L.L.Bean has long been known for its legendary return policy. But the 106-year old company with the 100 percent satisfaction guarantee has finally tired of being taken advantage of.
In a letter to its customers, executive chairman Shawn O. Gorman wrote "Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales."
The outdoor specialty retailer said returns lately have gotten out of control, doubling in the last five years. People bring in decades old items that have been destroyed or bought at thrift stores or retrieved from dumpsters.
"The numbers are staggering," CEO Steve Smith told The Associated Press. "It's not sustainable from a business perspective. It's not reasonable. And it's not fair to our customers."
Starting today, customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, and it must be accompanied by proof of purchase. Hand-written yard sale receipts won't cut it.
But Gorman does say that Bean "will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way."