L.L. Bean Sued for Changing Its Lifetime Return Policy

When L.L. Bean announced that it was revoking its generous lifetime return policy, many took to social media to express their disappointment in the change of a guarantee the retailer offered for more than a century.

One Illinois shopper went further.

Seeking class-action status, Victor Bondi filed a lawsuit on Monday in Chicago federal court against the Maine-based company, claiming that it broke faith with customers. The suit asks to recover unspecified damages and requests an order that L.L. Bean honor its 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.

In his complaint, the self-proclaimed “loyal customer” alleged: “The warranty was a basis of the bargain with the sale of L.L. Bean products. Because of L.L. Bean’s unilateral refusal to honor its warranty, plaintiff and the other class members were harmed and have been deprived of the benefit of the bargain.”

Bondi added that the outfitter’s return policy, which he contended was advertised with “no conditions” and “no end date,” was a core marketing component for the outdoor specialty business and had been displayed prominently in its catalog covers. Now L.L. Bean, which reported that shoppers were abusing its liberal policy, is imposing a one-year limit on most returns with a receipt.

A company spokesperson told CNBC that Bondi’s lawsuit misrepresents the return policy, which states that purchases made before Feb. 9, 2018 — when the change was announced — are still covered under the original lifetime policy, so long as customers can provide proof of purchase.”

L.L. Bean has not responded to FN’s request for comment.

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