One Thing Will Cause Costco To Discontinue Your Membership

For many shoppers, Costco is so much more than just your standard grocery store. Its bulk goods ensure that pantries all over America are well stocked with essential staples, as well as delicious snacks and treats. Shoppers are privy to tasty free samples as they traverse the hallowed warehouse grounds. This wholesaler also offers a variety of other items, including electronics, toys, jewelry, alcohol, and even firearms in some cases.

In order to partake in all that Costco has to offer, you must first become a member. And according to the Costco website, membership offers numerous privileges. In addition to cost-savings, members enjoy the convenience of shopping online and having items delivered directly to their homes. In the event you're not fully satisfied with a purchase, the store also provides a generous return policy that guarantees a full refund with limited exceptions.

With all these benefits, it's not hard to see why people proudly retain their memberships for decades. You can also imagine that having your Costco membership canceled is akin to getting the pearly gates slammed shut in your face. While not a common occurrence, there is one customer behavior that can result in membership being discontinued.

Costco membership comes with certain privileges

The Member Privileges & Conditions page on Costco's website is full of useful information. Along with practical guidelines regarding fees, payments, and other matters, there's also a section on the store's famous return policy. Costco believes in its products and wants customers to know that everything they purchase comes with a "risk-free 100% satisfaction guarantee." Although there are a few exceptions and limitations on what can be returned, the store's staff is known for being very accommodating when customers aren't fully satisfied.

However, another part of the page paints a more ominous picture. Under the Membership section, a statement claims that "Costco reserves the right to refuse membership to any applicant, and membership may be terminated at Costco's discretion and without cause." One day you're happily shopping for bulk peanut butter cups and a new laptop, and the next you're out in the cold wondering where it all went wrong. While Costco is notoriously tight-lipped about its standards for canceling membership, abuse of the return policy is thought to be a major contributor.

Too many returns could cost you

As Costco giveth, she also taketh away when a customer raises her ire. According to Insider, this is precisely what happened to Maryam Nicksolat, who held a membership with the store from 2006 until 2018. As stated by Nicksolat, problems began when she attempted to return a printer purchased in 2010 — a whopping eight years after the fact. Upon visiting her local store, a manager informed Nicksolat that she made too many returns and that they wouldn't take the printer. And after placing a call to customer service, Nicksolat learned the cold, hard truth — her membership was being canceled.

Nicksolat did receive a refund on the printer, as well as a reimbursement of her membership fees for the year. But at what cost? The official line from the company is that no time limit is associated with returns when no specific exceptions apply. As for the monitoring of customer returns, the policy seems to vary from location to location. Anecdotally, stories like Nicksolat's are rather common. Apartment Therapy tells the tale of people returning food that has been all or mostly eaten, as well as requesting refunds on used pet supplies and gardening tools well past their usefulness. It's hard to imagine that any reasonable person would attempt to return such goods, but it's a weird world out there. Accordingly, the best way to safeguard your Costco membership is to apply a touch of common sense.