LL Bean ends lifetime return policy after abuse by customers

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Even during my own stint working in a Patagonia store in New York City four years ago, I watched a customer return a $550 Tres Parka because it smelled weird. If the product is actually defective and the customer tries to return it after a year, the company said it will work out a "fair solution".

The brand stresses that the change will only affect a small percentage of returns, and they're still standing by the quality of everything that they sell.

A majority of comments on the Facebook post expressed understanding for L.L. Bean's policy change.

Those who suspect they've intentionally wronged the business founded by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912 have also been put on notice, as the new policy states they may also turn down exchanges citing "on rare occasions, past habitual abuse of our Returns Agreement". The company, which began reviewing its policy last year, has now updated its site to read: "If you are not 100 percent satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund".

"We make good money, but we're not rich and have to make very financially responsible decisions about where we spend our money", she said.

From now on, products only can be returned if they were bought within 12 months or have a manufacturing defect. People abusing the system. What's more, the one-year time limit is more generous than a typical retailer's policy.

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. "Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge". Shoppers may still return products for any reason prior to the one-year limit. According to Patagonia spokesperson Corey Simpson, the success of the brand's Worn Wear program helps to support their Ironclad Guarantee. "I've been embarrassed for your associates when I've been in line seeing customers take advantage of the guarantee. But the benefits outweigh that", says Simpson. My mother-in-law has been wearing the same L.L.Bean watch for at least as long as I've been alive, having sent it in to be replaced a couple of times. "It's a bummer. It's such a rare and important thing to have that kind of guarantee".

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