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Returns not taken of gear bought many years ago question

I have a pair of chacos that were purchased from REI about 13 years ago that just broke. I also had a pair of Timberland boots that wore down and needed to be returned also, they were maybe 3-4 years old. I believe when i bought the chacos and the boots for that matter that REI had a lifetime warranty of retuns on the items, ive been shopping at REi for 25 years under this assumption. This was actually the first time i was returning a product at REI and i went to return the item at the REI in Eugene Oregon and they told me REI's return policy was only for 1 year. So they wouldnt return the items. I told them i believe i bought the chacos specifically when there was a lifetime warranty at REI and yeah it wasnt honored which i thought was preety lame. I've always told other friends to shop at REI because even though its expensive the return policy is great and makes it worth it. What happened to this return policy when i bought the gear, im kinda irritated that the policy changed and the old policy when i bought the gear isnt being honored. Thanks, still love REI


27 Replies

@hikermor  I believe it was a general question the original poster asked about some well loved gear. Maybe in the future, we can try to avoid providing him/her a satirical analogy in response to an honest question?  I’d like to always encourage a more inclusive culture here instead of having a sense of superiority. Hopefully most others would agree. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op. could have been a natural response, to a perceived attitude, wrongly or rightly, which many feel, may have led to the huge change on return policy, from lifetime to 1yr.

 I am flabbergasted that some folks can wear an item completely out over MANY years of faithful use, and then turn on a dime and, with no conscious, say, meh, I’m not completely satisfied and invoke the return policy!

plus, is it really helpful if everyone agrees with everyone else?  
and in this case, there are some strong feelings out there.

REI Member Since 1979

I made a fairly light hearted response to an absolutely outrageous claim...Thirteen years?? And trust me - that pot lifter is seriously yucky.

IMHO, REI's current return policy is extremely reasonable.  I have invoked it rarely, with complete satisfaction.

I am completely in favor of "inclusive cultures," although that is a fairly broad and unspecific term.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thank you for not being a jerk, in what seems to be a downward trend.


So where are we now on this saga?

Inquiring minds want to know?

REI Member Since 1979

  You have not mentioned when you bought the BA air mattress, but why not contact BA instead of berating REI?

 A one year, no questions asked return policy is a very generous/more than fair policy. But understand REI and other such companies are in the retail sales business, not the lifetime rental business.

I am not a voracious camper.  I used my camping pad fewer than a dozen times and kept it stored, always, indoors, inside the same home in which I reside -- so, climate controlled and not abused.

If you wish to berate someone, take it elsewhere.  I purchased from a juggernaut specifically for their lifetime return policy.  And I am perfectly happy to spread the wealth to other outfitters now that this policy has changed.  

I am a co-op, dividend-earning member.  If you don't like that I get to express my disappointment, that's too bad.  This is America, Robert66.  And I find you far from a "Happy Camper". 

I am not trying to return a pair of worn out boots or crapy gear that received a lifetime of use.  I am trying to take up a company on their offered lifetime warranty when I bought my items and felt in no hurry to return the damaged goods HUNDREDS OF MILES FROM WHERE I LIVE !BECAUSE OF! THEIR LIFETIME WARRANTY. 

Not everyone has an REI in their backyard, Robert.

I am a happy camper and there’s nobody here stopping you from expressing your opinions. But you shouldn’t be surprised by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to your request. If you choose not to shop at REI anymore that’s your prerogative but you’ll still be at a loss. 


It is because of people like you that they can no longer offer their lifetime guarantee. Too many people were abusing their guarantee, just as you tried to do. Thank you for ruining it for the rest of us. 13 years for a pair of sandals?? 4 years for a pair of  heavy boots?? Your expectations are completely unrealistic. If you want a pair of boots that will last you indefinitely then invest in a pair of Goodyear welted full-grain leather boots that will set you back $250-500. Even with GYW boots you still need to take them in to be resoled once you wear out the rubber on the bottom for about $50-150.

This is our friendly reminder that we encourage active discourse and are happy for folks to disagree, so long as the responses remain respectful. Our User Guidelines state, "Keep your tone positive and your comments constructive. Do not use the REI Digital Community to publicly disparage others." So, feel free to keep debating our return policy, but please do so without targeting individuals in your responses!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.