Better stock up on shoe shine and leather treatment, because L.L. Bean is doing away with their old lifetime policy. Your purchases are no longer guaranteed for life, according to a letter released by the company to customers.
In the letter, the company hightlights changes to its long-standing return policy. That lifetime guarantee has been whittled down to a single year, meaning if you bust those boots open on a rock after 365 days, you cannot get a refund.
"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."'
The new return policy 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."
While L.L. Bean claims the new change will only affect a "small percentage" of their customer returns, some users are not pleased. The company still intends to keep its promise to sell quality products that "inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors."
"Our guarantee is not a liability, but rather a customer service asset — an unacknowledged agreement between us and the customer, that always puts the customer first and relies on the goodwill of our customers to honor the original intent of the guarantee," spokesperson Mac McKeever told Business Insider.
The company began in 1911, when a "Maine outdoorsman" designed a hunting shoe with "leather uppers and rubber bottoms." The company originally geared its products towards people who enjoyed hunting and fishing.