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Sunday, October 13, 2013


Your Ad Here I grew up in Maine and have been going to LL Bean since back when they had that really long staircase up to the front door. I'm talking like 40+ years ago. They've always been pretty good but recently I returned 2 Victorinox "signature lite" knives that had been on my key chains for years and were broken.

LL Bean returns dept called me a week or so later and said they no longer offer this knife (probably because it has a light and a battery in it as well as a pen. Eventually ALL of these knives would stop working when the battery dies or the pen runs dry of ink) and they would give me a store credit.

I agreed and they said they'd email the gift card. I assumed it would be for around $60 since the knives were $29 each back when I bought them.

The email gift card arrive in my inbox and I was surprised to find a store credit for only $8.95 x 2!

After at least an hour emailing back and forth with LL Beans customer service, I was unable to convince them that whoever processed this return made a mistake. A blantant and obvious mistake as far as I could see. But no, not obvious to them! They would not admit to a mistake.

They gave me credit for 2 of the "Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife". According to the LL Bean CSR, The original price was $12.50 and the last sale price was $8.95 when the knife was last offered in 2006. I looked it up and found out that the current version of the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife is item #TA247024 and cost $18! Yet, LL Bean decided it would be OK to give me store credit for just $8.95? What the heck LL Bean?

I am somewhat of a knife buff/collector and own many knives. I happen to have a "Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife" (that they gave me credit for) and a "Victorinox Signature lite" (the knife that I returned to LL Bean) right here on my desk. I took photos and emailed them to the CSR and still I get this reply...

"I have researched the Victorinox Swiss Army Signature Lite Pocket Knife and am sorry to say we have no history of selling this particular knife, either by catalog, online,or in our stores.
The knife that was returned was identified as the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife. The original price was $12.50 and the last sale price was $8.95 when the knife was last offered in 2006. The current version of the this knife is item #TA247024.
Please let us know if you have any other information on when this knife may have been purchased, if it was in your name or purchased as a gift for you by someone else, or any additional information will be happy to research this further and correct the refund.

The black knife is the knife they currently sell for $18 but gave me $8.95 credit for. The red knife is the knife I paid $29 for & returned 2 of recently. They no longer sell this model but it is still made by Victorinox.

I replied with an old link to the "signature lite" on their own freaking website! It's obvious that they did sell this knife in the past.

I am left beating my head against the wall, wondering why LL Bean is fighting me when they supposedly have a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

LL Bean you really suck!

I'm thinking about returning this $135 lawn chair I bought from LL Bean this summer. The reason I paid big bucks for a lawn chair was because I thought if I ever had problems with it, I would be covered under their 100% satisfaction guarantee. But now I am finding out they aren't really very good at honoring that promise. God help me if/when I have any problems with this chair.


  1. Well, that's a real bummer.

    If I were you, and I've done this in the past, I would take that string of e-mails and print them out. Attach a calm, BRIEF, well written letter and any documentation you have, ads, photos, prices, etc., and send it to the president of the company with copies (ALL cc's showing on the original letter) to the head of marketing, the top on-line person, the manager of every store in their area you can get addresses for, the chairman of the board and all board members.

    Also mention that you have a blog and print out a copy of this post and include it. Might as well let them know you are putting this out over the Internet, too. Mention that when you get a proper refund of $XXXX, you will post about the cooperation you received. And then, DO let us know what happens.

    I've done this for myself, and for employers who had been "done wrong" in one way or another. I only do this when I KNOW we are right, and I've never lost a battle yet.

    I usually mention in the letter that if my refund isn't received within 30 days, I'll notify XXX. Maybe the fraud division of some governmental oversight group, or something else outside their company in the U.S. or State government or in the city/county that houses their headquarters.

    The one thing I never threatened was legal action, unless it was for an employer who was willing to go that far. I'd never sue anyone - it costs too much - and I'd never threaten anything I wasn't going to do.

    Usually, for this amount of money, which is peanuts to them, the president's letter is given to one of his people with the following written on it - HANDLE THIS! It goes down the line, or a single phone call is made to give you the refund. They don't want unhappy customers who are willing to go this far.

    The only time I didn't do all this, I lost. It was over my converter that was installed at Main Street RV and Marine in Hurricane, UT. I sent some e-mails to him, but gave up when I received no reply. My loss on that one.

    It takes time but, trust me, it feels good, gets out a lot of the anger and stress, and when you win this battle, there will be a huge smile on your face. It sounds like you are just mad enough to do all this. :)

  2. Thanks for the advice but I've decided to just not shop at LL Beans anymore. I deleted the emailed gift cards they sent to me and didn't bother returning the phone call of an LL Bean exec who called.

    Googling "LL BEAN SUCKS" brings up many stories of people (and employees) griping about LL Beans product quality (and worker morale) going downhill since the new CEO took over and focused on maximizing profits.

    Sadly, most things sold at LL Bean now are made in China and don't last. That is why they are making their return policy so difficult to navigate, drawn out and so rigid.

  3. LL Bean is privately owned. There is no stock, no board and no reporting of financials.

    The new CEO wants to make money so that he can get a bonus. The company has completely changed with layers and layers of management . You have a very slim chance of any correspondence ever being reviewed by the CEO. Management is very careful not to publish their email addresses as they have people working for them to handle complaints.