LLBean scraps its incredible return policy because customers are bad

LL Bean to End Unlimited Returns, Citing Customer Misuse

LL Bean to End Unlimited Returns, Citing Customer Misuse

"We stand behind all our products and are confident that they will perform as designed", the new return policy reads on the L.L. Bean website. While I felt a twinge of guilt entering the reason code "01 Quality Unsatisfactory" (after all they had lasted longer than any other shoes I've bought) their return policy clearly allowed it, and I meant to partake for the first time ever.

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.

It's a momentous change considering that the previous policy had persisted for more than a century and was an integral part of the L.L.Bean brand.

Since L.L. Bean was founded by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912, shoppers have taken advantage of the outdoor specialty brand's famous 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.

"We make good money, but we're not rich and have to make very financially responsible decisions about where we spend our money", she said.

"After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way", L.L. Bean adds. Those will still be accepted for return regardless of when they were bought. "For other items, members and customers have a year to return or exchange items they are not satisfied with".

"Most of the people who used the policy abused it", Ms. Pikowski said. What's more, the one-year time limit is more generous than a typical retailer's policy. It let generations of customers know that if they became unsatisfied with a purchase for any reason, at any point, L.L.Bean was willing to accept the item back. "Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge". 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.

"I don't feel that [our guarantee policy] is a drawback, nor that customers are abusing it. But the benefits outweigh that", says Simpson.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.