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.
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's new store in Colonie, N.Y.
The lifetime return policy was born.
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The Freeport, Maine-based company will impose a one-year limit on returns, executives announced Friday.
"If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund". "Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", the statement read.
The lifetime return policy dates back over a century, according to USA Today.
L.L. Bean says the policy update will affect only a "small percentage" of returns and pledged to keep its mission of selling "high quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors". L.L. Bean said in some cases, people are trying to get a refund for something they bought second-hand at a yard sales. "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".
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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.
The centenarian L.L. Bean is proof that these times, they are a-changin'. After a year, L.L.Bean will still take returns for items that are defective because of the materials or craftsmanship. But on Friday L.L. Bean said it now will let customers return products up to one year after purchase, if they have a receipt or proof of purchase.
In his letter, Gorman said, "We will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way". The cost to L.L. Bean has added up to $250 million over the last five years, the company told the Associated Press. "Two days later, the brand-new shoes were waiting on my doorstep", Business Insider writes.
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