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July 5, 2018

Judge dismisses lawsuit over L.L.Bean's returns policy

Courtesy / KMF146, FLICKR
Courtesy / KMF146, FLICKR
L.L.Bean's flagship store in Freeport features a giant sculpture of its iconic Bean Boot. A federal judge dismissed a class-action suit over the retailer's return policy.

A federal judge has dismissed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against L.L. Bean seeking damages after the retailer changed it policy on returning merchandise.

The suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, was brought by Victor Bondi of Chicago over L.L.Bean's new one-year limit on returns.

Bondi filed the suit in February after the Freeport-based company changed its return policy, a guarantee to refund the price of an unsatisfactory product anytime over its lifetime. Bondi, who bought a pair of boots from L.L. Bean in 2017 before the new policy went into effect, claimed to be a loyal customer who had made purchases based on the guarantee.

L.L. Bean countered that the suit misrepresented the terms of its new policy and that it doesn't apply to items bought beforehand.

In an eight-page ruling issued on June 28, U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman sided with L.L.Bean's claim that Bondi never suffered a loss or was denied a refund for purchases made prior to the policy change.

The ruling also notes that because the plaintiff did not allege any damage to him personally, "any injury that he may suffer, if at some point he become dissatisfied with his boots, is purely speculative, conjectural, and hypothetical."

Bondi's suit included more than 100 claimants. Three similar suits concerning the new returns policy remain pending, according to the Bangor Daily News.

L.L.Bean's former return policy dates to the company's founding in 1912.

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