I recently canceled my membership with Costco, about a month after paying the $55 annual membership fee. Prior to that, I had been a member for more than eight years. I’m sure my family spent over $10,000 there in that span of time.
So why the separation? I took my truck in to have a slow leak a fixed on the Michelin tires I purchased at their store in Thornton, CO. One thing I liked about my tire purchase originally was the promise that future flats and rotations would cost me nothing. The news wasn’t good when I took my truck in this time. I waited two hours for them to tell me that they could not pull the staple out of my tire. Instead, they insisted that I needed a whole new set of tires.
Their explanation was that they cannot plug a hole that is less than 14 inches from another plug. It was about 10 inches away, and nowhere near the sidewall. The same Costco tire shop also denied my request to rotate the tires because there was “not enough tread left” to do so. (See the pic at right and judge for yourself.) The tires in question were purchased from Costco 60,000 miles earlier and were touted as tires with a 70,000 mile warranty. All tire rotations and care since the purchase had been done only at Costco stores. By the way, another local tire shop had no qualms about fixing the tire for $10.00. It took them less than 20 minutes.
After burning the better part of my Sunday afternoon waiting for Costco to tell me they couldn’t help me, I took a few days to reconsider the value of my membership. I scanned my online bank statement for purchases I had made at Costco in the previous year. We’ve not been spending as much at Costco as in earlier years since we no longer live in the same zip code as the nearest store. Nevertheless, we had spent over $1,200 at the Chandler, AZ store in the preceding 12 months. The truth is, we now have a Sam’s Club store approximately one-third the distance as the Costco store from our current home.
The choice was an easy one for me. Without regrets, I called Costco and asked them to cancel my membership and refund the eleven months of unused membership dues. The customer service rep didn’t even bother to ask why I was cancelling. Because they would not make good on their warranty or their promise of follow-up tire care, Costco has lost a customer for life. That little staple will cost them approximately $1,200 in sales in the coming year, and many thousands of dollars in future years.