Costco Warehouse - Poor Ethics + Bad Customer Care

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 at 12:00am CST by 1b5102b7

Company: Costco Warehouse - Poor Ethics + Bad Customer Care

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Costco Warehouse - Poor Ethics + Bad Customer Care

Costco Warehouse - Poor Ethics + Bad Customer Care.

I'm sending you this email in response to a recent encounter I had with

Costco. Costco Warehouse

4313 Wellington Road South

London, Ontario

N6E 2Z8 I had taken my brother (who is "Special" and needs help when making large purchases) to Costco to get a jump start on his Christmas shopping. My brother really likes Costco and purchased a membership almost a year ago but without a car he must depend on others to make the journey (30min drive) Since his only source of income is a disability pension I thought it might be nice let him use his membership, select some gifts, and when it came time to pay, I would cover the bill. This

was on Nov 7, 2004, and the Costco we went to (Wellington Rd. in London Ontario) was having a special 3 day promotion allowing non-members to shop as well. After spending over 2 hours we had most of his Christmas shopping done and I too had couple crossed off my list. (being a non-members day I didn't see this being a problem) It was a busy weekend and for some reason Costco decided to cut back on staff making the lines very long. Needless to say we get up to the counter and my brother shows his membership and explains to the cashier that I would to paying. This is where it starts... The Cashier (Susan) looks at me and says "do you have cash?" Knowing that Debit and cash is the 'SAME THING' I replied "Yes, I'll use my debit". To which she responded "Only members are allowed to use debit!". I looked ot the conveyer belt of items and roughly calculated a value of about $300-$350 worth of merchandise and whispered to the lady " He doesn't have that kind of money, I'm helping him out." She repeated herself, this time in a very loud stern tone so everyone can hear "DO YOU HAVE CASH???".... I looked at her in awe... "But debit IS cash,,,it's not credit....who carries that much in paper?" Before I could even mention that it was "Non-members day", a young boy had unloaded the conveyer belt back into the cart and whisked it away to return the items to the self...leaving us standing there embarassed and looking like we were criminals who couldn't afford to pay. We left in a dais over what just took place, and my brother was confused asking me "why did they take my stuff? I'm a member!" to which I could only reply "I have no clue....". We get home I call the Manager and he's really nice and says he genuinely sees the situation from my point of view and that he'll have the Marketing Manager call me the next day for compensation. Ya right, like they would take time to actually do that. I called the marketing Manager myself the next day and after understanding

they were at fault said this: " We are willing to offer you a discount on a membership" After wasting the better part of a day shopping, then treating me like my money wasn't welcome unless I was a member I took a bit of offense to this. I asked if this was the best she could do and she responded that they in fact did not do anything wrong and that Susan was just following proceedures. She then asked me if I had a better solution. I said "If I cant help my bother pay for his gifts unless I'm a member then I want a membership and then I would like an apology." She seemed taken back by this and said "I'll have to call you back". She did (wow) and she told me that she couldn't give me a membership because Costco would go out of business if they gave away memberships for free...I'm confused at this point. Will somebody tell me why Cash is better then Debit? Why Costco can't afford to compensate me with 1 lousy membership so that may use the debit machine to make a $300+ purchase? Will somebody tell me how to explain to my brother that his membership is not worth anything unless I have paper cash? Will someone explain what "Non-members" day really means??? "Why should I pay anything, discounted or not, to re-shop at Costco, only to help them profit after that wonderful display of

customer service? I thought a company like Costco would be able to spare $50, that's all it would have taken to make things better - guess they're in a little more trouble then I thought! Perhaps it was asking them to apologize that put them over the edge?! Steve A

Steven A

Click this link to e-mail the above consumer: COMPLAINTS.COM_FORM_MAIL_69722# Consumer


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445aa2f5, 2007-11-16, 04:17PM CST

Costco doesn't make very much money off of the items it sells. It makes money off of its membership fees. This is why they aren't too reluctant to refuse a sale, even if they have to put everything back.

804f3639, 2007-12-20, 11:09PM CST

I work for costco and they were in the wrong...non members can pay debit or unless your card was an amex debit this should not have been a problem...though i can explain why they cant give you a free membership...costco only makes money off of memberships...not the products they fact many of the products are sold at a loss to maintain this they must make strict guidelines to that people do not use others sorry you had a bad experience and i hope i answered some of your questions.

d8948c7d, 2008-07-09, 08:06PM CDT

My 81 year old mother has been a loyal Costco customer for many years. She bragged about the superior service at the Henderson -Marks (las vegas)Nevada location. She had not been there in almost a year and wanted to take me there. Several days ago I agreed to accompany her.

We completed our shopping and waited for the clerk to ring up our items. I didn't notice the majority of the staff was almost entirely Latino until later. The clerk told my mother she was moving too slow to pay her. She stated other people were waiting. I was very offended since my mother was trying to move as fast as she could and started trembling. The clerk next to her said " know how they are". (we are African-American) I wanted to make a nasty retort but reframed out of respect to my mother.

We were followed to the Exit door by a scowling female. At the exit door the clerk look at the scowling female and back at us. She became very aggressive and agitated. " Where is your receipt!!!" You can't leave the store without your receipt!!! The other customers began to stare at us. I said "my mother is trying to give it to you but now I want to see a manager!!!"

The manager came and we stated what occured.My mother told him she had never been treated so badly at a Costco store. The manager who was also Latino was patronizing and treated us like we were the instigators. My mother was very upset and shaken by the entire incident and had to take additional insulin to bring her system back to normal. Shame on the COSTCO Marks location in Henderson Nevada. La Raza is alive and well at Costco!!!

5997c28a, 2010-03-14, 12:28PM CDT

Why wouldnt you just buy a membership? you obv found items you liked and purchased as well as your brothers stuff. Why does costco have to pay for your membership? its only 50, and that way u can shop for your brother and yourself ??? If costco gave u a free membership, paying members would not be very happy YOU get a free one.

318c5c14, 2010-06-29, 10:58AM CDT

After reading the post,I wanted to find out in writing the answer from Costco. As a member,I understand why debit can't be permitted due to processing fees incurred by Costco if a non member uses this payment method*Prices are kept competitive because Costco is essentially a "cash" business.Exception debit, and the exclusive with AMEX as a method of payment for members ONLY.

Per usual,their customer service doesn't give "articulate" responses because I don't think cash is disallowed as implied:)

Costco Response,contrary to the anonymous employee who commented earlier to the post:

Non Costco member [#2595944]Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11:55 AM

From: "Canada Customer Service" <[email protected]>

Dear valued member,

Thank you for your recent inquiry through

Guests do not have purchasing privileges and therefore no, your guest will not be permitted to pay for their purchases. This is indicated in the membership Conditions and Regulations form given to all new members at the point of purchasing the membership contract.

If you have any further inquiries, please reply to this e-mail or call our member service agents at 1-800-463-3783, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST. They will be happy to assist you.

Member Service

Costco Wholesale

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