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REI limiting returns to one year
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Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
great news on 06/07/2013 19:14:20 MDT Print View

This is great news for cottage industry people, now people aren't going to keep comparing their return policies to the money losing one of rei, with multi billion in sales.

I lost all sympathy when I read about the guy who did a long hike on rei gear then returned it all when he got back, that's just stealing as far as I'm concerned.

I can't find anything I need at rei beyond thermarest stuff, and maybe darn tough socks, anyway so it makes no difference to me. Not a hint of big dig ti trowels, not a single ul alcohol stove, no evernew pots, no tarptents, no mld tents, no zpacks stuff, no reasonably priced shoes, no feathered friends, no western mountaineering, no enlightenment equipment quilts, not a single lawson product, no evarest pads, no polycryo ground sheets, not a trace of any backpack I'd actually buy or want. They do have the rubber tips for bd trekking poles, that's true. Hats off to the cottage guys, they have almost covered the bases, nice work. Rei used to meet all my needs a long time ago, now it meets almost none of them, times change. But then again, Northface used to be a cottage industry, as was Sierra Designs, and I believe Lowe Alpine, and those products were there. Now it's all the corporate trash that's great for new backpackers, perfect in fact, that's a good market too for rei.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: great news on 06/07/2013 20:56:38 MDT Print View

Anytime I have gone in to REI lately my wife has dropped cash on lifestyle gear and I ended up getting a gas cartiage or some tent pegs.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: great news on 06/07/2013 21:42:54 MDT Print View

Last summer my brother's pack did not fit right, it kept slipping, torso length wasn't right,...

He took it to REI and they spent 20 minutes fixing it up for him and didn't charge him

It's probably a 40 year old pack, external frame, probably not bought at REI

There are many good things about REI

oliver hulland
Thoughts on the return policy on 06/08/2013 09:55:32 MDT Print View

I recently returned a pair of REI/Leiki Ultralight carbon poles that failed to lock. They were probably four years old, but had only seen a few weeks of use at most. The poles wouldn't lock anymore because a piece of plastic internally had sheared, and I was going on a week-long hike the next day or I would have tried repairing them myself. I really wanted them repaired, but Leiki told me to go to REI. And when REI wouldn't repair them, they opted to give me original purchase value (which I was fine with, but would have preferred the poles). I ended up using the refund to buy a similar pair of poles, but this time were only made by REI.

I imagine to some folks four year old poles would probably fall outside the realm of the intent of the return policy, but given that I only used them sparingly I didn't feel that I was "abusing" the system. I will admit that when I was in college, and much more spendthrift, I did end up returning stuff I probably shouldn't have (two year old pants with busted zippers), but in being so generous they made me a customer for life.

I'm hoping that this new return policy has some sort of clause wherein they'll still try and help people get stuff repaired after 365 days are up.

Also, does anybody know whether REI branded gear carries a different warranty/return policy than other things carried in store?

Jacob Linton

Locale: Western NC
well... on 06/08/2013 10:37:47 MDT Print View

I just got back from the Garage Sale and I found the majority of the excuses on the return tags to be pretty ridiculous.
I like REI.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: great news on 06/09/2013 10:31:54 MDT Print View

This is great news for cottage industry people, now people aren't going to keep comparing their return policies to the money losing one of rei, with multi billion in sales.

nonsense ... backcountry, MEC, EB, OR, Lands End, LL bean, etc ...

great to see the day when BPLers want LESS service so that cottage makers can "compete"

as to REI ... theres plenty of other places to buy from ... like backcountry ... which has better sales ...


Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
no sense on 06/09/2013 12:13:40 MDT Print View

eric, usually you make decent sense, so I assume you didn't think this through. You can't compete with a huge corporation that can eat the amount of returns that rei can, particularly when a certain sense of entitlement to return no matter what has been created by that policy. The article noted that REI made I think 27 million profit on 1.7 or so billion in sales. Ie, this is not a high margin business. Cottage works because there is no middle man, in most cases. I am not talking about the few 'cottage' guys that outsource their production since that's not 'cottage'. I can't count how many times I've seen people compare the return policy of rei to some other company and cite it as the reason they did not buy from the other company.

What is good is that now people will gradually start to lose the idea that you can rent for free, buy, never use, then return, etc, that's a mindset that I'm happy to finally see get corrected by a policy change. It's obvious this mindset has grown too prevalent or REI would not have changed this long standing policy. You also can't offer lifetime warranties on light or ultralight gear, it's not the same as a 6.5 pound lowe alpine backpack that is made out of 1000d or 500d cordura, or a 70d tent, so as gear gets lighter, it's also easy to understand why you can't offer lifetime return policies on it.

Cottage guys compete because their products are more interesting, better made, or so ultralight that you simply cannot compete with them on a mass market level, not because they can churn out the same outsourced garbage as every other big corporation that used to be a good small company before they were absorbed by some no name outdoor gear holding company.

It's taken me a while to get what Ray Jardine was talking about when he wrote about freeing yourself from these mega outdoor corporations as part of the point of going light, but after reading these forums for a while it finally started to register what he was trying to say.

I'm always happy to give real cottage guys my money, and am glad they are here, I like them precisely because they are real people who run small businesses in an honest way, with reasonable margins, but little room for extras in that model, and I'm particularly glad I can get almost everything I need from them. I'm also glad to see REI drop their endless return policy, I have some very old gear I've debated returning, but of course did not do it because it has served me well over the years so pretending there was some reason to return it makes no sense. Good for REI. You can still buy to try with this policy I believe as long as you can lie convincingly enough when returning, but they've closed that loophole too.

I'm hard pressed to think of any other business were people expect to be able to rent for free, try as long as they want to use the thing then return it, where does this sense of entitlement and corresponding lack of responsibility come from? Is it a yuppie thing? I don't get it. You can't do that with a car, a toaster, a house, clothing, beds, toys, stereos, high tech stuff, or any other consumer gadgets I can think of. This particularly the case with outdoor gear geeks like we are here, research, etc, should have already done most of the job.

I like REI by the way, I went in to buy some trekking poles on sale there, and the guy working told me to not buy the rei branded ones because they had undesirable vibration damping, which was cool. They aren't very good when it comes to light/ul thinking in general, but that's ok, that's not their market anyway. I got the trekking poles he recommended I get online for a lot less on sale.

A year return policy is really good on this type of gear, very fair, and the extension of that year for true failures of gear like seam rips etc is also excellent, so all I see is REI targeting some freeloaders and spoiled kids as neatly as they could while still offering very good support to people who don't do that and don't expect it as a right. I definitely miss the pre-'lifestyle corporate gear' rei though, the one with wood boxes of real gear sold really cheap but of good quality. Happily however, we can type in whatever we want and express whatever outrage we want, rei has already set its new policy, which is basically just slapping the hands of kids as far as I'm concerned while respecting the needs of adults.

Actual gear failures are still covered for more than a year I believe, like a trekking pole inner that cracks or whatever, or a tent seam failure, so in terms of awesome protection, you still get it from REI, better than anyone else offers as far as I know. Again, good for REI.

Edited by hhope on 06/09/2013 12:22:24 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: no sense on 06/09/2013 14:57:44 MDT Print View

it makes perfect sense

theres no reason to downgrade the service or expect it to be downgraded because of "cottage" or other small manufacturers

this is a free society, and a capitalistic market

if companies want to offer "infinite guarantees" thats their choice, and if they dont thats their choice ... people vote with their feet and wallets

companies such as EB, OR, LL BEan, Lands end, backcountry and MEC still over such guarantees ... and are proud of the fact ... they know very well that there are people who push the limits of the system and figure it as the cost of doing business

if you dont want to shop at somewhere with such guarantees its your choice ... but its very BPL to say that they should get rid of them because of cottage manufacturers

small manufacturers are not a "charity" ... they compete on their own merits


Walter S Phillips

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: interesting on 06/12/2013 14:18:04 MDT Print View

Hey fitztravels,

I work for and wanted to reach out and apologize for any bad experiences that you had with us. It's not cool if one of our people has an off-putting attitude as all we want to do is stoke people out on what gets us stoked (being outdoors and having fun) and give people the best experience possible. I want to help as best I can so shoot me a PM and let me know the situation.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
REI on 06/12/2013 14:42:40 MDT Print View

I find lots of stuff I like at REI... No cottage guys sell GPS's, patagonia gear for 25%off, Backpacking cloths, regular cloths, shoes, all my arctyrex (like 2 grand worth of stuff so far). and there is definately NOTHING wrong with their back pack selection.

Just because it comes from a cottage gear maker does not mean its better... for instance I have never recieved a tent from REI with loose stitching and unfinished end threads but I know some cottage gear makers that have(boom that can just popped back open)

I like cottage gear guys too, but they definately do not have ALL the bases covered atleast not all the ones REI does.

All in all I think having to change policy sucks but I really think something needed to change...

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: too on 08/11/2013 15:58:55 MDT Print View

Anyone notice that has changed theirs too? I tried to search in the forums, but nothing came up.

Here's the new policy from their website:

Not stoked on your gear? Looking to return it or make an exchange? No problem. If your new and unused gear just doesn’t fit your needs, we will issue you a full refund. If your gear fails, at anytime, we will also issue you a full credit. No questions asked.

• You can return your new purchase at anytime after purchase

o Products must be in the condition you received them in and the original box and/or packaging

• We do accept used gear – as long as it is received within 90 days of purchase date – and we will issue a credit for full purchase price