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L.L.Bean announced in a letter to its customers last Friday that its products — including its iconic Bean Boots — would no longer be guaranteed for life. Its updated return policy gives customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt. The company, which announced a year ago that it would be evaluating its lifetime guarantee, said that although the return policy had long been a selling point it could no longer continue it due to what Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean's executive chairman and great-grandson of company founder Leon Leonwood Bean, described as “a small, but growing number of customers” that had been interpreting the guarantee “well beyond its original intent.” L.L.Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem told MSNBC the company lost $250 million over the past five years on returned items so worn out they had to be sent to the landfill.
Did L.L.Bean make the right business decision in ending the lifetime guarantee for its products?

02/15/18 AT 07:41 AM
L.L. Bean is absolutely right in making this decision. I blame the abusers in this case; all those who knew that they did not deserve the refund or replacement when they were not the original owner of the product. It is a shame that there are so many people out there who thought it was their right to abuse the system. Shame on them. Sad for the rest of us.

02/14/18 AT 12:10 PM
Yes. But isn't it a depressing insight into the declining ethical grounding of "the American People."

02/14/18 AT 01:51 PM
I know people who bragged about abusing the guarantee, for instance, they bought a coat and returned it each time it wore out. This behavior ruined it for people who had reasonable concerns about product quality.

02/14/18 AT 01:16 PM
This will help keep their prices more reasonable. It is unfortunate that they have to do this, but dishonesty is becoming too "normal."

02/14/18 AT 12:53 PM
I have seen many people returning items that were totally worn out — unfortunately people have taken it too far. It will not stop me from still buying there. I for one have a couple of items that I have had for nine or 10 years and the zippers don't work well, but I was not going to take them back ... because I didn't feel that they should give me a new jacket. Yes, it would have been nice, but I have a conscience.

02/14/18 AT 12:26 PM
In my opinion, L.L.Bean's lifetime guarantee justified the higher prices that they charge for their merchandise. It really is unfortunate that a select number of people abused this policy to the point where it had to be discontinued. I think that it will have a detrimental affect on its business going forward.

02/14/18 AT 12:11 PM

02/14/18 AT 12:10 PM
An unfortunate situation all around. The driver behind this decision is the blatant fraud and abuse of L.L.Bean's generous policy by customers over the years. It's a shame that honest folk will suffer the consequence of dishonest folk's opportunistic ways, but the business must (rightly so) protect itself from bad actors. Such is our world. I will continue to shop Bean and support Maine jobs.

02/15/18 AT 07:41 AM
One can keep this policy in place with a modification that the fault is not due to normal wear and tear. The requirement of a sales slip is egregious given that the goods are often gifts, even if filing due to design or materials, etc.

02/14/18 AT 03:02 PM
It was a ridiculous policy and abused. It is not reasonable to think that a product should last forever. Having said that, I have a perfectly good pair of LL Bean boots in my closet that I have had for over 30 years. But, if I blew a hole in them, I wouldn't expect to get a brand-new pair. I know people who bought a paddle board in June and returned in September after a summer of use. Dumb policy. It should be a warranty policy against manufacturer defects, not normal wear-and tear-use.