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LL Bean's Legendary Return Policy Is No More

10 February, 2018, 06:42 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • LL Bean SHoes

After one year, the company says it will work with customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way. Some took advantage of the lax return policy-seeking refunds for products that have been rigorously worn for 20 years or bought at garage sales.

L.L. Bean follows a decision five years ago by REI to update its return policy to one year on most products.

"Our guarantee is not a liability, but rather a customer service asset - an unacknowledged agreement between us and the customer, that always puts the customer first and relies on the goodwill of our customers to honor the original intent of the guarantee", spokesperson Mac McKeever told Business Insider. Some even shared stories about customers abusing the return policy.

You can see more details on how to return or exchange L.L. Bean products on the company website. "I understand why're they're doing it".

The retail industry had $3.5 trillion in sales past year, with 10 percent of that, or $351 billion, lost to returns, according to a report from the research firm Appriss Retail.

About 15 per cent of recent returns abused the guarantee, said Mac McKeever, a spokesman for L.L. Bean.


Gorman said the change in return policy "will only affect a small percentage of returns". They ended up walking away with a $350 gift card.

Improper returns cost states up to $1.4 billion in lost sales tax revenue and hurt retail employees, according to Appriss. One particularly egregious example: L.L. Bean executives showcased a returned child's ski jacket still bearing lift tickets from three years of skiing as evidence of how customers were misusing refunds; it was more likely that the child had just grown out of the jacket, they said.

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.

"We stand behind all our products and are confident that they will perform as designed", the policy reads on the L.L. Bean website.

Ms. Zaleski said she and her family went out of their way to visit L.L. Bean stores and had spent $3,000 on the company's products over the holidays.

The lifetime return guarantee shrinks to one year (with a receipt). "I liked the idea that they would withstand my kids tearing them apart".

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