timberland apparel Are lifetime guarantees becoming a thing of the past
Some lifetime guarantees last longer than others.
A small minority of shoppers who have returned items salvaged from yard sales or purchased decades ago to get an upgraded version or a cash refund have left some retailers saying enough is enough.
More retailers are changing once generous return policies. Bean said that in the wake of increasing abuse, it was putting a cap on its legendary open ended pledge, limiting most returns to one year a move that prompted outrage and at least one lawsuit by a customer who said the company was now . . . its promises.
Bean follows outdoor gear and clothing retailer REI, which dropped its lifetime guarantee in 2013. Membership warehouse retailer Costco began limiting its lifetime returns policy to just 90 days for certain major electronics like TVs and computers. And car maker Chrysler, as well as jewelry maker Silpada, have also pared back open ended policies.
“Part of the reason is that retailers are very cost conscious and have become increasingly concerned about the amount of abuse associated with lifetime guarantees,” says Neil Saunders, managing director of the retail consultancy GlobalData.
Such lifelong guarantees are increasingly becoming casualties of an era of disposable products and fast changing fashion. And with competitive pressures only rising, companies don’t want to bear the costs of endlessly replacing an array of dated products.
“I think it was a sincere way that sellers inspired confidence in their products in the minds of prospective purchasers, says Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of Consumer World, an online consumer education site and resource guide. Bean drops its unlimited lifetime return policy
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Sticking with guarantees Yet several retailers Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, Patagonia to name a few are holding firm.
policy is guaranteed period, and we mean every word,” says Michele Casper, spokeswoman for outerwear retailer Lands’ End. “It is unconditional, and it part of how we do business. company, whose policy states that a dissatisfied customer can return a purchase at any time, isn’t just talking about offering a refund for a lunch box or replacing a pair of snow boots. Bean retail store in Freeport, Maine. Bean is tightening its generous return policy by imposing a one year limit on most returns to reduce abuse and fraud. Executives say returns of severely worn items have doubled over five years. Under the new policy announced Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, the company will accept returns for one year with a proof of purchase and will continue to replace products for manufacturing defects beyond that. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) ORG XMIT: NY109
Nordstrom, which also puts no time limit on returns or exchanges, once honored the claim of a customer in Fairbanks, Alaska, who brought back a set of tires he’d bought from another business that had been on that physical site before Nordstrom. The upscale retailer has never sold tires.
Outdoor clothing and gear seller Patagonia touts its guarantee. Though it will charge a small fee to fix items damaged from regular wear and tear, the company will take back items years after they were purchased, attempt to repair them and if it decides that the item is worn out and can’t be fixed, it will talk with the shopper about replacing it or receiving a gift credit. Huggins. “Abuse is not widespread. Bean to change a policy that had been its hallmark since 1912.
The company’s executive chairman, Shawn Gorman, said in a letter to customers Feb. Bean’s open ended guarantee, seeking refunds for old, worn out products and items picked up at yard sales. Bean shoppers will have just one year to return a product and must show proof of purchase, though the company will try to resolve issues beyond the one year time frame if an item is defective. Bean customer who lives outside Boston, was also angered by the shift. Bean, and this letter Gorman sent is an insult to me and thousands of other customers, Taylor, an accountant, said in an email sent to USA TODAY. Bean. . Bean could not be reached for comment.
A Dying Breed REI changed its open ended returns policy in 2013. Since then, customers have only been able to bring back or exchange items they were dissatisfied with for a year after purchase. For outdoor electronics, the window is even smaller 90 days though an item with a defect in its materials or the way it is made can be brought back at any time.
“Our returns policy is still among the best in the industry,” REI said in a statement.
Car maker Chrysler began offering lifetime warranties on new vehicles in 2007, a move that was virtually unheard of for a car manufacturer because cars so often need repairs. But two years later, it decided to no longer offer the unlimited guarantee. It knocked it down to a five year, 100,000 mile warranty instead.
Chrysler, now Fiat Chrysler, says it still honors the lifetime warranties from that period.
And while Costco continues its popular lifetime returns policy for most products, it imposed a 90 day limit for certain major electronics like TVs, camcorders and computers to the rapid technology changes, it said in a statement. The warehouse retailer added that after the change, it began offering a second year warranty on TVs, appliances and computers and a program that provides free technical assistance.