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jstluise

REI is changing their return policy...

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http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2021116265_reireturnsxml.html

 

1 year return policy...30 day for outlet items.

 

Disappointing...especially when I pay more money for items at REI just because of the return policy, when I could have saved money and bought them online.

 

Oh, and how about a heads up? Policy if effective starting today apparently. Not even an email or letter to their members?

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http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2021116265_reireturnsxml.html

 

1 year return policy...30 day for outlet items.

 

Disappointing...especially when I pay more money for items at REI just because of the return policy, when I could have saved money and bought them online.

 

 

Very disappointing. I also buy there simply because of the return policy

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I think REI should institute a policy of taking that guy who's returning his 10 year old trail runners in the back room and shooting him in the face.

 

 

 

 

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I think REI should institute a policy of taking that guy who's returning his 10 year old trail runners in the back room and shooting him in the face.

 

+1

 

I'm amazed their return policy has survived this long.

Edited by jordansahls

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Of course they do this years after they run everyone out of business. How many great outdoor shops were in the greater Seattle area that went out of business because of competition with REI? In Issaquah there was High Mountain Rendezvous, there was that shop in Bellevue by Magnolia HiFi.

 

But it's interesting to see how small of a profit margin they have considering their buying power now.

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I generally use Google Shopping to price out an item, if REI happens to have the item with the best price, good for them.

 

I try not to buy anything like boots or pants online, and wait until I can get to the REI store in Spokane for items that need to be fitted as far as I know its the closest gear store to Grand Coulee.. heh. ;(

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I think REI should institute a policy of taking that guy who's returning his 10 year old trail runners in the back room and shooting him in the face.

 

Exactly! People like that definitely ruined it for us. My backpacking boots are 5 years old and in pretty good shape, but one started leaking. I've gotten tons of miles out of them and definitely my moneys worth, so I would feel pretty guilty returning them.

 

So what happens when my $400+ pair of mountaineering boots that I wear on ~5 trips a year springs a leak or something else 2 years after I bought them (when they should last much longer)? Looks like I'm SOL now.

 

Well, backcountry.com still has a lifetime return policy. I'll be going there for big purchases for now on.

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What happens when you boots leak is that you waterproof them.

 

If you bought something and never use it, the question isn't 'why can't I return it?', but rather, why did you buy it in the first place?

 

Defective products can still be returned after a year.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Well, backcountry.com still has a lifetime return policy. I'll be going there for big purchases for now on.

 

See and this just sucks, because only a select few companies have the profitability to do this. What small shop could possibly do this?

 

The retailers job is to have experienced sales people to help you make the proper buying decisions. Their return policy should be reflective of standing by the advice they give you.

 

The manufacturers job is to stand by the product they made. This isn't the retailers job, with the exception that retailers should not carry brands that are not reliable. If you buy boots that leak, that should be on the manufacturer to rectify this not the retailer. REI was able to do this because of their huge buying power and being able to leverage that into making manufacturers take returned items back.

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But it's interesting to see how small of a profit margin they have considering their buying power now.

 

Uh, you mean their taxable free cash flow, dontcha? ;)

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Guess I can't return my "Life is Good!" dog Frisbee and Lego Man Lantern any more :rolleyes:

 

I guess my response is "who cares"? I stopped shopping at REI a long time ago as a result of them not carrying a number of items I was in the market for. Ask any climber and I bet you get the same answer; REI's alpine climbing equipment and clothing selection is mediocre compared to local shops. Add to that a solid knowledge base on local conditions amongst local shop employees and I ask you "why are you still shopping there?"

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What happens when you boots leak is that you waterproof them.

 

If you bought something and never use it, the question isn't 'why can't I return it?', but rather, why did you buy it in the first place?

 

Defective products can still be returned after a year.

 

I was just using the boot leaking as an example. But, a goretex boot shouldn't leak after after 5-10 trips, and in which case, I would consider them defective.

 

I did gather that defective items can still be returned, although it seems like that is going to be subjective.

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So what happens when my $400+ pair of mountaineering boots that I wear on ~5 trips a year springs a leak or something else 2 years after I bought them (when they should last much longer)? Looks like I'm SOL now.

 

Sure if you buy from a big box like REI that cares more about how many memberships the employee sells over their product knowledge then yes you stand a good chance of buying some shitty boots.

 

But if you buy from a local box where the employee is out in the same conditions climbing the same mountains you are then no it wont happen.

 

 

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Well, backcountry.com still has a lifetime return policy. I'll be going there for big purchases for now on.

 

See and this just sucks, because only a select few companies have the profitability to do this. What small shop could possibly do this?

...

The manufacturers job is to stand by the product they made. This isn't the retailers job, with the exception that retailers should not carry brands that are not reliable. If you buy boots that leak, that should be on the manufacturer to rectify this not the retailer. REI was able to do this because of their huge buying power and being able to leverage that into making manufacturers take returned items back.

 

So just out of curiosity, when does responsibility transfer to the owner of the product? After one trip? After 2 years? After an hour? I think that in general people have gotten inured to an idea that if something breaks it's not their fault.

 

In the original article, an REI staff says

“If you buy that tent, and the seam blows out after two or three years, and you feel that it’s defective, I want you to bring it back and we’re going to take care of you,” he said. “We’re always going to stand behind our products not to be defective.”

 

What? I know that my friends get out a lot, but after two or three YEARS you think it's the manufacturer's fault? From my perspective that's just insane. If I've used something for two to three years, I've put wear and tear on it. I've had fun with it and I've most probably treated badly as often as I've treated it well. It's my responsibility, not anybody else's fault.

 

I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy.

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What happens when you boots leak is that you waterproof them.

 

If you bought something and never use it, the question isn't 'why can't I return it?', but rather, why did you buy it in the first place?

 

Defective products can still be returned after a year.

 

I was just using the boot leaking as an example. But, a goretex boot shouldn't leak after after 5-10 trips, and in which case, I would consider them defective.

 

I did gather that defective items can still be returned, although it seems like that is going to be subjective.

 

For your example, I'd follow up on Jon's thought concerning the manufacturer. In the case of buying a boot with a Gore Tex liner thinking that it would always keep your feet dry*, you're buying that promise from Gore Tex. So who cares where you buy it as long as Gore Tex is selling you that promise.

 

Gore Tex's return guidelines make it pretty easy to get a new pair of boots or what have you.

 

*Why does Gore make it so easy? Because that's really the kind of promise that's worthless. If your boot is leaking when you're in the mountains, their promise isn't going to help. Perhaps it was just marketing anyway. Like John wrote, try getting them at a shop where the employees are selling the same things they're using and see what happens...and waterproof them.

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So just out of cusiosity, when does responsibility transfer to the owner of the product? After one trip? After 2 years? After an hour? I think that in general people have gotten inured to an idea that if something breaks it's not their fault.

 

 

Hey Graham, I completely agree with you. At some point the owner has to assume the responsibility of it's use, just like anything else.

 

I'm not saying that manufacturers should offer lifetime warrantees. But I think part of REIs policy was born out of the fact that small shops likely received considerable resistance processing returns to manufacturers. Maybe I'm wrong.

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I'm not saying that manufacturers should offer lifetime warrantees. But I think part of REIs policy was born out of the fact that small shops likely received considerable resistance processing returns to manufacturers. Maybe I'm wrong.

 

I honestly have no idea. I always surmised that REI wasn't returning old crap, it was just throwing it out but I really do not know. I'll ask around, I'm kinda curious

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I guess my response is "who cares"? I stopped shopping at REI a long time ago as a result of them not carrying a number of items I was in the market for.

 

+1, except that I stopped shopping there because REI are a bunch of dickholes pretending to be a co-op

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For your example, I'd follow up on Jon's thought concerning the manufacturer. In the case of buying a boot with a Gore Tex liner thinking that it would always keep your feet dry*, you're buying that promise from Gore Tex. So who cares where you buy it as long as Gore Tex is selling you that promise.

 

Okay, the leaking boot was a bad example. I guess the main point I was trying to make is if I have a product that I only get to use a handful of times in a season (compared to a someone like a guide that uses it every day), that may not be enough time to discover if any defects exist. Then next season comes around and then I do discover a defect, I might be out of luck. Sure, I guess that is my fault for not putting it through its paces, but it was the REI return policy that would help out in situations like that. It was kind of like an extended warranty. Heck, if they offered an extended warranty at a price I would probably take advantage of it for big ticket items.

 

Everyone is making good points in this thread. Going to a local shop to buy gear that comes with input from their employees is a good idea, and I've done that before. But that's not the only way to make a decision on what gear to buy; gear reviews and ratings online give you a pretty idea if the item will last or if you should avoid it.

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When I processed returns/warranties the manufacturers never really hassled me for sending something back (with the exception of one or two). The issue was the turnaround for getting a replacement was measured in weeks, or if they issued a credit (to the shop)so we could give them a new one off the shelf it would leave us one less on inventory to sell for profit.

 

Not a big deal for shoelaces, but if you're talking about something like crampons, that you'll only carry maybe five of at any given time, you run into inventory problems.

 

REI banks on the fact that there is a whole population of people out there who buy from them 'just in case' they need to return it for whatever reason and gamble on the fact that they don't.

 

The small shops rely on exactly what Frieh said, and I'll depart from what Jon said about REI running shops out of town. It's the consumer that has run small shops out of town. If folks wanna keep the local brick and mortar in business, they should spend their dollars there.

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I honestly have no idea. I always surmised that REI wasn't returning old crap, it was just throwing it out but I really do not know. I'll ask around, I'm kinda curious

 

REI garage sale, where you can buy 10 year old trail runners for $2.93 and used climbing shoes worn only once because they were too tight.

Edited by Figger_Eight

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What happens when you boots leak is that you waterproof them.

 

If you bought something and never use it, the question isn't 'why can't I return it?', but rather, why did you buy it in the first place?

 

Defective products can still be returned after a year.

 

I was just using the boot leaking as an example. But, a goretex boot shouldn't leak after after 5-10 trips, and in which case, I would consider them defective.

 

I did gather that defective items can still be returned, although it seems like that is going to be subjective.

 

Mush around spring snow for 3 days and your NASA spacesuit will leak. Ironically, gaitors are often responsible for funneling snow down your ants leg and into your boot, where they leak from within, so to speak. Goretex can also make your feet sweat like a mofo. And Goretex does not mean the boot will never need waterproofing.

 

People have silly expectations when it comes to gear. Yes, some manufacturers pump up the volume, here, but a little common sense and reality checking goes a long way.

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One of the stores I worked at years ago made about 11 million a year (1996). They took in about $120,000 in returns a year. Then turn around and sell most of it at the used sale.

 

Pretty good turn around if you ask me. I think the main reason everyone shops there is the return policy. If that goes bye bye....I think you can kiss the massive profits REI gets good bye.

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