1. Information We Collect
Information You Provide to Us
We collect information directly from you. For example, we collect information when you sign up for or renew your Costco membership, make a purchase, or register for an online account. We collect information when you sign up to receive news, notifications, or other communications from us. We also collect information when you request customer support; engage with us on social media; fill out a form; or participate in a survey or promotion. The types of information we collect directly from you may include:
- Identification information, such as your name, title, membership card photo, date of birth, identity document (e.g., driver’s license, passport or tax identification number), employer name if you sign up for membership via your employer, and your Costco membership number.
- Contact information, such as your mailing address, email address, and phone number.
- Demographic information, such as your age and gender.
- Payment information, including your payment card information and billing address.
- Information necessary for us to provide Services, such as photographs for processing with Costco Photo Center, travel documents, etc.
Information We Collect Automatically
We automatically collect information about you when you access or use our Services or do business with us. For example, we collect:
- Purchase Information. When you make a purchase or return, we collect information about the transaction. This may include product details, purchase price, date, tender type and location of the transaction. It may also include account notes about the transaction.
- Browsing and Usage Information. When you use our internet-based Services, some information is collected automatically, including as described in the Cookies and Similar Technologies section below. For example, when you visit our websites, our web servers automatically log your computer's operating system, Internet Protocol (IP) address, access times, browser type and language, the website you visited before our site, and your activity on our websites. We also collect information about what products and services you browse or express an interest in and we track your activity on our Services and websites where our advertising is served, such as which pages and ads you view or click on.
- Device Information. We collect information about the computer or mobile device you use to access our Services. This may include the hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information.
- Location Information. We may collect or infer information about your general location when you access or use the Services, visit our warehouses, or turn on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or other geolocation functionality on your device. If you enable location services on your device, we collect more precise geolocation information. This lets us serve you the location of nearby warehouses, location-based ads, notify you of products and services available in your area, and provide location-based services or functions. You can opt-out of the collection of precise geolocation information at any time (see Your Choices below for details).
- Video and Images from Warehouse Cameras. We use cameras in and around warehouses to capture video and images. We may use these videos and images for security, fraud, loss prevention, law enforcement or incident reporting, or other operational purposes, such as analyzing traffic patterns.
- Call Recordings and Chat Transcripts. We record and store telephone calls and chat transcripts for a period of time when you interact with our customer or technical support personnel.
Information We Create or Generate
We infer new information from the information we collect, including using automated means to create or generate information about your likely preferences, interests, or other characteristics (“inferences”). For example, we may infer your city, state, and country location based on your IP address or zip code. We may also infer products or services that may interest you based on your prior purchases with us, our vendors, or other companies you engage with.
Information We Receive from Other Sources
We may collect information about you from other sources that we may combine or link with information we have about you. We may combine information that we have collected offline with information we collect online. In addition, we may collect information from:
- Primary Accountholders. When a Costco member adds additional household members to the membership account, they may provide contact information for these household members.
- Other Companies You Engage With. We receive Identification and Contact Information from companies who offer their products and services to our members. These products and services may include services under the Costco Services umbrella (such as travel, auto and home insurance, and other business and consumer products and services), some installed home improvement products and services, wireless devices and services, travel services, and order and delivery services we use to provide you products and services. These companies may share some information with us about your experience with them, such as the items or services you purchased and your contact information.
- Vendors, Product Suppliers, and Service Providers. We receive information, including identification information, contact information, demographic information and purchase information from our vendors, product suppliers, and service providers.
2. Use of Information
We use the information we collect about you to help us operate our business. In particular, we use the information we collect (as described in Section 1 above) for the following purposes:
- Product and Service Delivery. To provide our products and services, including securing, troubleshooting, improving, and personalizing those products and services, to process, fulfill, ship, and deliver your orders: All categories described in Section 1 above.
- Business Operations. To operate our business, such as: creating, maintaining, and renewing your membership; billing, accounting, improving our internal operations; securing our systems, and detecting fraudulent or illegal activity; monitoring and analyzing trends, usage and activities in connection with our Services and warehouses; and for any other business purpose permitted by law: All categories described in Section 1 above.
- Product Improvement, Development, and Research. To improve our products, develop new products or features, and conduct research: All categories described in Section 1 above.
- Personalization. To understand you and your preferences to enhance your experience and enjoyment using our products and services and personalize your online experience and the advertisements you see when you use the Services or other platforms: identification information, contact information, demographic information, payment information, purchase information, browsing and usage information, device information, location information, inferences, and data sourced from other companies.
- Customer Support. To provide customer support and respond to your questions, process exchanges, returns, deliveries, recalls, and warranties: identification information, contact information, payment information, purchase information, location information, call recording and chat data, and data sourced from other companies.
- Communications. To send you information and notices about your membership account such as updates, order confirmations, delivery and pick-up notices, security alerts, and support and administrative messages: identification information, contact information, payment information, purchase information, browsing and usage information, device information, and location information.
- Marketing. To communicate with you about new Costco and other companies’ products and services, offers, promotions, rewards, contests, upcoming events, and other information about our products and services and those of other selected companies (see Your Choices below for details about changing your preferences for promotional communications): Identification information, contact information, payment information, purchase information, location information, inferences, and data sourced from other companies.
- Advertising. To display advertising to you (see the Cookies section of this privacy statement for information about personalized advertising and your advertising choices): identification information, contact information, aggregated demographic information, payment information, purchase information, browsing and usage information, device information, location information, inferences, and data sourced from other companies.
- For any other purpose described to you at the time information is collected: All categories described in Section 1 above.
In carrying out these purposes, we combine data we collect from different sources to give you a more seamless, consistent, and personalized experience.
We do not direct the Services to individuals under the age of eighteen (18). We do not knowingly collect Personal Information from individuals under 18 except as provided to us to make travel reservations, fulfill a prescription in the pharmacy, optical department or hearing aid department or as part of our risk management inquiries.
3. Sharing of Information
- Primary Membership Accountholder. Each membership account has a primary account holder authorized to add and remove additional household members and make account management decisions. We may disclose account members’ contact information or aggregated purchase information to the primary accountholder. If you designate an administrator to manage your account, we share contact information for account members with that administrator. If your employer purchased your membership as an employee benefit, we may share your name, address and membership level with your employer.
- Other Companies You Engage With. When you request information about or purchase products or services offered by other companies as part of your Costco membership, we share information with those companies. We do this so that they may provide you with their products and services, provide customer service, resolve complaints, provide installation and warranty services, and provide recall or emergency notices.
- Other Companies that Offer Their Products and Services (Sharing for Marketing Purposes). We may share information about you with companies that offer their products and services for our and their marketing purposes. Examples of this include products and services offered under the Costco Services umbrella (such as auto and home insurance, and other business and consumer products and services), our co-branded card or product manufacturers. We may share contact information with these other companies so that we or they can notify you of product and service offerings, determine if you qualify for products or services, and evaluate new and existing products or services. If you would like to opt-out of this sharing, please review the Your Choices section below for more details).
- Vendors, Service Providers and Consultants. We share information with our vendors and service providers that help us run our business. For example, we share contact information and transaction information with companies that help us:
- process, fulfill, ship and deliver your orders;
- provide customer service and resolve complaints;
- identify, investigate and prevent fraudulent transactions;
- provide installation and warranty services;
- communicate with you, provide recall or emergency notices;
- analyze data or member activity;
- design and execute our marketing campaigns, administer our promotions, and provide advertising services;
- investigate and resolve claims;
- allow you to order products online and have them delivered.
- Citi / Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Applicants and Cardholders. If you apply for a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card from Citi, we may share contact information and the aggregate amount of your Costco purchases with Citi.
- Tobacco Rebates for Business Members. For Business Members who purchase tobacco products for resale, we provide member name, address, brand name and the amount of tobacco products purchased to the tobacco manufacturers’ representative to process retail incentives. If you are a Business Member in California and you do not want us to provide this information, you can notify us (see Your Choices).
- Our Affiliates and Entities that Belong to Costco’s Corporate Group. We share information with our corporate affiliates, subsidiaries, and other companies under common control and ownership.
- Corporate Transactions. We may disclose information about you as part of a corporate transaction. This could be a merger, acquisition, joint venture, sale of company assets, reorganization, divestiture, bankruptcy or similar type of business transaction.
- Legally Required Disclosures, Other Uses and Disclosures. We share information about you as necessary to comply with applicable law or legal process, such as requests from authorities, regulators and courts. We share information to respond to complaints or legal claims or to protect the rights, property or personal safety of the Costco companies, our shoppers, members, employees or the public. We may also share aggregated or de-identified information that cannot reasonably be linked to you.
4. Cookies and Similar Technologies
Cookies are small text files placed on your device to store data that can be recalled by a web server in the same domain that placed the cookie. The text in a cookie often consists of a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identifies your device, but it can contain other information as well.
Our web pages may also contain electronic images known as web beacons (also called pixel tags or clear gifs) that we use to count users who have visited those websites, and gather usage and performance data. We also include web beacons in our promotional email messages or newsletters to determine whether you open and act on them.
Our websites may include web beacons and cookies from our service providers, such as site analytics. In other cases, it is because our web pages contain content or ads from other companies, such as videos, news content, or ads delivered by other ad networks (see Advertising, Services Provided by Others; Interest-Based Advertising
below). Because your browser connects to web servers operated by other companies to retrieve that content, those other companies are able to set or read their own cookies on your device and may collect information about your online activities across websites or online services.
The analytics providers we use include the following:
Mobile Advertising ID Controls. iOS and Android operating systems provide options to limit tracking and/or reset the advertising IDs.
Email Web Beacons. Most email clients have settings which allow you prevent the automatic downloading of images, which will disable web beacons in the email messages you read.
5. Other Sites; Social Media and Social Sharing Features
The Services may link to or integrate with content or sites operated by other companies. These companies may offer you goods and services or provide services to Costco, such as product information, product or service reviews, or marketing or analytics services. In general, any information you provide on other companies’ sites is provided directly to that company and is subject to its privacy practices.
6. Advertising Services Provided by Others; Interest-Based Advertising
We use other companies to collect analytics information and serve advertisements on our behalf. When you visit our website or use our mobile applications, we and these companies may collect information from cookies, pixel tags, device identifiers, and other technologies about your browsing activity and use of the Services, websites, and apps (see Cookies and Similar Technologies
for more information). Costco and our vendors may use this information to deliver advertising and content targeted to your interests.
- Interest-Based Advertising. Some of these companies deliver advertising and content based on your activity across websites and over time. This is interest-based advertising.
- Opting Out. In accordance with the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, if you do not want to receive interest-based advertising, you may opt out by visiting www.aboutads.info/choices.
- Device-Based Opt Out Features. Your device may also include features that allow you to opt out of having certain information collected through apps used for interest-based advertising purposes.
- Scope of Opt-Out. If you opt out of interest-based advertising, you may still see ads that are less tailored for you as you browse the internet.
- Do Not Track. While we strive to offer you choices when you use our Services (as described below), because of a lack of standardization regarding Do Not Track signals we are not able to receive or honor “Do Not Track” signals from your web browser at this time. Instead, you can use the range of other tools to control information collection and use, including the cookie, analytics, and advertising controls described above.
7. Your Choices
We provide choices about how we collect, use and share information about you. The choices you make will not apply to your household or any affiliate members associated with your membership account. Each household member must opt out separately. If you have more than one Costco profile or email address, you must opt out for each one separately.
You can opt out of certain uses or sharing of your information by (a) visiting any Membership counter at any US or Puerto Rico Costco warehouse; (b) calling Membership Services at 1-800-774-2678; (c) using the chat feature on costco.com; (d) writing us at: Customer Service, P. O. Box 34622, Seattle, WA 98124; or (e) changing your online account settings.
- Third-Party Marketing. As described above, we may share your information with third parties for their own marketing purposes unless you have opted out of such sharing. You can opt out of this sharing by: (a) checking the opt-out box on membership applications; (b) following the opt-out instructions on renewal notices, or (c) contacting us using the methods above.
- Cookie Controls. Many web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. If you prefer, you can set your browser to delete or reject cookies. If you choose to delete or reject cookies, this could affect certain features or services of our website. See the Cookies section of this privacy statement for more details.
- Analytics. Our analytics providers may provide options to opt-out of certain information collection or use. See the Cookies section of this privacy statement for more details.
- Device Location Information. If you use our mobile applications that collect your device’s precise location to locate a warehouse, you will be asked to consent to the collection of this information. You can stop the collection of precise location information by changing the preferences on your mobile device. If you do, our mobile apps or some features may not work properly.
- Promotional Information and Emails. If you do not want to receive promotional communications from us, you can update your preferences under the “My Account” tab on the website or log into your account associated with your Costco service (for example, the Photo Center or Costco Travel). Or you can contact us using any of the methods above. You can also opt out from different types of promotional emails through the ‘unsubscribe’ link in those emails. If you opt out, we may still send you non-promotional emails.
- Mobile Push Notifications/Alerts. We may send push notifications or alerts to your mobile device. You can stop these notifications by changing the settings on your mobile device.
- SMS (Text) Messages. We will send you SMS (text) communications if you consent to receive them, including for example order and delivery status. We will also send you SMS (text) messages in case of emergency, urgent product recalls and other limited (non-marketing) instances as permitted by law. You can reply “STOP” to any SMS (text) message to cancel at any time.
- Business Members and Tobacco Purchases. If you are a Business Member in California and do not want us to disclose information about your tobacco purchases, you can let us know via any of the contact methods above.
- Updating, Reviewing or Correcting Online Information. You can update, review or correct your membership or account information by logging into “My Account” on Costco.com. You also may call us at 1-800-774-2678 and follow the prompts to “Membership”. You may also use the chat feature on Costco.com.
8. Health Care Centers and Pharmacies
Please see our Notice of Privacy Practices: Health Care Centers
for a description of how we use and protect health information that you share with us when you visit or use the products and services offered by our pharmacies, optical and hearing aid departments (“Health Care Centers”
9. Protection of Personal Information
We aim to take reasonable steps to help protect your personal information. Unfortunately, no data transmission or storage system can be guaranteed to be 100% secure and therefore we are unable to guarantee the security of your personal information. If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, please let us know (see “Contact Us”
10. California Privacy Rights
If you are a California resident, beginning January 1, 2020 you have the right to make the following requests with respect to your personal information under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA):
- Access You have the right to request that we disclose to you the personal information we have collected, used, disclosed or sold about you in the previous 12 months. You may submit an access request here.
- Deletion You can request that we delete your personal information that we collected from you to the extent required under CCPA and subject to certain exceptions. We retain personal information to service your membership, to comply with applicable laws and regulations and other permissible purposes. That means we may not be able to delete all of your personal information. You may submit a deletion request here.
- Right to Opt-Out You have the right to request to opt-out from future “sales” of your personal information. To do so, please visit our “Do Not Sell My Information” page. The law defines “sale” very broadly to include simply making data available to third parties in some cases. We let advertising and analytics companies collect IP addresses, and cookie IDs through our sites and apps when you use our Services. We also disclose personal information to the companies that provide products and services to our members for their own marketing purposes as described above (see “Sharing of Information” section above). If you do not wish for us to “sell” your personal information to other companies as defined under the CCPA, you can opt out and exercise your Do Not Sell My Information rights by (a) checking the opt-out box on membership applications; (b) following the opt-out instructions on renewal notices; (c) contact us using the methods above; or (d) make your Do Not Sell request by visiting our “Do Not Sell My Information” page.
After you submit your Do Not Sell request, we may continue to share some personal information with our suppliers (acting as our service providers) that do not constitute “sales” to help us perform advertising-related functions such as, but not limited to, measuring the effectiveness of our ads, managing how many times you may see an ad, reporting on the performance of our ads, ensuring services are working correctly and securely, providing aggregate statistics and analytics, improving when and where you may see ads, and/or reducing ad fraud. Any opt out choices you make will only apply to the specific email address that you provide when making the request.
For assistance making a California access or deletion request, please call 1-800-605-3364
We may deny certain requests, or fulfill a request only in part, based on our legal rights and obligations. For example, we may retain personal information as permitted by law, such as for tax or other record keeping purposes, to maintain an active account, and to process transactions and facilitate customer requests. We will not include employment related information in fulfilling your request.
To change your marketing preferences, sign into
your account on costco.com
or visit the membership counter at any US or Puerto Rico Costco warehouse.