LLBean scraps its awesome return policy because customers are terrible

Posted February 10, 2018

"Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", he said.

Not once til then had I taken advantage of L.L. Bean's unbelievable, lifetime return policy - even though I had purchased many items from them over the years, including a backpack, a compass and many turtlenecks. "Anyone who says they won't shop at Beans anymore because of this change isn't the kind of customer you want anyway".

But even in the face of getting ripped off by its own customers, there was something sort of. wonderful. about the policy.

L.L. Bean has always been known for its promise to replace a defective product over the course of the item's life, but leaders in the company say a select few are taking advantage of that promise. L.L.Bean should have information on file for customers who bought from it directly and provided their information at the time. "Our commitment to customer service has earned us your trust and respect, as has our guarantee, which ensures that we stand behind everything we sell", the letter began. Like other American retailers, it has struggled with years of slow or nonexistent sales growth. 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.

Gorman knows firsthand: He said a shirt that he had donated to Goodwill, with his name printed in it, was once returned to a store.

She said one man had brought a garbage bag full of clothes that looked and smelled as if they had barely survived a fire. They ended up walking away with a $350 gift card. People abusing the system. "And we weren't allowed to confront them about it".

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. The company's returns page now reads: "If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund". In 1912, 90 of the company's first 100 pairs of its signature boots fell apart. After a year, L.L.Bean will still take returns for items that are defective because of the materials or craftsmanship. Abuse of the generous return policy with no time limit has accelerated thanks to people sharing their return stories on social media, they said.