FAQs regarding REI's recent store closures

REI Community Manager
REI Community Manager
18 0 405K
Last updated: 5/22/2020
Across the co-op, we look forward to assisting you. With our stores temporarily closed, we have been receiving more customer inquiries than usual and you may experience longer wait times. Thank you for your patience as we work to assist you as quickly and safely as possible.



Q: When will REI stores reopen?

A: After two months of temporary closures, we have begun reopening our stores – just in time to celebrate our 82nd anniversary. In some places, ‘opening’ means curbside service. In others, our doors are open for a limited number of customers. In every case, we are taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities.

Q: When my local REI reopens, can I expect employees will be wearing face coverings and will I be required to do so?

A: Employees are required to wear face coverings while in REI locations, including stores, distribution centers and any location being staffed by employees who are deemed ‘essential personnel.’ We are also asking all customers to wear face coverings while at an REI store and will be providing disposable face coverings for anyone who does not have one. This is a request, not a requirement (except where local mandate requires them), but we are asking our community to take this simple action to keep our employees and their fellow customers safe and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Q: As REI stores begin to reopen, are there any delays I should expect?

A: We like to be transparent, so we want to let you know that due to higher-than-usual demand and contacts, our return processing times, inventory and deliveries, curbside pickup timeframes, phone and email responses are taking longer than we’d like. Specifically, shipping of bike orders may be delayed up to 3 weeks. You can always visit our Help Center for answers to many of your questions and please know that our goal is to continue to serve our valued co-op members and customers, fulfill orders to get your awesome gear to you, while keeping us all safe. Thanks for your patience! 

Q: How can I help the co-op during your store closures?

A: It’s questions like these that make us so proud to be part of the co-op community. Here is a letter from our CEO that suggests a few ways you can help the co-op during this time. The simplest way is to do what so many of you are already doing – continuing to be loyal REI customers. Another way is to join the co-op, if you’re not already a member. You can support a local outdoor non-profit organization through the Outdoor Emergency Fund. And finally, consider contributing to the 100 Million Mask Challenge.

Q: What else is REI doing to help during the current crisis?

A: REI has joined Protecting People Everywhere, a companion program that matches organizations that can donate PPE with local hospitals based on need. We are committing $100,000 to help get these medical professionals the protection they need.   



Q: What if I want to buy something? What if I need help with the fit of a new item?

A: We can help! REI.com and our contact center are still open for business, noting that we are experiencing delays in some aspects of our business and appreciate your patience as we work to safely get your awesome outdoor gear to you. For help deciding on a new item that may require a specific fit, like a bike, a pair of shoes, or a backpack, please sign up for a free virtual outfitting appointment at a time that's convenient for you! If all appointments are booked, please check back each evening as we are adding additional appointment slots on a daily basis.

Q: Can I pick up order in-store?

A: This depends a bit on where in the country you are. You can check for stores that are offering curbside pickup here, noting that we are adding stores frequently, so we’d encourage you to check back often for updates. We are experiencing a high volume of pickup orders and it is taking longer than usual for orders to be ready for pickup. We appreciate your patience as we fulfill as safely and responsibly as possible.



Q: What are my options for returning during REI’s store closures?

A: You have a few options for processing a return with us as our stores begin to reopen. You can always wait until your local store reopens, knowing that we have extended our return policy to ease concerns about returns timelines (see FAQ on return window for details). If waiting for your local store does not work for you, you can send your return back to us through the mail. Using our Returns Portal, you can print a return shipping label and return packing slip (some exclusions apply); find details for mailing your return in our Help Center.

Please note that we are receiving a higher-than-normal volume of returns so our processing window is a bit longer than normal; rest assured, we will issue refunds as quickly as we can.

Q: Why can’t I return an item curbside when I am able to pick something up curbside?

A: We are not yet offering curbside returns as this process is more complex and introduces additional risk for our employees and customers.

Q: I need to exchange an item. How can I do this while my local REI store is closed?

A: While your local REI store remains closed, there are 2 ways to process an exchange:

  • You can order the new item you want on REI.com and wait until your local REI store reopens to return the original item.
  • You can order the new items you want on REI.com and mail the original item back to us for a refund (return instructions via mail).

If your exchange has any specific pricing consideration (ex: application of a coupon, difference in price, use of your dividend), please call us at 1-800-426-4840 for assistance.

Q: What if I miss my return window because my local store has not yet reopened?

A: With most of our stores temporarily closed to customers, we’ve updated our return policy so any electronics purchased after 12/15/19 (and therefore hitting the 90-day mark while we’re closed) and any other merchandise purchases after 3/15/19 (and therefore hitting the 1-year mark while we’re closed) may be returned once our stores reopen and are accepting returns. Everything else is subject to our standard return policy.

Q: I’m shopping for a bike but have heard that shipping is taking longer than usual – what can I expect?

A: The extended closure of our retail stores has created unprecedented operational disruption at the co-op. This means that some items, in particular bikes which must be assembled by our trained bike technicians before we ship them to you, may be delayed, although we have adjusted our estimated arrival dates to be as accurate as possible. As mentioned above, shipping of bike orders may be delayed up to 3 weeks. We are continuing to ramp up our bike assembly capabilities and expect this additional support will help keep our bike delivery windows within reason. We will continue to closely monitor our delivery timelines and will work to provide more accurate and up-to-date communication along the way, if needed. 



Q: What are my options for bike service while my local REI store remains closed?

A: While your local REI store remains closed, we recognize that you may need a little help putting a new bike together or fixing an existing bike that needs a little work.

  • For new bike assembly, we have an REI Expert Advice bike assembly video that will walk you through the couple of steps required to get you ready to ride!
  • At select stores, we are offering zero-contact bike shop services at select stores by appointment only. If your local store is listed on this page, you can call them between 10am-4pm for appointment availability and instructions. Please note these appointments are for bike repair only – we are not able to sell you any new products (unless they are required to complete the repair) nor are we able to process any returns or order pickups. Please direct any questions about returns and product purchases to our Customer Service team and they will be happy to assist you. If your store is not currently listed, please continue to check back as we continue to add stores nationwide.
  • If your local store is not yet able to offer appointments, or you would prefer remote assistance with a technical question, please email our team of bike technicians at cyclinghelp@rei.com. We will connect with you within a few days.

Q: What does this mean for a past-due rental return?

A: Although some stores are beginning to reopen in a limited capacity, we are not yet ready to accept returns of past-due rentals. Once your local REI store reopens fully, please work with that team to return your rentals. We are pausing all late fees during our closure.



Q: I am confirmed for a local experience/event/tour/class in my community. Is that cancelled?

A: All of our local experiences, events, tours and classes are cancelled until further notice. Registered attendees of paid programs will receive a 100% refund. To provide you with flexibility in your plans through the summer, if you wish to cancel or transfer due to health or safety concerns related to COVID-19, REI will waive our 48-hour cancellation requirement.

Q: My local experience/event/tour/class was cancelled but I have not seen my refund. What should I do?

A: If your class is in the next week, please email customer-support@rei.com with your registration confirmation number, date of your event/class, your name and your email address. If your class is not for a few weeks, we would greatly appreciate your patience as we process a large amount of refunds.

Q: Does this have any implications for REI’s adventure travel business?

A: For a number of weeks, REI Adventure Travel has been proactively communicating with guests about COVID-19 to answer questions and help them prepare for their active vacations. We have also been monitoring updates from the U.S. State Department, CDC, and WHO and keeping in contact with our local teams for updates.

Increasingly, there are ever-changing entry and exit requirements for many countries and travel restrictions are being implemented without notice. As a result, we are discontinuing all domestic and international trip operations through July 5th and working directly with affected travelers.

The decision to travel is a personal one. REI is currently waiving any change and cancellation fees for any guest who wishes to cancel or transfer to another trip or date due to travel health or safety concerns related to COVID-19.