Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Economy | By

LL Bean to End Unlimited Returns, Citing Customer Misuse

LL Bean to End Unlimited Returns, Citing Customer Misuse

But starting on Friday, the company will only take back products if they are returned within one year of the purchase date, with proof of purchase. "The numbers are staggering", Steve Smith, the company's CEO, told The Associated Press. "It's not reasonable. And it's not fair to our customers". On Friday, on Facebook, L. L. Bean announced a change to its return policy. "Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", the statement read.

The company is also imposing a $50 minimum for free shipping as part of a belt-tightening that includes a workforce reduction through early retirement incentives and changes in workers' pension plans.

As shoppers began to drift toward e-commerce, many retailers tried to retain them by offering extended return policies with extremely forgiving terms.

L.L. Bean customers no longer get to return their Bean Boots whenever they want. Of those returns, an estimated 6.5 percent, or $22.8 billion worth of merchandise, were thought to include shoplifted goods, items bought with stolen money, products backed by counterfeit receipts, and other forms of fraud or abuse. Thus the satisfaction guarantee was born. The guarantee covered the item's full lifetime. See what we meant by generous? The company is expecting backlash but promises to "continue to honor one of the best guarantees in retail".

So what's the new policy? "And we weren't allowed to confront them about it".

Others were not so understanding of the change. Ms. Pikowski said she had worked at an L.L. Bean store in Danbury, Conn., during breaks from college, as recently as 2015. "It doesn't change my opinion of the company at all". Once, I stood behind an older man who produced for an employee a handheld sonar fish-finder that clearly predated my birth, and which appeared to have been sold no later than Ronald Reagan's first Presidential term.


The company will now accept returns for any reason only for one year, with proof of purchase.

"Destroy quality" items are destined for the landfill.

Now, items will only be covered for one year.

If you still haven't gotten around to returning your blown-out L.L.Bean flannels from the 90s, then you're too late.

For decades, the outdoors brand has let customers return apparel and shoes with dissatisfactory quality whether it's been 10 days or 10 years- with hardly any questions asked. They ended up walking away with a $350 gift card. After that, customers can only return an item if it proves defective. "It's not as good as unlimited, but still good", he said.

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