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Jun 4, 2013
Middle
Just became not so unlimited effective today. Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Joined Jul 23, 2010
130 points
Jun 4, 2013
Summary of changes:
- 1 year return policy
- No time limit for defective gear.
- 30 day return policy on outlet purchases.

I think the one year limit for regular returns is completely reasonable, and should only affect people who abuse the system. As for the 30 days on outlet purchases, however, I think that's utter garbage. I've made many outlet purchases that were returned more than 30 days later (bought a few backpacks during a sale, tried them each on different backpacking trips over the course of a couple months, kept the one I liked the most.)

seattletimes.com/html/business...
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Jun 4, 2013
First day of school
To me this is the classic , 'give them (the customer) an inch...' scenario . REI allowed people unlimited returns , and it was abused , shocking . The new policy seems totally reasonable . vincent L.
From Redwood City
Joined Jan 1, 2005
617 points
Jun 4, 2013
How I Send
Ian Stewart wrote:
(bought a few backpacks during a sale, tried them each on different backpacking trips over the course of a couple months, kept the one I liked the most.)



You sir, are an abuser. REI - doesn't stand for RENT EVERYTHING INSIDE.
Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Joined Apr 23, 2008
299 points
Jun 4, 2013
Well, for everything they've taken away from customers, they've taken more from employees. Why not let the Board of Directors know how you feel? E-mail board@rei.com

While you're at it, why not demand that they work harder to retain knowledgeable and qualified staff by offering a reasonable wage and a guaranteed 32 hours a week for full-time staff? You would think that this is standard operating procedure, as most high-end retailers and outdoor retailers offer this at the least, but not at REI. These two simple fixes would translate into a less frustrating shopping experience for members.

We know how you all feel when you have to wait for 20 minutes to get someone's attention because they're the only one scheduled for an entire department. We know how you feel when you ask a staff member a question that would require some moderate amount of knowledge and experience, but they don't know because they're simply hired because they know *how* to sell a product, rather than how to *use* a product.

Remember, it's a co-op, though mostly in title only these days. Why not ask the Board why the only way to become a board member is to be nominated by another board member? Why not take back ownership of the co-op?
Occupy_REI
Joined Jun 4, 2013
0 points
Jun 4, 2013
Middle
This is a transitional corporate policy. Expect more revisions in a year. The manager of returns is going to deliver a massive margin increase inside of 24 months. Returns are a profit erosion. Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Joined Jul 23, 2010
130 points
Jun 4, 2013
First day of school
"REI - doesn't stand for RENT EVERYTHING INSIDE."

+1
vincent L.
From Redwood City
Joined Jan 1, 2005
617 points
Jun 4, 2013
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior
I used to work at and manage for REI. I am glad to see the policy change. I would get so frustrated when I would watch someone bring in a worn out piece of gear or clothing and return it for a new item only to bring that one in when it was worn out. I could access customer shopping history and see trends of certain individuals that were abusing the system and really could do nothing about it. I like the change. If you want to sell your integrity for a couple hundred dollars that is a shame.
REI does not stand for Return Every Item (another one we would joke about)
Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 2, 2006
460 points
Jun 4, 2013
Descending Cox Col (Bear Creek Spire). Photo by Ry...
Agreed that this only affects the people who abuse the system. REI is a business and certainly retains the right to change its policies from time to time. And we the customers retain the right to take our business elsewhere, if we choose. I have been a member for over 20 years and I continue to purchase certain items at REI; usually those that I want to touch and feel beforehand, or if I need something immediately.

Always thought the "use it and then return it" people were pretty tacky.

Turns out they are whiners, too.

Jason Kim
From Encinitas, CA
Joined Apr 30, 2012
334 points
Jun 4, 2013
ECM
The new policy is reasonable, but their prices are terrible. One of the only reasons I still shopped there occasionally was because of the return policy. Seems like the prices are high enough to absorb return abusers. Tyler Wick
From Bishop, CA
Joined Oct 8, 2010
142 points
Jun 4, 2013
Getting up the Great Dihedral on Hallet Peak, RMNP...
I think it's worth emphasizing that manufacturer defects/warranty issues will be honored. Most of the new policy is entirely reasonable, and if you can't figure out if something is working for you in a year, there's always eBay and Craigslist.

As Tyler said though, the prices are *not* competitive, even with the dividend structure. I know the return policy was a big incentive for some customers who waver between an online retailer and REI. I don't think that will be completely diminished, but it is a consideration.

People who have never worked the Customer Service counter there would be amazed/dumbfounded at the lengths people go through just to take advantage of the policy.
Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Joined Jul 29, 2009
46 points
Jun 4, 2013
Eiger summit
REI no longer = Return Equipment Indefinitely Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Joined Sep 27, 2001
638 points
Jun 4, 2013
prices aren't great, but if you only shop when they do the sales it's about right. Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Joined May 18, 2011
37 points
Jun 4, 2013
y
Im glad this is happening. I know many people that abuse the shit out of that policy. The store where I work has a similar return policy on alpine hard good, can be the biggest pain in the ass, because most people think there more experienced than they really are.

On a side note:
I stopped buying things from REI when I was trying to get a new pair of climbing shoes, and like mentioned above I waited for 20 mins to get any help. Once I found someone I had the shoe in hand and told him I would like a 42. He questioned my foot size, I told him i'm like a 9, he responded that a 42 is a size 11........ I said no, so he measured my foot, said I need a 40, I laughed and asked again for a 42, he brought it back, and told me that when I really want to find out what climbing is all about to come find him. I never tried on the shoes, I walked right across the street to wilderness exchange and spent my money there, where yes they can talk above you at times but those guys know there shit, for the most part. Wilderness is my new gear store, thanks guys.
quiggle
Joined Jun 26, 2012
30 points
Jun 4, 2013
Flakes of Wrath
I'd like to hear from bearbreeder regarding this change, as he has vocally bragged on this site about overt abuse of the policy with brilliant defenses such as:


"If it was hurt REI they'd change the policy"

And

"If you don't like me abusing it, don't shop there"
Paul-B
Joined Mar 26, 2011
150 points
Jun 4, 2013
Paul-B wrote:
I'd like to hear from bearbreeder regarding this change, as he has vocally bragged on this site about overt abuse of the policy with brilliant defenses such as: "If it was hurt REI they'd change the policy"


Well obviously he was correct. Looks like the policy was hurting them and they changed it.... Not sure why you have a problem with him pointing out the obvious?
BSheriden
Joined May 18, 2013
3 points
Jun 4, 2013
Middle
Wait until other retailers fallow suit because there isn't any competitive pressure to have a no questions asked policy. Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Joined Jul 23, 2010
130 points
Jun 4, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
BSheriden wrote:
Well obviously he was correct. Looks like the policy was hurting them and they changed it.... Not sure why you have a problem with him pointing out the obvious?


Because it's clearly an abuse of the system. Regardless of the legality of it, it's disgusting to see that people take advantage of a system that's meant to help the customer.
Brendan Blanchard
From Boulder, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2010
309 points
Jun 4, 2013
Tits McGee wrote:
You sir, are an abuser. REI - doesn't stand for RENT EVERYTHING INSIDE.


I hardly consider trying out a few backpacks, one weekend each, over the course of two months and returning those I don't like to be abusing the return policy. There's a difference between "renting" and "comparing" gear. I did keep one pack in the end.

Keep in mind that the 30 day return policy is from the "date of purchase" which, from online outlet orders, is often no more than 20 days once you've actually received the product.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Jun 4, 2013
Mashers Tower
Starting Tuesday, REI will try to discourage customers from “renting” equipment for as long as they like by ending its policy of no time limits on returns. Customers will be allowed to take back store items for one year after purchase. The deadline for returning outlet merchandise bought on rei.com will be 30 days.

Kent-based REI, which actually stands for Recreational Equipment Inc., made the change after noticing a sharp uptick in returns of merchandise more than a year old, said Senior Vice President of Retail Tim Spangler.

“We’ve always taken back products more than a year old, but to see that growing disproportionately caused us to ask some questions,” Spangler said in an interview last week at REI’s Tacoma store.

“What we found is that small group of folks who are probably extending the policy beyond its intent, is getting bigger. And It’s not a sustainable thing long-term if we want to maintain this fantastic policy,” he said. “It’s something we have to put some clarification around.”




Cornelius Jefferson
Joined Apr 5, 2006
162 points
Jun 4, 2013
OTL
Ian Stewart wrote:
I hardly consider trying out a few backpacks, one weekend each, over the course of two months and returning those I don't like to be abusing the return policy. There's a difference between "renting" and "comparing" gear. I did keep one pack in the end.


I think trying them on (shoes, backpacks or similar) at your house would be fine. You can load up all your gear and see how they fit and pack. Yeah, its not a real world test after many miles, but you returned USED goods. One thing to return a new item with tags that was size tested and can be resold as new.

Your difference between "renting" and "comparing" - renting costs money.
Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Joined Oct 20, 2010
338 points
Jun 4, 2013
Even without the return policy, the dividend is still a pretty good deal you won't get at other gear shops. Plus, it sounds like now instead of an absolutely one-sided return policy, they still have one that is advantageous to customers. If you walk out of Neptune's with any climbing gear, you own it for life. Sounds like REI will still take stuff back, just not replace it for eternity. TheBirdman
From Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 4, 2010
10 points
Jun 4, 2013
"Always thought the "use it and then return it" people were pretty tacky.

Turns out they are whiners, too."

+1 Always thought it showed a huge amount of tackiness and general lack of character to return shit that was used and sometimes even past its expected point of life and then say that you are not "100% satisfied". A load of crap IMO and obviously a huge abuse of the system. Always has bugged the crap out of me and wish those people where banned from REI forever. Due to this we now have more limitations that should be for the users who actually respect and utilize it legitimately.
Ed Rhine
Joined Jan 18, 2006
2 points
Jun 4, 2013
Matt N wrote:
I think trying them on (shoes, backpacks or similar) at your house would be fine. You can load up all your gear and see how they fit and pack. Yeah, its not a real world test after many miles, but you returned USED goods. One thing to return a new item with tags that was size tested and can be resold as new. Your difference between "renting" and "comparing" - renting costs money.


I can't be the only one that's returned a backpack because of a pressure point on my hips that is only noticeable 10 miles in. Or how about a pair of pants that feels comfortable until you get sweaty and it starts sticking then chaffing? Not to mention shoes...just because they fit on your living room couch doesn't mean you won't start bleeding after a mile of downhill walking because they don't stay tight enough to keep your feet from sliding around. You can't always test products in your living room.

When I was shopping for a backpack in REI, the sales rep explicitly told me to "try out packs and return them until you have the right one". So this is exactly what I did.

If you guys want to consider this "abusing the system" then whatever, I can't really argue with you. I just consider it being a smart shopper who prefers to get the right product for me instead of just settling with the first thing I buy.

Also, every single thing I've returned has been returned in "like new" condition. Hell, the backpacks still had their tags attached and could have been passed off as new. Even if everything I've returned has been sold during their gear sales, I'm sure they've still made a good chunk of profit from me over the years.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Jun 4, 2013
Shelf Rd
The new policy is totally reasonable. Indefinite returns for anything defective, 1 year for retail items, 30 days for outlet items. Actually it's a generous policy.

Funny story... I was once in line for customer service at REI, and the dude in front of me was trying to return a backpack that had been half eaten by marmots. The customer service rep asked "was there anything wrong with the pack?" The dude was like "well not really, but.... Marmots ate it." Everyone nearby chuckled. Surprisingly, they told him "no" and he walked away! He even said, all pissy, "just keep the pack then!"

Good times.
Kenan
Joined Apr 15, 2010
1,203 points
Jun 4, 2013
Aiding. Photo by Locker.
Ian Stewart wrote:
I hardly consider trying out a few backpacks, one weekend each, over the course of two months and returning those I don't like to be abusing the return policy. There's a difference between "renting" and "comparing" gear. I did keep one pack in the end. Keep in mind that the 30 day return policy is from the "date of purchase" which, from online outlet orders, is often no more than 20 days once you've actually received the product.


I consider that abuse.

Be honest: you would demand a discount if you knew a backpack had been used in the field already. Unless you took amazing care of it, it will show that it is not brand new. If it is no longer brand new, why not buy the one right next to it that is?

So REI either has to lie, or sell that gear as used. In other words, they have to subsidize your gear testing.

Very few retailers will abide this practice, and to me, yes, it is very much abuse of the return process. Can you imagine walking to a computer store, buying three computers, and returning the two you didn't like as much in 30 to 60 days? Or three cars?

Come on, be realistic. That is not what a store return policy is for. They sale gear, they don't rent it.
teece303
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Joined Dec 16, 2012
636 points


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