REI policy change in regards to lifetime returns.

6:05 p.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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So apparently REI's lifetime return policy is out the window and now a 1yr policy is in place: 

Here it is on REI's site:

Here is the quoted part(the important stuff:)

We stand behind everything we sell. If you are not satisfied with your REI purchase, you can return it for a replacement or refund. Items must be returned within a year of purchase, except items purchased from REI-OUTLET which must be returned within 30 days of purchase.


6:46 p.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I figured it was only a matter of time. Too many people took advantage of the old policy, and many instances of straight up fraud and thievery.

You can only take so much before you have to take a stand and change things in your life, I don't blame rei at all. It's a shame that such a good policy was ruined by a bunch of low life scum.

One year is still a good policy IMO, you should be able to determine if you like a product or not within a year, find flaws etc.

7:03 p.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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They also said this in a press release:

“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.”

To me its sounding like the one year return policy is the "no questions asked" type of policy, well for the most part. And that if a product is truly defective that it can still be returned at any time, but they will make a judgement call at the time of the return. For example you cant return a pair of shoes because you wore them hard and wore the tread off in 2 or 3 years.

7:57 p.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Never shopped REI, being Canadian, but it sounds like their policy went from being ridiculously good for customers to just good. If people thought they were going to wear things out and then get a new one free forever, well that's just madness. Maybe REI was a bit too optimistic about human nature? Thinking people would have some shame?

MEC in Canada, also a co-op, has an identical policy to the original REI. However, people who abuse it have their accounts flagged and watched. Their history of purchases and returns is tracked. If a pattern of abuse shows itself, they're warned, and then they might have their memberships cancelled. You can't buy without a membership.

10:51 p.m. on June 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I feel that REI did what they had to do, but for me the reason I went to REI was for the warranty, they're about 20% to 50% higher on some items I look at, and I gladly paid the extra price for what I thought was insurance policy for the product I was buying.  I know things will not last forever and I will not take an item back because of something I have done to damage what ever.  If you check around on the net you'll see last year they had 10,000,000 dollars of items turn in for what ever, they made over 1,000,000,000 dollars (2012 sales).  I will still shop at REI, but the playing field has been level and for smaller stores it may be a dream come true, now they can compete with REI.  Also there is some real garbage out there in shoes, boots, backpacks ext.. and they may not be able to survive with out REI bailing them out with the old warranty.  I have also notice that there prices have really went up, and maybe the reason is in a month they will lower all prices to bring the customers back, but this is one mans opinion.  If REI would offer a insurance policy on what I buy, I would most likely pay for it, but before I buy items at REI, I will shop around to find lower price for now on, nothing against REI I really enjoy going to there stores.

12:39 a.m. on June 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I have been a member of REI since 1963. I shop there still. But this policy change is more encompassing than just the warranty issue. REI used to support outdoor groups because they were outdoor groups. Now I see a change to supporting outdoor groups that in turn support REI. It used to be, that REI staff sent folks elsewhere if they didn't have the products you needed or wanted. That has changed. Now the policy appears to be, "we have what you need, period". Still one of the best suppliers going, but not like it was Jim Whittaker fitted me with my first pair of boots.

2:09 a.m. on June 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I've seen stuff at the "scratch and dent" sale that looked like it had a lot of miles on it before being returned. Nothing lasts forever, as much as we'd like it to and I think as REI grew, it saw more abuse of the "no questions asked" policy. An obvious factory defect will usually show up fairly soon, but at the same time, I have gear that has spent almost its entire life in my closet. If it came apart the first time I used it after a year or so, I would be hacked off if they didn't take it back, but I understand the reasons why.

Costco takes stuff back for quite a while without questions too, but these policies are rare due to abuse.

10:01 a.m. on June 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I think the abuse of the old policy is what did it in and also. Being able to close books once a year. To do the annual report..I think the new policy still gives you plenty of time to return defective items or items you find not what you actually need..I think prices will gom down in the future because of this and the  good members wont have to pay for the bad members that we have been paying for in the past..Example shoes bought at the annual bargain sale with no tread because someone used them for 5 years and then returned them..

3:05 p.m. on June 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I think it had to happen. simple economics. I am surprised they did it as long as they did.

9:24 a.m. on June 9, 2013 (EDT)
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When MEC (mentioned above) started their 'Rock Solid' guarantee identical to REI's, the number of returns actually went down.

Many people shop there BECAUSE of the policy - it's easy to blow $1,000 on gear, only to discover it's not what the sales person said it was, or that it doesn't suit your personal needs. If you just spent $450 on a non-returnable pair of Hanwegs and then find out they give you blisters, you just wasted a lot of money.

But realistically, anyone should know within a year whether the equipment works for them, and I don't think the policy should cover indefinite replacement. 

I'm sure only a few people abuse the present warranty, but MEC will probably follow suit. We can expect to see a similar change here in a year or two.

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