In an email sent to customers on Friday morning, Maine-based L.L.Bean announced that it has made a decision to kill its no-receipt-needed lifetime return policy because too many people were abusing the system. This includes asking for refunds for products that had been worn for many years and seeking refunds for products purchased at yard sales.
L.L. Bean said on Friday it was scrapping its iconic 106-year-old lifetime returns policy in the wake of what it said was a "small, growing number" of customers abusing the guarantee that lets shoppers bring back items at anytime, even years after a purchase.
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.
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A year ago, there were rumblings that L.L.Bean was considering revising those terms because of scammers; today, those murmurs became law.
The lifetime return guarantee shrinks to one year (with a receipt). In 2013, REI went from a lifetime, no-questions-asked return policy to a one-year return policy. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective". In February of 2017, it started freezing worker pensions and offering incentives for workers to take early retirement, which it expected to slim its workforce by about 500 people.
But the glory days of L.L.Bean's generous return policy are over.
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The company, based in Freeport, Maine, joins a list of other retailers that have been tightened return policies. Notably, the option for "repair" means that not all returns at Patagonia stores end in the customer walking out with a brand new product, sometimes just their refurbished old one. Thus the satisfaction guarantee was born.
"We'll have to see how consumers react, but I think most will still consider their new policy very fair", Dworsky said in an email, according to the paper.
This update adds clarity to our policy and will only affect a small percentage of returns.
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The family-owned company is prepared for a backlash, but the changes honor the spirit of the founder's original guarantee, said Shawn Gorman, L.L.'s great-grandson and the company's chairman. Over the past five years, the company has lost $250 million on returned items that are classified by the company as "destroy quality", L.L.Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem told the Associated Press.