Author Topic: Letter from LL Bean  (Read 5203 times)

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Offline Bob Marino

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Letter from LL Bean
« on: February 10, 2018, 06:39 PM »

 I'm sure I'm not the only one getting this email blast from LL Bean, but it's worth sharing and a bit sad.



 L.L. Bean      
   
A Letter to Our Customers

Since 1912, our mission has been to sell high-quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors. Our commitment to customer service has earned us your trust and respect, as has our guarantee, which ensures that we stand behind everything we sell.

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.

Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy. Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way.

This update adds clarity to our policy and will only affect a small percentage of returns. It will also ensure we can continue to honor one of the best guarantees in retail, with no impact for the vast majority of our customers. To learn more, please view our full return policy at llbean.com.

L.L.Bean has stood for quality, service, trust, and getting people outdoors ever since my great-grandfather founded our company over 100 years ago - and that will never change. Thank you for being a loyal customer and we look forward to continuing to inspire and enable you to Be an Outsider.

Sincerely,

Shawn O. Gorman
Executive Chairman


   
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Offline sheperd80

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2018, 09:05 PM »
This is pretty much the same thing REI had to do. Its hard to blame them. People take advantage of these policies and ruin it for those of us who just want to use them as intended.

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Offline RustE

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 09:19 PM »
They are going to lose a lot of sales on fishing gear.  What set them apart from the competition was the ‘lifetime warranty’.  When buying waders I knew that I would get a reasonable three to five years of service life.  Now I might as well buy Orvis waders instead.

Anyone else remember when Craftsman replaced a tape measure?  That seemed to stop for the same reason.

Offline grbmds

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 09:27 PM »
I'm sure it's possible that both L. L. Bean and REI will or have lost customers. The expectation of returning a product that essentially "wears out" rather than "is defective" isn't reasonable. REI has been very reasonable, even now, when returning a product that has been used but fails. I have personal experience with that. If someone returns a product because it doesn't work for them or they aren't satisfied with it, that person has some responsibility to return it within a reasonable period of time; not when it has been used repeatedly and shows significant signs of wear, which indicate that the person was, in fact, satisfied and used it repeatedly to the point it has worn out.
Randy

Offline lwoirhaye

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 10:49 PM »
Harbor Freight has a generous exchange policy.

jes' sayin'

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« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 10:51 PM by lwoirhaye »

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 09:00 AM »
I'm sure I'm not the only one getting this email blast from LL Bean, but it's worth sharing and a bit sad.

It's the end of an era.  And I concur; it's quite sad that they feel a need to do this.   [sad]
- Willy -

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Offline gunnyr

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 09:17 AM »
Sad, yes but not unexpected I suppose.  Change is truly the only constant in life.

My guess is that LL Bean has done the analysis and finds that there are very few returns after a year.   I suspect that the data indicates that those returns tend to show evidence that they are not customer dissatisfaction but folks taking advantage of the policy.  I have several pieces of LL Bean gear and clothing that are over 30 years old.  Only two things have I ever sent back after more than a year, a watch that stopped glowing and a jacket with failed seams that was worn only occasionally.  In both cases the warranty was honored without question.

I would also think that the policy was developed in an era where they were competing with brick and mortar stores; consumers were not as likely to purchase things they could not see and touch.  We are long past that era today!

LL Beans updated policy will not stop me, nor any other honest consumer, from shopping with them.
Semper Fi,
Jeff

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 09:46 AM »
And their revised policy allows for making exceptions.  Ain't nuthin' free in this world and super liberal return policies and their effects are figured into the marketing and cost of every item sold.

Costco is one of those super lenient retailers.  I would bet that I could return my 10+ year old gas grill that was a private label item for them that needs more parts than it is probably worth.  BUT I would never even consider doing that.

But there those out there who would.

Peter

Offline Bob Marino

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 10:02 AM »
They are going to lose a lot of sales on fishing gear.  What set them apart from the competition was the ‘lifetime warranty’.  When buying waders I knew that I would get a reasonable three to five years of service life.  Now I might as well buy Orvis waders instead.

Anyone else remember when Craftsman replaced a tape measure?  That seemed to stop for the same reason.

  I don't remember specifically Craftsman replacing tape measures (though I'm sure you are correct) but I do remember them offering free replacements for their wrenches, screwdrivers, ratchet sets, etc. I don't know what their policy is now, but I still have some of my dad's 50+ year old ratchet sets and they still work as good as new - that was when all those tools where USA made too.
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Offline ChuckM

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 10:45 AM »
I support such return policy change from any reputable business, because everyone ends up paying for the return abuses. The new one-year policy, to me, is generous enough. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-ll-bean-dropping-unlimited-returns-policy-52960055

Some vendors I deal with accept returns (within the allowable period) without receipts if I can provide my customer no or phone number, and they include: Lee Valley Tools, Canadian Tire, Staples, and Princess Auto. But they vary in how refunds are made, some based on the lowest sale price, some in store credit only (with or without an expiry date), and some in full refund of the price you paid.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 11:40 AM by ChuckM »

Offline RustE

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Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 10:49 AM »
I don't remember specifically Craftsman replacing tape measures ...

At least some of the former Sears Hardware stores would.  Then they changed the case color and stopped offering replacements completely.

I am pretty sure that one factor was some folks having unfortunate encounters between a pair of tin snips and the end of the tape measure.  At one point I saw several stray tape tips in the store parking lot.  Does not take much to figure out what was happening.

I recall taking one tape measure back for replacement.  I liked the lever lock versions, but when using them I would simply squeeze the lever and let the tape slam home.  I forget if the spring eventually unwound or if the tip broke.  These days I know better.

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 01:09 PM »
The new policy is reasonable, even generous compared to sector piers.

In another catagory, McMaster-Carr return policy has no specific limit.

Returns and exchanges

To return or exchange a product, send it to the nearest McMaster-Carr location. You will be given credit upon receipt of the material. When exchanging a product, return the product and place a new order. A Return Authorization Number is not required.

Another interesting feature, you don't even need to know exactly what you need.

Ordering without a catalog part number

If you can’t find exactly what you need in the catalog, we can help. Give us a call, or fax or email us a description of the product, a drawing, or the manufacturer's part number.

And, there is no minimum order.  You do pay shipping but McMaster has secured very favorable rates from UPS.

Offline TOOLTOWN

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 02:07 PM »

Costco is one of those super lenient retailers.  I would bet that I could return my 10+ year old gas grill that was a private label item for them that needs more parts than it is probably worth.  BUT I would never even consider doing that.

But there those out there who would.

Peter

Did you read about the woman who returned her Christmas tree this past January?   [eek]

Ken

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 03:10 PM »

Costco is one of those super lenient retailers.  I would bet that I could return my 10+ year old gas grill that was a private label item for them that needs more parts than it is probably worth.  BUT I would never even consider doing that.

But there those out there who would.

Peter

Did you read about the woman who returned her Christmas tree this past January?   [eek]

Ken

Sure did. 

When I was just out of high school (early 1980's) I was working for a retailer that was liberal but there were limits.  I remember having to call the store manager to handle a lady who was trying to return a totally destroyed fishing rod. 

"My husband cast his lure and it got caught in a tree.  He pulled on it but it didn't come free.  He is a big guy and I was surprised that he couldn't get it loose.  So he reared back and used the rod.  The rod broke.  It shouldn't have done that.  I would like my money back for both the rod and the lure."

"I would like to return this tv."

    "Is there anything wrong with it?"

"No.  My husband decided he wanted another brand that you don't sell."

    "OK.  We can refund the purchase.  Sorry we don't carry what you are looking for."

"Thank you.  This is why I am such a loyal customer."

Later the box is opened and is full of enough bricks to simulate the weight of a tv (they were heavier back then.)

Happy Retailing!

Peter

Offline Rob Z

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2018, 03:22 PM »
I have been appalled the various times we have been at our son's sporting events and some of the parents are  blandly  discussing their plans to buy an appliance (tv, etc) for a single use/event ,  planning to return it with some fabricated excuse as to why the appliance wasn't suitable.   [eek]

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2018, 04:26 PM »
Where do I begin!

Recent examples of customer returns include a paint tin full of water and the 4 stroke lawn mower that actually started but could not be sustained on 2 stroke mix.

The paint was customer fraud. Returned paint is now checked in front of the customer.

A new replacement mower was cheerfully ticked off by the manager. A large company can do this as part of its long term strategy of developing customer relationships. Smaller companies may not be able to be as 'generous'.

And then there is the customer known to purchase plants on Saturday afternoon once per month to decorate a local church for Sunday Services , and which are returned on Monday.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 05:53 PM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2018, 07:52 PM »
The only time I really pushed a return was I bought a pair of pants and then lost weight.  I forgot I had them, but the tags were still on.  It was 16 months after initial purchase, and the style changed slightly, the retailer did an even swap for a smaller size.

I was working for a big box store and this guy brought back a bunch of 2x12 he used for concrete forms, they still had concrete on them, but were taken back no questions asked.  It was amazing what would be returned.
Bryan

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Offline jobsworth

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2018, 07:26 PM »
Where do I begin!

Recent examples of customer returns include a paint tin full of water and the 4 stroke lawn mower that actually started but could not be sustained on 2 stroke mix.

The paint was customer fraud. Returned paint is now checked in front of the customer.

A new replacement mower was cheerfully ticked off by the manager. A large company can do this as part of its long term strategy of developing customer relationships. Smaller companies may not be able to be as 'generous'.

And then there is the customer known to purchase plants on Saturday afternoon once per month to decorate a local church for Sunday Services , and which are returned on Monday.


The wife and I were in COSTCO Monday we saw some lady returning some very nice flowers. The wife was laughing about it and we both were wondering why.

Well now we know. Talking to the lady at the customer service desk she said they have changed their return policy and stopped selling certain items.

still cant believe the flower sheesh, what has happened to people

Offline JeremyH.

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2018, 11:41 PM »
Good for LL Bean...

I've seen too many people doing things to companies like them and REI... I mean I knew a guy who would get a pair of running shoes, and run so much he'd literally exhaust them to the point where they fell apart enough that he could get a replacement pair from REI. He only paid for 1 pair of running shoes for years, and they only lasted him a brief period of time. I think the return policy was within 3 months.

Did you know Patagonia's high price is purely based off the fact they know for every 1 item they sell, they need to produce 2?

There are just too many assholes out there. As much as I think a big company can be awful, maybe even evil, they are also partly a reflection of patronage.

If people were not such a problem, they'd probably be able to offer better products than they do. 

Offline JimH2

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 09:52 AM »
And their revised policy allows for making exceptions.  Ain't nuthin' free in this world and super liberal return policies and their effects are figured into the marketing and cost of every item sold.

Costco is one of those super lenient retailers.  I would bet that I could return my 10+ year old gas grill that was a private label item for them that needs more parts than it is probably worth.  BUT I would never even consider doing that.

But there those out there who would.

Peter

Costco finally terminated the return forever plan with TV's and electronics. I think you get 90 days which is still probably too much.

Offline JimH2

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2018, 10:08 AM »
Everyone pays for these false returns. I am certain we are paying for them when we buy these (Festool) tools. I have been at the service desk at both Home Depot and Lowe's and can confirm they will take almost anything back possibly even if it was not purchased there. These "used/not available to resell items" cost everyone just as credit card usage does. For those that don't know the merchant has to pay a transaction fee plus a % of the sale cost to their processor. The % can range from 1.25% to over 3% (AMEX). The number and range of charges (though only pennies in most cases) put phone and cable bills extra charges to shame. If you see someone with the little white square attached to their phone or using their terminal in the store with an iPad or other tablet they are getting hit for a flat 2.75% which is factored into the final price. No one is eating this. The exception is when a manufacturer dictates pricing.

At Home Depot I saw someone return a saw they said they bought, but had failed them after a few uses. This saw looked like it had cut down a forest. In my mind I think they had bought a new one then returned this one with that receipt. When in college I worked at at a chain store called Rose's at a resort town. They took everything back within a 90 day window and of course it was taken advantage of. We sold a ton of beach chairs and deck furniture over Memorial Day weekend that was promptly returned in late August.

Offline ChuckM

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Offline Rob Lee

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2018, 04:39 PM »
Hi,

In some organisations, the policies are there to set a limit for those that abuse them. We have a 90 day return policy. At the same time - we empower our staff to do what's right by the customer, no matter what that policy says. We have taken returns decades after purchase.

We recognise that having a policy sets customer expectation: nothing in a policy says that a customers expectation cannot be exceeded.!

Cheers -

Rob


Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2018, 05:03 PM »
L L Bean getting sued: https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/lawsuit-filed-over-l-l-bean-s-1-year-limit-on-returns-1.3803063

Problem with our world today.  I hope the judge throws this out for wasting his time and makes him write a written apology to LL Bean for wasting there time as well.
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2018, 09:55 PM »
L L Bean getting sued: https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/lawsuit-filed-over-l-l-bean-s-1-year-limit-on-returns-1.3803063

Problem with our world today.  I hope the judge throws this out for wasting his time and makes him write a written apology to LL Bean for wasting there time as well.

Prolly some cheesey lawyer trying to make a few bucks on this

Offline Greg Powers

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2018, 11:03 PM »
I talked to co-worker who’s wife used  Norstrom’s department store  as a  wardrobe house for a movie production company. When they were done filiming they took all the clothes back to Norstrom’s 
Greg Powers
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Offline James Carriere

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2018, 08:47 PM »
I got the same notice notice from L.L. Bean and also found it sad.  I quickly remembered how Neiman Marcus used to have a famous and longstanding tradition that they would accept and exchange any Christmas gift you received and didn't want even if it wasn't purchased from them. (Of course the spirit of the policy was intended for comparable categories of what they sold like high end clothing and home decor). 

A customer brought in a $2k set of snow tires and killed that policy in one move.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 06:30 PM by James Carriere »

Offline rst

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Re: Letter from LL Bean
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2018, 06:29 PM »
I bought my first two MFS sets from Amazon Warehouse Deals.  The first set was a 400, two of the rails were worn so bad the size logo was gone, the scales were intact however.  Pretty sure either the vender or returner had sent in to get new rails.  I contacted Amazon and the gave me a better discount rather than return.  The second set had been abused badly, probably four or five ends of the extrusions were bent were the tees needed to go.  Amazon would not negotiate this time however and only gave me the option to return.  As I was not going buy the sets at full price, I kept it and repaired the damages.  I've worked with aluminum extrusions for the last 38 years so I was comfortable doing the repairs.