Citing abuse, LL Bean rescinds its legendary lifetime returns policy

LL Bean

My well-loved four-year-old shoes. Dennis Green Business Insider

Michelle Zaleski of Marlborough, Mass., said she anxious that the new L.L. Bean policy could mean the company was reducing the quality of its products. Some people had sought "refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", he added.

Gorman said customers were seeking refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.

Now, customers who wish to return an item for a refund have one year to do so, according to the company's updated policy.

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.

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". "I feel bad for L.L. Bean, because I can imagine some of the abuses [that were going on]".

L.L. Bean wrote a letter to their customers, which can be read below or in a post on their Facebook page.

This American Life dug into L.L. Bean's legendary return policy -.

A Business Insider reporter put the policy to the test last year by returning four-year-old shoes with broken stitching. Apparently, the offending returns recently cost the company more than the total annual revenue it receives from its flagship product, Bean boots. After that point, the company will work out a deal if the returned product is defective. The retailer announced on Friday that it was putting a stop to the policy, which let people return any item, for any reason, even if they had it for years.

"The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact". See what we meant by generous? "We stand behind the performance of the products we sell", an REI spokesperson told Outside. Of those returns, an estimated 6.5 percent, or $22.8 billion worth of merchandise, were thought to include shoplifted goods, items bought with stolen money, products backed by counterfeit receipts, and other forms of fraud or abuse.

Latest News