We all knew it was too good to last. For several years now, one solid piece of advice to anyone buying a big-ticket item such as a plasma TV was to get it at Costco if possible, thanks to the big-box retailer's well-known return anytime policy. With the exception of desktop and laptop computers (limited to six months), a member could pretty much return any item at any time, including that $2,000 TV that suddenly stopped working two years later.
Of course, plenty of people abused the privilege, returning items when a cheaper model came out or using the return policy as a lifetime extended warranty. This, naturally, caused financial analysts to take a sour view of the overly generous company. (Note: I purchased my current plasma TV from Costco after being forced to wait almost five months while a third-party extended warranty company tried--and failed--to repair my old set.)
MSNBC reports that Costco's new policy is to allow customers only 90 days to return electronics--although they will extend the manufacturer's warranty to two years and set up a tech support hotline to help people with basic support issues.
The new Costco return policy states: "We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, with a full refund. Exceptions: Televisions, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPod/MP3 players and cellular phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund."