LL Bean Kicks Its Lifetime Return Policy

L.L. Beans boots on a wooden surface with a plaid blanket

LL Bean Kicks Its Lifetime Return Policy

L.L. Bean's generous return policy is going to be a little less forgiving: The company, which has touted its 100 percent satisfaction guarantee for more than a century, is imposing a one-year limit on most returns to reduce growing abuse and fraud. Internal surveys indicate 85 percent of customers are OK with the new return policy, he said. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective". Now, customers will only be able to return products purchased in the prior 12 months, or those that have a manufacturing defect.

This American Life dug into L.L. Bean's legendary return policy -.

L.L. Bean has been considering changing the policy since at least February of a year ago, and is now making the change because some of us don't deserve the company's longstanding good faith.

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L.L.Bean is known, by many of us, for three main things: duck boots, ads with golden retrievers, and a lifetime guarantee on its products.

"Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase", the letter confirms. The now-defunct lifetime return policy had been in place for 106 years. "We make great stuff and we stand behind great stuff", Smith said.

Others were not so understanding of the change. People abusing the system.

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Indeed, Matt Powell of NDP Group, a third-party marketing firm that specializes in tracking retail sales, corroborates that "returns are one of the most expensive transactions that a retailer goes through today". It let generations of customers know that if they became unsatisfied with a purchase for any reason, at any point, L.L.Bean was willing to accept the item back. 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. Notably, the option for "repair" means that not all returns at Patagonia stores end in the customer walking out with a brand new product, sometimes just their refurbished old one. "I've been embarrassed for your associates when I've been in line seeing customers take advantage of the guarantee".

L.L. Bean blames social media and its own marketing tactics for increased abuse of the program.

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