Costco Meat Returns Policy: Complete Guide


Costco is the country’s one-stop membership store for pretty much anything you could ever need in a home.

They provide a wide range of grocery and other items including a vast meat selection of:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Venison

If you’ve purchased meat from Costco but it’s gone bad, doesn’t quite taste right or you’ve simply changed your mind about it, you’ll be wanting to know what Costco’s meat returns policy is.

To help you with that we’ve taken a detailed look at what their returns policy is including the returns window, what reasons you need to make a return, whether you need a receipt, and much more.

Keep reading to find out…

What is Costco’s Meat Returns Window? The Short Answer

All Costco meats including fish are covered by Costco’s 100% satisfaction guarantee policy which means you can make a return for a full refund or exchange at any time after purchase.

This means you can return meat if:

  • It’s gone bad
  • Doesn’t taste right
  • Is too fatty or grizzly
  • Was purchased by mistake
  • Is surplus to requirements
  • It’s an unwanted gift

There are even stories of people returning half-eaten roast chickens and 13-year-old frozen fish.

The only time you’re unlikely to secure a refund is if you’ve already eaten the food, unless it makes you sick.

However, you should bear in mind that Costco’s returns policy, while flexible, does not give you carte blanche to abuse it by making numerous and repeat returns.

Your Costco membership is likely to be flagged and potentially suspended if you make continuous unsubstantiated returns. For example, if you keep returning half-eaten food.

How to Return Meat to Costco

meat costco

While Costco does offer an online returns process, for meat you’re probably better to return it in-store as soon as possible.

Use Costco’s warehouse locator to find your nearest Costco.

In fact, we have noted from Costco’s official returns policy that they don’t accept perishable items using the self-service returns process and do specifically ask you to contact them for assistance or visit your local warehouse for such items.

Meat would clearly come under perishable items and therefore we’d recommend simply taking any unwanted meat back to the store you purchased it from, or if purchased online, your nearest store.

If you have any problems with this, we’d suggest speaking to someone over at Costco chat (see the link in the bottom corner of your screen).

Do I Need a Receipt to Return Meat to Costco?

All orders are tracked using your Costco membership card so there is no need to have a receipt in most cases.

Simply return your unwanted meat to your local Costco store and hand over your membership card and the Costco worker will be able to trace the sale.

If you ordered your meat online you will have been sent a copy of your invoice to the email registered with your account.

You will also be able to find evidence of your order by logging into your Costco online account and selecting the orders section.

Failing the above, we’d suggest taking the debit or credit card you paid on to Costco for them to trace the sale.

Related Post:
Costco Wine Returns Policy

Can I Return Half Eaten Meat or Fish to Costco?

Yes, you should still be able to return a half-eaten piece of meat to Costco, especially if it’s of poor quality or tastes off.

On the strict wording of Costco’s policy, you should be able to return it for any reason, although you could risk your account being flagged if you’re regularly returning half-eaten food products which may be classed as an abuse of the policy.

We suggest only returning meat if it’s genuinely gone off, tastes funny, is of poor quality or if it was genuinely purchased by mistake.

Related Article:
Costco Fruit Return Policy

How Does Costco’s Meat Returns Policy Hold Up?

We’ve done a helpful comparison with some of Costco’s competitors to see how their meat returns policies compare.

Hopefully, this will help you decide whether Costco is the best place to buy your meat from:

CompetitorReturns policy
WalmartWithin 90 days
KrogerWithin 30 days
Whole FoodsWithin 90 days

As you’ll note, Costco’s returns window is by far the most generous with most other stores restricting returns to 30-90 days.

This makes Costco pretty hard to beat.

Costco’s 100% satisfaction policy also applies to many other items such as luggage, bikes, beds, and plants, and is only shortened to 90 days for electronics such as laptops, monitors, TVs, and consoles.

Final Thoughts

Costco’s 100% satisfaction guarantee policy is worth the cost of membership alone and can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every year.

You can return meat and fish to Costco for pretty much any reason and at any time provided you don’t abuse the policy.

Costco’s returns policy makes it a great place to purchase bulk items from, making it an ideal choice if you’re catering for a large event or run a food-orientated business like a restaurant, cafe, or food stall.

About the author

Oliver graduated from law school in 2008 and has practiced exclusively in the field of civil litigation for the last 10 years. He has a wealth of experience and expertise in litigation involving large financial losses and a special interest in consumer law. He has achieved numerous 7 figure settlements and has been involved in multi-billion dollar class-action consumer lawsuits against companies such as the Volkswagen Group. Away from the law, he is a consumer information and personal finance writer, having been featured in key publications such as Yahoo Finance, GO Banking Rates, NewsBreak, MEL Magazine, and many more.

-Chief Editor and Founder

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