Friday, 19 October, 2018

LL Bean eliminates its legendary lifetime returns policy

LL Bean My well-loved four-year-old shoes. Dennis Green Business Insider
Andy Castillo | 10 February, 2018, 09:50

My in-laws are obsessive, lifelong L.L.Bean fans, largely because of the brand's legendary "100% satisfaction guaranteed" return policy. "Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", the statement read. L.L. Bean said in some cases, people are trying to get a refund for something they bought second-hand at a yard sales.

Customers who demonstrated "past habitual abuse" of the policy won't be allowed to return or exchange products, even within one year of purchase, according to the site.

For more than a century, L.L. Bean has offered lifetime returns on its products. Now, customers will only be able to return products purchased in the prior 12 months, or those that have a manufacturing defect.

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".

As it stands, their revised policy will also prohibit returns or exchanges of any kind if the product has been damaged. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective". The brand just announced on Facebook that customers would now only have one year to make returns and would require proof of purchase.

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"Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy". Outdoors retailer REI, which was once jokingly dubbed Rental Equipment Inc. and Return Everything Inc. because its unlimited returns policy, imposed a one-year restriction five years ago. Plus, it was a policy that said "we trust our customers to act honestly, and forgive those who don't", which assumed the best and not the worst of us humans.

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.

Spokesperson Carolyn Beem told the AP that the company has lost $250 million on returned items classified as "destroy quality", which end up in the landfill, while first-quality products find their way back to store shelves and "seconds" are rerouted to outlets or donated to charity.

The original intent was that Bean didn't want customers to be dissatisfied with his products.

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