REI return policy

Posted by: drembo

REI return policy - 07/28/14 06:44 PM

I just returned from the closest REI to my home. I have been a member for about 40 years, and have returned something only one time before, when it had failed. Today, I brought in three items that I considered to have manufacturing defects above normal wear and tear, but was rejected on all three items.
First, a pair of REI branded hiking shorts, which I have had for about 2 years, but which had the zipper break after about a year. A nylon zipper with a metal pull. The metal pull had cracked in half, leaving the zipper useless. The pants had very little wear and were in very nice condition. I was told this was normal wear and tear and not covered. Fine
Second, a pair of REI branded multi section carbon fiber hiking poles made by Komperdell. I have had these for seven years. Recently, I noticed they would not tighten at one joint. The twist-lock locking mechanism had come un-bonded from the carbon fiber pole. I was told this was normal wear and tear and was not an acceptable return. The manager who I ended up arguing with told me with a slight smirk that if they were his, he would just epoxy it back together. Didn't matter that I tried to explain how difficult it is to bond plastic and carbon fiber
Thirdly, I have a pair of REI branded binoculars. I bought these about 20 years ago but they have almost never been used and are in excellent condition except the rubberized coating on the body of the binoculars has recently started to "melt". It is a black sticky goo now, very sticky and comes off on my hands when holding them. It also picks up anything that touches it and is tearing up the foam on the inside of the case. Sorry, normal wear and tear, to be expected.
Now, I realize they have tightened up their return policy, especially when it comes to being merely dissatisfied with a product. But when I buy something with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship, I expect that to mean for the lifetime of the product, for as long as I own it. None of these items were misused, or worn out, they just failed under normal use. As far as I can tell, REI doesn't warranty anything for life anymore, even though their policy still states "If your item has a manufacturing defect in its materials or workmanship, you can return it at any time." Any problem you may have after a while will always be defined as normal wear and tear. As all of these items are REI branded, I don't have the option of dealing with the manufacturer.
I don't buy much from these people anymore, maybe some socks or a shirt, a head lamp and such. But I believe I will be buying even less in the future, unless I have no other options.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: REI return policy - 07/28/14 06:59 PM

I think the return policy should be based on what it was when you bought them. I don't think I'll buy from them anymore either.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: REI return policy - 07/28/14 08:27 PM

People still enthuse about REI's return policy, not realizing that it has changed.

Obviously, "normal wear and tear" now means one year, regardless of the item.

If you bought a brand name item at REI, you can of course seek satisfaction directly from the manufacturer rather than REI. MSR/Cascade Designs, for example, have wonderful customer service. That of course won't work for REI house brands.

Of course a lot of places have always had a one month return period, so I guess one year is still better than that. On the other hand, there are a few places that still have the same unlimited return policy that REI used to have.
Posted by: snapper

Re: REI return policy - 07/29/14 01:35 PM

Sorry if I come off sounding like an a$$ to you but honestly, other than the pants I'm not sure what you're complaining about? My Leki poles (I know, not REI's) wore out due to use and I had to repair them. It's to be expected. As for your binoculars, is it possible you got something on them that made them begin to get sticky? DEET will kill most plastics, as will other chemicals we tend to use. You really can't blame REI if you (even unintentionally) got something on them that caused this to happen. I know that REI has changed their return policy in the last few years but your last two complaints, in my opinion, are why they've needed to do that. Sorry but you just can't expect something to last forever; especially when used outdoors. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

Posted by: Gershon

Re: REI return policy - 07/29/14 02:25 PM


I bought things 3 years ago with a lifetime warranty. Things could be returned for any reason. Presumably the cost of that warranty was built into the price. I can see changing the warranty for things purchased after a certain date. But changing it retroactively is dishonest, even if it might be legal.

Now, I have to consider that REI has ZERO warranty on anything as they can change it at anytime. This warranty is what made me shop at REI vs. other places.
Posted by: snapper

Re: REI return policy - 07/31/14 09:29 AM

Gershon - I certainly understand your comments and respect your decision not to shop with REI in the future. I guess on this one we'll just have to agree to disagree. I've worked in enough places to know that some folks will abuse the heck out of things and then when the item breaks or fails to function properly think they're entitled to a refund or replacement. I think with REI they would have been better off had they'd grandfathered items under their former lifetime warranty policy but, alas, they didn't. At this point it's up to each person to decide if they want to purchase items from them or not. I guess "buyer beware" is the watchword from now on. Just my opinion. Feel free to accept it or not. No worries either way.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.