L.L. Bean has always been the store that patrons could rely on to take back any product at any time “no questions asked,” but now they are going back on that promise and changing the policy that had been in place since 1912 to a revised return policy of one year. L.L. Bean had stood alone for 100 years as a company that could be depended on to seriously take back anything even years after the fact.
L.L Bean Has Ended It’s No Questions Asked Return Policy
Yesterday, L.L. Bean released a statement saying that the century of no questions asked is over due to customer abuse, says The New Yorker.
“Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent, Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. From now on, customers will have just a year to return items—and will need to provide proof of purchase. [After a year] we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way.”
In other words, if you are trying to return a pair of L.L. Bean Bluchers from 1995, you better have a really good story.
L.L. Bean Explained That Too Many Customers Abused Their Return Policy
L.L. Bean founder Leon Leonwood Bean started his company with the idea that nobody gets everything right the first time and a customer should be able to bring something back to L.L. Bean if they are dissatisfied. Bean himself was a real Mainer who stressed that customers should get value for their dollar.
Justin Peters of Slate wrote an article in response to the change in the L.L. Bean return policy, taking personal responsibility for the end of an era. Peters said for years he would wear a pair of $40 L.L. Bean slip-on shoes to death and then exchange them for a new pair when they broke down. He says he can’t help but now feel guilty that L.L. Bean feels that people (maybe him) took advantage of them.
Justin Peters says his mother warned him years ago that this was going to happen.
“You’d better not tell anyone about your scam. If too many people catch on, they’ll stop doing it.”
But at the time, Peters thought that he was just working within the rules set in place by L.L. Bean.
“I feel no guilt about taking L.L. Bean up on its offer. If they didn’t want people to take the swap, they shouldn’t have offered it!”
But now this is the end of an era for L.L. Bean, but Peters says he still has a fondness for Bean and their products.
“I certainly felt warm and fuzzy toward L.L. Bean, and the company’s absurdly generous warranty certainly led me to spend more money there than I would have otherwise. “
Most Mainers Say They Understand Why L.L. Bean Had To Change Their Policy
Mainer reacted to the change in the L.L. Bean return policy with understanding, saying that though they are sorry to see it go, they understand why Bean needed to alter the policy. The Portland Press Herald spoke to some locals who blamed the people who ruined it for others.
“Totally support this move. I’ve seen first hand the abuses of people bringing in garbage bags full of old clothes.”
Others say it’s sad that a company like L.L. Bean can’t exist as it was without losing in the end.
“I’ve bought Bean products, worn them to shreds, and happily purchased new. But it was also nice that they replaced a jacket for me when the zipper broke after less than two Winter’s wear. Companies can’t be honest and fair because people are so shameless.”