Nov 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm #1296038
Ted EBPL Member
@mtn_nutLocale: Morrison, CO
I heard from a very good source today that REI is seriously considering reworking their return policies and getting rid of their lifetime satisfaction warranty.
has anyone else heard anything about this, and if so, what do you think?Nov 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm #1928178
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I'm thinking that I will no longer have an incentive to shop at their store.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm #1928179
@aerikssonLocale: Austin, TX
Having been to my first REI garage sale recently, and being shocked at appalled at the state of people's returns, I can say I wouldn't be surprised. Here I am doing my best to use something maybe once or twice before deciding on whether or not to return it, and feeling like I'm some sort of mooch in the process. Meanwhile I saw more totally abused and destroyed stuff than I can shake a stick at, often a couple years old. Moreover, I've heard tales from several employees of people openly talking about how they take advantage of the system; the best/worst being a woman who openly said "this is great, I'll bring my kids' clothes back as they outgrow them, and get them new stuff!"
If they wanted to shorten the policy to something more like, a couple months, or even a month, I'd be pleased enough to continue buying my stuff there honestly. If they decided to get rid of the ability to return it even gently used I would stop buying my stuff there however, because ultimately it's the biggest draw to using REI over online sites where the prices might well be much cheaper.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm #1928183
Joe ClementBPL Member
Probably a sound economic decision that will benefit their members. I'd support it, but I've only been a member since 1973. I keep hearing it's a new world, so they probably need to come out with a new policy to match.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm #1928184
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
has anyone else heard anything about this, and if so, what do you think?
I haven't heard this, but it's disappointing. I don't care much about the annual dividend, not as much as the return policy. Maybe they should just strengthen up against abusers of the system. Anyways, Backcountry.com now offers lifetime replacement, without the need to buy a membership. AND they often times offer better and/or more brands.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm #1928185
Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I think it may be necessary, because people abuse REI's policy. The amount of gear I see that gets returned after being completely worn out is appalling. IMO, if you got a reasonable life out of the product, you've got no business returning it. It's also not right to use REI as a "rental" and buy the gear, use it, and return it after the trip. That's taking advantage. I've returned one item ever to REI in the 14 years I've been shopping there, and that was a legitimately defective coat that the zipper broke on right after I bought it.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm #1928186
@dsmith87Locale: Bethesda, MD
I've heard of several people who've bought really high-end strollers ($400+) and then returned them as soon as their kids aren't toddlers anymore. With stuff like that happening I can't really fault them for wanting to change the policy but it might lead me to making more purchases from Backcountry.Nov 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm #1928188
Loki CuthbertBPL Member
@lokbotLocale: Portland, OR
I'm sure it's something that they've been thinking about for a while. It's hard to have a change like that without loosing a lot of business though.
Many other businesses have similar exchange policies some even more lenient(bed bath and beyond, nordstroms, Eastern Mountain Sports). Of course some people will take advantage of the policy, but what you loose with the minority abusing the policy you gain 10 fold by having customers who feel confident in what the policy offers them. There are plenty of on-line retailers that have good return policies, free returns on clothes that don't fit, etc. I don't buy much from REI anymore seeing as they don't have a big selection of ultralight gear anyway.
-LokiNov 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm #1928216
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I think their return policy is crazy
I could buy a pair of boots, wear them out with normal use, and then return it and get new pair – forever
I bet many people take unreasonable advantage
Some time period like a few months or a year, or if the equipment is defective in their judgement would be reasonableNov 14, 2012 at 4:31 am #1928229
George DavisBPL Member
I just hope that they find a way to change their return policies while still being able to have those awesome garage sales every once-in-a-while. It would be nice if they could do some sort of "common sense" policy, where if the item was purchased a long time ago and is beat up, an employee can just say "no, you can't return it" and that's that.
However, that's just bound to create a bunch of complainers who will of course want to talk to their manager who will, in order to make the customer happy, say "ehh, I don't think it's toooo bad" and let him/her return it. The complainers are always louder than the content or happy.
Maybe if they had a bouncer that would just come out and punch people in the face if they tried to pull that crap…heh.Nov 14, 2012 at 4:48 am #1928230
It is true that it would negate the incentive I have to buy from them. However I think a 90 day "no questions asked" policy would be just as effective. 3 months is plenty of time to try out your gear. If returns must be unused then they will more than likely lose my business because their prices aren't anything special .Nov 14, 2012 at 4:49 am #1928231
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
Their current policy is ridiculous. The only ones that will likely be impacted are those abusing it.Nov 14, 2012 at 5:00 am #1928233
only a small percentage likely abuse the policy.
If they changed it they will need to change their pricing structure to discount pricing.
You buy from REI for peace of mind. Period.Nov 14, 2012 at 6:58 am #1928251
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Personally, I don't need a "lifetime, no questions asked" return policy to have peace of mind about gear purchases.
For me, being able to return items after using it because of performance issues is a huge benefit but I'd be fine with a reasonable time limit.
Beyond the time limit, for durability issues, I say prorate the return. I think those "I expect boots to last 10 years and this one only lasted 9…" returns are ridiculous.Nov 14, 2012 at 7:22 am #1928256
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I attended a garage sale just a few weeks ago and the overwhelming numbers of bike racks and strollers was very interesting. Most appeared to have been used very little, say one vacation.
I made my first REI purchase in 1973 and have returned 3 items that I used. A pair of boots that I just couldn't get to work after two week long trips and a couple of sleeping pads that leaked slow enough that I couldn't find them.
I shop at REI because of the return policy even if I don't use it much. I do my homework up front before purchasing but like the peace mind that comes with the return policy. Without it they are just another retailer and I can get more than 10% off elsewhere.
If it goes away this will be another instance where a few have ruined it for the many.Nov 14, 2012 at 7:48 am #1928265
Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
Besides this thread, is there any other confirmation of this policy change?
A big part of REIs success is the exchange policy. A change in policy would be a a very big change to say the least.Nov 14, 2012 at 7:57 am #1928266
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
If there are abusers, that would drive up the cost for others
A properly communicated change in policy that still allowed reasonable returns could be perceived as a good thing
I've returned a few things – Steripen (which quit working after 6 months), Thermarest mattress that delaminated after a year – I feel a little bit like an abuserNov 14, 2012 at 8:03 am #1928269
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I agree with most people here, but I think they should have a common sense policy. They should shorten the return policy to 1 year.
That should give people more than enough time to try something out. I too recently went to a garage sale and I was disgusted at some the the old old worn out stuff I saw. I saw shoes that were completley worn out, ancient sleeping bags that were shredded etc. People that return stuff like that have no morals. I'm sure the clerk that processed some of these returns had a feeling of anger inside.
Having a "Forever return policy" is just asking for trouble, there is no excuse should a normal person decide that 5-10-15-40 years down the road that they want to return a piece of gear.Nov 14, 2012 at 8:50 am #1928282
Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
If REI changes their return policy/guarantee, they will do it strictly for business reasons, something like:
Current policy costs $X per year which
Brings in $Y per year of additional business,
On which we make $Z per year.
Is $Z still larger than $X?
How would a change in policy change all these variables?
Perceived "abuse" is relevant only to the bottom line.
If REI goes to (say) a one year guarantee, they could start selling gear from cottage industries, which can't or won't make gear guaranteed forever. Which might be a good thing.Nov 14, 2012 at 10:23 am #1928310
Richard RenoBPL Member
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
Firstly, I'll keep shopping at REi because their products, proces, and service are good.. especialy with the 5% bonus for having an REI Visa card and the 10% dividend.
The only reason I can see why anybody would get thier knickers all twisted up over this, is if they were disappointed that they weren't going to be able to abuse REI's good-faith policies any more.
Secondly, it seems clear that if this is true, REI's bean-counters must have done their due diligence and concluded that his is anecessary, or at least financially desirable step.
If this move is going to either drive prices down or profits up by getting rid of all those people who are returning worn-out boots, used-for-a-season bike racks, and outgrown kids' clothes, then I'm all for it!Nov 14, 2012 at 10:36 am #1928313
If REI does this then Backcountry.com could follow, which would mean an end to all the great deals on Geartrade. NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!Nov 14, 2012 at 10:47 am #1928316
@troutLocale: Long Beach
I still haven't seen a lick of evidence to deserve this much commentary. Where's any proof to this?Nov 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm #1928352
@pnwhikerLocale: Pacific NW
I really love REI. If they made a reasonable change (e.g. 6 months to return an item) in response to abuse I would applaud it. Yes, a business is a two way street. They want to keep me happy as a customer so I will repeat business. But I want them to be successful as a business so they can keep providing the service I appreciate. I've been to a couple of used gear sales, and yes there is absolutely abuse going on.Nov 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1928382
Thomas ConlyBPL Member
@conlyLocale: Lots of canoeing and snow
I've talked to a few former employees of REI on my AT thru hike and they said the abuse was unbelievable. What you see in the garage sales are only what is even remotely salvageable. That doesn't represent all the people who return or exchange things after they are completely used up. I met one couple who had thru hiked the PCT and the CDT (and were now doing the AT) using almost exclusively gear bought at REI and returned after they were done their hike. That's thousands of dollars lost for the company and you can bet that their gear never showed up in a sale.Nov 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm #1928388
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I don't think REI has publicly announced this. I do not know first hand what kind of "abuse" of the policy has happened. But knowing how much of the public has a sense of entitlement and a general lack of ethics, I am sure it is a big problem. And the abuse just raises the prices on everything that honest people purchase at REI.
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