L.L. Bean has earned loyal, passionate fans with their beloved products and top-rated customer service. The center stone of their customer service, since 1912, has been L.L. Bean’s “100% satisfaction guaranteed” return policy.
Unfortunately, like too many things in life, a bunch of assholes ruined it for the rest of us. Yes, after 106 years of L.L. Bean’s famous lifetime return-and-exchange guarantee, the company has updated its policy after seeing an increase in customers abusing the generous deal.
L.L. Bean announced the updated policy on Facebook with a letter to its customers from Shawn O. Gorman, L.L. Bean Executive Chairman:
Following the announcement, leaders from L.L. Bean has addressed the driving causes for L.L. Bean’s need to update the policy. For clarification, L.L. Bean cited an increase in two unfortunate situations:
- Customers returning and exchanging items after years of regular wear and tear. Consumers were claiming product issues with no signs of defect, just to upgrade or renew their goods.
- Consumers were getting L.L. Bean products from places like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or yard sales then exchanging them for new L.L. Bean products, without any proof of purchase.
L.L. Bean’s CEO, Stephen Smith, went on to explain that consumers were misinterpreting the intent of the policy:
“What we have seen, and it has come to the point where we had to act upon it, is a small but growing group of customers who are interpreting the guarantee as a lifetime product replacement program, and that was never its intent… The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact. We make great stuff and we stand behind great stuff but we have had a huge growth in abuse, and fraud, and a misinterpretation of that guarantee.”
Smith also stated that around 15 percent of recent returns abused the generous policy, approximately twice as many cases than L.L. Bean saw just a few years ago. In respectful and cool fashion, L.L. Bean partially blames itself. More specifically, L.L. Bean cites social media and the brand’s own marketing promotion of the policy as reasons for the increase in policy-abuse.
While L.L. Bean’s policy became a loophole for technically qualifying as a lifetime replacement program, it was created to instill confidence in their products and reassure that customers will always be given a defect-free product. Now, L.L. Bean will only replace products purchased within the past 12 months and require a proof of purchase.
Of course, as you’d expect, fans of L.L. Bean we’re less than hyped to hear the news. Here are some reactions to the announcement:
Your return policy was the only reason I shopped at #LLBean! I shared your amazing service with with friends, colleagues, and more. Now, I’ll be sure to suggest they avoid like the plague!
— Austin Walters (@AustinGWalters) February 9, 2018
Seriously? The only reason to pay the mark up at LLBean was you knew that product was guaranteed for life. Now all of a sudden the products I bought two years ago are no longer guaranteed? Backsies? No reason to bother now. At least at @REI I get a dividend.
— Mariam Watt (@MariamWatt) February 9, 2018
Punish the whole for sins of the few…never a good solution. I guess more/better rules or analyzing the return process wasn’t an option this time… better to alienate your outdoors/sporting base and cater to the high end crowd. Sad day.
— BGdart (@BillGildart) February 9, 2018
I’ve bought hundreds of dollars worth of goods from LL Bean and considered it my favorite brand. You’ve lost my business moving forward. I bought everything at high markups for your guarantee glad to see it’s all for nothing now.
— Jonathan Allen (@jallen1868) February 9, 2018
I was willing to pay a premium at the time of purchase for your products given the generous replacement policy. I feel legitimately defrauded given that you are now going back on your policy. Unethical if not illegal business decision. Not to mention destroying your reputation.
— Alex Rosenthal (@alexrosenthal) February 9, 2018
Extremely disappointed in @LLBean new return policy. It is the only reason I continually purchased items from you. With your price points, I am going to spend my money elsewhere. Taking away the one thing that distinguished you from other retailers is definitely a downfall.
— Paige (@paigegulyas23) February 9, 2018
from BroBible.com http://bit.ly/2o0BBwc