Commitment issues? Here are the stores with the best return policies
Updated: February 12, 2018
Goodbye, lifetime returns.
L.L. Bean has changed its famously lenient return policy, which placed no limit on when you could return something even if you didn’t have a receipt. No longer, now you have one year to return things — and you need a receipt.
The news has sent shoppers into a blame game, lashing out at other shoppers they say ruined it for everyone.
— Hannah Lilly (@hannah_lilly) February 9, 2018
which one of u jokers went too far and ruined the ll bean receipt-free forever return policy
— amelia (@backhoe_mix) February 9, 2018
And, there’s probably some truth to it: L.L. Bean notes that “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.”
One woman even admitted — with an LOL, no less — that her grandpa would buy things at Goodwill and return them to L.L. Bean.
Lol my grandpa used to buy LL Bean stuff at Goodwill and have my Mom and I package it up and "return" it to LL Bean for a full refund. He had a million schemes like this. RIP to one of Grandpa's not-very-efficient-but-favorite-ways-to-pass-a-Sunday cons. pic.twitter.com/qbL6XexSKd
— Meagan Fisher (@owltastic) February 9, 2018
Questionable returns aren’t just a problem that plagues L.L. Bean either. A woman allegedly brought back her dying Christmas tree to a Costco in Santa Clarita, Calif. to get a refund in January, according to a report, based on a Facebook post with photos by an apparent eyewitness, by WFLA. She allegedly wanted her money back because her Christmas tree didn’t stay lush for long enough, as reported by WFLA.
The woman likely knew about Costco’s famously lenient return policy. Indeed, Costco doesn’t specify time limits for returns on many items, simply noting, “we guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price, with the following exceptions.” Exceptions include electronics (90 days), major appliances, diamonds, cigarettes and alcohol, and a few others.
Despite return abuses, some retailers still have lenient policies. Here are other stores that often have no time limits on when you can return items — and other generous perks.
Land’s End’s policy is similarly generous; their mantra is that your satisfaction is “Guaranteed.Period. 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.”
Athleta doesn’t have a time limit on returns and will allow you to work out in the outfit and still return it if it doesn’t meet your standards; sister companies Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic are not nearly as generous.
Bath & Body Works
We want you to be 100% satisfied with everything from Bath & Body Works. If for any reason you’re not, simply return or exchange your products,” the policy states. The store also offers a one-time price adjustment: If you see a lower price on an item you bought in the store, they will refund you the difference.
This story was originally published in February 2017 on MarketWatch. It has since been updated to reflect L.L. Bean’s new return policy and the woman allegedly returning her Christmas tree to Costco.
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