Monday, 18 June, 2018

LL Bean ends no questions asked return policy

L.L. Bean retail store in Freeport Maine. L.L. Bean is tightening its generous return policy by imposing a one-year limit on most returns to reduce abuse and fraud LL Bean ends no questions asked return policy
Lindsey Cook | 10 February, 2018, 09:46

In an email sent to customers on Friday morning, Maine-based L.L.Bean announced that it has chose to kill its no-receipt-needed lifetime return policy because too many people were abusing the system.

Executive chairman Shawn Gorman said Friday that the change is due to a growing number of customers expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. The company, which began reviewing its policy last year, has now updated its site to read: "If you are not 100 percent satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund".

A former L.L. Bean employee, Jessica Pikowski, confirmed Mr. Gorman's view that many customers had abused the returns policy. The guarantee has always been a selling point for Bean products.

I had never heard of a clothing store that was open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but being a diehard Bean fangirl - and proud owner of their duck boots - a night of lost sleep seemed a small price to pay for a pilgrimage to the retail mecca.

This American Life dug into L.L. Bean's legendary return policy -. "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". The brand just announced on Facebook that customers would now only have one year to make returns and would require proof of purchase. In February of 2017, it started freezing worker pensions and offering incentives for workers to take early retirement, which it expected to slim its workforce by about 500 people.

A Bean Boot is seen in the return bin at L.L. Bean retail store in Freeport Maine. Although the company is changing its return policy it will always accept returns on products that have failed such as this boot
LL Bean ends no questions asked return policy

The company, based in Freeport, Maine, joins a list of other retailers that have been tightened return policies.

Leon Leonwood Bean, the company's founder, is credited with launching the policy when 90 of his first 100 hunting shoes were returned.

"L.L. Bean to us is a quality name, and that means they should stand by their word", Ms. Zaleski said.

"The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact". For example, they would try to turn in items they bought at Goodwill or a yard sale, costing the company about $250 million in the past five years, according to a spokesman. 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. Internal surveys indicate 85 percent of customers are OK with the new return policy, he said.

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