L.L.Bean's Popular Shipping and Return Policies Might Be in Danger

There's no official word yet, but your days of returning decade-old sweaters could be numbered.
L.L.Bean shipping price

L.L.Bean has built a reputation for quality items and friendly customer service. Currently, the outdoor retailer offers sweet perks like free shipping and generous returns. Unfortunately, the 105-year-old store is taking a hard look at these policies — and it's considering changing things up.

No-Minimum Free Shipping

Shoppers have long been able to bag free shipping on orders in the US and Canada. Most orders qualify, meaning customers never have to worry about meeting a minimum purchase, or inputting a coupon code. In the continental US, packages typically arrive in two to five business days. Even if it takes the full five days to arrive, there's no denying that truly free shipping is an increasingly rare benefit from retailers.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Just Matched Walmart's $35 Free Shipping Minimum

100% Satisfaction Really Guaranteed

In addition to its uncomplicated free shipping policy, the store has also boasted a return policy that is exceedingly generous. Customers have been able to return items by mail or in person at a brick-and-mortar location for a full refund, even years after the item was purchased. The site states "Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise."

Customers have successfully returned things like 10-year-old sweaters and a live Christmas wreath that had turned brown.

Customers have successfully returned things like 10-year-old sweaters and a live Christmas wreath that had turned brown. Stories like that might make it seem like the policy is being abused, and that probably does happen at times. However, abuse might not be as common as some think. Even so, it's easy to see why L.L.Bean could feel like this policy is too expensive to keep.

No Word Yet on Policy Changes

Although there's a lot of talk about potential changes to these policies, there's no official word yet on what those changes could entail. The company is putting other measures into place to cut costs, such as freezing pensions and offering voluntary early retirements. As for the shipping and return services, officials have only said "they will have more to say later this year".

Readers, will you continue to shop at L.L.Bean if it does away with its free shipping and generous return policies? Or do you find the item quality worth any possible hassles? Let us know in the comments below.

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
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I do not shop at L.L. Bean any longer. Shame what has happened at this company.
We stopped buying from LL Bean several years ago when we noticed the quality of their clothing had deteriorated. A generous return policy does not address generally lower quality products.

Also, when they dumped MBNA (bought by BoA) for Barclay, we threw their Visa in the drawer. Barclay is amateur hour.

But apparently one of their family members might have supported Trump? We'll be looking at buying *more* from LL Bean in the future. We've freed up plenty of Target $.
Love LL Bean for exactly these reasons and being able to always have that level of reliability and service. I discuss this all the time with friends and family. Would hate to see it go and would probably purchase items from other places if these "perks" go away. Would be a bummer if they were to change the very things upon which they have built their reputation.
My family has purchased L.L. Bean products for as long as I can remember. However, within the last few years I have noticed a much quicker break down in their hiking boots and slippers. Obviously, cost reduction has been active for a while. But, I still find their products worth the price. Once the customer is not their priority, I will quickly shop elsewhere.
Costco has a version of the unlimited guarantee. However, when you try to return an item that is older than a few years, you get vigorous pushback. Persistence wins the day, but it is irritating.
I think if a company makes a well made product it's worth keeping. Once something changes to make the product even slightly inferior to save the company money, I think it hurts them. However, most companies just don't seem to care when all what matters is they have your money.
I guess the TRUMP boycott is working. Supporting TRUMP has it's consequences.