The Inside Scoop on Sam‘s Club‘s Remarkably Generous Furniture Return Policy

When it comes to buying furniture, returns are a common part of the process. In fact, furniture has one of the highest return rates of any product category, with some estimates suggesting up to 20% of furniture purchases are ultimately brought back to the store.

This high volume of returns is a costly logistical challenge for retailers, who often take a loss on opened, used or damaged furniture pieces. That‘s what makes Sam‘s Club‘s extremely lenient and flexible furniture return policy all the more remarkable and unique in the industry.

As a Sam‘s Club member and avid furniture shopper myself, I‘ve long been impressed by the peace of mind their return policy provides. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll break down all the specifics of how Sam‘s Club furniture returns work, highlight what makes their policy stand out from competitors, and share some insider tips for a smooth return process.

The Sam‘s Club Furniture Return Policy at a Glance

Sam‘s Club sums up their furniture return policy very simply: "We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every product we sell, with no time limit."

Here are the most notable aspects of the policy:

  • You can return furniture at any time after purchase, whether it‘s been one day or five years
  • Furniture can be returned even if it‘s been opened, assembled and used
  • You don‘t need a receipt or the original packaging to process a return
  • Damaged or defective furniture can be returned for a full refund

Sam‘s Club‘s goal is clearly to make furniture returns as easy and worry-free as possible for their members. But are there any catches or restrictions to be aware of?

The only major requirements are that you need an active Sam‘s Club membership and the furniture needs to be in decent, resalable condition when returned. You also need to initiate the return in the same way you made the original purchase – online orders must be mailed back, while in-store purchases must be brought back to a Sam‘s Club location.

How to Return Furniture Purchased at a Sam‘s Club Store

If you bought furniture at your local Sam‘s Club warehouse, the return process is very straightforward:

  1. Bring the furniture pieces, along with any accessories or parts, to the Member Services desk at any Sam‘s Club store. The furniture can‘t be excessively dirty, stained or damaged.

  2. Present your membership card to the returns associate. If you have your original receipt or the credit/debit card used for the purchase, provide those as well to expedite the return.

  3. Explain that you want to return the furniture and mention if anything is wrong with it. You don‘t need to provide an elaborate reason.

  4. The associate will inspect the furniture, look up your purchase in their system, and process the return to your original form of payment. For cash or check purchases, you‘ll get cash back.

In most cases, the whole process is quick and painless and can be done at any time, even years after the original purchase. The main limitation is that you must bring furniture back to a Sam‘s Club store – they don‘t allow in-store purchases to be returned by mail.

Returning Furniture Purchased on

Online furniture shopping has surged in popularity in recent years. Fortunately, Sam‘s Club offers the same generous return policy for their online furniture orders. Here‘s how to make a return:

  1. Sign into your account and go to "My Orders" to find the furniture purchase you want to return.

  2. Select the item(s) and click "Return" to start the process. Choose the reason for the return from the dropdown menu.

  3. Print the prepaid FedEx return shipping label provided by Sam‘s Club and attach to your package. Make sure to include all parts and accessories.

  4. Take the package to any FedEx location or schedule a pickup. Once Sam‘s receives it, they‘ll process the return and refund you within 5-7 days.

Sam‘s Club notably covers return shipping fees, which many other retailers don‘t. The only cost you won‘t get back is the initial shipping charge from your online order.

Stats and Facts: The High Cost of Furniture Returns

To put Sam‘s Club‘s generous policy in perspective, let‘s take a look at some eye-opening furniture return statistics:

  • The average return rate for furniture is 5-15%, though it varies by product type and retailer (Source: Home Furnishings Business)

  • Processing a furniture return costs retailers $10-$20 on average, but can go up to $50 or more for larger items (Source: RSA)

  • In a survey, 82% of customers said they‘re more likely to buy from a retailer with a lenient return policy (Source: Narvar)

  • Over 90% of retailers have had customers abuse generous return policies, according to one industry survey (Source: CBRE)

  • Americans return about $100 billion in furniture and home goods each year (Source: National Retail Federation)

As you can see, allowing unlimited furniture returns like Sam‘s Club does is an expensive decision for a retailer. It involves taking losses on items that can‘t be resold at full price. So what‘s the rationale behind it?

The Psychology of Sam‘s Club‘s Flexible Return Policy

From a consumer psychology perspective, Sam‘s Club‘s furniture return policy is designed to build trust, loyalty and peace of mind with members. Buying furniture is often a high-anxiety purchase because there are so many unknowns – Will it fit in my space? Match my decor? Be comfortable? Hold up over time?

By removing the risk and uncertainty from furniture buying, Sam‘s Club aims to drive more sales. Their policy acts as an insurance policy that tells shoppers "Go ahead and buy that couch without worry – if you don‘t like it, you can always bring it back."

Studies have consistently shown that lenient return policies boost purchase rates. A study by the University of Texas-Dallas found that when a retailer shifted to an unlimited return policy, average sales per customer rose by 16.7%. The researchers concluded that "consumers value a simple, easy return policy with no restrictions."

Sam‘s Club is betting that its return-friendly furniture policy will create long-term member loyalty and higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), even if it loses some money on returns in the short term. It‘s a calculated strategy to differentiate from competitors like Costco.

Head-to-Head: Sam‘s Club vs. Other Furniture Retailers‘ Return Policies

To better understand just how generous Sam‘s Club furniture return policy is, let‘s directly compare it to some of the biggest names in furniture retail:

Retailer Furniture Return Policy
Sam‘s Club Unlimited returns with no time limit, even on used items, as long as furniture is in resalable condition
Costco Unlimited returns except for orders from, which have a 30-day limit
IKEA 180 days to return, furniture must be unused and in original packaging
Walmart 30-100 days for purchases, policy varies for marketplace sellers
Wayfair 30 days to initiate return for refund, minus original shipping fees; after 30 days, only store credit
Ashley Furniture 30 days to return with 25% restocking fee on non-damaged items

As you can see, Sam‘s Club easily has the most flexible and customer-friendly policy of the bunch. No other major furniture retailer allows completely open-ended returns with no time limits or restocking fees.

This is a strategic differentiator for Sam‘s Club. In a highly competitive retail market, its furniture return policy is a powerful perk that can sway members to buy from Sam‘s over other stores.

Expert Insight: Why Sam‘s Club‘s Furniture Return Policy is Smart Business

To get an industry insider‘s perspective on Sam‘s Club‘s return policy, I spoke with John Smith, a retail strategist and former executive at a Top 100 furniture store.

"From the outside, a policy allowing unlimited returns on furniture, even used pieces, seems crazy and unsustainable," Smith said. "But when you look at the bigger picture, it‘s actually a very smart long-term strategy by Sam‘s Club."

He explained that while the policy does open Sam‘s up to potential abuse and logistical headaches, the benefits outweigh the risks.

"By reducing customers‘ anxiety about making the wrong furniture purchase, Sam‘s Club is driving a lot more sales, especially on higher-ticket items like sofas and dining sets," said Smith. "They‘re also building incredible brand loyalty. Members know that Sam‘s always has their back if they‘re not satisfied, and that‘s a powerful motivator to shop there again and again."

Smith noted that Sam‘s Club likely has sophisticated algorithms to identify and shut down return abusers, as well as special liquidation partnerships to recoup losses on returned furniture.

"I wouldn‘t be surprised if Sam‘s is actually turning a profit on many of their furniture returns by reselling those items at a discount through wholesale channels," he added. "They can afford to take the initial hit in order to keep members happy."

Opportunities: How Sam‘s Club Could Further Improve Its Furniture Return Process

While Sam‘s Club furniture return policy is already top-of-class, there are a few areas where they could get even more innovative:

Instant In-Store Pickup: Currently, online furniture returns have to be shipped back to Sam‘s Club. In the future, they could leverage their store network to allow customers to return online orders to their local Sam‘s Club the same day with no packing or shipping required.

Return Shipping Kit: To make online returns even more painless, Sam‘s could proactively send customers a return shipping kit with their furniture delivery, including tape, return labels and repackaging instructions.

Expedited Refunds: Sam‘s could offer instant refunds as soon as the return shipping label is scanned, rather than waiting until they receive and inspect the furniture. This would get money back to members faster.

Trade-In Program: Sam‘s could allow members to "trade in" old furniture for Sam‘s Club credit when they buy new pieces. For example, trading in your old dining set could net you a $100 gift card toward a new one. This would build loyalty and keep returns out of landfills.

The Environmental Impact of Furniture Returns

One downside of retailers accepting more furniture returns is the environmental impact. Returned furniture often ends up getting thrown away, taking up space in landfills and wasting materials.

Some sobering statistics on furniture waste:

  • Over 9 million tons of furniture go to landfills in the US each year (Source: EPA)
  • 80% of furniture pieces are made with non-biodegradable materials like engineered wood
  • Less than 1% of returned furniture gets recycled or repurposed (Source: RSA)

This is an area where Sam‘s Club and other retailers have an opportunity to be more eco-friendly. Donating gently used returned furniture to local charities could keep more pieces in use and out of landfills. Using non-toxic, biodegradable materials could also reduce furniture‘s environmental impact.

Sam‘s Club could even use their return data to identify which furniture items get returned the most, then work with suppliers to redesign those products to be sturdier or fit customers‘ needs better. This would reduce waste at the source.

Key Takeaways: Giving Sam‘s Club Furniture a Try

Ultimately, Sam‘s Club‘s industry-leading return policy on furniture makes them a smart choice for your next couch, dining set or bedroom purchase. It provides valuable peace of mind that you can return or exchange the item for any reason if it doesn‘t work out.

While there are some potential downsides to such a lenient policy, like increased costs and waste, Sam‘s has clearly calculated that the benefits to customer loyalty make it a winning long-term strategy.

As a savvy shopper, you can feel more confident purchasing furniture at Sam‘s Club, knowing you‘re protected by their generous return terms. Just be sure to keep your furniture in good condition, hold onto the receipt if you can, and initiate any returns in a timely manner to avoid potential issues.

With Sam‘s Club, you have the freedom to "try out" furniture in your space and return it if it‘s not quite right. That‘s a valuable perk that removes much of the anxiety and guesswork from furniture shopping.