I just read an article about REI’s new return policy which limits returns to 1-year from the date of purchase. That’s still pretty generous compared to most places but is a big change from it’s previous policy.
For years REI employees have joked that REI stood for "Return Everything Inc." or "Rental Equipment Inc.," because of its liberal return policy. In some instances, customers returned hiking boots after years or hundreds of miles of use, although the company never intended to replace products worn out by extended use. The policy became particularly tricky and expensive with mountain bikes.
Wow, people were returning used mountain bikes after more than a year of use? That definitely sounds like taking advantage of the system.
I bought a Yakima roof rack system from REI like 12 years ago (the whole kit–towers, clips, bars, trays) and then in 2009 I was shopping at REI for another tray to fit the factory rack on a new car. The sales associate suggested I return the old tray (which was almost 10 years old at that time and really banged up) and to use the credit to purchase a new tray. I really wasn’t comfortable with that and ended up buying the new tray anyway. [that old rack eventually was stolen off my car but that’s another story. i don’t even have that car anymore so it’s no big loss.]
Like other retailers, REI would on rare occasions kick out members of the co-op it felt consistently abused the policy, often in a letter returning their membership fee. But until now, REI managers had insisted that the goodwill created by the policy outweighed any financial impact.
I had no idea you could be kicked out of the REI co-op but good for them! But why return the membership fee? Seems like this kind of stuff would be against their membership policy and would more than justify keeping the member’s $20.
My daughter’s boyfriend did a four week backpacking trip to the Alaska Brooks Range and outfitted it with REI gear (boots, tent, backpack, sleeping bag, etc.). I hate to admit it, but a couple years later he was short on cash so he returned all the gear to REI for a refund. 😏 Seriously? I thought that would be the end of his membership, but, no, he still shops there using his membership. Crazy!
I received the email yesterday about the change of policy. I realize that 1 year is still super long, unfortunately the outlet return policy is 30 days, but that’s one reason I loved REI. While I have only ever returned one item, the lifetime return policy always just made me feel like REI had my back. REI does have to make money to stay in business, it is just too bad people abused the policy and ruined it for the rest.
I actually think this new policy is very reasonable. I mean, if you get a full year of use out of a product, You really shouldn’t be returning it: you’ve gotten your money’s worth. If, however, you use it for a few months and something goes wrong, you can still return it.
A year should be plenty of time to determine if you like the product or not 😀
I could still see people trying to abuse the system by buying a bike, riding it for 10 months, and then returning it and getting a new one. I imagined that would still be covered under the abuse clause, and they could still get kicked out.
I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I were to do something like that. I’ve been told by sales associates at Lowes to use something and return it for a job(like a tile saw), but have never returned anything that I’ve used and wasn’t defective.
Everyone has a tipping point at which they’re able to convince themselves of something. I find it incredibly unfortunate that my tipping point is so inconveniently positioned.
Yea that’s definitely a more than generous return policy. We get all types of people trying to return all types of crap where I work. Brake caliper boxes with a brick in it, spark plug wires with clearly OE original wires in the box, etc… 😏