Bought anything from LL Bean in the last year? Not totally happy with it? Return it now. The century-old catalog retailer for outdoorsy types has changed its famously generous return policy: Previously, you could return anything, anytime, no receipt necessary; now you must keep your receipt and take your items back within a year.
“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 Boston Globe, always on it with the investigative reporting, provides details of garage-sale con artists and includes photos of returned things like gnarly worn-out slippers. The company has provided pics of other returns that definitely fall into the that-is-some-egregious-bullshit category, like a kid’s ski coat festooned with three years of lift passes. (Personal side note: I buy kids’ coats from LL Bean every year. Why am I so dumb I never thought of just returning them for the next size up? The level of shadiness will make you wonder what other golden opportunities you’re missing if you were just a little more of a con artist.)
Predictably, customers are pissed and taking their business elsewhere. But, um, where? For the outdoorsy types, REI has long been a favorite, and its return policy is about the same at LL Bean’s. If you’re into spending a bit more money, Patagonia appears to have a generous return policy: “If your item isn’t working for you, send it in for a return or repair, hassle free, anytime,” which implies… lifetime? But I guess it’s up to those with major chutzpah to test the outer limits of “anytime.” Send your nasty old slippers back, see what happens. Because LL Bean, as one Twitter user said, is sick of your shit.