Looks like your friend and mine, the amazing Costco return policy, is on its way out. Apparently, it did enough damage to the already razor thin profit margins of the company for management to take action. For those unfamiliar, it used to be that you could return anything whenever you wanted for a full refund (with the exception of desktop computers, which had a limit of six months). The policy was one of the reasons why I was an avid Costco electronics shopper (if the wanted gizmo was carried there).
But I always knew it would only be a matter of time before the too-good-to-be-true shopping scenario changed. Though even with the change, Costco likely still has the best return policy out there. Here’s what to expect:
So today Costco introduced its new 90-day return limit for TVs, computers, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, and cellphones. The policy is live in the 109 California stores and will roll out to all 504 stores within the next few weeks (old policy will stay in effect for any purchases made before today).
Perhaps to ease the blow, Costco will begin extending the manufacturer’s warranties on these items (except cellphones) to two years from one year. And the unlimited timeframe on returns will continue for all other non-electronics Costco items.
You can’t say the retailer didn’t try to avoid making the change. In recent months, it introduced an 800 number for customers to call to get technical questions answered. It also started offering limited third-party service for HDTV home installation.
All in all, it’s still a great place to shop for great deals on certain electronics. And the new double warranty doesn’t hurt.