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REI currently working on new return policies
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Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
+1 on 11/15/2012 13:15:32 MST Print View

Well said Joe

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re Gen X lowlifes on 11/15/2012 17:46:47 MST Print View

Are you confessing or asking? I'm confused...

Some people are basically dishonest with the return policy. I guess somehow they justify it by imagining that REI is somehow a Haliburton or related to Bush.

And I think I am mistaken - I think it should be Gen-Y.

I wouldn't blame REI in the least for modifying the return policy - no reason for them to absorb the cost of this form of shoplifting.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: REI currently working on new return policies on 11/15/2012 18:05:19 MST Print View

Sounds like pure rumor to me. I've always assumed that REI doesn't return items to the manufacturer and gets a deal in the process--- pure speculation on my part.

My favorite gear garage sighting was a pair of 17 year old Vasque Sundowner boots, still in excellent condition, that were returned because they no longer fit. Many adults would change a shoe size in a 17 year period.

The descriptions on the return tags are a book in themselves: two sleeping bags, both the same model, one marked "not warm enough," and of course, the other marked "too warm." Goldilocks shops at REI.

I like to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger as an REI customer service clerk: "Vat? It iss too colt? You cannot climb zee mountains undt be a girlie man!" {{{SLAP}}} {{{SLAP}}}

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
If you're going to dump it on a generation on 11/15/2012 22:04:31 MST Print View

I do think Gen X, statistically, would be more appropriate than Gen Y. The sheer burdensome cost of outdoor equipment means any real lowlife ne'er-do-well will likely not buy something at REI to begin with. Plus, have you been in an REI lately? It's like an ethnically un-diverse GORP blend of childless yuppies with loads of disposable income, newly be-child'ed yuppies, and retirees.

Mind you I'm not saying the "it's Gen ____ argument" has any merit to begin with, this was simply an excuse to post on how much I tend to loathe the patronage inside REI's. ;-)

Oh and if anyone's wondering I clearly fit into the first group of childless yuppie. Though I've only returned one used item (an REI tent) because it had a rainfly that, when the vestibule was unzipped, dumped water directly onto the mesh door (Half Dome T2+).

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
taking this conversation the wrong way on 11/16/2012 00:40:35 MST Print View

I may be getting the wrong conclusions from this conversation, but you all are making me feel pretty good about returning shoes I've had for 2+ years that I simply never liked enough to wear out, even if I've worn all the new off of them.

and if a policy change is really in the works, I better hurry! ;)

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
REI on 11/16/2012 07:49:52 MST Print View

Some would say that I abuse the REI return policy, but I don't think I do. I do take advantage of it where I feel it is appropriate. I figure that I pay more to buy from REI specifically because of the easy return policy (and dividend policy). I have returned a number of pieces of gear that either just didn't work out for me despite having no flaw or that I felt failed prematurely. I do draw the line at returning things that wore out after a normal amount of usage.

They set the policy and set their prices accordingly. If they make a really big change in that policy in a way that impacts my returns and do not lower prices I will spend less there than I currently do. They are not usually the cheapest place to get any given item. If they tighten the policy in a way that does not stop the types of returns that I have made then it would not affect my loyalty, but .

Their whole relationship with their customers is based on the return policy and the dividend policy. Trimming back on either will change that relationship. My guess is that they are doing fine and will make no changes in the near future.

I suspect that there is a pretty small percentage of really blatant cases that rise to the level of abuse and that those actually wind up being worth it to REI in the form of good will. Even folks who will never return an item still are likely to buy from REI due to the fact that REI will allow them to return an item at any time for any reason.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Any confirmation? on 11/16/2012 08:26:46 MST Print View

So far all we have is one post. Is there anything concrete at this point confirming this policy change?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Rumor, rumor on 11/16/2012 11:06:11 MST Print View

All we have in this thread is one rumor from "a very good source" and we get three pages of comments! Nor have I seen this pop up on any other forums I check, even from those I know are REI employees. (Of course, generally with management issues, the employees are the last to know....)

Maybe we should all calm down until we have confirmation?

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Inter generational hate on 11/16/2012 13:50:59 MST Print View

What's with all the hate for Gen-X or Gen-Y? If you've got enough time to sit around getting all judgmental on arbitrary groupings, you probably need either:
A) a job
B) a hobby
C) more of either A or B

Now go get off your lazy rears

Josh Lee
Return policy for people new to the hobby on 11/16/2012 18:59:52 MST Print View

I have returned several things to REI and I don't think I abuse the policy.

I haven't returned any items that have seen excessive use that couldn't be resold at a garage sale.

With clothing I will always try it on first and maybe even wear it out once before removing tags so if I do return it can be resold as new.

I have also returned a couple of items that were defective that could be sent back to the manufacturer.

The main reason I started shopping at REI is I am relatively new to the hobby and I had no real way of knowing what gear would work for me until I took it out and tried it. A friend who was an employee at the time recommended them for this reason as I could start out with basics and upgrade over time. Items like backpacks and sleeping pads are the kind of thing that you really won't know what you are getting until you've had it out for a few days. If it doesn't fit or I don't like it I will return it, in as good a condition as I can so it can be resold. Also I bought some lower quality gear that I upgraded over time by returning and purchasing something better.

I also do my best to buy a replacement product at REI which means I usually end up spending more at the store than I did on the return and I usually ask for store credit rather than cash back.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: REI currently working on new return policies on 11/16/2012 19:34:26 MST Print View

I proposed to my first wife at REI way back in 1980. I returned her four years later, and really appreciated REI's return policy.

If they change their policy, I'm not proposing to any more women at REI.

Bummer. Gotta find a new proposal store.....

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: REI currently working on new return policies on 11/16/2012 19:41:21 MST Print View

If you buy an article of clothing and never use it other than wear once, will they resell it as new? Or do they have to resell all returns as used?

I have returned clothing to REI that I bought and changed my mind on. It would make me feel better about that if they could get all their money back.

Jerry Cowan
(krazyone44) - F

Locale: Pac NW
REI would still have my business on 11/17/2012 09:21:41 MST Print View

So long as the return policy is at least 90 days I will continue to shop at REI. Over my 10 years of shopping there I have only returned one item past the 90 day mark and that was because I just didn't make it back to the store within that time frame.
If after 90 days something isn't working for me or I have found a better product I just sell it to a friend or Craigslist it.
The benefit of REI is I can avoid most returns because I am able to physically get my hands on the gear before purchase.
Hopefully a change in the return policy could allow them to expand the products they offer.

Brian Abram

Locale: The South
A bit of a drift, but... on 11/18/2012 16:30:45 MST Print View

Backcountry's return policy specifically states, "if at any time - now, next month, in 30 years, you're not 100% satisfied, send your gear back for a full refund. No questions asked."

Under what sort of scenario could someone imagine that a 30 year old return would not be abusive? The fact is, Backcountry and REI celebrate their return policies, and they use those policies to gain sales, knowing that the few who abuse the system will be overshadowed by many more of those who buy partly due to the policy with no intention of actually exploiting it. These companies are taking advantage of folks who buy from them due to the policy but then are too principled to use it to their own advantage.

It could be argued that anyone who buys something under the influence of a policy like that who then fails to take full advantage of it is a sucker.

Disclaimer: no REIs near me, but I have ordered lots from BC. The return policy at BC does affect my choice.

Edited by boglins on 11/18/2012 16:32:44 MST.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: REI currently working on new return policies on 11/18/2012 16:34:41 MST Print View

Alex, I saw that kind of stuff, too. There's always someone who has to abuse the system, no matter what the system is, and ruin things for everyone else.

I can't say I blame REI.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Makes sense... on 11/18/2012 18:13:06 MST Print View

I am not sure why I get this impression that so many people feel like its cool to return lightly used gear or gear that you just didn't use, but many years later... I think that when you buy something, you own it and that the company has no responsibility to let you return it for just any reason. Especially if you've used it! Now let's say you use shoes and they were the wrong size - that's only their fault if they sized you wrong or the shoe company's fault if the shoe causes you serious blisters. If you wear a wind breaker twice and decide you just don't want it anymore, why should you be able to return it? Did it fail? Did it not do what it said it would do? I think that a return policy that allows someone to return gear that is just not performing because its badly made, or gear that fails during normal use, like tearing or seams failing, etc makes a lot of sense. A return policy that allows you to return anything for any reason is just going to cost the company a lot more. They are merchants. You are buyers. You vote with your spending dollars. If a product sucks you go to the company that made it and tell them, and work something out. Don't expect the merchant, who has a store, overhead fees, and makes money selling you gear on behalf of all the great manufacturers to just take it back. That should be on the people who made it. Now if they sell you a boot that is "waterproof" and it leaks because it was poorly made, by all means they should let you return the boots. If you buy a headlamp that doesn't work as advertised, great. But you didn't like the way it looked or changed your mind later about something? Why is that on REI? Anyway I've had to return a few items due to bad manufacturing, but I would never return the shoes I bought that I didn't wear often because I chose shoes that were not for the right activity - I could have asked more questions or learned that before buying them. Anyone else agree with me on this?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Makes sense... on 11/18/2012 18:34:20 MST Print View

+1 Adam.
Sadly common sense and a sense of ethics are lacking in many people.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: REI currently working on new return policies on 11/18/2012 20:24:10 MST Print View

I don't get it. If people think REI policy is immoral and abusive it's easy to shop elsewhere. Preferably someplace where consumer service is a stern old conservative who's only answer to any consumer complaint is to get the hell out before he calls the cops. Leave REI their consumer niche and find your own.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
because on 11/18/2012 21:11:35 MST Print View

there are tons of people on the intrawebs who like telling other people what to do ;)

if REI thinks its "abusive" ... then they can ban that particular person or stop their return policy ... till then ...

i guess im gonna "abuse" MECs return policy again ... bought a pair of approach shoes a month ago and the rubber is already delaminating and the heel tab is falling apart ...

mmmmmmm =P

Will Govus
(willgovus) - F
REI on 11/19/2012 07:22:54 MST Print View

After every garage sale at the three REIs in my region I pull out massive amounts of expensive items out of their dumpsters. Often the stuff is useable (I've gotten virtually unused trail runners, jackets, bike racks, trainers, steripens, even cargo boxes) and even re-sellable.

Most of the time they cut up time massive amounts of sleeping bags (everything from cheap synthetics to marmot helium's), backpacks (gregory, osprey, etc), footwear, and sleeping pads before they throw them away. I am not exaggerating here. Last weekend I filled up my trunk and all seats of my car with all kinds of stuff...

This is done quite obviously to uphold the "integrity" of the brands instead of donating these to items people that could use them. What comes to mind immediately is that they could donate these to homeless shelters or even boyscouts. This is the reason why I despise REI. If they plan of having such a lax return policy, they should have a less disgusting way of dealing with the excess it produces.