6 Mistakes That Can Get Your Costco Membership Cancelled

Keep your Costco card safe by avoiding these membership-threatening mistakes.
Updated April 16, 2024
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There are plenty of reasons you may decide to cancel your Costco membership — cost, distance, or maybe you just don’t go often enough to make it worth the expense.

But there are also reasons management could turn the tables and cancel your membership instead, making it harder for you to save money at Costco.

So, why would Costco figuratively cut up your card? Here are a few reasons your membership can get canceled.

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Abusing Costco’s return policy

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe no returns for toilet paper

Costco is known for its generous return policy. You can return most items that you’re not satisfied with for any number of reasons. You also usually don’t need a receipt when returning items to your local Costco or shipping online purchases.

However, returns are usually at the discretion of a store manager. Managers might be generous with returns, but they can also cancel your membership if you’re abusing Costco's return policy.

Skipping the receipt check

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt

There are certain things you just have to do as a Costco customer, such as presenting your membership card when you walk in or check out and showing your receipt to the receipt checker as you leave.

The receipt checker helps the store maintain accurate inventory and ensures that customers have everything they purchased.

Skipping the receipt checker could not only cost you money by giving checkers a chance to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind but could also cost you your membership.

Stealing from Costco

Mihail/Adobe consumer thiefs hands

Another reason the receipt checker is in place is to make sure customers aren’t stealing items.

Stealing from a retailer is illegal and you could end up without a Costco membership card in addition to potential legal issues.

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Abusing the membership cancellation policy

MKPhoto/Adobe costco gold star membership card

Costco’s generous return policy includes returning your membership for a refund for any number of reasons. Costco store managers will generally allow you to cancel your card no questions asked.

But canceling your card for a refund and then using that cash to get a new membership could raise red flags that you’re abusing the membership fee policy and may prevent you from getting a new one.

Mistreating employees

Mangostar/Adobe young man paying bill in store

Costco treats its employees well — providing good benefits such as health insurance, dental care, and retirement plans, plus offering competitive wages — and management expects customers to treat employees well, too.

Employees like working at Costco, but not when customers abuse them. Bullying, yelling, or physical altercations with employees could lead to your membership being canceled at the store’s discretion.

Someone in your household violated Costco’s policies

yooranpark/Adobe people with carts in costco

Your Costco membership can cover more than just you. In fact, if you're the primary cardholder, you can get an additional household card for someone who lives with you.

For example, you may have a roommate who helps pay for the membership, or you and your spouse may each have a card. You can also give the household card to other friends or family who live in your home.

However, you also have to trust that they won't violate Costco policies and be aware that their behavior at Costco could also negatively affect your membership.

Other reasons deemed appropriate by Costco

BINGJHEN costco wholesale storefront in kaohsiung

You may not have read the fine print on your Costco membership agreement, but there are rules in the agreement about your membership.

Costco says it “reserves the right to refuse, decline, or cancel a membership at any time.”

The company likely won’t cancel your membership for any reason, but remember that the retailer has the discretion to decide who shops and who doesn’t.

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe costco wholesale retail store exterior

Savvy shoppers know how to get the most out of their Costco membership cards, so it can be tough if your Costco membership gets canceled.

If it happens to you, consider other ways to save money on groceries, such as signing up for rewards programs, clipping coupons, or using rewards credit cards to earn points on everyday purchases.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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