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REI limiting returns to one year
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Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 07:35:38 MDT Print View

Maybe unconditional returns for a year, and after that it takes a reason ?

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Defective Product on 06/04/2013 07:39:48 MDT Print View

So will REI still warenty defective product?

One of the reasons I purchase from REI are new products that may fail like the neo air. If you buy it from REI you didn't have to deal with the manufacturers. It was much easier to take in a delaminating jacket to REI than to send it to Marmot and was worth paying an extra 10% to do so.

So I fully support the policy of limiting unconditional returns to 1 year but I hope gear failure type issues are covered longer otherwise I will limit my shopping there.

I think a better way to handle it would to be just ban abusers from shopping there. I have heard 2nd hand that MEC does this. If the dollar value of your returns is above a certain amount or you have a high number of returns that abuse the system they will ask you not to shop there anymore because you aren't following the rules of the co-op. The difference being that you need to be a member to buy from MEC so if they just cancel your membership you can't buy anymore.

Matt Allen
(zeroforhire) - MLife
interesting on 06/04/2013 08:11:24 MDT Print View

Yet another reason to shop at

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: interesting on 06/04/2013 08:59:08 MDT Print View

They could have just put in a stipulation that all returned gear must be cleaned before accepted by customer service. I'm sure that would have cut down the amount of used shoe returns in half alone.

Their policy was naturally open to abuse but I also found that most of the returns were shoes for various sports. It almost makes you think the shoe industry is partly to blame. With shoe prices ever increasing, durability decreasing and no standardization on...well does make shoe buying about as hopeful as playing the lottery.

After shoes you have clothing, most of which was returned because people blow out the crotches of pants (active but overweight people squeezing into a size smaller than they should?).

Then you see big 3 items like tents, sleep gear, and backpacks. I think this is where the costs from abusing the return policy hit the company hardest since these are bigger and less frequent purchases with smaller profit margins (from a lay person's perspective).

After that it's the junk gear that REI would be well served to stop carrying because it has little to no purpose and that is usually cheap imported plastic gimmicks that break first time they leave town.

Michael Ray
Re: Re: interesting on 06/04/2013 10:02:01 MDT Print View

well, glad I didn't wait longer than 12 years to return my unused pack. :)

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: interesting on 06/04/2013 10:16:20 MDT Print View

Yes this is interesting, yesterday I returned a Firesteel mini that I had used maybe 2 times but was purchased 3 years ago. On the second use, while demonstrating how to use it during a training class the steel fell out on the first strike. Obviously this was a manufacturing defect and though 3 years old it was still brand new.
I did take it in and returned it for a replacement.
They exchanged it with out any issues.

To me this is the kind of thing that should be covered and is/was under the old policy. Now a pair of shoes that looks like a train had ran over them after they were drug behind a car on a dirt road for 100 miles, isn't in the spirit of the policy.

It will be interesting to see how this is implemented.

It will also make me think twice when I want to purchase something- drive 2 miles to the local REI or chance the possibility of the return postage to because they have a better return policy.

Edited by bestbuilder on 06/04/2013 10:18:34 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Don't blame them a bit. on 06/04/2013 10:19:50 MDT Print View

Having watched people use REI to "borrow" gear (buy, use for the period you need it, return for a full refund) and/or return gear that is obviously worn out through regular wear and tear over a long period of time, I have long thought REI's policy was abused. Those people pretty much ruined it for everyone, but that happens in all walks of life.

Fitz Travels
Re: interesting on 06/04/2013 10:24:56 MDT Print View

Whats wierd is that does not take returns or exchanges in person at its store. They make you mail it in, even if you live in SLC. By the way, what a bunch of snobby trust fund kids that work there, but i digress.

Dave Stoller
"REI limiting returns to one year" on 06/04/2013 10:34:20 MDT Print View

"Maybe unconditional returns for a year, and after that it takes a reason ?"

I think this is the idea right here. And "reason" needs to be defect-related.

I think it also ought to be exchange-only after a year unless the item is accompanied by a receipt and in straight up new condition. That would at least keep the money in the building.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: "REI limiting returns to one year" on 06/04/2013 10:47:04 MDT Print View

IMO the problem with adding a reason for the return after the 1-yr is that now you've got REI store managers deciding whether or not something should be returned. This is going to be trouble because everyone's opinion is different & obviously the customer thinks it should be returned. So every time a return is denied you've got a pissed off customer. Easier to manage a customers expectations to have a flat one size fits all policy.

This change will not affect how much I shop there. (which is very little anyway)


Edited by ViolentGreen on 06/04/2013 10:48:07 MDT.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
alas on 06/04/2013 10:49:26 MDT Print View

I have a colleague at work who has two sons - both scouts. He buys them nice rain gear - a reasonable choice - except as they outgrow it he returns them to REI and gets a new, larger set. I'm sensitive to cost - understand with growing boys and Scouts gear can be a challenge but it always irks me that he does this... and I know he is not even close to being the worst offender.

On the other side of the equation I bought a Garmin watch for my wife online and it stopped working after 2 years... Garmin would repair it, for a relatively high fee. I was irked that a top of the line item stopped working after a relatively short period of time with no abuse. Wish I'd gotten it at REI - I would have been able to return it and just gotten another Garmin. I got the replacement at REI however ... almost exclusively due to the return policy.

For me it is the benefit of not having to go through the manufacturer which can be a hassle and worth paying a bit more for the option. That defective Garmin was dicey from an early stage too but by that point I had no option about getting something different.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: alas on 06/04/2013 11:20:43 MDT Print View

Phillip, maybe you should remind your fried about the scout law- A scout is honest and trustworthy.
Some how I don't think his clothing exchange is honest or trustworthy

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
return policies on 06/04/2013 11:40:53 MDT Print View

I hardly ever shop at REI because there are no storefronts in my area and I shy away from buying my gear online--mostly because I have a great locally owned gear shop that suits my needs for everything except "Big 3" type items.

My local gear shop has a no-questions returns policy on new-in-package items, no time limit. For anything that's been used, they'll charge a restocking fee or suggest you consign it in their huge used-gear department. I think it's a very fair system, as the original purchaser recoups some of the original cost, minus the value of whatever use they got out of the product (rather than expecting a full refund on something that is no longer worth its MSRP). From my perspective, consigning saves me the hassle of maintaining an eBay/GearTrade account and shipping things all over the place when I want to upgrade my gear!

Likewise, the local bike and ski shops here do annual swaps where folks can bring their stuff, set a price, and find new homes for used bikes, skis, etc. It's a great resource for young folks, families with kids, or anyone else who wants to get into a sport but doesn't have the cash to buy shiny new equipment. It's similar in concept to the REI Garage Sale, only none of us go into it expecting a full refund on used items. I wonder if restricting their returns policy will reduce the volume of stuff for sale at the Garage Sales...

Plus, shopping local and trying things in person reduces the likelihood that you'll need to return items in the first place!

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
New REI Return Policy on 06/04/2013 12:30:58 MDT Print View

I just received an email from REI outlining their new return policy. I have no major issues with it. For most items, I'd expect to figure out if I'm satisfied with them well within the first year of purchase.

Just as a point of clarification, the email I received stated that products subject to manufacturing defects would not be limited to the new 1-year deadline.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 12:43:32 MDT Print View

"Just as a point of clarification, the email I received stated that products subject to manufacturing defects would not be limited to the new 1-year deadline."

Yeah that is good news.

They also added the following language:
"REI’s guarantee doesn’t cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accidents."

All in all it is still a pretty good policy, but personally I think the prices should come down a bit with the reduced warranty. I doubt they will and I will probably shop price on my purchases a bit more than I have in the past. I imagine they will lose some business as a result, I am pretty sure they will lose a percentage of mine, but it remains to be seen how much.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 12:50:53 MDT Print View

I have a pack and my wife has a sleeping bag that we only have used once each but not too happy with them, we were going to bring them back but decided to hold on to for another while to try them, now that things are changing I will deifniley bring them back and get use the cash for a new canoe.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 12:53:46 MDT Print View

New policy is now posted

And the email to all members went out today. I am assuming most folks here received it as well.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Disclaimer on 06/04/2013 12:54:36 MDT Print View

The other thing most people should realize that this is the official statement regarding exchange policies. Typically manufacturers/retailers post something in the event of abuse, but regularly will go beyond the posted claim/guarantee if the situation honestly warrants it.

Ian Kyle
(Ieo) - F
I think it's a bad move... on 06/04/2013 12:59:40 MDT Print View

I spend MORE at REI than I would elsewhere because I know I don't have to worry. It's a shame they have decided they can't continue this unconditional policy, as I no longer have a reason to make big purchases there when I can get the same items cheaper elsewhere. I bought my boots at REI for $130, even though they were $100 on Amazon because I know if they fail before they should I get taken care of.

In my opinion, REI is setting themselves up to be the next Best Buy - Just a fitting room for cheaper online retailers.

Fitz Travels
Yuppies on 06/04/2013 13:12:48 MDT Print View

Thank the yuppie North Face crowd for this. Im poor as hell and always restrained myself from using something and then returning it unless it was defective. Whats happening is people are using REI basically to test gear. People basically admit it in here indirectly. Have you all read any of the product reviews on REI website? Most negative ones are ridiculous, people expecting a product to do something it was never intneded to do, misusing the product and complaining about results, or people expected the products to cook their morning tea and give them massages, not to mention people who bought something a year ago and only used it 2 times and think they are entitled to get their money back. Come on.

Damn greedy yuppies.

Edited by fitztravels on 06/04/2013 13:14:06 MDT.