The internet is crying over the loss of L.L. Bean’s no-questions-asked return policy. The unlimited warranty program guaranteed you could get a refund or store credit for any product, after any amount of time, no matter how worn the items appeared.
In a letter sent out to customers on Friday, L.L. Bean explained its reasoning for updating the policy: “some view [the return policy] as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years,” which was not the original intent. In theory, someone could purchase yard L.L. Bean gear at a yard sale, then return it all like it was his own. Even the author of this Slate article admits to taking advantage of the policy and upgrading his slip-on shoes every year, no matter how worn they were.
While L.L. Bean still stands behind all their gear (including their iconic Bean Boot), your side hustle can no longer include returning the gear you find to make a profit. Of course, if there is a defect in the product, L.L. Bean will still honor that. “After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship,” the updated policy states. Returns are also accepted “if you are not 100% satisfied,” according to L.L. Bean’s website. But, now you need to have proof of purchase — meaning anyone who buys something at a garage sale is no longer getting cash back for a purchase they didn’t make.
A handful of brands still offer lifetime guarantees, and unless you want those to end as well, stop taking advantage of them.
Duluth Trading Co. allows you to return any product you are not 100% satisfied with, “return it to us at any time for a refund of its purchase price. Simple, unconditional, no nonsense, no Bull,” reads the site’s no bull guarantee.
Eddie Bauer stands by its unconditional lifetime guarantee, and the quality of its products: “If anything you buy falls short of those standards, you’re invited to return it at any time.”
Lands’ Endshares similar thoughts: “if you’re not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.”
Nordstrom offers a unique return policy, “there are no time limits for returns or exchanges,” which customers have said it works with worn boots, but have warned don’t take advantage of the policy because you can get banned.