It claimed some people tried to return heavily worn or destroyed items and saw the policy as a "lifetime product replacement program".
Gorman said in the letter that "others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as yard sales".
Not once til then had I taken advantage of L.L. Bean's fantastic, lifetime return policy - even though I had purchased many items from them over the years, including a backpack, a compass and many turtlenecks.
In a follow-up conversation with Outside, an L.L. Bean spokesperson elaborated that in the last five years, the percent of returns that violate the guarantee policy-which was created to protect customers who received defective products-had doubled to 15 percent, costing the company approximately $250 million. Others are standing behind L.L. Bean, applauding their stance against those who abuse the system, citing this new policy as fair and reasonable.
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But in 2018, executives at the company say their return policy just wasn't sustainable for their business anymore. In 15 years of regular buying from the company, she said, she had returned fewer than a dozen items, including one vest, one jacket and several backpacks with broken handles. In February of 2017, it started freezing worker pensions and offering incentives for workers to take early retirement, which it expected to slim its workforce by about 500 people.
"Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent", L.L. Bean chairman Shawn Gorman said in a letter to customers Friday.
"Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy". In 1912, 90 of the company's first 100 pairs of its signature boots fell apart. "The satisfaction guarantee and the intent of the guarantee is very much still intact", Smith added. Plus, it was a policy that said "we trust our customers to act honestly, and forgive those who don't", which assumed the best and not the worst of us humans.
"The financial impact is remarkable-in the last five years, the rate has doubled on such returns and in that five years, has cost us approximately $250 million", a spokesperson for the company says.