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REI return policy
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HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Reasonable vs unreasonable on 07/29/2014 06:14:06 MDT Print View

If an item has provided a reasonable lifespan, I'd be loathe to return it. If it failed almost out of the box or off the showroom floor a return is in order.

Complicating this is a lifetime guarantee. Osprey backed theirs up with a repair to some wheeled luggage I got for winter, adding some recent design to it. However, another company decided not to honor a warranty after being bought out - so not buying that companies wares anymore and sold the pack as "not in working order" on eBay likely to some tinkerer.

Brings up another point on the business philosophy angle, ...that is eBay and gear swap are available (probably not for decades old damaged items but you never know*). While being tougher on returns helps the bottom line, if that gear ends up on gear swap or eBay, it will lower the top-line with a loss of data on why the customer was dissatisfied without feedback given to the manufacturer. Using a item for decades is likely irrelevant but knowing there's a (for example) sizing issue may let the manufacturer change labels or the design itself.

*if anyone goes this route, make sure you are offering complete set as per the description - I kind of hate consigning something to the landfill and if damaged (but clean), offer it up auction style to see if someone can make a go of it. On gear swap, I only sell close to "new"

toccs rerennihcs
(drembo) - MLife

Locale: western slope Sierra Nevada
REI return policy on 07/29/2014 08:18:33 MDT Print View

What was impressive is that they had my complete purchase history in their system at least as far back as 1990, although I never got to see the screen. I don't know why they bothered looking, though, as they knew they weren't going to exchange anything as soon as we started talking. I also had been unaware of their new policy, which was how they explained why they wouldn't do anything for me. Not that these issues wouldn't be covered under the old policy, but that they now had a new policy. Perhaps the crux of the biscuit here is how lightly used these items were. As I have said, I have been a member of REI for about 40 years, and had only returned one other item. That was a set of the same type of carbon fiber poles. I had them for about 2 years or less when they failed in the same way. When I brought them back that time, they were replaced without question. These poles, while older, had less miles on them, probably only 100 miles or so. The pants I only wore twice before the zipper broke, and they look just about new. The binoculars, well, they are old but they spent most of their lives in a drawer or a closet.
Anyway, I may try and put in a new zipper on the pants, although I have plenty of others. These have been sitting on a shelf for 1 1/2 years as I kept telling myself I need to take them back. I may try and re-bond the broken pole, though I am hesitant to use it on my upcoming trip. I will be out for 4 weeks, above tree line a lot of the time and the poles are used to hold up my tarp; it would be inconvenient if the repair failed. I have plenty of other poles. I have tried removing the goo on the binoculars with naphtha, lacquer thinner and acetone, but none of those solvents seem to want to touch it. They are pretty much unusable in their current state, or at least very unpleasant. I almost never use these things so they really won't be missed. I will keep trying to find something that will clean off the mess.
On the other hand, it does seem like it is going to nice a nice day today, albeit a little warm.

Edited by drembo on 07/29/2014 08:38:43 MDT.

David Mobley
(Dmobley) - M
doesn't feel right. on 07/30/2014 14:24:54 MDT Print View

The poles and binoculars just don't seem right to me. 20 years????

While I understand the vebiage on the warranty says "any time" a reasonable person would not interpret that to be 20 years later.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: doesn't feel right. on 07/30/2014 14:58:16 MDT Print View

Binos don't seem like something that should spontaneously dissolve even after 50 years but ybmv....

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: REI return policy on 07/30/2014 20:18:42 MDT Print View

Where the binoculars were stored may be the cause of the rubber coating failing. Garage? Too hot.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: REI return policy on 07/31/2014 10:16:38 MDT Print View

I think there's some confusion about whose "lifetime" the product is warrantied for. It sounds to me like you're interpretting it to be *yours* but I believe it refers to the product and I also believe that REI can, at its discretion, decide how long a reasonable lifetime is for its products.

I agree with others who think your shorts are well within its "life expectancy" and should have at least been replaced with a new pair.

I think 7 years of regular use for CF hiking poles is pretty much near the end of its life.

I think your binoculars have lived a full life. Not saying that you should expect 20 year-old binocuars to fail or that many don't, just that I don't think you can point to its condition after 20 years and call it a "manufacturing defect".

That said, I recently had a pole fail on an REI tent that I've had for maybe 3 years (i.e. purchased before the policy change) and when I contacted my local store about where to get a replacement -- and I never mentioned or even hinted that I thought this was a warranty issue -- the salesperson definitely took a VERY defensive attitude. Basically started lecturing me about how I "must have" mis-handled the poles. Had me pretty steamed. And this was the store that practically tore a Marmot jacket off my husband when a salesperson noticed that he was struggling with the zipper and insisted that he take a replacement AND a partial refund because the jacket was now on sale. We'd gone there to buy my son a jacket... and came home with a new jacket for my husband and got my son's for "free" because the refund covered the cost of his.

Things have definitely changed.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 07/31/2014 10:22:45 MDT.

toccs rerennihcs
(drembo) - MLife

Locale: western slope Sierra Nevada
REI return policy on 07/31/2014 10:57:53 MDT Print View

I guess it may depend on whether one considers wear and tear to be equivalent to age. The pants were used twice before the zipper pull broke in half. But, I dug my on grave by delaying returning them for so long, even if they did look brand new. The poles had less than 100 miles on them, even if they were 7 years old. You could tell by looking at them they weren't used much. The binoculars were stored and used indoors for pretty much their entire life, except for perhaps a sporting event or two. I used them to look at wildlife out my kitchen window. Never took them backpacking or camping. Nothing wore out or was scratched. Just the material they were built of disintegrated after 20 years.
I see 3 camps here. The first believes lifetime warranty means lifetime (I would define that for as long as I own the product), period. The second believes it means lifetime, with the understanding that that does not include wear and tear. The difference between wear and tear and manufacturing defect is the issue here, and different folks have different opinions on that. Also, does mere age equal wear and tear? Maybe. The 3rd camp would say "after it has enough years on it, even if it has never even been opened, the warranty is no longer valid".
I am not a rip off kind of guy, I had my own business for 25 years and I didn't like people with unreasonable claims looking for refunds or whatever. Some of your comment have made me step back and consider whether I was being unreasonable. In my business I did stand by my work and whatever warranties I gave, even if I later wished I hadn't given that promise. I am surprised at how long this thread has gone on, it sort of makes it look as if I am way more worked up about this than I am. Some of you may even like me if we were to meet. Life goes on, I understand REI's new policy now. On the other hand, maybe it is a little fun to stir up a hornets nest every now and then, as long as you are fast enough to get out of the way.
I do appreciate everyone's opinion.