L.L. Bean has dropped its legendary return policy

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by AutoUnion39, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #1
    And it's gone...

    https://www.usnews.com/news/busines...ll-bean-dropping-its-unlimited-returns-policy

     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    Proof of purchase is a pretty big burden if they use paper receipts.

    Not so bad if they use email receipts like Apple or a membership record like Costco so you don't need a receipt at all.
     
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #3
    I believe they do offer customers the option of email receipts as well as printed paper receipts when purchasing in the retail store, and of course if one purchases via ordering online and having an item shipped, there will be a copy of the ordering information in the package and the customer also has a receipt in email as well.
     
  4. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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  5. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #5
    Exactly. I’m surprised it lasted this long.
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    What would have been a legitimate reason to return something 5/10 years later?
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    People abusing this policy, CostCo and the same thing for the longest time, but then people started using that policy to upgrade their TVs every year. Likewise with LL Bean, in this day and age, they were probably incurring too many old returns to keep it.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Sometimes, with high end suitcases that come with generous guarantees - five or ten years, or 'a lifetime' - (Samsomite, or Rimowa, or Hartmnan, for example) wheels can be problematic, - Scandinavian friends had Samsomite suitcases repaired (which had developed a flaw) - with grace, the warranty honoured without a whimper of protest - not long before the warranty ran out.

    Anyway, travel and wear and tear can give rise to flaws in the workmanship.

    If a product is guaranteed for five or ten years, and a flaw appears that is covered by the warranty, I would have no hesitation in availing of it; the high initial price included the warranty - which the company would have offered as a guarantor of the quality of their product.

    My mother always advised me to buy the best luggage I could afford; her argument was that the build quality and workmanship would be a lot better, the warranties would be better and honoured, and the suitcase would be a lot better balanced and much more easily manoeuvred around when travelling, not least around airports.
     
  9. bopajuice macrumors 68000

    bopajuice

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    #9
    Yup. I read about people buying their stuff at garage sales and then returning it to the store to get it replaced for free.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 11, 2018 ---
    On that note, what luggage do you recommend? I have purchased Tumi in the past, but have since replaced, donated, or sold most of it because it is time for something new, and my old stuff was showing it's age.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    Tumi is highly regarded, but I have never bought any.

    I used to buy a lot of Samsomite - and have always found them excellent. My best Samsomite suitcase finally died last year after nearly twenty years of travelling the world with me (and having undergone a number of repairs - one under warranty, several since, paid for by myself - I just loved that suitcase, it was a top-of-the-range, beautifully balanced suitcase from the very late 90s)

    More recently, I treated myself to a Hartmann suitcase, (the R7 Large Spinner - but that has only undertaken a few journeys - it is a year and a half old), and this week, I bought a Rimowa 'stealth' small suitcase. The Rimowa comes with a five year warranty.

    My mother liked the look of Mandarin Duck - she greatly admired the luggage of someone we met who had it and spoke very highly of it - and, had she not fallen prey to Alzheimer's, I would have bought her a bag or two.
     
  11. japanime macrumors 68000

    japanime

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    Japan
    #11
    Sad to hear. I've been buying outerwear from L.L. Bean (even at their ridiculously inflated Japanese prices) for a couple of decades, and have only returned one product for a defect. All the other items I've used until they wore out, at which point I've recycled into dish rags and whatnot. I never felt a need to abuse their lifetime returns policy, but knowing it existed made me a loyal customer.
     
  12. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #12
    Luggage with defects I could see, and presumably would still be covered now. A lot of other stuff though, I’ve had a hard time coming up with reasonable scenarios.
     
  13. Scepticalscribe, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Perhaps this is a cultural difference to do with consumer protection legislation under European (European Union) law and a less litigious society in general (as rights are protected and don't have to be asserted in the courts).

    I am a big fan of long warranties - it usually means reasonable quality, a company prepared to stand over their products, along with half decent service.

    Actually, as has led occasionally to somewhat heated exchange on these very threads, I always make a point of purchasing Applecare on my Apple - thus, giving me a three year warranty; in the past, I have had occasion to use this, too, - though not on my current computer - within the first - or, once, the third year of the warranty - for a faulty MagSafe, and a failed HDD (my old MBP in its third year), and a keyboard that needed replacement. All that was honoured under Applecare.
     
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #14
    Oh, I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m a strong believer in consumer rights. In the end it’s a shame that people abused the policy to the point of it being changed.
     
  15. NoBoMac macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2014
    #15
    Re: luggage: been real happy with my Travelport suitcase for checkin luggage.

    I have had a Patagonia MLC bag for carry on luggage for about 25 years now. Has held up well and seen the world. Backpack straps on it so can strap it on and hoof it, easily fits in overhead or under seat even when stuffed. Last I looked, they have changed the design to accomodate electronics, documents in the "lid" compartment, so not as nice as old design that maximized available space, but still retains most of the original qualities and would get again if my old one gave out.
     
  16. chiefsilverback macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    #16
    I think any item that doesn't get used too many times each year e.g. tent, luggage, snow shoes etc... If something breaks on the 10th use, does it matter if that's after 3 weeks or 5 years?

    With LL Bean I think there are 2 major buckets or fraud, people buying a pair of shoes or similar, and then replacing them for free every time they've worn out, and people rummaging through yard sales, thrift stores etc... buying old LL Bean products and then returning them to the store for replacement or refund. I read one comment from a person who saw a couple get a $350 gift card from a pile of 20+ year old LL Bean clothes they had found clearing out and attic/basement after a grandparent had died!

    Many of the comments I have read on this topic also talk about the fact that the quality of LL Bean products has gone down hill over the years, as they've moved more manufacturing offshore, so whilst the fraud is an absolute problem, possibly its also a nice excuse to adjust the policy in light of less durable products?
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2018 ---
    Osprey have a 100% guarantee on all of their products, even if you are the third owner and the bag is 20 years old, if it fails they'll fix it or replace it. Apparently for people doing the long distance hikes in the US (Appalachian, Pacific Crest etc...) Osprey offer excellent service, overnighting replacement bags etc... if hikers have issues.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2018 ---
    Whilst I don't disagree, I do think that the stores maybe pushed the guarantee too hard. Before we moved to the US I was back and forth on multi-week business trips. One weekend I decided to do an overnight hike up in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Went into REI to get a gas canister for my stove and obviously I barely used it. Went back into the store after my hike to see if they could dispose of it for me as I couldn't take it on the plane, and didn't want to just dump it in the trash in the hotel, and they gave me a refund on it... "100% satisfaction guarantee"! Same thing when I was buying a new backpack, I knew the make/model, but could decide on 45 or 55 litres. The person in REI said "just buy the one you think is right, use it for a few trips, if you decide it's wrong come back in and swap it"!

    Great that they offer that level of service, but it means an unscrupulous person can effectively borrow the kit they need for a given activity, and then return it after.
     
  17. AronDraws, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018

    AronDraws macrumors regular

    AronDraws

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    Burbank, CA
    #17
    I'm not surprised this day has finally come. I'm from Maine, and when we would go to the Outlet store, we would see the "LLBEAN" patches on most everything X'd out with markers. I asked why and they said because people would buy the factory seconds, and go up the street to the main store to try to claim they were flawed and get a free replacement.

    That said, LLBean is pretty fair, and their store in Freeport has a repair center where they have a team of folks who will do repairs on the spot in most cases (I've not been in a few years so I assume this is still the case). I'm sure they will make exceptions from time to time if it's something easily repaired with their sewing machines, but obviously very old items (you can tell by the design, and the style of logo on the fabric tag) won't result in a full replacement. Maybe repair for a small fee, but yeah, no replacement.

    Leave it to folks to take a good thing and abuse the hell out of it.

    Funny thing I saw one time-- we went in to get something repaired (A popped seam on one of those bulletproof bookbags) and a little girl had one of those multi-colored kid's backpacks. The seamster inspected it and said the damage was so far along (nylon fabric was unravelling) that it was not able to be repaired. He apologized and told them to go pick up a replacement upstairs. The little girl was absolutely heartbroken because she was very sentimental about that particular bag even though they were still available new. As they left the counter, the little girl waved at the bag and said bye bye backpack.

    gawd that tugged on my heartstrings.

    Edit: this is funny-- they sell patches of the slogan Satisfaction Guaranteed: https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/116...f-4&csp=f&attrValue_0=Multi&productId=1615385
     
  18. BluAffiliate macrumors regular

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    #18
    You mean bernie bros?
     
  19. sparkinstx macrumors newbie

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    Nov 1, 2017
    #19
    It's sad that they have to do this, but there are people out there ready to exploit and abuse any goodwill or generosity. In the early '90s I was a relatively new Bean customer, and bought a new winter parka (about $140, IIRC). About a year later, I took it in for dry cleaning (the label said "DRY CLEAN ONLY") in preparation for the upcoming winter. When it came back it had brown stains around all the edges (it was dark green), so I called Bean to see about a return. Talking to the dry cleaners, they confirmed they used the proper dry cleaning chemicals ("PERC"?), and said they filtered their chemicals and replaced them regularly. Both they and Bean were stumped about the damage, and Bean replaced it, no questions asked. I continued the wear the parka for many years, washing it at home on the gentle cycle, and hanging it up to dry.

    I've returned several other items (mainly shirts) over the years, for issues like premature wear, and buttons on some polos that broke in half or in pieces in the the washer. They policy has been very good.
     
  20. Falhófnir macrumors 68000

    Falhófnir

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    Aug 19, 2017
    #20
    I can't imagine returning something after having it and using it for a year anyway - I'd be embarrassed to even try it.
     
  21. Clix Pix, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

    Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    I rarely return items to any store; my policy is to be sure that I really want and/or need the item before I even purchase it and then only if there is something major wrong with it that I didn't notice at the time or which developed fairly soon afterwards do I return it. If something happens later on down the road, it really doesn't occur to me to return the item at that time, especially if I have worn it/washed it/used it fairly frequently in the interim.

    It does seem as though too many people are casual about buying something because they already have it in the back of their minds that they are going to return it in a few days anyway. LL Bean's return policy was unusually generous and it is no surprise that some unscrupulous sorts took advantage and abused it.
     
  22. sparkinstx macrumors newbie

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    Nov 1, 2017
    #22
    I wouldn't have, but after following the label instructions and getting the item back damaged (the dry cleaners was reputable, and one I'd used for years), I had to call. It could have been an unexpected reaction between the chemical and the fabric. Plus, for me, $140 was a lot of money (and this was back in 1994). Bean said they wanted the item back, so they could determine what happened.

    I've been happy with a lot of their stuff, but not everything has been perfect. I bought several of their Premium Polos a couple of years ago, and after washing and drying them a couple of time, the buttons started disintegrating. I've never seen that happen on several of the same kind of shirt. I figured their manufacturer used a substandard material for the buttons.
     
  23. TiggrToo macrumors demi-goddess

    TiggrToo

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    #23
    And, rather shockingly (/s) some moron has now decided to sue them for making this change, despite the fact the change still allows for something purchased on February 8th to be under the old warrenty.

    Is it really to much to ask that people keep receipts ? (Apparently so)
     
  24. rafark macrumors 6502a

    rafark

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    Sep 1, 2017
    #25
    If a product has 5 years warranty and you use it constantly but breaks at year 4, it'd be shady and dishonorable to return it giving the fact you'd have enjoyed 4 full years of use. Having your full money back would be stealing. In any case, the Company should fix it, not refund you.
     

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