Jerks force LL Bean to ditch world's best return policy

Jerks force LL Bean to ditch world's best return policy

L.L. Bean's announcement in a memo to employees and in a letter to customers represents a seismic policy shift for a 106-year-old company that used its satisfaction guarantee as a way to differentiate itself from competitors.

"Some view [our guarantee] as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years", wrote executive chairman Shawn Gorman, who is the great-grandson of founder Leon Leonwood Bean. "The financial impact is remarkable", the spokesperson says. After one year, the company said it will "work with customers to reach a fair solution if the product is defective in any way". Internal surveys indicate 85 percent of customers are OK with the new return policy, he said. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective".

L.L. Bean said Friday that it is ending a lifetime return policy on its outdoor gear that has been in place for over 100 years.

Under the previous policy, L.L. Bean customer service representatives were required to ask for a reason for a product's return. "We make great stuff and we stand behind great stuff", Smith said. Those will still be accepted for return regardless of when they were bought. "For other items, members and customers have a year to return or exchange items they are not satisfied with".

An hour after the letter was posted to Facebook, more than 700 people have commented on the change. The customer had purchased the coat hours earlier at a different store in the same city. REI had similar problems: During the Planet Money podcast, Tim Spangler, REI's senior vice president for stores, listed various nicknames that customers had bestowed upon REI-such as Rental Equipment Incorporated and Return Every Item-to poke fun at its lenient return policy.

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This update adds clarity to our policy and will only affect a small percentage of returns. I kept those boots for years, and when the soles on them finally wore down, I dutifully boxed them up, filled out the return form and waited for the replacement pair to arrive a few weeks later.

"Looks like you just lost a lifetime customer".

"I don't feel that [our guarantee policy] is a drawback, nor that customers are abusing it. But the benefits outweigh that", says Simpson.

Previously, customers could bring back items bought at L.L. Bean's stores and online any time they felt it didn't live up to their expectations. "It's a bummer. It's such a rare and important thing to have that kind of guarantee".

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