Seattle woman who returned Costco couch after 2.5 years goes viral, sparks ethics debate

Seattle woman who returned Costco couch after 2.5 years goes viral, sparks ethics debate

A Seattle woman has gone viral after she said she tested Costco’s liberal return policy by taking back a couch she had for two and a half years.

“I just didn’t like it anymore. We just don’t like the color anymore,” Jackie Nguyen said in a TikTok video that’s been viewed nearly 3 million times since it was posted on Jan. 23.

Nguyen explained to viewers how nervous she was to bring back the couch without a receipt, noting how intimidating it was to walk into the store with a “giant purchase.”

But she said the sales clerk was accommodating and not worried about her lack of paperwork, Nguyen said.

Since Nguyen knew the day she bought the couch, she said the Costco employee was able to look up the purchase and refund her for the full amount, which at the time, was $900, according to the Daily Dot. The couch now sells for $1,500.

When the Costco employee asked Nguyen why she was returning the piece, Nguyen said she simply didn’t like it anymore. “And they gave us our refund, full refund to (our) card.”

In a now-deleted post, Nguyen told viewers that Costco informed her that upon return, items like these will either be donated, resold, given back to the manufacturer for a tax credit, or refurbished.

“Buy your furniture from Costco, girl. You can return it when you don’t like it anymore,” Nguyen says towards the end of the video.

USA TODAY has reached out to Costco for comment and will update the story if there’s a response.

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Customers visit a Costco Wholesale store on Dec. 15, 2023 in Miami.

Comments on Nguyen’s clip have been disabled because, Nguyen said in a subsequent video, she was getting threatening posts.

A number of creators made video responses to Nguyen’s story, with one being watched more than two million times.

“That is just… wrong,” TikTok user @voiage_beauty said in her reaction video. “You used something and you loved it with your kids and your animals and your whole family, and you used it for two and a half years, and just because there’s (a) little loophole in this store’s policy, you think that it is morally right to take that couch back and get a full, full refund for it, for a used item that there was nothing wrong with?”

The video drew over 15,000 comments, with reaction on the ethics of Nguyen’s couch return.

“You are not wrong. People abuse Costco’s great return policy,” one user wrote.

Another defended the practice, saying that Costco’s return policy is eight years and that she “returned pots and pans that ended up peeling and they took them back without any problem.”

Another said she’s “not ashamed to return my items,” adding: “My husband works for Costco and says that the (company) receives money from all of the returned items.”

Another reaction video says what many other people have in the comments: There may be people who abuse Costco’s policy, but Costco will not be changing it any time soon.

“Other stores have changed their polices …” @socialbrit said in her video, but Costco won’t, because unlike those other companies, “Costco values their costumers so much because they spend money to shop there.”

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What is Costco’s return policy?

Nguyen is correct that Costco’s return policy is generous. Here’s what to expect, according to Costco.

  • Memberships − Costco will cancel and refund memberships at any time.

  • Merchandise − Costco will give a full refund on items at purchase price with no expiration, but there are a few exceptions:

    • Electronics − Costco will only accept returns on these items within 90 days.

    • Diamonds 1.00ct or larger − Members returning a diamond over 1.00 carat must present all original paperwork to receive a jewelry credit memo upon inspection of the gem.

    • Cigarettes and alcohol − Costco does not accept returns on cigarettes or alcohol.

Things like custom-installed programs, airline or live performance event tickets, gold bullion, gold cars and silver coins, are non-refundable.

Costco’s return policy doesn’t seem to be hurting its bottom line. In an earnings call in December, the company said that it had seen a 6.1% increase in sales compared to the first quarter of 2023 and declared a $15 per share special dividend.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Woman goes viral for testing Costco’s return policy on old couch