REI Changes Return Policy

Welp, anybody who has been to an REI warehouse sale in the past few years has seen this one coming for awhile (or ANY warehouse sale in the Bay Area, holy crap SCORE!). REI has officially decided to change their return policy from lifetime to one year. As this is a HUGE change to anyone who has been shopping there since before there was an REI in every town you’d expect to see it highlighted on their homepage to let you know…and you’d be wrong. It took the Seattletimes and NWBroweather to bring it to my attention.

I guess in the end even the outdoor industry isn’t immune to that subset of human that is barely above being classified as a rodent that takes advantage of everything and ruins shit for the rest of us (see also: Wall Street, people taking zero down loans to knowingly buy live way above their income only to cry foul when the housing market falls, lawyers that handle shit like the McDonalds coffee spill, etc.) . In the end it won’t really make a huge difference if you buy a piece of gear, use it and decide it’s not for you, and I’m hoping that they’ll have some sort of secret handshake/wink wink nudge nudge to hook you up if an infrequently used piece of gear fails, but I guess we’ll see what happens as REI continues to evolve from co-op to co-oporate.

6 comments to REI Changes Return Policy

  • This IS big news. I appreciate how they passed it off as a minor clarification.

    Will be interested to see how legacy goods sold under the old policy are handled moving forward.

  • Justin

    Yeah, for sure. While the reality of it is you’ll likely know if you want to return something within 1 or 2 uses it was a nice policy to have in your back pocket for those corner cases. Saw this coming a few weeks ago when I was cleaning out some old bins and found an Exped down mattress I bought a few years ago and never used/still had tags and the chick at REI was hassling me for trying to bring it back. Thought that was odd and could smell change (and patchouli) in the air.

  • 2 mos ago we were told to go next door to rite aid to obtain a glasses repair kit to fix a broken hinge on a pair of sunglasses.

    It does make the manufacturer direct purchase a lot more compelling. Leave the manufacturer with more dollars to service the product over the life cycle of the goods.

    But when you’re climbing trip starts Friday at 2am and you think of something you need sitting at happy hour, the internet and USMail are going to let you down every damn time.

  • Justin

    Bwaaaahahha, seriously? That’s classic that their optics counter wouldn’t help you.

    It will be interesting to see how REI evolves as it continues to deal with internet discounters and changing consumer expectations. We’ve already seen them going from having one sale a year to what seems like one a month, and the quality/knowledge of their average employee now is borderline Taco Bell… The good news is that this leaves an opening for the smaller local retailers to continue to differentiate themselves and compete with REI – now that the return policy isn’t a perceived massive benefit for shopping at REI the continued service and product knowledge you get from most small shops should help them eat into REI’s revenue.

  • i literally just told Siri to remind me on 5/28/2014 to remember to return the Black Diamond headlamp i just bought.

    i will win this.

  • Rodent

    The only Rodent I see here is the greed factor from REI. Even after calculating the loss of returned items they still manange to pay their CEO over 2 million a year. I will never shop there again because I have bought shit that didn’t last on the trail and returned. I was a life long customer because I had the comfort of knowing that i could return any item any time. The rats here are the CEO of REI and the ratshit is you!!!!

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