I too, had a mail order return I would have brought to a store; in spite of living 1.5hrs drive from either of the closest stores to me.
So yesterday I was in phone contact with a Customer Service Representative. I consider myself to be a low key and affable person; but my experience was unpleasant at best, by my personal impression.
I’m retired, on limited income and was seeking guidance and support to return an as new condition Quarter Dome 1 tent (used one night only), so that I could essentially exchange (with dividend & 20% coupon) to the new Flash 1 tent; which I feel would work better for my needs.
In summary, the rep declared that my situation to do the return, as store access isn’t available, was not associated with a hardship, ie corona virus; and that if I wanted to do the return, it was my cost responsibility.
Almost an adversarial back and forth, she needed to “educate me” to policy. I found her manner to be rather patronizing and dismissive.
Finally, she grudgingly offered a UPS return voucher. But said it was a courtesy, a one time exception; and that she would note this in my customer file.
I want to be transparent, as to prior purchases and several returns. As I live at a distance from a store, I have bought and found it necessary to return items at times; as most all purchases were done online and usually because it was a sale or discounted item and free shipping was usually included. Until I could appraise how the item would work for me, I usually couldn’t establish that because I don’t travel that far to get to a store to see the item in person.
I’ve been really impressed and happy with REI, ie, products, education, community, etc. But this incident has left a bad taste in my mouth.
The Rep. placing some citation on my file is demeaning, and I would like that removed.
During irregular and mostly infrequent visits to a store, I found the staff to be wonderful and of utmost help.
If I were to encounter the experience I had yesterday again, either in store or telephone customer service, I think I would seriously consider ending my membership with REI.