"Roughly 15 percent of recent L.L. Bean product returns abused the lifetime guarantee policy, L.L. Bean President and CEO Stephen Smith said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald".
"Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", the statement reads.
L.L. Bean just announced that it's seriously tightening it's previously generous return policy.
"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. The return policy covered the full lifetime of the item.
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You can see more details on how to return or exchange L.L. Bean products on the company website. "We stand by our packs for a lifetime". "When I'm spending $70 for kids' snow trousers, I need to know that the company is putting enough care, quality and effort into them that they're not going to break 14 months down the road". Like other American retailers, it has struggled with years of slow or nonexistent sales growth. They ended up walking away with a $350 gift card.
"Most of the people who used the policy abused it", Ms. Pikowski said.
The rather liberal return policy had been in place since the days of Leon Leonwood Bean, who founded the company back in 1912 as a mail order retailer and maker of hunting boots with unusual chainlink style soles.
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For over 100 years, Maine-based outdoor brand L.L. Bean has been known for its famously liberal return policy: if you're unsatisfied with a product, bring it in and get it replaced for free at any time, no receipt required, no questions asked.
Seriously. "Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent", wrote L.L. Bean executive chairman Shawn O. Gorman in the letter explaining the change.
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. "After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to 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. "I liked the idea that they would withstand my kids tearing them apart".
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