What is Costco?
Founded as Price Club in 1976 by James Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman, Costco is a US-based chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. As of 2015, it is the second biggest retailer in the world and as of 2016, it is the largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine. The company’s first warehouse was located in Seattle but their headquarters is located in Issaquah, Washington. To date, they have around 741 warehouses in various countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia, France, Iceland, Japan, South Korea and Spain.
The company’s history began with Sol Price and his son, Robert, opening the first Price Club warehouse on July 1976, on Morena Boulevard in San Diego, California, thus giving birth to a new concept: a retail warehouse club. The Price family placed Price Club Warehouse #1 inside a series of old airplane hangars formerly owned by Howard Hughes, that warehouse known as warehouse #401 is still in operation today. In 1993, Costco and Price Club agreed to merge operations themselves. The business model and size were similar to those of Price Club, which made the merger more natural for both companies. The combined company took the name PriceCostco, and memberships became universal, meaning that a Price Club member could use their membership to shop at Costco and vice versa. In 1997, the company changed its name to Costco Wholesale Corporation and all remaining Price Club locations were rebranded as Costco and the rest is history.
Over the years, Costco has gradually expanded its range of products and services. Initially, it preferred to sell only boxed products that could be dispensed by simply tearing the stretch wrap off a pallet. It now sells many other products that are more difficult to handle, such as art, books, caskets, clothing, computer software, fine wine, furniture home appliances, home electronics, hot tubs, jewelry, perishable items and so much more. Many warehouses also have gas stations, pharmacies, hearing aid centers, optometrists, eye and sunglass centers, photo processors, and tire garages. The produce items that require refrigeration are kept in a walk-in refrigerator, and several locations even have a walk-in refrigerator for dairy items.
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What does Costco sell?
Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Furthermore, Costco does not carry multiple brands or varieties where the item is essentially the same except when it has a house brand to sell, generally by the Kirkland Signature label. This results in a high volume of sales from a vendor, allowing further reductions in price, and reducing marketing costs. If the management feels the wholesale price of a product is too high, they will refuse to stock the product. On April 2001, they launched their online shopping site for faster and easier business shopping.
They have two types of membership, Trade and Individual, both membership types can be upgraded to their Executive membership programme, which allows members to earn a 2% reward on most purchases, along with other benefits. Membership activation is required at your local warehouse before online orders can be processed at member advertised prices. If you are neither a Costco Member nor a Subscriber, you may still shop online by paying a 5% surcharge on all purchases. This surcharge will be automatically added to your basket at check-out.
How do I contact Costco?
- You can find most answers to common questions and enquiries on their Help section.
- You can send them a message through their email at email@example.com.
- You can call them at 0800 0324 324.
Customer care opening hours:
- Monday to Friday: 9am - 8pm
- Saturday: 9am - 3pm
- Sunday: 11am - 3pm
- Closed on Bank Holidays
What are the delivery options for Costco?
Shipping and handling charges are included in the item cost for deliveries to locations in the United Kingdom unless otherwise indicated elsewhere in the Site Terms, or on the particular product page.
- Small and medium-sized item delivery: Most products will be delivered by UPS, Parcel Force or Royal Mail.
- Large-item delivery: These products may need a delivery time to be booked prior to dispatch. The carrier will normally contact you within 48 to 72 hours of your order being placed to arrange delivery.
- White-glove delivery: Some products require special handling or set up. Their "White Glove" carrier agents deliver bulky goods, unpack, inspect and set up these products in the room of your choice and take away all packaging. Their carrier will normally call you within 48 to 72 hours of you ordering to arrange delivery of these items.
- Partial item delivery: Some goods may be delivered from different locations, so you may receive the goods in multiple deliveries. You can track your goods and deliveries by clicking on the order status link provided or calling the delivery company telephone number provided in your order confirmation email.
- Higher Value Goods (exceeding £5,000): These goods will be dispatched individually and sent to you via a secure, insured and traceable carrier. They are likely to be sent out separately from the rest of your orders and you will not be charged extra for this service.
- Business Supplies Next Day Delivery only applies to items which state in RED, "This item qualifies for next day delivery." All small package orders received before 3:00 pm will be delivered next day between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:30 pm by UPS. Next day applies to mainland UK only.
For more information, read their full Delivery and Tracking page.
How do I return an item to Costco?
They offer a 14 day returns policy to most items and a 90 days return policy starting from the date of purchase for products like elevisions, projectors, computers (including laptops, tablets and PDAs), cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, cellular phones and other products covered by their Electronics Return Policy. They extend the manufacturer’s warranty to 5 years on televisions and 2 years on computers and camcorders. All other electronic products are subject to the manufacturer’s warranty. Special sales terms
They require time to verify the piece of jewellery being returned in which case a refund will be approved upon positive verification and as long as the item is not damaged or changed in any way (i.e. resized or reset). This process may require seven to ten business days. You can return goods by calling their Customer Care Centre on freephone 0800 0324 324.
If you ask for a refund, they will refund your money within one week following their receipt and verification of the goods. If possible, refunds will be made in the same way as your original payment. Verification may take longer in the case of jewellery and other Higher Value Goods, but can usually be completed within 7-10 days after we receive the returned goods.
For more information, read their full Returns Policy.
Receive Free technical support on Televisions, Projectors, Computers, Major Appliances/White Goods, Cameras, Camcorders, Tablets, Security Camera Systems, Printers, Mobile Phones and MP3 Players you purchase at Costco Wholesale UK Ltd or costco.co.uk.
- Speak with expert level technicians
- Enjoy easy-to-understand answers to your set-up and product use questions
- Get troubleshooting assistance
- Obtain warranty information and assistance
- This service is available to all UK Costco members and costco.co.uk customers
How to get the most of your membership!