L.L. Bean Changes Lifetime Guarantee to One-Year Return Policy

A worker packages boots for shipping at the L.L. Bean Inc.
A worker packages boots for shipping at the L.L. Bean Inc. manufacturing facility Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

L.L. Bean’s return policy has been nothing short of exceptional since its inception in 1911: its products carried a lifetime guarantee.

For decades, the outdoors brand has let customers return apparel and shoes with dissatisfactory quality whether it’s been 10 days or 10 years— with hardly any questions asked.

But now a dark age descends upon fishermen, hikers, and the like, as L.L. Bean has updated its return policy, diminishing the return window to one year, according to an official statement from the brand.

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The policy change was sparked by customers who took the guarantee as a “lifetime product replacement program,” according to the Maine-based brand. Some took advantage of the lax return policy—seeking refunds for products that have been rigorously worn for 20 years or bought at garage sales.

L.L. Bean’s new policy now reads:

“If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship. We require proof of purchase to honor a refund or exchange. If you provide us your information when you check out, we will typically have a record of your purchase. Otherwise, we require a physical receipt. Please include your proof of purchase with the products you wish to return or exchange and bring it with you to any of our stores, or include it in your package of returned item(s). We will reimburse the original purchase price to either your original method of payment or as a merchandise credit.”

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Naturally, some people were up in arms about the change, taking hits at the company’s product quality. Others are standing behind L.L. Bean, applauding their stance against those who abuse the system, citing this new policy as fair and reasonable.

Read the full statement here:

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