L.L. Bean announced on Friday that the company will be doing away with it’s iconic 106-year-old lifetime returns policy.
Well, it only takes a few nimrods, excuse me, a “small, growing number” of customers, to abuse the guarantee, therefore, ruining it for everyone else.
The lifetime warrant allowed buyers to bring back their items at any point in time, even years after the item was purchased.
So now, customers will have just one year to bring back an item for return and will also have to provide proof of purchase.
It turns out that L.L. Bean was dealing with more and more customers bring back worn out items that have been used for years, with the expectation of getting their money back.
And it some cases, L.L. Bean said people were trying to obtain refunds on items they purchased second-hand.
Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman took it to Facebook on Friday morning to say:
“A small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent.”
Gorman also noted:
“Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years.”
L.L. Bean does however note that there will be some exceptions to the rule and says that in any event, the new policy would only affect a small percentage of returns.
And while the one-year time limit is actually pretty generous that most retailer policies, it seems that a majority of customers expressed an understanding to the policy change, via Facebook.
Last year, the NRF estimated that retailers lose about $22.8 billion a year from fraud, which include returning shoplifted items for a refund and returning garments after wearing them.
With that, L.L. Bean’s change in policy highlights one of the trickiest parts of retailing, which is being able to offer simple and hassle-free returns policies without falling victim to abuse and scams.