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REI limiting returns to one year
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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 13:13:44 MDT Print View

Good for them.

Perhaps this will force people to become smarter consumers and do some diligent homework prior to making a purchase. So many people who shop at REI make impulse purchases and leave with a bunch of stuff they don't really need or could have found somewhere else for less had they been patient. I agree completely with a previous posters comment about REI selling junk. Much of their gear is junk and is sold to buyers that lack any real knowledge in how to use it.

Buy right the first time and buy quality gear from companies that stand behind their product. Use what you do own and get rid of what you don't. Trim the gear fat and you'll have less stuff to return or exchange.

I don't understand why so many REI members are frequently going back and forth returning products and exchanging items. With all the available information available to the outdoor community it's perplexing how many people make regretful purchases on shoddy gear.

Tanner M
Re: Some.. on 06/04/2013 13:19:21 MDT Print View

> I know people that would buy a dog crate at Costco while visiting family in a different city, then return it before they go home.

Yes, or buy things from Wal-Mart to use for the weekend. A cooler or whatever. Or buy cameras to play with even though they never plan to build a system with that company. etc. Some people do have fantastic rationalizations...

Tanner M
Re: Yuppies on 06/04/2013 13:28:19 MDT Print View

> Whats happening is people are using REI basically to test gear.

In more ways than one. In addition to TNF, I think blogging has a small hand in this mentality.

At least at a camera site I visit, people will order equipment to 'review' so they can have content for their blog. Not many, only a few.

The bizarre thing are the threads about 'used' equipment from camera stores. Where do they think the $1400 camera goes after someone fiddles with and changes their mind. ?

Tanner M
Re: Re: interesting on 06/04/2013 13:29:32 MDT Print View

> ... people blow out the crotches of pants

Some cultures, this is a 'coming of age' event.

Jason Mahler
(jrmahler) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Disappointing on 06/04/2013 14:40:31 MDT Print View

I had already stopped purchasing from REI because a lot of what I want isn't available in their stores. One area I have continued to use is their outlet because you can get some great prices. The problem is that they put a 30 day restriction from purchase date on outlet items, which means I have very little time to return if the item just isn't a good fit ( I live far from any rei or other outfitter). This took a positive and made it a pretty big negative.

I do think the 1yr for non-outlet items is fair, bug won't pay as much of a premium in the future to get a lesser benefit.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 14:47:34 MDT Print View

Unbelievable !

I signed a one year lease and bought all new gear to match my rad paint job. Unfortunately, I found out my lease wasn't getting renewed.
Now, After 11 months, I have to move. I found a new place, but the shoes, tent, bike, clothes, and pack I bought for my last place clash with my new decor. REI will take it back. Or at least they used to. I bought it all there especially for the unlimited lifetime warranty.

I use my new bike everyday, and wore out my tires, break pads, and tubes. i returned them to REI. I can return them after 10 months of abuse because I thought they should be better. Then a month later i find out I have to move again. l had to take it all back and get a kayak because I had a trip planned and needed a kayak more than the other gear.

Too bad being wet and cold is miserable ! I returned they kayak for a set of backpacking gear and set off on the AT. After walking from Georgia to Maine, I found BPL and soon decided I don't like anything in my kit. so i head to REI and return it all.

I can't believe they are limiting the swindling to 1 year. I will never shop there again ! I only buy everything at their sky high prices because of the return policy. Lets get the pitchforks and torches,


Edited by redmonk on 06/04/2013 15:07:55 MDT.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: REI limiting returns to one year on 06/04/2013 14:58:52 MDT Print View

One of the best posts yet.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
i think they are not going far enough on 06/04/2013 15:00:22 MDT Print View

my offices are darn close to the REI flagship store and I frequent their gear garage which is where returns generally go. I am amazed at both the condition and the reasons for their returns.

There are many, many items that that were damaged during use and returned. There is a Patagonia down jacket in there right now with several large burn holes and tears covered by black duck tape. I cannot imagine a reasonable scenario where this should be covered by the retailer.

I also see many items in perfect shape returned for the flimsiest of reasons – it was itchy, didn’t realize the rack wouldn’t fit my car, no longer wanted, etc.

I will miss the great finds though, like my $20 Sol Ti in perfect shape.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
good to know on 06/04/2013 15:04:23 MDT Print View

There have been a few items I have bought in the last year that I thought I would use or would fill a niche but they did not fully and I have been waffling on returning them or not. i was going to keep them because of the warranty and just try ot use them but maybe not so much right now. Thanks for the update. I am an REI memeber but never received an email. Probably turned that feature off when they kept sending emails about their specials every three days. But yeah, Backcountry looks much better now as an option.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
It's everywhere. on 06/04/2013 15:04:38 MDT Print View

When I used to work at an Audio/Video department in Sears, people would come in and "buy" a big screen TV a couple of days before Super Bowl week-end, throw a party, and then "return it" on Monday.
In the sporting goods department, the sales guy there told me that people would buy a small boat and outboard motor, go fishing for a week-end, and then bring it back for a refund.
At Lowes, when I was buying my lawn tractor, the salesman told me that people buy these things and mow their lawn for a month, and then return them for a refund. Then they do the same thing to another store to get one for the next month.

It seems that there is no end to it.

Loki Cuthbert

Locale: Portland, OR
a year is more than enough time on 06/04/2013 18:42:20 MDT Print View

If you buy a product and it takes more than a year to find out that the product isn't working out for you than you then that sounds like a personal problem. Be more aware with how you spend your money and take the losses you get for shopping frivolously. Choose who you buy from based on the products and services you want.

As far as people taking advantage of the return policy. It's a risk that you take by having such a liberal return policy. You gain X profit from word of mouth and having such an open return policy. You loose Y profit from having people return products after one year. If X is greater than Y you keep the return policy.

This also doesn't affect the manufactures very much. REI doesn't get reimbursed by the manufactures for the returns. That's why they sell all of the returns at their garage sales and recoup a portion on their loss.

I applaud them for trying to do something about the returns being an issue, but I don't see this as being the solution to their problems. The system will still be abused. They may loose customers. If they test run this for a year or two and compare the numbers against their old sales they may find out that they made a mistake. I don't really care either way because REI rarely has something that I want to buy that I wouldn't buy online at a significant discount.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Re: a year is more than enough time on 06/04/2013 19:02:11 MDT Print View

This also doesn't affect the manufactures very much. REI doesn't get reimbursed by the manufactures for the returns. That's why they sell all of the returns at their garage sales and recoup a portion on their loss.

I would LOVE to see the programs REI is being sold at and what they request for defective allowances whether in the form of a DFI or destroy for credit. I can 100% guarantee their program requirements lean heavily on manufactures to help offset the massive(relatively speaking) amount of returns on used gear is for the industry.

Russell Peavey
Disappointing on 06/04/2013 21:28:21 MDT Print View

Their return policy was their calling card. It is sad to see the way in which it went, fraud included.

Edited by Russell on 06/04/2013 21:42:59 MDT.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Great news on 06/04/2013 22:06:05 MDT Print View

I can't wait to check out future parking lot sales as I will have less to look through and it will cut out all the beat up outdated gear.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: REI limiting returns to one year on 06/05/2013 11:31:23 MDT Print View

Seattle Times frontvoage

It was amazing to see it on the front page!

I've seen 17 year old boots in the REI Gear Garage that were returned because they didn't fit.

It won't have a large effect on the "renters" as they use stuff for a season and return it. I think those types are rare, but they exist.

Jafco was a retailer of cameras and audio gear in the 1970's. There was a guy who would go in every year on the Friday before the big Seafair hydroplane race and buy a pair of the best binocular, use them over the weekend and return them Monday. We all end up paying for that behavior.

Nordstrom is famous for good service, but if you return too much stuff, you might get a letter from their security dept asking if there is a problem. Subtle ;)

So, with the REI change in policy, it should help keep prices down and dividends up for those who don't abuse it.

My first thought was that there would be less in the gear garage, but it is full of stuff with minor defects, fit issues, new items with a scratch or missing part, all of which are well inside some sort of one year policy.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/05/2013 11:35:25 MDT.

Connor C
(athousandtimes) - F

Locale: California
Sad to see it go on 06/06/2013 10:58:27 MDT Print View

I'm sad to see it go, for I enjoyed the peace of mind that came with an unlimited return policy, despite not actually using it myself. In theory people can still "rent" gear from REI for a season, or a couple months. I guess we'll see how their new return policy shapes up on the ground. I've never shopped much from REI, but have bought a lot of stuff from backcountry, which often offers free 2-day shipping on purchases over $50. I've seen REI's return policy discussed on these forums before, but not so much backcountry.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Sad to see it go on 06/06/2013 12:42:37 MDT Print View

"In theory people can still "rent" gear from REI for a season, or a couple months."

People keep saying this throughout this thread, but I thought the following part of the guarantee would prevent much of that: REI’s guarantee doesn’t cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accidents.

So if you trash something up, or even use it so that it's obvious it was used, the return policy doesn't apply. At least that's how I read the new policy.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
REI to carry SUL gear... probably not on 06/06/2013 13:08:42 MDT Print View

The cottage industry people could not supply the volume that REI needs... certain not the volume to stock the stores...

me thinks...

And if they could, it would likely ruin the 'custom' nature of the products... mass production... you know...

Connor C
(athousandtimes) - F

Locale: California
True on 06/06/2013 13:46:08 MDT Print View

Doug, that's true, so I guess returning used up boots or trail runners won't work, but if the "renter" were to take really good care of an item like a tent, sleeping bag, shell, etc, maybe they could return it no problem...I bet store managers will be making more judgement calls on an individual basis in terms of what constitutes a legit return and what constitutes abuse.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: True on 06/06/2013 13:56:12 MDT Print View

"I bet store managers will be making more judgement calls on an individual basis in terms of what constitutes a legit return and what constitutes abuse."

Yeah, Connor, I'd bet that's right. Which generally means inconsistent enforcement throughout the 'enterprise.'