"We stand behind all our products and are confident that they will perform as designed", the new return policy reads on the L.L. Bean website.
Not once til then had I taken advantage of L.L. Bean's wonderful, lifetime return policy - even though I had purchased many items from them over the years, including a backpack, a compass and many turtlenecks.
It will continue to replace products for manufacturing defects beyond that.
In a letter to customers this morning, the label announced that it was nixing its generous lifetime return policy in favor of a one-year return limit for most purchases with a receipt.
In recent years the company has taken steps to appeal to a hipper, less outdoorsy clientele., L.L. Bean has been "looking to really create a new updated fit and style".
"Anyone who says they won't shop at Beans anymore because of this change isn't the kind of customer you want anyway".
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The outdoor footwear and apparel company said it's changing its renowned lifetime 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 company, based in Freeport, Maine, joins a list of other retailers that have been tightened return policies. Shoppers may still return products for any reason prior to the one-year limit.
"After seeing a customer trying to return boots that no longer fit her growing daughter and another customer "returning" a bag of clothes from goodwill within 10 minutes of each other at Christmas, I say 'great move Beans!' Loyal customers know your stuff is built to last and worth the money, we will keep coming to Beans", wrote Jeanette Burton. It also warned at the time that it might have to rethink its return policy. "The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact", Smith added.
Spokesperson Carolyn Beem told the AP that the company has lost $250 million on returned items classified as "destroy quality", which end up in the landfill, while first-quality products find their way back to store shelves and "seconds" are rerouted to outlets or donated to charity.
It's not uncommon to hear stories of people clearing out basements of used or unwanted L.L. Bean products, sometimes decades after their purchase.