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REI Guarantee


GadgetNerdly
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I recently purchased a 62s from ebay. I love it. Well today a fellow cacher told me I had made a mistake not buying it from REI. His reasoning why is the satisfaction guarantee. He informed that whenever a new model he wants comes out he just returns his old GPSr and uses the refund to buy the new model. That way he doesn't lose any money buy trying to sell his old unit. Even after years of using the same gps he just returns it and gets back all of the money it originally cost him.

 

It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

My questions are. Is REI's guarantee really that good to where a item you have used for years can still be returned? and is it actually common practice for people to abuse the system like that? Maybe I'm just being weird about it

 

*EDIT* Sorry I just noticed I posted this in the wrong section

Edited by The NoBodies
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I know they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee but I didn't realize it was return forever. I doubt this is true as there has to be some limit but it wouldn't surprise me. I know Costco does this as well. I have a friend who returned a TV literally 5 years for a full swap to a newer model for free. Who knows how they can get away with that and still stay in business.

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REI has no limits on their return policy. When I go and try to get a good deal on returned items at the sratch and dent sale it amazes me just what some people return. Boots that look like they've been worn for 20 yers, returned. Shirts with holes and worn spots that look like they've been worn for years, returned. Yes, REI's policy is to allow it but that doesn't make it right. It's unethical at best and REI employees know it. My pet peeve is people taking advantage of and sucking off the system. His taking advantage of the system means higher prices for everyone else. Your friend has an ethics problem in my opinion. But hey, REI let's him do it so as long as it's cool with him why should I care. They do keep a record of that kind of thing and me personally, I would feel my nerve. No you're not being wierd about it, you just have a conscience. And no, it's not normal for people to abuse the system.

 

My opinion of course. I'm sure some of you would argue that he's just being smart and you should only look out for #1. Well, you have an argument there, I guess. It's just lame.

Edited by yogazoo
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I think REI has an outstanding satification guarentee. That is why I buy my GPSs there evem if it is more expensive. They will honor stuff longer than the manfucature warenty. When my CO fell apart after it had been discontnnied, REI refunded my money and I bought a 550T. What I wanted was to exchnage it for a new CO, but that was not possible. In hindsight, I am glad they no longer had the CO. While I would not do as the OP described, if I pay over 600 for something and it does not last as long as I think it should, I will take it back to REI

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For the record this guy is in no shape or form my friend. Just a fellow cacher hunting the same trails I was. His attitude about me not buying from REI so I could cheat the system instantly made him become someone I would not want to associate with in the future. I do agree that people doing what he does has got to effect other people some how. REI has to be passing those costs on to other buyers in some form. If they weren't I dont see how they could remain in business.

 

I think it is awesome REI has that great of a return policy and in a way I do wish I had paid the little extra to get that guarantee, but it sucks knowing people out there are taking advantage of it.

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REI has a great policy, but I am not going to rip myself off. You see, it is a co-op, and that means we share the profits...through dividends. Now, I don't audit this to see I am getting ripped off through accounting practices, but I have been a member for 38 years and have been satisfied with what I am getting there. Yes, I did get the PN40 there on sale for $250, and hmmm...should I trade up for the PN60? It will cost me some more money though...Na...don't think so.

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I originally bought a 60CSx from REI. After about a year of use, the plastic on the power button on top had ripped and I could no longer turn the device on/off. I took it in and they gave me a full refund, which I used to buy a Oregon 550t. I hated the 550t. I didn't like the touch screen, or the menus, or the screen brightness, anything really. But I figured I wouldn't return it because I had already got 2 GPS for the price of one.

 

This April, I went into REI to look at the the 62s. Not buy, just look. The salesman asked me what I was currently using, and I told him my story. I had the 550t in my backpack at the time. The salesman almost forced me to turn it in and take the 62s when I told him I wasn't happy with the 550t, but didn't want to return it since I felt like I would be ripping the company off.

 

So I have basically gotten 3 GPSRs for the price of 1. The first was definitely legitimate, and the second was highly encouraged by the salesman. Overall, I highly recommend REI. I will always buy my GPSRs there. (Although, when it comes time to get a new one, I will pay for it unless something goes wrong with my 62s within 3 years or so)

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Interesting.

 

Everything that was said about REI could equally apply to MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) up here in Canada. Same idea, same bend-over-backwards return policy, just a different country and name,

 

I always think about that when I go annually to re-buy the same pair of boots. They're wonderful boots, but they don't last more than a year and they give Gore-Tex a bad name. But I can't bring myself to plop my worn-out pair on the returns counter and hope for the best. I realise I have to take at least some of the blame; I did go a lot of places in those boots.

 

But yeah, after a year they're pretty beat up, and they leak like a sieve. A dilemma.

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While I don't take advantage of it to the extent some folks have described here, I wouldn't look down on anyone who does. I don't see it as an ethical problem. REI made this part of their business model. They know some people will take advantage of it, but must figure that goodwill (and extra business) it generates is worth the overall cost.

 

If REI decides people are taking unfair advantage, they'll change their business model. Hasn't happened yet.

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Just imagine if everyone bought thier GPS from REI and whenever a new model came out everyone would just return it and get the new one. It's a good thing not everyone is that lame.

 

It's kind of like throwing trash out of your car window. If everyone did it it would really suck and just because not everyone does it doesn't make the guy who does any less of an A-bag.

Edited by yogazoo
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So does REI do this for all of their products or just GPS units? And there is no restocking fee? How in the heck do they stay in business????

Everything. Except during their sales (which can be very good indeed), they get better margins than others selling the same kind of gear, so they can afford to take the hit.
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So does REI do this for all of their products or just GPS units? And there is no restocking fee? How in the heck do they stay in business????

Everything. Except during their sales (which can be very good indeed), they get better margins than others selling the same kind of gear, so they can afford to take the hit.

 

Thats amazing. I was looking online and they even do this to Internet orders. You can mail the item back to them for a refund. I can't believe I missed this until now. I will deficiently take advantage of this "feature" because I am a huge early adopter and am often left with tons of electronics I don't even use anymore.

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So the satisfaction guarantee doesn't apply to on sale items? I keep hearing about the $100 off sale that REI did on the 62s a couple of months ago. All those people that took advantage of that sale wont get the guarantee? Just curious because that would be kind of disappointing for all of them.

 

I am now tempted to contact the ebay seller and see about returning my 62s. Not to try to get ahead some how it would just be nice to have a longer warranty. I always have had bad luck with them. The stuff I buy always seems to last until a week after the warranty ends and then falls a part. With something as expensive as these GPS units it would be nice to know it will last for years. It sounds like if you buy from REI you will without a doubt get years out of your GPSr.

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So the satisfaction guarantee doesn't apply to on sale items?

The satisfaction guarantee applies to everything they sell.

 

Perhaps CacheFreakTim and ECAnderson's back and forth was confusing? Read their discussion this way:

 

Q1: Do they offer their guarantee on everything?

A1: Everything.

Q2: How do the stay in business?

A2: Except during their sales, they get better margins than others selling the same kind of gear.

 

And I agree with ECAnderson's comments. REI sells an awful lot more than just GPS gear. In spite of their sometimes very attractive sales, overall they are more expensive than a lot of places. I bought a very nice Canondale bike there last year -- on sale, but still expensive, but it was the exact model I wanted. I don't plan to return it for a refund, but I'm pretty sure their guarantee would allow for that. And that's precisely why I buy from them, because they offer outstanding service and commitment with no fine-print exclusions, weasel words, or other BS.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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So the satisfaction guarantee doesn't apply to on sale items?

The satisfaction guarantee applies to everything they sell.

 

Perhaps CacheFreakTim and ECAnderson's back and forth was confusing? Read their discussion this way:

 

Q1: Do they offer their guarantee on everything?

A1: Everything.

Q2: How do the stay in business?

A2: Except during their sales, they get better margins than others selling the same kind of gear.

 

Oh ok now I see that. My eyes read faster than my brain processes sometimes lol Thanks for clearing that up for me.

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I bought a very nice Canondale bike there last year -- on sale, but still expensive, but it was the exact model I wanted. I don't plan to return it for a refund, but I'm pretty sure their guarantee would allow for that. And that's precisely why I buy from them, because they offer outstanding service and commitment with no fine-print exclusions, weasel words, or other BS.

Interesting, I just bought a Novara Ponderosa at REI, and my fingers are getting numb. I was told that if I wanted to lengthen the handlebar stem for a better fit it would cost me $60. At the moment, I'm in for $30 for improved handle bar grips. Of course, if they don't solve the problem, I can return them for a full refund.

Edited by seldom_sn
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One more thing that is not clear by looking at the website. Do they give you cash back or store credit when you do the return.

"Cash" or the more likely equivalent - refund back to your credit card. Inferred from multiple references on on their website, like these:

- "In a hurry? You can expedite an exchange by placing a new order with your bank card and returning the unwanted merchandise for credit."

- "REI-OUTLET.com stock changes quickly. As a result, we may not be able to make requested exchanges. If this is the case, we will credit your bank card for the purchase amount."

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...I just bought a Novara Ponderosa at REI, and my fingers are getting numb. I was told that if I wanted to lengthen the handlebar stem for a better fit it would cost me $60. At the moment, I'm in for $30 for improved handle bar grips. Of course, if they don't solve the problem, I can return them for a full refund.

Funny, I was thinking about a different seat AND grips for the Canondale. Maybe I should just take the bike back for a refund and go buy one of these from a local dealer.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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The one thing that REI will not refund is items purchased at their used gear sales. When you return a used item to them, they turn around and sell it at a huge garage sale of returned goods. Those items are marked with X's in permanent marker, and can not be returned for any reason.

 

That's how I got my Garmin Dakota 20 backup GPS for $60. Someone just didn't like the small screen after using it for a month, thing was basically still brand new. Just a big X on the back of it.

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It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

 

seriously, taking advantage of a store's own policy is borderline theft? :blink:

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It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

 

seriously, taking advantage of a store's own policy is borderline theft? :blink:

 

Pshaw, that's not what he said. C'mon now.

 

He said boderline theft. It's right there in the quote!

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It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

 

seriously, taking advantage of a store's own policy is borderline theft? :blink:

 

This is where I'm shaking my head.

People knowingly pay extra money because of the great return policy, but then don't take advantage of the policy because, they feel doing so would be unethical. And someone is asking how REI can make money? Seems pretty obvious to me.

Edited by Don_J
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This is where I'm shaking my head.

People knowingly pay extra money because of the great return policy, but then don't take advantage of the policy because, they feel doing so would be unethical. And someone is asking how REI can make money? Seems pretty obvious to me.

Let me know if this has you shaking your head...

 

Consumer buys digital camera at Costco. Consumer uses camera on vacation. Consumer is done with camera, removes SD card, and returns camera to Costco for full refund. Camera is returned to manufacturer where it must undergo inspection and repackaging and might be sold at cost as a refurb - but of course, the shipping and inspection costs have to be subtracted from that. Net loss. Result: manufacturer hates dealing with Costco. Prices increased for everyone.

 

But it's just Costco's policy, right?

 

There's a big difference between "taking advantage" and "taking advantage".

Edited by ecanderson
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This is where I'm shaking my head.

People knowingly pay extra money because of the great return policy, but then don't take advantage of the policy because, they feel doing so would be unethical. And someone is asking how REI can make money? Seems pretty obvious to me.

Let me know if this has you shaking your head...

 

Consumer buys digital camera at Costco. Consumer uses camera on vacation. Consumer is done with camera, removes SD card, and returns camera to Costco for full refund. Camera is returned to manufacturer where it must undergo inspection and repackaging and might be sold at cost as a refurb - but of course, the shipping and inspection costs have to be subtracted from that. Net loss. Result: manufacturer hates dealing with Costco. Prices increased for everyone.

 

But it's just Costco's policy, right?

 

There's a big difference between "taking advantage" and "taking advantage".

 

I used to work at a Microcenter through college and we used to get retuned camera all the time. 90% of them were full of vacation/spring break pictures. Many of them contained "adult material" which made it super amusing.

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ECAnderson - problem with your Costco/camera analogy is that you assume this "net loss" on some units feeds forward into price increases and makes the manufacturers hate Costco. But there's significant margin built into the pricing model of all consumer goods that takes this into account beforehand. X number will be sold, some percentage will be returned defective, some will be returned because customer changes their mind, it will cost a certain amount to refurb and turn those products around, etc.

 

This same kind modeling is done ahead of time by REI -- which is why they usually charge top dollar for everything. Lots of folks still shop there even WITHOUT ever taking advantage (fiar or unfair) of the liberal return policy and don't complain about the price. And I don't think Garmin or DeLorme hate dealing with REI, either.

 

But that's just me staying on the original theme of REI and GPS units. Dunno about Costco or camera makers.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

 

seriously, taking advantage of a store's own policy is borderline theft? :blink:

 

Pshaw, that's not what he said. C'mon now.

 

He said boderline theft. It's right there in the quote!

 

either you can't read my post, bolded now, or i am missing whatever point you're trying to make

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ECAnderson - problem with your Costco/camera analogy is that you assume this "net loss" on some units feeds forward into price increases and makes the manufacturers hate Costco.

I worked for one of the manufacturers. The % of returned goods from Costco was higher than any of our other major accounts or distributors by far. Top A #1. The guys who yank the averages lower. Believe me, there's a higher cost of business associated with doing business with them, and that filters to the bottom line and you have to make it up on the other side.

 

We often privately wished it wasn't necessary to do business with them, but they were too big a part of the channel to ignore. The time and aggravation of dealing with the returns was expensive in its own right.

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It kind of shocked me that he admitted to doing that. In my opinion I view that as being a pretty crappy thing to do, almost like boderline theft. But he made it seem like the normal thing that everyone does.

 

 

seriously, taking advantage of a store's own policy is borderline theft? :blink:

 

Pshaw, that's not what he said. C'mon now.

 

He said boderline theft. It's right there in the quote!

 

either you can't read my post, bolded now, or i am missing whatever point you're trying to make

 

Nah, neither. My joke just snuck by you. He mis-spelled borderline "boderline". That's all.

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(re Costco/camera analogy ) ... I worked for one of the manufacturers. The % of returned goods from Costco was higher than any of our other major accounts or distributors by far ...

Ah well, you might have me there. I guess I'd have to fall back to wondering how relevant it is to compare the bulk/mass/discount merchandiser affects on manufacturers to that of a speciality, high-price retailer like REI -- for example, I'd love to find real data on things like how the percentage of returned GPSRs from REI compares to other retailers, and how/if it impacts Garmin and other GPS vendors.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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(re Costco/camera analogy ) ... I worked for one of the manufacturers. The % of returned goods from Costco was higher than any of our other major accounts or distributors by far ...

Ah well, you might have me there. I guess I'd have to fall back to wondering how relevant it is to compare the bulk/mass/discount merchandiser affects on manufacturers to that of a speciality, high-price retailer like REI -- for example, I'd love to find real data on things like how the percentage of returned GPSRs from REI compares to other retailers, and how/if it impacts Garmin and other GPS vendors.

You'd need an 'in' at Garmin to find out how things go for them there and elsewhere. Another thing that may also impact how this plays out is the difference in clientele at Costco vs REI and the fact that pretty much everyone knows Costco's policy and many have made it a target for 'gaming the system' for quite a long time.

 

Also note how many people were unaware of the REI policy. The less we talk about it, the less we'll be contributing to creating another Costco monster! :ph34r: Shhhh! :lol:

 

Whether this problem is significant for GPS manufacturers in particular - I honestly have no clue. I only know that the mentality that creates a lot of grief for manufacturers of some other electronic products exists and was being promoted by more than one post here - and I could personally confirm that it does move the cost of doing business where it occurs.

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I think that this conversation is kinda moo. Because when someone returns an item to REI, REI doesn't ship it back to the manufacturer. They re-sell it as a used gear item at their used gear sale for a massive discount. So why the manufacturer would give two shakes of a lambs tail is beyond me, they never see the stuff again.

 

Plus, REI has been in business for a good long time now. They've been listed as one of the best companies to work for more than a few times in their existence. I think they're doing ok, even with this long standing policy of no question returns.

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I use to work at a store that offered a 100% money back guarantee, no questions asked. Then they changed it to a 100% money back guarantee, no questions asked as long as you had a receipt. The thought was that if a customer had a problem with a product we would do what it takes to make them happy (with in reason) and then they would tell all their friends about how great we were. At the same time we also knew that a few would take advantage of this offer and they would tell their friends how they ripped us off and got the use of a lot of stuff for free. Either way the word went out on how great a place this was to shop. Over 95% of the people were honest about paying for what they used, and didn't return anything unless there was a problem. As far as that other 5%, that loss was part of the advertising budget.

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I've returned a few things over the years. Most recently my Garmin Legend, the rubber bumper came off (apparently a common problem), I had also slid down a mountain and scratched the screen, but I didn't return it for that reason.

I'm getting ready to send a pair of Chacos I bought in May. The rubber sole is separating from the upper sole and I haven't done any extreme to this pair (the green ones on the other hand.... those I should have had re-soled years ago but didn't).

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Buy it from the retailer you prefer, my Oregon 550t came from Cabelas, because it's a retailer I like and the deal was awesome(440$ sale 50$ rebate = 390$ for a 550$ device.) I'm expecting Ebayers have similar deals on occasion. I have to say with due caution, ebay is a solid marketplace. I have purchased high end camera equipment off ebay rather than the local shop, I don't know or want to know if the merchandise was hot, but hundreds of dollars of difference isn't worth thirty minutes of talking with a salesman.

 

Mostly you just have to know exactly what you want when buying an item unseen, no salesman. Electronics are going to a vending machine sales model in various areas, and I have no problem with that.

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