- L.L. Bean recently changed its return policy to cover items unconditionally for only one year instead of for the lifetime of the product.
- A new lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses L.L. Bean of refusing to honor its warranty by changing the policy.
- L.L. Bean previously told Business Insider that items bought before the change could still be returned or exchanged within a year, as long as the customer can prove they purchased the item.
L.L. Bean just changed its lifetime return policy to cover only one year, and some customers are not happy. One is so dissatisfied, in fact, that he has filed a lawsuit alleging breach of warranty.
The plaintiff, Victor Bondi, is seeking class-action status for the suit.
Filed Monday in US District Court in Chicago, the 16-page lawsuit argues that customers bought products because of L.L. Bean’s “100% satisfaction guarantee,” which enabled them to return or exchange items at any time.
The suit says that taking away the guarantee and reducing the return timeframe to only one year breaches the promise made by the company.
“As a result of L.L. Bean’s deceptive and unfair breaking of its promises and violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and other laws, Plaintiff and all other L.L. Bean customers did not receive what they bargained for,” the suit says.
When L.L. Bean announced its revised its returns policy, confusion abounded about what it would mean for older purchases. A company representative previously told Business Insider that items bought before February 9 could still be returned within a year if the customer has proof of purchase.
L.L. Bean did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment, but in a statement to the Bangor Daily News, a spokeswoman denied any wrongdoing.
“The recently filed lawsuit misrepresents the terms of our new returns policy. L.L.Bean products bought prior to Feb. 9, 2018 will not be subject to the new one-year restriction,” said the spokeswoman, Carolyn Beem. “Proof of purchase will continue to be required. That is what we have consistently told customers since the new policy was announced last Friday.”
L.L. Bean switched to primarily digital records for purchases, so it shouldn’t be hard for customers to prove they purchased an item. If the system can’t find a purchase record for any reason, a paper receipt would be required. If the customer can’t produce that, the store will not accept the return.
The change is designed to stop to people who purchase L.L. Bean items at garage sales and thrift stores to return them for a full refund, but it’s unlikely to affect most L.L. Bean customers.