L.L. Bean pulls the plug on lifetime return policy

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Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 12, 2018 - 12:16pm PT
L.L. Bean last week stunned customers with the reversal of its longstanding liberal return policy for used or damaged merchandise, according to a letter to customers from Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman. Under the new policy, customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. The company will work with customers "to reach a fair solution" if a product that is a year old or older turns out to be defective.

Previously, the retailer would accept most returns, even after years, with or without a receipt, in exchange for a new iteration of the same item, the most comparable item in the store or a gift card reflecting the last known price of the return. But in the age of social media and retail arbitrage, that policy was being abused 15% of the time, CEO Stephen Smith told the Portland Press Herald — double the rate a few years ago.

I can't claim to be an LL Bean customer but always sad to see a brand surrender their reputation like this. In my opinion other steps could have been taken to protect against fraud while maintaining their position on quality and reputation.

Fewer and fewer outdoor apparel brands stand by their products with lifetime warranties. Still fewer once they grow into enterprise corporations. Once again a tip of the hat to Patagonia for holding the line and sacrificing a point or two on margin in order to protect the brand.

Of course you have to have a brand, and workmanship, worth protecting, to begin with. Perhaps that's where LL Bean really went askew?

DMT
zBrown

Ice climber
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:20pm PT

Pray for a return to yesteryear?

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:20pm PT
LL Bean iron free shirts are phenom! But since I don't have to play dress up anymore, no need. Perhaps the industry isn't in need of biz causal anymore and that is taking the volume from the market?



Its worth noting I'm buying more Ratagonia, than other brands lately, for the very quality reason you mention. Plus I'm trying to ski more.













IF THERE WAS ANY DAMN SNOW!
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:24pm PT
From the language of "working towards a fair solution", it would seem they're just moving away from a "guarantee" to give themselves more flexibility in avoiding abuse and fraud in the prior arrangement.

If something breaks unexpectedly within a year or so then they should fix it... I could never understand how they could afford to stay in business replacing items that were destroyed or otherwise completely worn out. It turned into a bit of a cottage industry with people finding old LLbean stuff in thrift stores/ebay/etc and returning it for new...
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2018 - 12:25pm PT
I'm wearing my jammies right now, at work ;)

And fuzzy slippers, from Bass Pro Shop hahahahahaha.

DMT
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:26pm PT
Love the no iron shirts! I usually run a pair of flannel lined pants in the winter too.

re patagonia- the zipper on my daughter's down jacket recently broke and my wife called Patagonia to sort out the repair. They told her to send it in, and immediately put a new jacket in the mail. I mean they put a new one in the mail before even receiving the one needing the repair so that my daughter would not be without a jacket!!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:30pm PT
Ha. Just in time. I returned Anita's ex-boyfriend's LL Bean slippers, and got a new pair.

New boyfriend, new slippers. ;)
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2018 - 12:41pm PT
Ah HAH!

So not only did you knock off half of El Cap, you are also responsible for knocking down LL Beans lifetime return policy! :)

What next from the Canadian Assassin?

DMT
Adventurer

Mountain climber
Virginia
Feb 12, 2018 - 12:54pm PT
I've been an LLBean customer for the better part of forty years, mostly for casual clothing. They have never disappointed me and always made very high quality products. One of my favs is a warm, woolen jacket that I've been wearing for twenty plus years.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:18pm PT
I've got one of their large hooded primaloft jackets I've abused ice climbing for over 10+ years now. Full of holes and seam grip but I'd never think of expecting a new one for free!.. Had a dress shirt that also went a decade.

Maybe it was the Canadian conspiracy indeed that did them in...
Bruce Morris

Trad climber
Soulsbyville, California
Feb 12, 2018 - 02:17pm PT
LL Bean just seems to be following the lead established by REI some 5 or 7 years ago when they eliminated the returns policy and with it their returns department. Good way of cutting back staff.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 12, 2018 - 02:24pm PT
the proper order of things: dispense with quality guarantee prior to reduction in quality
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2018 - 02:40pm PT
^^^ For sure. But there are still top quality companies out there.

Need socks?

https://point6.com/

These guys are top-shelf

Point6 socks are guaranteed for life! If for any reason you are not satisfied with your product, want to return a product or want to recycle and re-purpose a product at the end of its life, please submit a form. Once submitted, you will receive a detailed email with instructions regarding where to send the product. Once we receive your case, we’ll make sure you get taken care of right away!

Warranty: Our products are created to be exceptional in quality, consistency, performance and style. We are never willing to sacrifice the quality of our product to save a dime or an hour. We offer a 100% guarantee for a reason… we believe in our products.

Return: We offer FREE hassel- free returns because we understand the importance of easy shopping.

Recycle: We are constantly evaluating the life cycle of our products from beginning to end. From sourcing our raw materials, care of the animals and care for the farmers, to creating efficiencies in manufacturing processes and recycling efforts, we strive to take better care of our customers and make products that positively impact our world. That's why we have found a way to recycle Point6 socks into homeless relief blankets. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

DMT
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
Feb 12, 2018 - 02:45pm PT
Has anyone noticed where their apparel coms from? NOT made in America! Perhaps a good thing for struggling third world countries, but what about buying locally-made items? How does that Make America Great Again?

Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2018 - 02:51pm PT
Very little apparel is made in America, anymore. And most of the companies that try to make that model work end up failing. You basically need high dollar, high quality products to make it a sustainable strategy.

New technology around rapid prototyping, 3-d apparel printing and robotic assembly may change that in the future but that tech won't produce a huge number of sweat shop jobs either.

That said, Point 6 makes their socks in Chattanooga. Hit them up with an order!

DMT
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
Feb 12, 2018 - 03:00pm PT
Amen Dingus! Maybe we can get the Amish in on the apparel deal ...
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Feb 12, 2018 - 03:53pm PT
"New Yorker " cartoon circa 1990:
Credit: another nickname
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 12, 2018 - 03:59pm PT
I doubt they plan on letting quality lag.

I bet they just got tired of people abusing their duds in expectation of a lifetime supply.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 12, 2018 - 04:06pm PT
i agree. no cause to trash their future whateveryoucallit.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2018 - 09:20pm PT
So its the customers' fault, LL Bean retreats from lifetime guarantee.

I see...

DMT
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