Will Change in REI’s Return Policy Affect Its Business?
You know, there are some people who, given an inch, will take a mile. According to REI, an increasing percentage of its customers fit that description and that’s why the company’s 100 percent satisfaction guarantee pledge has gone from having no time limits to being capped at one year.
"We saw a big disproportionate spike in products more than a year old being returned," Tim Spangler, senior vice president of retail for REI, told The Denver Post. "It’s not a big surprise to get returns more than a year old. But it was the fastest growing sector of returns for us. What we found were some legitimate returns in that group. But we saw a growing number of folks who appeared to be stretching the policy."
As a Seattle Times report made clear, the outdoors retailer has become known as "Rental Equipment Inc." as people have taken unfair advantage of its policy, including a mother who returned a stroller because her kids had gotten too big and a man who brought back a bike rack because it didn’t match his new car.
- REI return policy changes: Items must be returned within 1 year – The Denver Post
- REI now limiting returns to one year – The Seattle Times
Will REI see any change — good or bad — come from limiting returns to a year from the date of purchase? Is this something that others with generous return policies (Nordstrom, L.L.Bean, etc.) will need to do, as well?