LL Bean ends lifetime return policy after abuse by customers

LL Bean SHoes

Dennis Green Business Insider

The company, which began reviewing its policy last year, has now updated its site to read: "If you are not 100 percent satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund". Today, that policy died.

Gorman said the company will work with customers to reach a fair solution beyond the one year limit. "Other seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as yard sales".

The guarantee has always been a selling point for Bean products. "The financial impact is remarkable", the spokesperson says.

In a letter from Executive Chairman Shawn O. Gorman posted to Facebook, he cited a problem with some customers who have exploited the policy as the reason for the shift in their "100% satisfaction guarantee".

L.L. Bean today announced it will no longer offer lifetime returns or exchanges on products.

After a year, the company said it will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship, NPR said.

"I completely understand this decision, but it still makes me a little sad", comments Cathy.

From now on, products only can be returned if they were bought within 12 months or have a manufacturing defect. The previous lifetime guarantee, which enabled customers to return products years - or even decades - after purchase, has always been a selling point for the company. People abusing the system. Per their original return policy, REI would replace returned items with either a new product or a gift card, entirely at the company's own cost. It was outrageously generous, and basically unparalleled among retailers-and now it's gone. The now-defunct lifetime return policy had been in place for 106 years.

This update adds clarity to our policy and will only affect a small percentage of returns. Take Patagonia: the California-based apparel maker has an Ironclad Guarantee, which ensures that customers unsatisfied with the product they've bought can bring it back for "repair, replacement, or refund". I kept those boots for years, and when the soles on them finally wore down, I dutifully boxed them up, filled out the return form and waited for the replacement pair to arrive a few weeks later. But as This American Life reported in a 2016 segment, employees were specifically instructed to not contest these explanations, or press customers at all; they're told to just accept even clearly worn and loved products customers claim "didn't live up to expectations of quality", always with a smile.

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