The first of our L. L. Bean tents started loosing the waterproof seam tape on the fly after six years of reasonable use. We stopped in at their Freeport store to inquire as to whether it was possible to have them reapply the tape, happy to pay to get the work done since it had been well used. To our surprise, the clerk said that they couldn’t repair the fly, but since we were clearly dissatisfied with the performance of their product, that they would replace it for free. Fast forward another 19 years and we started experiencing some zipper closure issues. We could “solve” the problem with the pinch the zipper with pliers trick, but knew the writing was on the wall and relegated this tent to be used by the kids for their less supervised adventures. I’m sure we could have returned this 19 year old tent to L. L. Bean and they would have replaced it with something, for free, but we decided that it had given us a reasonable value.
We replaced the veteran with an L. L. Bean 3 Person Backcountry Dome tent. After three years of use, only 10 camping trips under it’s belt, it started to develop zipper issues. We actually felt this product prematurely failed, so contacted L. L. Bean to send it back. They covered the return shipping and told us to send back only the tent; no poles, fly, or stakes. The tent would then be repaired or replace. Within a week, we had a box sitting on our front door. When we opened it, what did we find… an entirely new, complete tent, including: poles, stakes, fly, etc.!
They do stand behind their products. Neither time, did I get any sort of push back from them. No questions asked, they took care of us. The first time around I actually asked the clerk, “why do you do this?” Her answer was simple, you’ll purchase more of our products… and she was right. Over the years we have purchased more of their products, but I wouldn’t hesitate to send something back if I feel it hasn’t performed and I can be confident in the fact that they will take care of me.
I wonder if L. L. Bean ever has product tester positions open 🙂