Buying Phones From Costco vs Verizon (Which is Cheaper + Things to Be Aware Of)

Purchasing a new phone can be an exciting experience, but are you concerned about paying too much? Do you know what to look for when buying a phone from Costco versus Verizon?

Well, if you’re looking for answers to these questions, read below to find out what I’ve discovered about the debate between buying a phone at Costco versus Verizon so you don’t waste your money!

Buyings Phone From Costco vs Verizon In 2024

When it comes to buying a phone from Costco versus Verizon, you’re going to find significant differences between the two companies. For example, Costco is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest place to purchase a cell phone, especially compared to Verizon in 2024.

Do you want to know even more about buying a phone from Costco vs Verizon, such as what the Costco return policy is, and how Costco is different from Verizon? If so, continue reading to learn all about it!

Are Verizon Phones Cheaper at Costco?

Costco is a wholesale members-only club that offers a huge selection of Verizon phones at a much cheaper price than if you walked into a Verizon store and purchased a phone.

Furthermore, Costco is known for giving perks and special offers to members, which can save you even more money on the smartphone you’re thinking about purchasing.

Costco has had promotions where the company offers deep discounts on phones, or will offer a free phone, and also offers Costco gift cards for buying specific phones.

In contrast, Verizon store locations will charge you more for phones, although Verizon does offer deals for online purchases, which can lower the cost of the phone.

Does Costco Waive the Verizon Activation Fee?

Costco oftentimes will waive the Verizon activation fee. Although it’s not a given that you won’t have to pay it, it’s one of the many perks you’ll likely get by purchasing your phone at Costco.

Does Costco Charge the Verizon Upgrade Fee?

Costco will not charge the Verizon upgrade fee, which many customers consider to be a great benefit!

For example, an online customer said that when they upgraded their Verizon phone at Costco, they weren’t charged an upgrade fee, and also received an accessory package free of charge.

How Long Do I Have to Return a Phone to Costco?

You have 90 days to return a phone to Costco, which is one of the best aspects of purchasing a phone at Costco instead of Verizon, even though it’s not as long as the regular Costco policy.

Additionally, when you choose to return your phone, you’ll need to contact the Wireless Advocates at 1-888-369-5931 beforehand, who will tell you the next steps to take.

However, after the initial trial period (which is 14 days on average), you could be hit with an early termination fee, so read the return policy carefully.

In contrast, the Verizon return policy only gives you 30 days from the initial policy to return the phone, and you’ll also have to pay a $50 restocking fee.

Verizon also charges an early termination fee if you return the phone outside of the 14-day window, so in that regard, both Verizon and Costco are the same.

What Should You Be Aware of When Buying a Phone at Costco vs Verizon?

What Should You Be Aware of When Buying a Phone at Costco vs Verizon?

Buying a phone at Costco is much cheaper than Verizon, but there are also things you should be aware of when buying a phone from Costco, such as the following:

1. Phones Are Located at Kiosks

Shopping for a phone at Costco is an enjoyable experience compared to Verizon since you’ll find that the phones are located at kiosks within Costco near electronics, and are hard to miss.

For example, most of the phone kiosks are tall and almost rectangular in shape, featuring black coloring.

As well, each kiosk will contain the logo of the carrier the kiosk is for, such as Verizon.

However, one downside of the kiosks in Costco is that it’s run by one or two people. Therefore, you may be waiting in line for a while before you’re helped by the Wireless Advocate.

2. Costco Uses Wireless Advocates

Instead of the phone representatives being employed by Costco, the company outsources the jobs to another company called Wireless Advocates.

Furthermore, Wireless Advocates is a third-party retailer and provider of cell phones and other wireless products and is more knowledgeable about phones and technology.

3. It’ll Take Longer to Fill Out Paperwork at Costco

While buying a phone at Costco is cheaper, and the return policy is much better, one aspect of the shopping experience that is not as great at Costco is the paperwork involved.

In other words, the Costco phone paperwork is going to take you longer to fill out at the kiosk than if you walked into a Verizon store to make your phone purchase.

4. Costco Phones are Locked

Costco phones either will be connected to Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T.

Therefore, if you go to Costco and purchase a Verizon phone, you cannot simply switch carriers, as the phones are locked.

Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t sell any unlocked phones, so if you don’t already have Verizon, you’ll need to switch to Verizon to use the device.

5. In-Store Selection is More Limited at Costco

A common complaint about buying a phone at Costco is that the in-store selection of devices is more limited than the online selection.

However, Costco does sell some of the hottest smartphones on the market, including the following:

  • Google Pixel 4
  • Google Pixel 4 XL
  • Apple iPhone 13 + 13 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 12 + Pro Max
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
  • Samsung Galaxy S20

If you are looking to learn more, you can also read our posts on the things to know before buying Costco cell phones, Verizon dumb phone, and Costco phone return policy.


When you’re comparing buying a phone from Costco vs Verizon, Costco offers smartphones for much less than what you’d pay at Verizon, and has a better return policy.

However, Costco doesn’t offer quite as big of a selection of phones in-store that Verizon stores offer, although most of the hottest cell phones are still available in-store. 

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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