still gave me a refund. But hey, cats can be fickle, right?"
3 One Woman Kept Returning Meat For No Reason
Another Costco employee witnessed one of the strangest cases of an item being returned. Apparently, one mom had an obsession with returning meats. After a while, management got tired of this. They told her that she couldn't claim any more refunds...
"We had a lady keep buying meats, like 300 dollar worth of meats every long weekend, then she'd come back on Monday and say the meat wasn't good and she'd get a refund. After about 5 times, our manager basically told her 'stop buying meat, you clearly don't like it. We're not refunding it anymore.' and she claimed she was taking her business elsewhere. She never came back."
2 Returning Wilting Plants Is Very Common At Costco
Ask any Costco employee, and they'll tell you that one of the most common product returns out there is plants. People buy plants that they can't take care of properly, and then demand a refund when the plants start to wilt. It happens over and over again. One mom decided she would do exactly this...
"Let me start off by saying I am not great with plants. No green thumb here. I bought a few cactus plants from Costco... And I thought that they would be easy to keep alive. Well, needless to say, they still died. And I took them back (brown and wrinkled) to get a full refund."
1 Someone Actually Returned Old Diapers
This has to be the saddest story out there. We've mentioned some pretty weird products getting returned in this article. But one story puts the rest to bed.
One mom actually decided to return used diapers. At this point, you're no longer simply abusing the return policy. You've gone a step beyond that. You are now mercilessly trolling innocent employees, and there's really no excuse for this. We don't care what the mother was thinking when she did this...
"I worked the return desk at Costco for three years. I've gotten a diaper box full of old baby stuff (not from Costco) once. But I guess that's speaks more for our return clerks..."