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REI Changes Return Policy To One Year Time Limit
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Maris L
REI exchange on 02/13/2014 11:20:26 MST Print View

I received two defective items within months a couple of years ago. One was a Marmot tent that had hundreds of little holes in the bug netting throughout the whole tent. Besides that detail it did not look used. The other was a North Face backpack that had almost all of its straps and buckles sewn on backwards. Functionally it still worked (with some annoyance), but it was supposed to be a gift and I wasn't comfortable gifting it that way. Both were ordered online so I wasn't able to check them out beforehand.

I wasn't in the country at the moment so I wasn't able to look at them and exchange them for a while. I didn't wait even close to a year, though. Returning them in the store wasn't difficult, but it also left a bad taste in my mouth because I could tell the cashiers weren't pleased about the returns. Both were unused. For the backpack, the manager said she "didn't really want to give me a refund" but offered me store credit. What, she just didn't "feel like it"? I didn't want to argue and just took it.

I haven't returned anything else. I think the current policy is more than fair. I don't understand how some really nastily used items are still showing up at the stores, though. I haven't noticed a functional change in the returns they accept and put out for a marked down price.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: REI exchange on 02/13/2014 11:40:30 MST Print View

You are one tolerant customer.

Maybe pick up a bit of "attitude" for that particular store. Because that Isn't the norm for REI. If you had sent your post to Seattle I think the fecal dispersion system would have been set in motion, and you would have had a new tent and pack. Period.

I'm sure an occasional employee has a bad day. But a Manager? Remind me not to shop in Chicago.

Maris L
Re: Re: REI exchange on 02/13/2014 13:05:31 MST Print View

I wouldn't say it's the norm for this Chicago store, either. I definitely don't want to tinge the location's rep with a rude experience. The employees are generally excellent, friendly and helpful, and politely don't bug you when you'd rather be left to look around on your own. I get the feeling that the front counter has been frustrated with returns more the past few years, so I just avoid this one cashier. Otherwise, no complaints since then. Seems they've cycled in more incredibly positive and helpful employees, too.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: REI exchange on 02/13/2014 16:31:05 MST Print View

"Otherwise, no complaints since then. Seems they've cycled in more incredibly positive and helpful employees, too."

I've been dealing with the REI Flagship Store up here in Seattle for nearly 29 year, and know a couple of HQ employees. REI is currently locked in an existential struggle with Internet retailers, especially Amazon, and knows it can ill afford to alienate any customer. Based on that reality and your comment above, I'd say you weren't the only customer to receive substandard treatment, that one or more of them did write to HQ, and that the fecal dispersion system was activated, exactly as Greg said, in a very tightly focused pattern. Hence the newly hired incredibly positive, helpful employees. If I were in Chicago, just out of curiosity I'd check the local Starbucks to see if the former manager was pulling shots. ;0)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: REI exchange on 02/13/2014 16:41:08 MST Print View

"If I were in Chicago, just out of curiosity I'd check the local Starbucks to see if the former manager was pulling shots."

I wouldn't be surprised if that former manager was now seeking a position as an assistant bagger at the grocery store.


Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
incredible on 02/14/2014 07:51:39 MST Print View

Maybe it's because I'm on the other side, but as a sales rep, it's amazing to see how people abuse return policies and therefore ultimately affect the manufacturers pricing because they have to offset the losses.

I can't understand how someone can return hundreds of dollar in gear and expect to get their money back after using the products for over a year. Absolutely ridiculous. That would be very similar to me arguing with an employee that his effort wasn't as I expected and therefore am taking back his entire year salary.

Edited by paintplongo on 02/14/2014 08:04:00 MST.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: REI Changes Return Policy To One Year Time Limit on 02/14/2014 09:53:31 MST Print View

I had an email exchange with REI's customer service recently about their return policy. I bought a pair of winter boots toward the end of the season last year and never really wore them (no snow last winter.) I've had opportunities to wear them this winter, and they're pretty well broken in now but are still killing my feet. I realized recently that my year was up, so I contacted REI.

REI's rep told me that anything purchased before the policy change is still covered by their "forever" guarantee. My boots fall into this category.

I think, though, that this experience with my boots shows that it can sometimes take a year to test a product. A lot of us take advantage of end-of-season sales for big-ticket seasonal gear. Last year's warm winter meant a lot of gear didn't really get used. My X-country ski boots were almost brand new this winter even though I've had them for nearly 2 years.

That said, my biggest beef is with their new 30-day policy for the Outlet. If I need gear for a trip, I'm usually shopping a few months out, rarely within 30 days. With the exception of some clothes and everyday items, the new policy makes the Outlet almost worthless for me, which is too bad. I used to get a lot of things there.

Hammock Hanger
(Travelpro) - F
New Policy= on 02/15/2014 14:58:26 MST Print View

I've been an REI member for Many years. I love REI. I spend a lot of money at REI every year and the generous return policy means I often opt to buy at REI online instead of other online retailers. Peace of mind means I often take a chance and buy something fromREI that I may not be 100% sure of. I rarely return these.

But the new 30 day return policy at the Outlet may change that. I buy most of my gear more than a month in advance of a trip, and I buy a LOT of stuff from Outlet as gifts, usually several months in advance. With a 30 day return policy I will be much more reluctant to buy from Outlet, especially pricey items.

All in all this new policy translates to discouraging me from buying from REI as I have up to now. I really hate the idea of being stuck with a defective item or something that just doesn't work as advertised.

Still love REI. But I hate this new policy. REI mgmt would do better to just cancel the memberships of the tiny minority of offenders.

The new policy pushes longtime loyal customers like me into doing EXACTLY what REI is trying to PREVENT-- customers chasing the cheapest price available anywhere online...which is not REI's chosen strength.
BTW, I go to a lot of REI attic sales. 99% of merchandise looks either compltely unused or used for a night or two. I just don't see the 17 year old threadbare boots somebody posted about.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Re: Re: REI exchange on 02/15/2014 15:06:42 MST Print View

" If I were in Chicago, just out of curiosity I'd check the local Starbucks to see if the former manager was pulling shots. ;0)"

Mrs. pitsy is a Barista at Starbucks. It's not as easy as it looks. Choose another profession as the object of your derision, please.

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
Re: Re: Gotta love REI on 02/17/2014 15:22:50 MST Print View

I just returned a digital watch I had purchased about six months ago when it turned defective. Absolutely no problems. And the nice lady at the register had a very engaging smile.

This,BTW, was my first return ever in several decades doing business with REI. I am a fan...