L.L.Bean has been in business a long time — since 1911 — and in those 106 years, it's developed an excellent reputation. Sure, you might pay a little more for its products, but they're usually quality items. And if they weren't? Well, L.L.Bean had your back with its legendary return policy.
After some rumblings last year, we couldn't help but speculate about whether that policy would stay in place. Unfortunately, the verdict is in, and L.L.Bean is doing away with those generous returns.
No More Lifetime Product Guarantee
Until now, customers have been able to return products that were years or even decades old. It's always been a practice that L.L.Bean took pride in, even if some shoppers might have been a little too liberal with their interpretation of the guarantee.
Just last year, a writer for Business Insider tested the policy by trying to return four-year-old shoes. He was successful, despite the fact that he didn't even have to show proof of purchase. And that's why the policy is changing.
Why It's Changing Now
L.L.Bean sent letters to customers recently. In it, the outdoor gear company noted that "a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent." Translation? Some shoppers were trying to scam the company.
These scams included seeking refunds for heavily worn products that had been used for several years, which (in theory) had served their purpose and were just in need of being retired. Others went so far as to purchase items from garage sales, and then try to return them for a refund. Thanks to this kind of abuse, L.L.Bean didn't feel the guarantee could stay in place as-is.
What is the New Policy?
So, how has the policy changed? It now states that if customers aren't 100% satisfied with a product, they have one year after purchase to return it, and they must have a receipt in order to do so. Does that mean you're just out of luck if your purchase was more than a year ago? Not necessarily.
L.L.Bean has also said it will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship. But if your boots are worn out because you went hiking every Saturday for 5 years? Maybe just suck it up and buy a new pair.
Readers, are you fans of L.L.Bean? How do you plan to cope with this drastic change? Let us know in the comments below.