Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Mixed reviews on LLBean's new return policy

LL Bean SHoes Dennis Green Business Insider
Kelvin Reese | 10 February, 2018, 06:43

L.L.Bean, the venerable ME retailer of rustic boots and clothes, is ending its long-running, no questions asked return policy. Some people had sought "refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", he added. "The financial impact is remarkable", the spokesperson says. "After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship". "We anticipate only a small number of our customers will be impacted by this change as approximately 15% of recent product returns abused our guarantee, which is double what it was just a few years ago". "It's not fair to the customers who honor the original spirit of the guarantee and it's certainly not sustainable from a business perspective", he said.

In a letter to customers Friday morning, the company said it has updated its return policy to give customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt.

The change in the longstanding return policy by the Freeport, Maine, company, which has a cult-like following in some places, drew more than 1,000 comments on its Facebook page.

"I completely understand this decision, but it still makes me a little sad", comments Cathy. Those will still be accepted for return regardless of when they were bought. The previous lifetime guarantee, which enabled customers to return products years - or even decades - after purchase, has always been a selling point for the company.

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"Most of the people who used the policy abused it", Ms. Pikowski said. Store employees took in the offending jacket and replaced it with an identical new one. REI had similar problems: During the Planet Money podcast, Tim Spangler, REI's senior vice president for stores, listed various nicknames that customers had bestowed upon REI-such as Rental Equipment Incorporated and Return Every Item-to poke fun at its lenient return policy.

L.L. Bean also outlined a number of rules regarding when it will not accept a product under any circumstances - even within a year. Thank you for being a loyal customer and we look forward to continuing to inspire and enable you to Be an Outsider. "I've been embarrassed for your associates when I've been in line seeing customers take advantage of the guarantee. But the benefits outweigh that", says Simpson.

L.L. Bean blames social media and its own marketing tactics for increased abuse of the program. "It's a bummer. It's such a rare and important thing to have that kind of guarantee".

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