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Return dilemma
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William Cirino
Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:24:18 MST Print View

I have an REI bivi that is about 20 years old. Its Gortex with a PU coated bottom.
I used it about 8 times total in the last 20 years but haven’t used it in maybe 5 five years. It looks (at first glance) in like new condition. I was sorting threw some gear for an upcoming series of trips and thought on one of them i would use my bivi. Its been stored loosely folded for about 5 years and when unfolded it it smelled a little of degrading PU coating, not real strong but definitely there. On inspection i noticed ALL the seam taping had peeled away from the PU coating but not the (gortex) effectively rendering the bivi useless.

So I’m in a bit of a quandary. I have only ever returned a few things to REI in the last 25 years and all of those things for very good reasons. On average i spend between $1-1,500 there a year but in all honesty i only shop there when i can’t find what i need from a smaller local shop.

So, I’m miffed that the bivi’s seam taping has failed, somewhat dramatically i might say. And that the PU coating is starting to go even though i stored it is a dry place folded. Its had very little use and now is dead. But…its 20 years old and things don’t last forever.

So, am i asking too much or do i have a valid case for a return?


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:27:35 MST Print View

"So, am i asking too much or do i have a valid case for a return?"

Read REI's return policy. You can follow it to a "T"

If you are asking because it might be an ethical or moral dilemma, then only you can answer the question.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:31:36 MST Print View

20 years? Seems like one of those cases of unreasonable return

But, if it's consistent with their rules, I suppose it's okay

It would be interesting to see what they say with their new 1 year return policy

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:33:46 MST Print View

Nylon PU coated stuff isn't supposed to last that long, even if it's well made. The only materials that will last that long are canvas and wool.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:52:39 MST Print View

Please do not return it.

You will become one of those stories we see here all the time about how something was returned 20 years later (for whatever reason).

Then again, given the new garage sale pricing model that my local REI is using, they will put it in the garage sale for 20% off the current list price and expect someone to buy it and be offended if someone comments about the high price, given the condition and age. I guess they are just trying to recoup the loss on your bivy and other returns like it.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/13/2014 17:53:11 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 17:57:45 MST Print View

I'm not sure if having the nerve to return a 20 year old bivy should be praised or condemned.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 18:11:18 MST Print View

Make some winter gaiters out of the fabric.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 18:25:22 MST Print View

I bought a steak at Safeway 5 weeks ago and kept it in the refrigerator. I took it out for dinner yesterday and it was all green and fuzzy. Should I return it for a refund?

That might sound sarcastic and I DON'T mean it that way. Kudos to you for asking. Here's another example:

I bought a bag of flour at Safeway 5 weeks ago and put it in the panty. I was about to make pancakes this morning and it had a rancid smell to it. Should I return it for a refund?

You expect flour to last many months. If it doesn't last like all the other flour you've ever bought, you are right to wonder why and to ask for a refund. Maybe they didn't rotate their stock and it was a year old when you got. Maybe there was a manufacturing or blending issue and it wasn't any good the day you bought it.

But a reasonable person doesn't expect raw meat to last for a month. That said, a clueless person (a vegetarian?), through lack of experience, might be surprised.

I know things about the aging of fabrics in 2014 that I didn't know in 1976. Because I've now owned and used cotton, nylon, polypro, polyester, leather, and their various coatings for many decades. I'm still using uncoated nylon gear from 35 years ago (Yeah!, Patagonia Baggie shorts!) But all my urethane-coated nylon fabrics from 20, 25, 30, or 35 years ago is delaminating. So I've learned that there is a lifetime to that material. In a few cases, I recoat it myself. Other times I repurpose to a non-waterproof use. Or I toss it or use it as un-coated fabric for MYOG projects.

Yes, you're probably within your rights to return it, by the letter of their policy at the time you purchased it.

I don't see it as REI's fault that they couldn't predict the lifespan of fabrics that had only existed for 5-10 years at the time.

I wouldn't return it myself.

If we want manufacturers to use the most modern fabrics when they've had no chance to field test them for decades, perhaps we have to accept an unknown useful life and roll those dice as we see fit.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 18:28:16 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/21/2015 06:50:23 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Yr choice on 02/13/2014 18:36:00 MST Print View

You bought it, its yr call

Ur following the rules and their stated policy

Only u and them can decide if you got fair use out of something used 8 times

The worst try can say is no

And if they do take care of you, or if gore does with their "lifetime" warranty ... Then youll happily shop there again and tell everyone rlse about it

its not like you didnt like the color ... The seam tape is coming apart

Intraweb "morality" is highly entertaining ... If we followed it on BPL we would never buy anything that wasnt cottage, never mind stuff made in china


K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Your call on 02/13/2014 18:37:24 MST Print View

Clearly your call and the clerk at REI.
It is however because of these kind of cases that REI and other companies have changed their return policies. Hey, we all do all kinds of rationalizing on a daily basis and I am sure you can come up with a very reasonable story to tell yourself and make this return perfectly legitimate :)

Edited because auto correct blows.

Edited by Kat_P on 02/13/2014 18:38:21 MST.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Return dilemma" on 02/13/2014 18:55:31 MST Print View

Policy or not- it's 20 years old. I think it's obnoxious to want to return an item after 20 years because it now has a flaw that is probably age related - lots of things see slow damage after exposure to air, UV, etc and that should be expected. It's these type of returns that prompted REI to change their generous policy.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 19:23:06 MST Print View

But…its 20 years old and things don’t last forever.

So, am i asking too much or do i have a valid case for a return?

You are asking too much. I would expect any similar item to be degraded after all this time.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: "Return dilemma" on 02/13/2014 19:26:48 MST Print View

Maybe try contacting the manufacturer and see what it would take to have it repaired? If not, maybe repair it yourself or just seam seal it?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Your call on 02/13/2014 19:30:22 MST Print View

That's it; it's your call. REI will probably honor their guarantee.

Whether is it right or wrong for you to exercise the warranty is for you to decide, not us.

Besides there are more important issues to discuss here -- such as stealing condiments from fast food joints :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 19:36:24 MST Print View

I think the saddest thing is that the bivy wasn't worn out from all the use it could have experienced in 20 years.

I would not attempt a return, nor expect to get one.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 20:02:16 MST Print View

This is a return "dilemma"? REALLY??

Tom Brown
re return on 02/13/2014 20:17:26 MST Print View

After 20 years, If you have the original receipt, let your conscience be your guide.
I would not.

But I would use the material to make many other items

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/13/2014 20:24:09 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/21/2015 06:50:57 MDT.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Return Dilemma on 02/13/2014 23:29:02 MST Print View

If you had actually used it, it would not have lasted this long. I'd say you got more than your money's worth. PU coatings are good for no more than 10 years. I had a TNF pack fail in around 8. I was so much younger then, but it killed me. TNF pretty much laughed at me and refused my warranty return. Sierra Trading Post, where I purchased it, made me whole, but all these years later, I know I got a really good run out of that WP coating. five years is probably a good run. Like David said, repurpose it, or pass it on. You can't expect to buy anything (almost anything) and closet it for decades to be ready and useful as your whims may dictate. But I"m not saying you "can't" return it. You could try that to.