LLBean scraps its awesome return policy because customers are terrible

10 February, 2018, 09:50 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • LL Bean

L.L.Bean, the venerable ME retailer of rustic boots and clothes, is ending its long-running, no questions asked return policy. "Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years". The company's returns page now reads: "If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund". 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.

In recent years the company has taken steps to appeal to a hipper, less outdoorsy clientele., L.L. Bean has been "looking to really create a new updated fit and style".

Gorman said the policy changes will affect only a small percentage of returns. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective".

It turns out that more and more customers, unbowed by any sense of shame, are bringing back worn out items they've used for years and expecting their money back.

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The brand penned a letter on Friday announcing a major update to its policy, and no longer will you be able to trade in a 20-year-old Bean Boots for a pair of brand-new shoes.

But when the move to end unlimited returns was first floated a year ago, it coincided with other cost-cutting measures at the privately-held firm, including freezing pensions and offering employees early retirement, as the Boston Globe reported. It represented a vestige of quality, goodness, and integrity that American manufacturing is supposed to be known for - and it lived on at this one company, in a world dominated by industrial chintziness. Abuse of the generous return policy with no time limit has accelerated thanks to people sharing their return stories on social media, they said.

"The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact".

"The financial impact is remarkable-in the last five years, the rate has doubled on such returns and in that five years, has cost us approximately $250 million", a spokesperson for the company says. 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.

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