Most of you that know me knows that anytime you see me, I’m basically a model for LL Bean. Yesterday, I was wearing my LL Bean boots, flannel lined jeans, long sleeve Cresta (marino) Wool shirt and a flannel shirt, all purchased from LL Bean. I’ve had the boots for over 30 years, and every few years they are sent back to LL Bean to be resoled, keeping the leather uppers that are as soft as a baby’s butt. The flannel lined jeans, have been returned a couple times for various issues, and I can admit, I have many other LL Bean clothing that has been returned for various purposes.
I’ve still have a pair of LL Bean Camp Mocs that my mom purchased for me in middle school. I love these slip on shoes. Over the years, they have been returned 6-7 times, when the soles wear out, stitching came out, or other various issues. Once in middle school, my mother made me return them, do to the fact I had drawn all over them with an ink pen, with various music group logos that I listened to – in the late 80s, I was listening to lots of Grateful Dead, as well as good late 70s, early 80s punk (Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, Dead Kennedys, Blondie, Susie and the Banshees, Buzzcocks). Well, you know what LL Bean said? Nothing! They exchanged the shoes, no questions asked.
I may be somewhere near the line for what is ethically OK for utilizing LL Beans No Questions Asked Guarantee. Ok, Ok, I may have been a little over the line with the LL Bean Camp Mocs though…
I just heard a great podcast about the actual abuses of what LL Bean calls “The Guarantee”. You can hear it at: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/591/get-your-moneys-worth/act-two What I do doesn’t even approach the level of abuses that actually happen. They mention the fact that as soon as turkey hunting is over, the flood of returns for turkey hunting gear comes in. During the Phish show there last year, many, many people came into the store, bought camping gear and such for the Phish weekend, in which they had extreme rain for the entire weekend. The Sunday and Monday after the Phish weekend, a deluge of muddy, wet camping gear came back for returns, and with The Guarantee, all the equipment was returned for cash. People return their deceased spouses clothing, some even return items to get cash back to use to pay utilities.
These abuses apparently are worst than most can imagine – people even buy clothing at Goodwill and return it for cash. The Guarantee, which has been in place since 1912, is not sustainable in today’s time. Anyone can see that, especially when someone goes to Goodwill, buys shirts and pants, and returns them for credit or new merchandise. LL Bean saw it as well, and today, this morning, they have changed their policy that they will only accept returns, and only with proof of purchase, for a period of 1 year. They additionally outlined several circumstances they will refuse returns, which include previous abuse of The Guarantee (lifetime) in the past. It should be interesting to watch how LL Bean will fare with a new policy, as many people purchased items, knowing they were covered by The (100% satisfaction) Guarantee. Though I have no ill will towards the change, I’m sure there will be some backlash from the general public that purchases LL Bean gear, knowing it is the best, and covered by The (best) Guarantee.
<a href=”https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/09/584493046/l-l-bean-scraps-legendary-lifetime-return-policy”>LL Bean Scraps Legendary Lifetime return Policy</a>
From: L.L.Bean [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 9, 2018 9:17 AM
Subject: A Letter to Our Customers