Last week, I wrote about how had L.L. Bean abandoned its decades old “100% satisfaction guarantee” return policy, which allowed customers to return any product without a receipt, no matter how long ago it was purchased. This policy change was met with acceptance by some brand loyalists. But others were mad. How mad? Well, one customer just sued L.L. Bean, Bloomberg reports.
The plaintiff Victor Bondi, who describes himself as a loyal patron of L.L. Bean, filed a complaint in Chicago saying that the original warranty on the products he had purchased had “no conditions” and “no end date” attached to the return policy. He went on to say that messaging was “a core component of L.L. Bean’s marketing and has been emblazoned prominently on many L.L. Bean catalog covers.” L.L. Bean’s about-face, Bondi argued, has harmed him, as well as other customers.
Brands, let this be a good lesson: It’s better to ease customers into new policies, rather than blindsiding them with a sudden change dispatched via social media. The loyal customers L.L. Bean has cultivated over decades are bound to take this personally.