I plan far ahead. I buy winter gear when it goes on sale in the summer. I don't have a chance to use it in the field till 6 months later. So 12 months return policy would be ideal for me, and it encourages me to buy on sale, instead of the week before a trip.
I have not returned any gear so far, because I heavily research the equipment and read the customer reviews.
There are two pieces of ancient gear that I contacted REI support for repairs that I would gladly pay, but instead they offered me to return them. I held on to the items anyways, and tried to repair myself.
REI Roadster Tent: the transparent rainfly window peeled off from the main rainfly. I bought it in 2006, on clearance for $50. For that price,I'd rather hold on to it and repair it rather than return/sell it back to REI.
2004, Garmin eTrex vista GPS, no color, no USB, no memory card, old style serial port, drains battery, and loses signal if there's a cloud or bird in the sky. It takes 20 mins on a clear sunny day to triangulate position. I've used this thing for ever in my early bp days! Some of the system maps are out of date also. After talking with REI support, they wanted me to return it back. I held on to it just the same. Read plenty of negative reviews on the new product releases, that I may be better off with the old ancient device.
REI's policy and customer service is top notch.