Shopping at REI? You should definitely be familiar with the REI return policy. The more I learn about their returns system, the more I am impressed. Who gives you a whole year to return something?
In this article, we’ll review everything covered in the official policy from shoes to bikes to used gear, and prep you for everything you’ll need to complete your return.
And don’t forget to download the official KCL app for even more store tips and hacks.
1. The REI return policy gives you a year for almost everything.
I recently did an REI online order for a pair of New Balance running shoes. They didn’t fit quite right. Luckily, the REI return policy for shoes and almost all other products allows you to make returns for up to a year.
2. The REI Outlet return policy is identical.
Some stores have separate return policies for their outlet stores. REI does not.
3. Even if you’ve used or opened your item, you still have a year to return it.
You’ve still got a year to return your REI gear even if you’ve opened it and tried it out. You need a good reason for the return, though. Like maybe you bought some hiking boots that gave you blisters or you were too tall for that bike you purchased.
But you can’t just return an item because it’s experienced normal wear and tear or because it malfunctioned after you used it improperly.
4. Make sure your returns are clean.
Those hiking boots that gave you blisters? Make sure you’ve cleaned the mud off of them before taking them in. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make the return.
5. You can return defective, REI-branded products whenever.
No time limit. If it’s an REI brand product and there’s a manufacturing or workmanship defect, you can return it whenever, regardless of purchase date.
6. Do your REI returns on electronics within 90 days.
While you can do most of your REI returns within a year, outdoor electronics have different rules. Here’s some of the outdoor electronics you’ve only got 90 days to return:
- GPS-enabled devices
- Activity monitors
- Emergency communication devices
- Bike trainers
7. The REI used gear return policy gives you 30 days to do a return.
You can save a lot buying REI used gear. I even saw some hiking boots that would’ve usually been $180 for just over $50 used.
But the only downside is the REI used gear return policy doesn’t give you a full year. You’ve got 30 days to return your used REI gear, so definitely don’t wait too long.
8. You can’t return anything from the REI Garage Sale.
While I’m a fan of the REI return policy, there are a couple of restrictions. Anything you get from in-store REI Garage Sales can’t be returned at all.
9. You also can’t return final sale items.
Final sale items include:
- The fee for your REI Co-op Membership.
- Lift tickets.
- Gift cards.
10. You don’t need a paper receipt if you have proof of purchase.
Lose your receipt? Yeah, I’ve done it too. Luckily, the REI return policy allows you to make a return without a physical or digital receipt as long as you have another proof of purchase.
If you are an REI Co-op member, the store associate can easily bring up your purchase history, or you can look it up online. If you ordered online, you should have received an online order number which can serve as proof of purchase.
If you’re not an REI Co-op member, you will need a physical or digital receipt. If you’re making your purchase in-store, you can have a digital receipt emailed to you at checkout, which I totally recommend in case of a future return.
11. Online orders can be returned in-store.
The REI return policy allows you to return items ordered online in-store. You may want to use this strategy if you need to exchange your product quickly, or if you want your refund faster. Mailing in your return can delay when it’s processed, so it will take you longer to get your money back.
12. In-store purchases can be returned via mail.
Most stores don’t allow you to return in-store purchases via mail. But REI does!
Here’s the information you’ll need:
- Date of purchase.
- Store number.
- Transaction number.
- Register number.
- REI member number.
- Your contact information.
13. There is a fee for return shipping.
Whether you purchased online or in-store, there is a return shipping fee per REI’s return policy. This fee is always subject to change, but as of February 2022 it’s $5.99. This fee will be deducted from the refund you receive when you return your order.
14. The shipping fee is larger for bulkier items.
When you’re returning a larger item, the shipping fee jumps up. The standard is currently $21.95, and includes items like:
- Single joggers and strollers.
- Bicycle trainers.
If your item is more than 32 pounds, you could be charged even more for shipping based on weight.
15. These oversized items must be returned in-store.
There are some items you simply cannot return via mail. For example, the REI return policy for bikes states that you must make the return in-store or privately contract with a mail carrier to ship these items to REI and pay all the shipping costs yourself.
But in most cases it’s way easier – and definitely more affordable – to just make the return in-store.
Other items that cannot be returned via mail/the REI online portal include:
- Double joggers and strollers.
- Car-top boxes.
- Roof-top tents.
16. Return orders with gift receipts in-store or via mail.
If you’re giving someone a gift from REI, make sure to give them a gift receipt, too! Otherwise, they’ll need your original receipt, membership information, or order number to complete their return.
Your giftee can even return the item by mail – if they’re willing to cover the shipping costs upfront. If they do the return via mail, any refund will be issued to them as a personal check in about 3 weeks.
17. You can get coupon refunds in the form of store credit.
Whether or not each individual coupon is refunded to you is a matter you’ll have to sort out at the cash register.
But when REI does refund purchases made with a voucher, gift card or coupon – or any other method of payment that’s not a credit or debit card – they do so via merchandise credit.
Plus, if you used a coupon on your REI order and do an exchange, they’ll likely honor the deal of the original coupon. Call their agents at (800) 436-4840 to give it a shot.
The REI return policy is definitely one to get excited about. What are your experiences? Drop them in the comments below!