Costco Bans Shopper for Using Her Husband's Membership Card
The wholesale retailer has been cracking down on membership sharing.
Even as grocery prices come down, we're still doing what we can to get the most bang for our buck—and sometimes that means buying in bulk. But there is an extra cost you have to consider when shopping at wholesale clubs like Sam's Club, BJ's, or Costco: the annual membership fee. For Costco, customers can choose from three different tiers, which will run them anywhere from $60 to $120 each year. But if you're someone who tries to avoid this cost by using a friend or family member's card, you may be in for a rude awakening, as Costco continues to crack down on membership sharing. Read on to find out how one woman got banned from her local store.
A woman was banned from Costco for using her husband's membership card.
In a July 12 TikTok, Angelo, who goes by the username @profitplug, shared that his mom had recently gotten banned from Costco for using her husband's membership card to buy groceries.
"Here's what happened. My mom likes to go to Costco sometimes just to look around, and one day, she tried buying some groceries at the self-checkout area. As soon as she scanned the card, employees rushed her and started asking for her ID and membership," Angelo shared.
He added, "After confirming that it wasn't her card, they later told her that she can never go back to that location again."
Certain membership tiers have user restrictions.
In his video, Angelo said that it was "kind of" his fault that his mom was banned. According to the TikToker, his dad has the Gold Star Membership. Under this tier, only two people can be on the account, as Costco explains on its website. This includes the primary member and one free household member who is over 16 and lives at the same address.
"If you are the primary member, we leave it up to you to decide who receives the second card," Costco states.
Angelo said that when he went away to college, his dad made him the second user on the Gold Star Membership, instead of his mom.
"She was able to get away with it for a while, but since they are becoming more strict checking at the entrance and at the self-checkout area, the jig is up," he noted.
Best Life reached out to Costco about Angelo's video, and we will update this story with their response.
Costco said it is cracking down to benefit its members.
All over social media, shoppers have been sharing stories about Costco's stricter approach to membership access lately. But a spokesperson for the company previously told Best Life that its membership policy itself hasn't actually changed. Members have always been asked to present their photo ID membership cards at the register when checking out—Costco is now just expanding this enforcement to self-checkout.
Since the retailer has started checking customer's cards at the self-checkout areas, Costco has "noticed that non-member shoppers have been using membership cards that do not belong to them," the spokesperson said.
"We don't feel it's right that non members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members," the spokesperson added.
But shoppers are still not happy.
Even if it's meant to benefit members, Costco's crackdown on membership sharing appears to be alienating some of its customers.
"They're doing too much—I went with my mom and I was buying her groceries (she has a membership, I don't) and they wouldn't let me pay for her groceries," TikTok user Nicole Angelique Carranza commented on Angelo's video.
Another person commented, "Not Costco acting like Netflix."
Several shoppers even brought up transferring to one of Costco's competitors as a result of the new enforcement. "Sam's Club is cheaper, has variety, has scan and go, and they don't care who uses your membership," one user replied.
Another wrote, "They're building a Costco in my town and was thinking of switching. This policy definitely has me sticking with Sam's."