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Return dilemma
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Multiple Return Dilemma on 02/14/2014 00:10:41 MST Print View

Not to stir the pot further. . . well, okay, I will:

What if a company offered a "Truly lifetime jacket" and they explicitly said if the zipper breaks, it gets worn through, so dirty as to be uncleanable, torn through normal or abnormal use, or chewed up by your dog, they would replace it?

If it is functionally a $200 jacket, what would you pay for such an arrangement?

What would they have to sell such a item and service plan for?

And would those prices have any overlap? They might need to charge $1000, but there probably isn't enough market at that price point.

US cell phone plans work sometimes like that. Every 24 months (sometimes less), you get a new phone for "free" which is, of course built into your monthly charge. But this would be with a single, up-front charge.

At age 90 and with Jeanne Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to a lawyer André-François Raffray, on a contingency contract, he agreeing to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died. She lived another 33 years, collecting over twice the apartment's value in such payments and outliving the lawyer (whose heir paid for the last two years).

I'm trying to think of things that have lasted a long time. We still (occasionally) use my grandmother's 1906 Singer sewing machine. My uncle's Longines watch from 1946 still keeps good time. Sometimes I fly in 60- and 70-year-old airplanes. Of my own clothing, the oldest still in use is from the late 1970's I have some ties from dead relatives from somewhat earlier. I've got cameras and slide rules that still work just fine after 50, 60 and 70 years. There's some furniture in the family that is over 200 years old. But all the Gore-tex in current use is from the last 15 years.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Return Dilemma on 02/14/2014 00:11:45 MST Print View

Back in the old days, Gore-tex garments would get contaminated and then would have to be cleaned before washing to restore the waterproofness. So, we were using denatured alcohol and all sorts of stuff like that to act as a solvent on the contaminants. Well, it worked, up to a point. Later on, delamination became an even worse problem, and it showed up the most in the areas that had been decontaminated earlier.

I don't know whether these coatings and membranes just naturally degrade over time, or whether some of our treatments cause them to degrade.

--B.G.--

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Multiple Return Dilemma on 02/14/2014 00:31:37 MST Print View

What if a company offered a "Truly lifetime jacket" and they explicitly said if the zipper breaks, it gets worn through, so dirty as to be uncleanable, torn through normal or abnormal use, or chewed up by your dog, they would replace it?

If it is functionally a $200 jacket, what would you pay for such an arrangement?

What would they have to sell such a item and service plan for?


they would charge the same as any other jacket ... and less than say dead bird and patagucci

Here at Outdoor Research, we are committed to developing truly functional solutions for Human Powered Adventure.
OR products are Designed By Adventure™ and from this, we deliver the hallmark of all Outdoor Research products – functional gear that works and lasts. By placing quality and function first, we can offer the finest guarantee in the industry for each and every product – OR’s Infinite Guarantee™. We believe so strongly in the quality of what we make that if, at anytime, our product fails to meet your needs, we are happy to exchange or return it. Because of this solid belief, our products are guaranteed forever and are designed with this in mind. Your total satisfaction in our product is our goal.
Though we doubt you’ll ever need to, if you ever have to use our Infinite Guarantee, see the Returns and Exchanges section above.


heres a proven story of a dog chewing up a jacket and the OR folks were good enough to replace



http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2232975;

theyve had their infinite guarantee for many many many years, and havent went out of business ... and i havent heard of it going away anytime soon

plenty of people buy OR because of that guarantee ... its a competitive advantage ... when you buy OR there is no risk other than losing some money shipping it back to them (if you can return it at the retailer)

MEC has the same guarantee for anything they sell ...

now these companies can stop "abusers" as they have all the returns in the system ... and of they see you returning a shietload of stuff they inform you your business is no longer welcome

If anything, L.L. Bean seems to be welcoming the customers REI might be willing to let go. Behind its store counters, the guarantee is written in giant text. And there are a few reasons why this may be better business for L.L. Bean. Many of its sales are mail order, so it's less convenient for customers to return stuff. And, Fuller says, the crazy return stories are great marketing for the company.

"How many times has your colleague talked about the fact that she's returned that backpack, and L.L. Bean gave her a new one without question?" Fuller said. "That's really the value of the guarantee."

As a business practice, it's expensive. As advertising, it's cheap.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/09/25/223787129/what-happens-when-a-store-lets-customers-return-whatever-they-want

as ive said intraweb "morality" is quite fun ... it seems that with some other brands its "OK" to send 10+ year old jackets back ... and BPL thinks its great ... but when its REI, everyone starts going crazy ...

heres a recent credit given by dead bird to a BPLer on a 10+ year old jacket ... no one telling him that he just increased the prices for everyone else, or that his action reduced the dead bird warranty for future customers

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=86575


now about those "liberated" mcdickies condiments ...

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/14/2014 00:43:11 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Multiple Return Dilemma on 02/14/2014 00:42:32 MST Print View

"heres a proven story of a dog chewing up a jacket and the OR folks were good enough to replace"

I think that I would see about getting the dog replaced first.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Return dilemma on 02/14/2014 04:46:50 MST Print View

When OP bought this I am sure there was no documentation or conversation that the PU coating would last xx number of years. He used the item 8 times. It is not unreasonable for the average consumer to expect it to still be functional. Some of us are viewing this from our experience and perspective. It sounds like the item has not been abused. It is not worn out. It has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. It is up to the retailer to decide whether or not to honor it.

I have lots of gear that is twice as old and still is in use and has seen considerably more time in the field. A couple years ago I send a 40+ year old backpack to Kelty to repair it because the material in a seam had frayed and separated. I expected to be charged for it, but they fixed it for free. It was their decision.

I have a 50 year old REI tent and would not submit it for a warranty replacement, even though it is technically probably covered.

I have several pieces of Briggs and Riley luggage that have a lifetime warranty to include damage from airlines. At the 10 year mark I sent it in for warranty repair and they completely rebuilt from the inside out. Two weeks ago I sent it in again because the airline destroyed the zipper. The luggage is expensive and the warranty is great.

They problem here, IMO, is the OP is asking the community what to do. How can someone not know what to do in these kinds of situations. We need to let our conscience guide is, and if we don't know what to do, then how do we make the truly important decisions in life?

Please ignore any grammar errors as I am typing on my iPhone and am not very good at it.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/14/2014 04:59:30 MST Print View

One other thing...

I think people who grab extra condiments at fast food joints are thousands of times more in the wrong than someone who would return this bivy. Let your conscience guide your actions.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/14/2014 05:32:53 MST Print View

There is a third option. Send an email with a nice pic of it to an executive, and share your story with them.

And ask them simply to fix it, although taped seams are known to delaminate over time no matter what.

If your bivy were 25 years old, it probably wold have needed to be seam sealed anyway.


That way you get a clear answer without wasting gas!

Matt

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Is it a good business deal? on 02/14/2014 05:56:52 MST Print View

I'm a fan of a capitalistic economy but not a so much a fan of a capitalistic society.

My mentor taught me that the definition of a good business deal is that the deal must BE GOOD for all parties involved and not a greed is good sort of capitalistic no holds barred deal.

Independently of your Consumer Bill of Rights that mistakenly claim the consumer is always right you must ask yourself - Is it a good business deal for all parties involved if I return an item after 20 years? The answer won't be hard to find.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Return dilemma on 02/14/2014 07:23:52 MST Print View

We have a bunch of those extra condiments from fast food joints.

They look disgusting and I try to throw them away. I don't think they have expiration dates on them, but they probably have extra preservatives in them.

"The wife" is more of a cheapskate than me, at least in some things, and doesn't let me throw them away so I have to sneak : )

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Socks on 02/14/2014 07:45:17 MST Print View

Let's say I've owned a pair of socks for 40 years. I wear them, at a minimum, once per week. Last week I ripped a hole in my sock and my big toe is now sticking through it.

Should I return it?

How about at the time of purchase, I paid more than the socks were worth because they offered the following guarantee:

Our Lifetime Guarantee
Unconditional lifetime guarantee—simply and without strings or conditions:

If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair, or your money back.

No strings. No conditions. For life.

When you are really serious about something you make it yourself.

Obviously this is Darn Tough Socks' guarantee. I don't own a pair as I prefer Wrights but in my opinion, you can't have it both ways. If you are going to market an item in this way, charge more than they are worth (imo) because you are offering a lifetime guarantee, I think it's a little disingenuous to cry foul when the customer expects you to honor it.

I don't know how the bivy was marketed but until recently, REI would have backed an item like that for life. Over the years, I've spent $100s more (collectively) on gear from REI because of their return policy.

Again, I personally would try to repair it myself or pay the manufacturer to repair it but I also understand why someone would feel compelled to return it.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
proof on 02/14/2014 08:59:53 MST Print View

How are you going to prove it was purchased at REI? I have a tent fhat is starting to delam and it was probably purchased at REI, but I am not even sure.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Socks on 02/14/2014 09:03:17 MST Print View

REI and similar stores are banking on the fact that its customers will feel angst about these returns. Sure, some will take full advantage of these types of policies while others will not, but isn't a morale question. They are banking on the fact that you will perceive it to be a morale question. Furthermore, REI is a corporation fronting as a co-op, it is not a person. You are not wronging an individual by taking your gear back. If they accept the return, then the transaction is agreed to by both parties, so who exactly is being impacted? Corporations base such policies on data, hence their need to change the policy because it was affecting their bottom line or some other metric that somebody's bonus is probably based upon.

I work for a large corporation that will remain unnamed. In an hyper competitive environment you have to do right by your customers. If that means taking back questionable returns, then heck yes, a business will do it and do it gladly to ensure that the customer has a good experience. The employees of the company should recognize this and be poised and empowered to ensure that the customer experience is a good one. The cost of a return is an inexpensive price to pay.

So, take back your bivy sack, your old smelly socks and whatever else you have! The clerk should give you your money back and then take you by the hand and show you a nicer, newer, ultralight, jewel-encrusted bobble you should replace it with.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: proof on 02/14/2014 09:03:17 MST Print View

Larry,

I'm pretty sure they have all my recent (decade, 15 years?) purchases accessible by my member number or phone number.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: proof on 02/14/2014 09:06:55 MST Print View

"How are you going to prove it was purchased at REI?"

I believe it's an REI brand bivy.

Steven Hollifield
(bisonkron23)
Return dilemma on 02/14/2014 09:26:21 MST Print View

I get scoffed at every time I have made a return to REI. It does not bother me too much, but they always act shocked. I tell them something flat out did not work and they shrug and act like I am making that up. Probably because so many others do so. I tell them an item did not work for me in a satisfactory manner, and they tell me "OH really? I heard from Bob that these are great." Well, maybe they were great for Bob, but not for me. REI charges a premium for most of their products compared to the price you find them for elsewhere. I have never abused this policy. I can get 80% of cost of an item that is in good shape on the secondary market, so I find no great need to return things when I am simply done with them. But if I am not satisfied with an item for whatever reason, I do not hesitate to return them. REIs in the Austin area are still littered with 5-finger shoes that are used to within an inch of their life and returned because "they were uncomfortable" or some such nonsense. So I cannot completely blame the employees at REI for scoffing at me, I just know that they will going in and try to have a bit of thick skin about all of it.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: proof on 02/14/2014 10:28:12 MST Print View

"I'm pretty sure they have all my recent (decade, 15 years?) purchases accessible by my member number or phone number."

I wonder what kind of history they keep. I have been a member for 25+ years.

REI doesn't charge significantly more to cover their old lifetime warranty. Returning a 20 year old bivy even if it was never used is an abuse of their policy (the OP did ask). I have an couple of old Jansport external framed backpacks. One has a hole warn in it, and on the other the hip belt padding is permanently compressed. Both have lifetime warranties as far as I know. I have never considered sending them in, even though I would have a use for the larger one if it had a good hip belt.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Return Dilemma" on 02/14/2014 12:10:39 MST Print View

I take issue with Eric Chan's comment:
"as ive said intraweb "morality" is quite fun ... it seems that with some other brands its "OK" to send 10+ year old jackets back ... and BPL thinks its great ... but when its REI, everyone starts going crazy ...

heres a recent credit given by dead bird to a BPLer on a 10+ year old jacket ... no one telling him that he just increased the prices for everyone else, or that his action reduced the dead bird warranty for future customers

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=86575"
======================

Eric-

First, you're comparing apples and oranges. The OP in the thread you linked to said he sent a 10 yr old jacket back to Arcterx to get it repaired. Not replaced. Not refunded. Arcteryx did choose to replace it, but that was their decision. The OP here wants his money back on a 20 year old item. A company has significantly less money into a repair than into a replacement or refund, I think we would agree?

Two, I can't speak for the others (or for you) but my morality remains the same regardless of the company. As just one example- I wear Darn Tough socks and can tell you absolutely that when I wear them out I do not take advantage of Darn Tough and ask them to send me another pair. I don't care what their guarantee is- I got my money's worth. I buy another pair. That's the right thing to do, in my opinion. Darn Tough isn't going to stay in business long if people buy socks once and then just return them for free socks every time they wear them out.

In my lifetime I've returned just one used item to a store. The store was REI, and it was on a jacket I had just purchased a month previous that the zipper failed on. But when I get what I consider to be reasonable life out of an item, I don't return them. I don't even consider it. I replace it, usually with the same brand, because they've earned my loyalty through the life I received on the first item.

The OP asked our opinion, and he got it. Bummer if that bugs you, but he did ask.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
My 2c on 02/14/2014 12:21:06 MST Print View

As with all "moral" issues, If you have to ask, then you already know the answer. We won't absolve you one way or the other.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "Return Dilemma" on 02/14/2014 12:56:20 MST Print View

I have a couple thoughts;
1. The OP asked for an opinion about an “issue”. Thus the opinions given can’t be argued- they are an opinion. Though discussion can happen, opinions are based on a feeling or a specific paradigm, not fact and should be viewed as such. I know most of us here think our opinions are fact.
2. We really don’t know the facts behind this- what, where, how. Like, was the Bivy stored in the garage attic in southern California/Arizona where temperatures can reach upwards of 150* most any summer day (all day) for years. Or was it stored in a climate controlled, humidity stable, vacuum environment. The garage attic would bake/destroy almost anything and the climate controlled setting would preserve things for much longer than their regular useful life. Or any number of other scenarios.
Without the facts, it all comes down to a gut feeling and when someone asks for my gut feeling, I give it the way I see it; altering the opinion as the facts come to light or change.

It is good to have these kinds of discussions to help us see that everyone might not have the same opinion as everyone else. You don’t have to value others opinions or even respect their opinion on a given topic, but everyone has the right to their opinion (no matter how ridicules some of your opinions are- and that is my opinion)

Tad

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: "Return Dilemma" on 02/14/2014 13:00:17 MST Print View

+1 to everything Tad wrote (except my opinions are fact, it's just everyone else who thinks theirs are that bug me).