Mixed reviews on LLBean's new return policy


The lifetime return policy was born. The guidelines for returns on the L.L. Bean website have already been updated.

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. It was outrageously generous, and basically unparalleled among retailers-and now it's gone. Some people would pick up L.L. Bean products at yard sales or Goodwill, then bring them back to the store, and others would return their items every year to exchange them for the latest versions.

For over a century, L.L. Bean has been famous with shoppers for its return policy. until now. Now, as L.L. Bean announced Friday, the company will begin enforcing a one-year limit on most returns.

"Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent", they wrote.

"Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", he said. L.L. Bean said in some cases, people are trying to get a refund for something they bought second-hand at a yard sales.

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She said that up to 70 percent of the returns she and her colleagues processed seemed questionable. In 15 years of regular buying from the company, she said, she had returned fewer than a dozen items, including one vest, one jacket and several backpacks with broken handles. First-quality products are returned to store shelves and "seconds" are sold at outlets or donated to charity.

For decades, the outdoors brand has let customers return apparel and shoes with dissatisfactory quality whether it's been 10 days or 10 years- with hardly any questions asked.

The centenarian L.L. Bean is proof that these times, they are a-changin'.

On a recent day in the returns department, Dawn Segars recounted the story of a family that cleared out their grandfather's attic and returned a pile of 20- to 30-year-old clothes. The National Retail Federation last year estimated that retailers lose about $22.8 billion a year from fraud, such as getting a refund for an item that was shoplifted, and abuse, like returning a garment worn once, in merchandise returns, or roughly 6.5% of all returns made by shoppers.