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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


22 Replies

This change in return policy is a mistake and the 13 year old Chacos is a bad example to use to justify it.  What about the person who bought an expensive pair of winter hiking boots and wore them 3 or 4 times over 2 years and then had a problem?  Or a pair of showshoes, how often do they get used?  Or a pricey bike rack or sleeping bag?  When you make purchases like these and pay 100s of dollars you expect they're going to last at least a few years if not longer (especially if use of the equipment is infrequent).  Isn't the value proposition when buying premium equipment that you get quality that lasts?  Premium equipment generally holds up well but there are times when it fails prematurely.  The peace of mind I got knowing my purchases from REI had backing is what kept me loyal for decades.  I've made hundreds of purchases with returns in the single digits over more than 20 years.  With that security gone I'm going to have a hard time paying more at REI for an item I can find cheaper elsewhere.  I understand REI's dilemma but the solution is leaving me feeling like a transaction rather than a member.


Hi @brian0wens - One of the reasons are so excited about this community is the ability to hear directly from our customers on matters that are important to them. 

We have taken note of your feedback on our current return policy and hear your frustrations. We hope you will continue to find value in the benefits of being a co-op member despite our one year satisfaction guarantee not meeting your expectations.

Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. 

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


Premium equipment generally holds up well but there are times when it fails prematurely.  The peace of mind I got knowing my purchases from REI had backing is what kept me loyal for decades.

It seems to me that REI's warranty does cover your purchases in these sorts of situations while at the same time excluding situations like the 13-year-old Chacos. From The REI Difference

REI's guarantee doesn't cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accidents.

If your item has a manufacturing defect in its materials or workmanship, you can return it at any time.


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