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February 12, 2018

L.L. Bean Cuts Their Lifetime Guarantee Short

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:18 am

Generations ago, Sears Roebuck & Company used to advertise, “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back.” That policy disappeared long ago (along with many Sears stores). Now it’s L.L. Bean’s turn.

The famous Maine outdoor gear seller announced last week that it was dropping its “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” in part because of abuse by some customers.

LL Bean letter

Here are the old and new satisfaction guarantees:

LL old policy

LL new policy

They basically imposed a one-year limit on returns, but at the same time would consider remedies for defective goods after that. Totally reasonable in our view.

The company also amended its return policy with more provisions to protect against abusers:


LL returns

This is not unlike Costco which a few years ago discontinued its unlimited return policy on electronics because abusers were buying HDTVs and exchanging them three years later for new, larger models.

One more thing that L.L. Bean had to change was the fine print under their logo because they also dropped completely free shipping:


LL Logos

What may hurt L.L. Bean more in sales is their doing away with free shipping with no minimum. It is now $50.

What do you think? Will the changes that L.L. Bean is making hurt their business?

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  1. Hate to say it but I have many older LL Bean clothing (15 years or older) that are made in the USA and holding up better than recent clothing that is non USA made. Who remembers when a majority of LL Bean clothing was proudly USA made and they push that many many years ago. Now the quality is so so.

    Comment by Scott — February 12, 2018 @ 7:46 am
  2. I support this decision by LL Bean. They were getting ripped of by people who would buy used LL Bean products and then return them to LL Bean for a refund. I do wish LL Bean clothing was made in the USA though, like it use to be.

    Comment by Richard Sullivan — February 12, 2018 @ 9:11 am
  3. I stand with L.L. Bean and their changes. I’ve bought many items from them and have been totally satisfied with their service. The changes they are making are totally justified and reasonable. Their good-faith guarantees have been abused and they must defend themselves from scammers. Good luck with the new policies. I don’t think there will be any backlash from their real customers.

    Comment by Jim Brownlee — February 12, 2018 @ 10:18 am
  4. I too support this decision as I have spoken with retailers that have told me stories about people purchasing items, wearing it for years and expecting to get a refund or exchange. Sad that people abuse these policies and ruin the offer that was made in good faith. Like the others, I wish it were made in the USA, but understand that they have to remain competitive. I’ll continue to support them.

    Comment by c cook — February 12, 2018 @ 10:58 am
  5. I agree 100% with Jim above. Bean’s new policy is another unfortunate result of the decline of our society. Bean’s policy worked so long as most people were honest and honorable. When thievery becomes too prevalent, any rational person (or company) has to protect themselves from it. I don’t blame LL Bean in the least. They communicated the change way better than most companies do. Bean is still a class act.

    Comment by Richard — February 12, 2018 @ 11:11 am
  6. I accept the return policy change.

    Comment by Richard — February 12, 2018 @ 11:32 am
  7. I accept this change. Consumers can be jerks too, and LL Bean tried for a long time to overlook the abusers, but that can be expensive.

    It’s interesting to see Mouseprint showing how abuse from the consumer side can influence fine print.

    Comment by Wayne — February 12, 2018 @ 1:28 pm
  8. I agree with others about the return policy.
    But to cut out free shipping is a marketing mistake.
    Why should I even buy LL Bean products anyway when their family has given support to the Trump’s?
    I’ll stay with REI instead.

    Comment by Old Dude — February 12, 2018 @ 2:38 pm

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