For the past couple holiday shopping seasons, a trick has been floating around social media that promises an intriguing possibility: The ability to buy that laptop, TV or another item you want from Costco online NOW and then ask Costco for a price adjustment when the item goes on sale for Black Friday.
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This hack has been gaining steam on TikTok. And it’s understandable that shoppers would want to try it. Retailers are tantalizing us right now with their Black Friday ads, but we all know that the best deals will sell out in minutes when they go live. So who wouldn’t want to claim an item early and then ask for a price adjustment?
But does this actually work? We looked into Costco’s price adjustment terms and its Black Friday ad. The short answer? Yes, this hack probably works, and it’s probably even easier than in past years.
So let’s dive in! What we learned will also serve you well as you navigate other retailers’ price adjustment policies this holiday season.
…But First: Are You a Costco Member Yet?
To fully take advantage of Costco price adjustments, Black Friday deals and all the other perks Costco offers, you’ll need to be a member.
This Hack Starts With Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy
The basis of this early-Black-Friday-deals trick is Costco’s price adjustment policy. What is a price adjustment? A price adjustment involves getting a refund for the price difference if an item you bought drops in price later. Retailers all have their own price-adjustment windows. Costco’s happens to be 30 days. That means, if you buy something and the price falls within 30 days, you get a credit back from Costco for the difference.
All you have to do is fill out this form to request the credit from Costco (you’ll need to be signed in to your Costco account to get the form).
But Does Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy Include Black Friday Deals?
Most major retailers explicitly do NOT allow price adjustments for Black Friday deals. In fact, some retailers don’t allow price adjustments on anything offered during the entire week of Thanksgiving. And that makes sense — retailers don’t want people proactively buying hot items in advance and then requesting price adjustments when the prices fall drastically on Black Friday.
As an example, here’s Best Buy’s price adjustment policy, which explicitly excludes any/all Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday deals:
But Costco’s price adjustment policy notably does NOT have any fine print that restricts Black Friday deals. The only stipulation is that you must request the price adjustment within 30 days of purchase. So, that means, if you buy something at Costco in early November and it falls in price on Black Friday, you’re well within that window.
But there is one thing to be aware of. Check out this field in Costco’s price adjustment request form:
To request a price adjustment from Costco, you need to input an item number. And that’s standard among retailers — the item you bought MUST exactly match the item you later find on sale. After all, no retailer is going to want to give you a price adjustment if you bought a pricey TV and then try to claim an adjustment, based on a cheaper model you found. So the item number is how retailers determine if the item that fell in price is the same item you bought — and if you’re eligible for that refund. You can find the item numbers in Costco’s Black Friday ad.
In past years, that’s where things got tricky. For example, in 2022, there was an MSI GE76 17.3″ 144Hz Gaming Laptop that was going to be $300 off at Costco on Thanksgiving Day in 2022 (item #1588405):
However, when you looked for the item number on Costco’s site before that date, you found the product wasn’t available for sale yet:
This mismatch of item numbers is quite common when it comes to Black Friday deals. Retailers often offer Black Friday-only versions of products with slightly different specs, different colors and different bundles with different accessories included. So the item you buy early might not be the exact same item that’s on sale on Black Friday, which could make you ineligible for a price match. It’ll be up to Costco in the end to determine your eligibility.
In other words … you can’t buy something early and ask for a price adjustment later, if you can’t buy it early in the first place. And some of the most compelling deals in Costco’s Black Friday ad simply aren’t available for purchase yet.
What’s the Status for 2023?
Good news for shoppers: While, in past years, we found many items that weren’t available to buy in advance in Costco’s Black Friday ad, Costco’s 2023 Black Friday ad is different: We could not find a single item that isn’t available to buy now!
Even the bundles and jewelry sets and gaming consoles are all available ahead of Black Friday. So, by Costco’s own price matching policy, you can buy them now and ask for a price match when the price falls during Costco’s Black Friday sale.
So … Does This Hack Work? Can You Get Early Black Friday Deals at Costco and Ask For A Price Match Later?
Yes, but double check: Most of the items in the ad are currently available to purchase on Costco.com in advance, we found, and we checked hundreds — and nothing in Costco’s price adjustment fine print seems to exclude Black Friday price drops. That said, follow these steps first:
- Find the product’s item number.
2. Enter that item number in the search bar on Costco’s website.
Is it available now? Then you can buy it at the full price and ask for a price match later, per Costco’s own policy. Not available? You can’t buy it and will have to wait for it to come into stock on Black Friday.
Even if you do run across an item you can’t get a price match on from Costco, note that Costco has a 90-day return policy on many electronics, so that might be an option if you find a lower price. Just buy it at the lower price and return the original (assuming you haven’t been using it in the meantime).
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Shoppers should consider a few more things about Costco Black Friday deals and price adjustments.
- If you successfully get a Costco Black Friday price adjustment, your refund won’t be credited back to your original form of payment or handed to you in the form of cash. Costco gives you a Costco credit for the difference. That means you’ll need to spend those funds at Costco. Although, if you’re a Costco member, you can probably think of a few things you need.
- You should be a Costco member if you’re even thinking of trying this. Technically, non-members can shop online at Costco.com (as long as they’re not shopping member-only deals) AND ask for a price adjustment (“Membership Number” isn’t a required field on the price adjustment form). But Costco charges a 5% fee for non-members. On a $1,000 laptop, that’s $50. So do the math.
The post Does That Viral Costco Hack Really Let You Get Black Friday Deals Early? appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.