LL Bean ends lifetime return policy after abuse by customers

McKinneMike

L.L. Bean says the policy update will affect only a "small percentage" of returns and pledged to keep its mission of selling "high quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors".

"Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", the statement reads. Some took advantage of the lax return policy-seeking refunds for products that have been rigorously worn for 20 years or bought at garage sales. Customers will now have only one year to return an item - and that's with a receipt.

In a follow-up conversation with Outside, an L.L. Bean spokesperson elaborated that in the last five years, the percent of returns that violate the guarantee policy-which was created to protect customers who received defective products-had doubled to 15 percent, costing the company approximately $250 million.

L.L. Bean's selection of rugged jackets and hardy boots has grown in popularity in recent years, as vintage brands caught on with urban shoppers.

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So I was saddened, if not entirely shocked, to hear that L.L. Bean would be putting an end to its legendary policy effective February 9, 2018.

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

And the famed ME clothier says it's ending the century-old policy because some customers were abusing it.

The Freeport, Maine-based company will impose a one-year limit on returns, executives announced Friday.

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"As a lifetime loyal customer I'm surprised you didn't do this sooner", a Facebook user, Joe Gagne, wrote in a post on the company's page. Apparently, the offending returns recently cost the company more than the total annual revenue it receives from its flagship product, Bean boots. The company says if a product is defective, it will "work with our customers to reach a fair solution" even after a year.

"We make good money, but we're not rich and have to make very financially responsible decisions about where we spend our money", she said.

"L.L. Bean to us is a quality name, and that means they should stand by their word", Ms. Zaleski said. "But we have had a huge growth in abuse, and fraud, and a misinterpretation of that guarantee".

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