Costco Return Policy - regarding food

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I have a question regarding Costco's return policy on food. I am not trying to scam the company, I think they are the greatest. I purchased a lot of food for a BBQ this weekend but bought too much. Some things are sealed, frozen items that I assume I could return no problem. My other question is on prepared food. I bought too much stuff like prepared chicken kabobs. The package was not opened but it is not a sealed package to begin with. It was TOTALLY my mistake that I bought too much, but would I be able to return these items? They are still dated for another 2 days. If not, I guess I will have to try to find room in the freezer.

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You can return them BUT most costco's will research your return history on something like food and see if you are a 'chronic' returner.

You can return it as costco has such good return policy. But I would not do that.
I was told by a CSR that all the returned freezing food will be trash away as they are not resaleable. The only exception is that if you change your mind right after you bought the food and it have not gone out of costco yet, in this case the food will go back for resale.

Well, I used to work in a grocery store. Just to let you know, even if you tell them it was frozen/refrigerated the whole time, they will throw it out.

So, if you are the type that worries about wasting good food, I would suggest you keep it, and eat as much as possible.

Invite your friends, family and co-workers over for the next couple of days.

When the BBQ was over, why didn't you offer to sell the remaining product to the participants? You could call and donate it to a local senior center, food bank, etc (think: tax donation).
It is quite likely that the local health department regulations will not allow them to accept the product in return as there is no guarantee that the product was kept at the correct tempratures. Costco may accept the product and return your money but they will likely throw it out...
Do the right thing and donate the product.

theanimala said: I have a question regarding Costco's return policy on food. I am not trying to scam the company, I think they are the greatest. I purchased a lot of food for a BBQ this weekend but bought too much. Some things are sealed, frozen items that I assume I could return no problem. My other question is on prepared food. I bought too much stuff like prepared chicken kabobs. The package was not opened but it is not a sealed package to begin with. It was TOTALLY my mistake that I bought too much, but would I be able to return these items? They are still dated for another 2 days. If not, I guess I will have to try to find room in the freezer.

I returned food once to Costco - it was their fresh salsa that went bad a week before the due date. They just threw it away and gave me my money back.

I also have witnessed another customer try to return items just like the situation you have - they over bought. The Costco store told the person that they would have to throw away the items if they returned them, since they couldn't resell the items (they couldn't verify that the items stayed frozen the whole time - i.e., if you defrosted them, left them out, and then refroze them).

So, if you want to screw Costco over and don't feel guilty about wasting food, then return it. But, since it was your mistake that you over bought then you should keep the items and not return them. Personal choice....

simpsons4ever said: Well, I used to work in a grocery store. Just to let you know, even if you tell them it was frozen/refrigerated the whole time, they will throw it out.



Yep. Costco's internal policy is if it's been out of their own fridge for over 15 mins for return, they will throw it out regardless. I returned perfectly good $20-30 filet mignon before because I picked up the wrong item. They asked if it was out of the fridge for more than 15 mins. I said around 25 mins (I drove back to return it) and it went straight to the trash.

LongDongSilver said: simpsons4ever said: Well, I used to work in a grocery store. Just to let you know, even if you tell them it was frozen/refrigerated the whole time, they will throw it out.



Yep. Costco's internal policy is if it's been out of their own fridge for over 15 mins for return, they will throw it out regardless. I returned perfectly good $20-30 filet mignon before because I picked up the wrong item. They asked if it was out of the fridge for more than 15 mins. I said around 25 mins (I drove back to return it) and it went straight to the trash.


Actually your Costco should have never asked you anything since that is not their policy. Costco's corporate wide return policy for ALL food SKUs (perishable or not) returned by a member is that once it is sold it has to be destroyed (i.e. thrown in the trash compactor) regardless of how long the member had it in their possession. Even if you purchase food item(s) at the register and then went directly to the CS desk to return them Costco will STILL throw it all out. Also unlike Sams, Costco will not donate customer returned food items to local food banks. However, Costco does donate non-saleable food items prepared in their own facilities such as Costco pre-prepared meals found in the meat section, bakery items such as breads, cakes, and other miscellaneous recently out-of-date baked goods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables that are classified as non-saleable are usually donated.

While no one likes wasting food, you said yourself that it was your own mistake for buying too much. I would just consider the overage part of the cost of hosting a party. I would have offered it to guests, but since you didn't do that at the party, I would use the extra food as an excuse to have some friends over again. Other options, as another poster suggested, are donating to a local shelter or food bank. If you know of a large and less fortunate family, offer it to them. Any family with teenagers would appreciate the gesture. Or perhaps your church knows of a family in need. If all else fails, simply freeze it yourself, knowing that you are prepared for your next impromptu get-together.

I guess my bigger point is, while Costco may take the food back, it would truly be a waste, and IMHO, not at all in the spirit of their generous return policy (back to it being your own mistake). Take the tax write off and donate it instead.

simpsons4ever said: Well, I used to work in a grocery store. Just to let you know, even if you tell them it was frozen/refrigerated the whole time, they will throw it outA local supermarket here restocked some ice cream I bought (wrong flavor), but I returned it in a bag full of cold packs. OTOH Wal-Mart tossed a loaf of bread that I brought back.

If I bought too much party food, I'd either give it away to the guests (sell????) or serve it to my family for the next 70-80 meals in a row.

geezlouise said: While no one likes wasting food, you said yourself that it was your own mistake for buying too much. I would just consider the overage part of the cost of hosting a party. I would have offered it to guests, but since you didn't do that at the party, I would use the extra food as an excuse to have some friends over again. Other options, as another poster suggested, are donating to a local shelter or food bank. If you know of a large and less fortunate family, offer it to them. Any family with teenagers would appreciate the gesture. Or perhaps your church knows of a family in need. If all else fails, simply freeze it yourself, knowing that you are prepared for your next impromptu get-together.

I guess my bigger point is, while Costco may take the food back, it would truly be a waste, and IMHO, not at all in the spirit of their generous return policy (back to it being your own mistake). Take the tax write off and donate it instead.


It is a great idea to let friends and guests take home the extra food. If the friends and guests had not come empty handed and had brought some stuff to the party, thereby sharing in the expense of holding the party, then it is a good gesture to offer them some of the leftover food.

I too use to work in the grocery business and it is standard practice for all perishable items to be thrown away after returning them. It's too much of a liability to risk somebody getting sick for such a small amount of money.

Suggestion: Throw a post 4th of July party.

I bought WAY too much ground beef for a BBQ recently. I never once thought of taking it back. It's my fault. I'll freeze it and use it later if I have to.

I say if Costco will take it back, why not return it. I have been ripped off by enough companies that it wouldn't bother me to get a little back.

Whatatay said: I say if Costco will take it back, why not return it. I have been ripped off by enough companies that it wouldn't bother me to get a little back.Costco is actually one of the few companies that doesn't have a reputation for ripping people off.



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