Costco is known for great prices on high-ticket items, including televisions. The retail giant usually carries the best deal around when you’re in the market for a new TV. But is the deal really as sweet as it seems?
You need to know a few things before you purchase your new flatscreen or smart TV from Costco. Read on to get the full scoop.
15 Things To Know Before Buying a TV From Costco
1. Costco Has Many TV Options
Costco has one of the largest selections of TV sizes available in any big box store and carries prominent brand-name televisions (Hisense, LG, Samsung, Sony, VIZIO, SANUS, WireLogic, etc).
Typically, their sizes range from less than 40-inch screens to almost 90-inch screens.
2. Certain TV Options Are Limited At Costco
While Costco does sell prominent brands of TVs in their warehouses, there aren’t as many options (brands, size, and screen type) when compared to Best Buy or Walmart.
3. Sometimes A “Deal” Is Not A Deal
Costco works out deals with major companies to bring you lower prices with special deals. For example, Costco will sell you a television at a reduced cost if you buy a live-streaming package with one of their participating data companies.
However, their deals are sometimes not so great. In fact, they often charge more through their “deals” than many of the other live-streaming options that are available.
So to save some extra money, it might be worth investing in just the TV by itself and BYO your own streaming services.
4. Package Deals Can Be Tricky
Costco offers lower prices than most other retailers, but there is a catch…
As an example, customers may have to sign a two-year agreement with one of their participating companies like AT&T. If you don’t take the two-year agreement, you don’t get the special pricing.
As well, while monthly costs may be reasonably low in the first year, they often rise in the second year of the agreement.
Then you’re stuck in a deal you can’t easily get out of, paying prices you didn’t agree to.
5. Costco Has A Limited Return Window on TVs
Most Costco merchandise can be returned at any time for any reason, and you get your money back, no questions asked. However, this is not the case with Costco televisions.
The return window for televisions purchased from Costco is only 90 days. So, if after 90 days you decide you don’t like this TV, too bad. You cannot return it for a refund of your money.
However, Costco does provide very generous TV warranties (see more below!).
6. Costco Offers A Superior TV Warranty
Most manufacturers offer a one-year warranty on any television purchased from one of their stores. Costco on the other hand doubles this offer for a two-year warranty on any television they sell!
For televisions larger than 37 inches, Costco has the option of a three-year warranty plus technical support, for an added fee, of course.
7. Protection Is Extra For TVs
In addition to the extended warranty Costco offers, there are also protection plans available to cover the malfunction of physical features.
Of course, these cost extra and must be purchased within 90 days of the TV purchase date.
These protection plans provide five years of protection as Costco has a partnership with Allstate for these plans.
For a quick breakdown of this protection, the first two years are covered by Costco and the other three years are provided by Allstate.
8. Membership Is Required For Buying TVs
Like many club-type retailers, Costco’s special pricing is dependent upon a Costco membership. Simply put, no Costco member’s card, means you cannot shop in-store.
Now for most people, this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. A Costco membership usually costs about $50 per year. So, most people would consider a membership the only logical route to great deals.
And basically, it is. However, if you don’t live near a Costco or don’t do most of your shopping there, it probably wouldn’t save you enough money to justify the membership fee.
9. Online Costco Matches Physical Costco For TVs And Other Products
If driving to a store and spending hours comparing televisions is not your idea of a fun Saturday, you can just go to Costco.com and find everything you would find in a physical store.
There are several advantages to this:
- It’s easier to compare sets online than in a store.
- Pricing is the same.
- Shipping is free.
- You can avoid long lines at checkout.
- You aren’t as likely to impulse buy.
- You can skip the pressure sales speech to upgrade your membership plan.
To learn how to price match against Costco’s own pricing, you can see my full guide here!
10. Price Matching Other Retailers For TVs Is Almost Impossible At Costco
There is one little trick that you need to know before buying a television at Costco. The model numbers on their TVs will often not match the model numbers on the same models at other stores.
This is because if the model numbers are the same, you can insist on a price match.
Say another retailer has the TV for less money, but you want Costco’s fantastic warranty. So, you ask Costco to match the other retailer’s price.
Since the model numbers are not the same, Costco can refuse to price match. Because technically, it’s a different model TV than the one at the other retailer.
11. Costco Provides TV Tech Support On Select Days And Times
While Costco does offer free technical support for any issues you may experience with your new television, there are limitations.
You’d better hope your problems occur between 5 AM and 10 PM on a weekday. Because tech support is off the clock after 10 PM every night and on holidays.
This can prove to be most distressing if you’re stuck at home over a holiday weekend with a malfunctioning television. Or if your set breaks down during your favorite midnight show.
12. TV Delivery and Set-Up Not Included
Costco does not include delivery and set-up in their bundle of services offered with a TV purchase. For most people, this probably isn’t a big deal.
But for the elderly or for someone who already has more than they can get done, this service would be quite helpful.
Televisions are not known for being lightweight. And, of course, the bigger they are, the more they weigh. For someone with health issues who can no longer lift heavy things, set-up might be highly problematic.
As well, for those who drive small vehicles, getting a large television into their vehicle might be a challenge. Having delivery and set-up included could be a significant bonus for many people.
So while this is not a dealbreaker, it is something to be aware of.
13. Not All Credit Cards Are Accepted
Since a television is a rather large purchase, likely, you won’t have the cash to pay upfront. Most often, this type of purchase goes onto a credit card.
The thing is, Costco does not accept all major cards (Amex and MasterCard) as they accept only cards that are backed by Visa.
To spare yourself some embarrassment, you may want to double-check your card’s issuer before attempting to purchase that Costco 60-inch flatscreen with it.
14. Costco Prices May Be the Best Even When They’re Higher
Often, Costco will price a television slightly higher than another retailer. At first glance, the lowest price may seem to be the best.
But when you consider the excellent warranty you get with Costco, you almost always decide in Costco’s favor. The extended warranty puts money back in your pocket for a year longer than other retailers do.
15. Buy A Costco TV And Get A Gift Card
By signing up for internet deals through companies with which Costco partners, you are rewarded with a Costco gift card. Depending on the particular deal you signed up for, you can get a gift card for as much as $200!
To learn more about buying products from Costco, you can also see my guides on buying furniture and alcohol from Costco.
Research Is Key To Getting Deals
As with any purchase, there will be great and not-so-great deals at Costco when it comes to buying your new television. Do your research, and be sure to read the fine print before making any major purchase. While Costco usually has the best deals, sometimes you can find a better deal somewhere else.