Thursday, June 14, 2007

Costco's return policy

When you have a kid, not having a DVD player sucks. And having one that doesn't work sucks even more. It makes you bitter.

In November 2005, we bought a cheap Lite-on DVD player/recorder from Costco. We were so excited at the thought of (1) replacing our temperamental Toshiba and (2) having a recorder to burn some of our saved Tivo episodes to clear the hard drive. It was definitely an impulse buy. And it first. The recorder was strange in that it recorded not only the episode, but all of the Tivo activity (e.g., time bar). Then I bought a fitness DVD, and it wouldn't play, though it played in my computer. After that, it became even more selective and wouldn't play various DVDs the first time we tried, so we'd fidget with it until it finally cooperated. And then it struck us. We bought this lousy DVD player at Costco...wonderful, return-friendly Costco. We'd heard of people who had taken advantage of their more than generous policy, but we had never felt the need to return anything. So, after hemming and hawing, we went to Costco with the DVD player, cables, instructions, and receipt in hand, and held our breathe as we figured they'd tell us to buzz off with our boxless purchase from 19 months ago. But they didn't. We were refunded for the purchase price in full without any hassles. So we turned around and bought another plain old Samsung DVD player and a blender with what was left.

In February 2007, Costco revamped its return policy on its big ticket electronic items. Televisions, computers, cameras, camcorders, portable music players and cell phones, which represt 5% of sales for their prior fiscal year, must be exchanged or returned within 90 days. It's still a very forgiving policy though, and that's going to keep us coming back for more.