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REI Return Policy: Comprehensive Guide for Hassle-Free Returns

Last updated 07/03/2024 by

Bamigbola Paul

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Fact checked by

REI’s return policy is known for its customer-friendly approach, offering a generous one-year return window for most items. Exceptions exist for outdoor electronics and items used outdoors, which have a 90-day return period. Understanding the specifics of REI’s return policy ensures a hassle-free experience when returning or exchanging products.

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What is REI’s return policy

REI, a prominent retailer in outdoor gear and apparel, provides a return policy that emphasizes customer satisfaction and flexibility. The standard one-year return period for most items allows customers ample time to assess their purchases. This article explores the nuances of REI’s return policy, detailing key points, exceptions, and tips to navigate the process efficiently.

Understanding REI’s return policy

REI’s return policy covers most items purchased in-store and online, offering a one-year return window for all customers. Customers can return items either in-store or by mail, depending on the nature of the purchase. This section will delve into the general guidelines and procedures for returning items to REI.

How to return an item to REI

Returning an item to REI is straightforward if you follow the proper steps. Here’s a detailed guide to ensure a smooth return process.

Steps for returning items

Check the return window

Ensure that your item is within the one-year return window for most products or the 90-day period for outdoor electronics and used items.

Prepare the item

Ensure the item is in new or like-new condition with all original packaging, manuals, and accessories. This preparation is crucial for the item to be accepted for return.

Gather proof of purchase

Have your receipt, order confirmation, or the credit card used for the purchase ready. This documentation helps verify the purchase and speeds up the return process.

Choose your return method

Decide whether to return the item in-store or by mail. For in-store returns, bring the item to the customer service desk. For mail returns, start the process on REI’s website and print the return shipping label.

Follow return instructions

For mail returns, follow the instructions provided online to package the item securely and send it back. For in-store returns, the staff will guide you through the process.

Receive your refund or exchange

Once the return is processed, you will receive a refund to your original form of payment or an exchange, based on your preference. Refunds typically take a few days to appear on your statement.

Exceptions to the standard return policy

While the standard return policy covers most items, certain categories have specific return conditions. Understanding these exceptions is crucial for a hassle-free return experience.

Outdoor electronics

Outdoor electronics, such as GPS devices, fitness trackers, and watches, must be returned within 90 days of purchase. Inspect these items upon delivery and report any issues immediately to ensure eligibility for return.

Items used outdoors

Items used outdoors, including tents, sleeping bags, and other camping gear, also have a 90-day return window. Ensure these items are returned in like-new condition with all original packaging and accessories.

Custom and special order items

Custom and special order items may not be eligible for return or may incur a restocking fee. It’s advisable to confirm the return policy for these items before completing the purchase.

Hazardous materials

Items classified as hazardous materials, such as certain chemicals and flammable products, have specific return conditions. Customers should contact REI’s customer service for guidance on returning these items safely.

Pro tip

Returning items to REI can be smooth and efficient if you follow these tips:
  • Always keep your receipt or proof of purchase handy.
  • Inspect items upon delivery to ensure they are in good condition.
  • Initiate returns for online purchases through REI’s website to get a return shipping label.
  • For large items like tents or bicycles, contact REI’s customer service for assistance with returns.


REI’s return policy is designed to be flexible and customer-friendly, accommodating a wide range of products and purchase situations. By understanding the specific return conditions for various items, customers can ensure a smooth and efficient return process. Whether returning a high-end outdoor electronic device or a simple camping accessory, having the necessary documentation and following the outlined procedures will help streamline the experience. REI’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in their comprehensive return policy, making it easier for customers to shop with confidence.

Frequently asked questions

Can I return an online purchase to any REI store?

Yes, most items purchased online at are eligible for return at any REI store location. Bring the item along with the packing slip or the digital receipt from your account to ensure a smooth return process.

What if I lost my receipt? Can I still return an item to REI?

REI offers flexibility for returns without a receipt, subject to their return policy discretion. In such cases, you may be eligible for a refund or exchange based on the item’s current selling price. Providing a valid, government-issued photo ID may be required.

Are there any items that have a different return period than the standard one year?

Yes, certain items like outdoor electronics and items used outdoors have different return periods. It’s crucial to verify the return policy for these specific items at the time of purchase or by consulting REI’s website.

How does REI handle returns of items purchased with a gift card?

When returning an item purchased with an REI gift card, the refund will generally be credited back to an REI gift card. This process ensures that you can conveniently use the refunded amount for future purchases either in-store or online.

Key takeaways

  • REI offers a one-year return window for most items, providing ample time for customers to return purchases.
  • Specific items like outdoor electronics and items used outdoors have a 90-day return period.
  • Proof of purchase, such as a receipt or online order number, is crucial for a smooth return process.
  • Items should be returned in new or like-new condition with all original packaging and accessories.
  • Customers can return items in-store or via mail, with instructions available on REI’s website for online purchases.
  • Special return conditions apply to items like custom orders and hazardous materials.
  • REI provides options for refunds or exchanges, typically processed to the original form of payment.

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