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What would you do re: gear return
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David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 11:01:35 MDT Print View

I got this from a customer

"Comments: Hi, I purchased a Cat2 Tarp in Coyote brown from you but my
girlfriend wants bug protection. I have never used it, just seam sealed it with
McNeat's, new weight is 11.7 oz. Any way I can exchange it for a nano-no-seeum
pyramid and pay any difference? Thank you very much!"

I'll probably exchange it, but am curious
what y' all think.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 11:29:59 MDT Print View

These are a problem, aren't they? When I was in retail we'd have to eat the cost of most returned items unless they were defective. REI gets returns like this all the time, and they end up in their quarterly garage sales. BPL has some items like this, used or opened packages, that they are selling at some fraction of full price.

You could say "no", and the customer might or might not buy the pyramid, and would eBay the tarp or find some other way of selling (or using) the item. The customer doesn't seem to have an expectation of you taking it back, but then there was no harm in asking.

But since this is a "never used" item, however, the seam sealing could be a bonus for another customer. If it's not too hard to modify your website, you could probably even put this one on your tarp page and sell it quickly for full price to somebody who doesn't want to pay $6 for seam sealer and spent the time and effort to seal it.

It is an interesting question, since there don't seem to be any customer or general-audience repercussions to your decision, and possibly no loss to you involved either. Just one of those "how do I feel today" decisions.

Thanks for helping me avoid work this morning :)

Patrick Baker
(WildMan) - F
Re: What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 11:57:21 MDT Print View

Assuming it was purchased recently (60 days?) directly from you and the seam sealing is of professional quality (dubious) I would give 100% (or very close to it) in exchange. If any of the criteria above were not met I would make an reasonable offer. It sounds as thought he actually wants the nano pyramid with netting edges as used in the Artic1000 challenge. I assume these are not (yet) available even though it is pictured on your website.

Edited by WildMan on 06/23/2006 11:59:34 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 12:28:18 MDT Print View

I suspect the guy would be advised to exchange his girlfriend.

Just joking.

I would give him a full price store credit. A reputation for excellent customer service is way more valuable than a used tarp.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 12:31:26 MDT Print View


A few days after I purchased a Tarptent Squall and sealed the seams Henry realeased the Cloudburst. He let me exchange the unused Squall for the Cloudburst. I paid the difference between the new prices, the return shipping cost, and the cost for him to ship me the Cloudburst (I think). In cases like this, I think it would also be reasonable to charge a restocking fee of around $10.

Regarding your pyramid and alphamid shelters, have you considered catenary cuts connecting the panels?


Edited by clbowden on 06/23/2006 12:35:10 MDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Re: What would you do re: gear return on 06/23/2006 13:31:11 MDT Print View

Accepting the return and exchanging with full credit would be a generous gesture. As a customer returning unused but modified gear, I wouldn't be at all offended or bothered by paying for the associated hassle: return shipment, new product shipment, and a reasonable restocking fee.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
gear return on 06/23/2006 14:36:11 MDT Print View

Thanks for your insights.

As far as catenary cut on the pyramids, they have
had them since 1985.

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
Rational Return Policy on 06/23/2006 20:36:18 MDT Print View

IMHO, a company's return policy should be based on the economics of the situation.

For example, if an item is returned to a retail store within 30 days and in 'as new' condition, it makes economic sense to provide a full refund because the item can be resold at full value.

If the returned item can only be resold for 80% of the new value, then an 80% refund should be offered. If you offer a 100% refund, then one customer is being subsidized at the expense of everyone else; the treatment is inequitable.

In the present case, if you are confident that you can resell the item at full value then it makes sense to offer a full refund. A lot of people detest seam-sealing and hence might regard a seam-sealed tarp as a bonus. If you are uncertain about the resale value of the tarp, then one possibility is to offer to advertize the tarp on your home page. Presumably the customer would also advertize the tarp on BPL etc. In so doing, you are helping the customer to maximize the resale value, without subsidizing him at the expense of other customers.

As a final thought, it would be helpful to post an ultra-detailed, clear and unambiguous returns policy on your ordering page.