LL Bean Changes Lifetime Guarantee to One-Year Return Policy

McKinneMike

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.

Are you one of those people who maybe stretches the definition of a "lifetime warranty" to mean, well, your lifetime?

It will also no longer accept products that have endured circumstances including misuse or pet damage, excessive wear and tear, loss or damage due to natural disasters as well as "habitual abuse of the company's return policy".

But even in the face of getting ripped off by its own customers, there was something sort of. wonderful. about the policy.

"Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent", wrote Shawn O. Gorman, the executive chairman of L.L.Bean, in an email today.

"I had people who would come in, explaining their family member had passed away, and they wanted to return all of their old camping supplies from the '70s and '80s", said GearJunkie employee and former REI staffer Emily Reed.

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The "100% satisfaction guaranteed" required no receipt or proof of purchase and L.L. Bean offered to exchange or get a replacement for even the oldest and most beat-up items a customer said they were unhappy with, whether they'd actually bought the items from L.L. Bean, or just picked 'em up at a garage sale. After one year, the company said it will "work with customers to reach a fair solution if the product is defective in any way". Read on for the entire text.

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

"Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy". After that, customers can only return an item if it proves defective.

This American Life dug into L.L. Bean's legendary return policy - listen to it here.

Gorman says the updated return policy still stands as "one of the best guarantees in retail". To learn more, please view our full return policy at llbean.com.

"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. Thank you for being a loyal customer and we look forward to continuing to inspire and enable you to Be an Outsider.

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