LL Bean dropping its unlimited returns policy

In this Dec. 2, 2014, file photo, Talitha Donaldson displays a label that will be glued onto the back of an L.L. Bean boot, at a facility in Lewiston, Maine. The Maine-based outdoors retailer is installing a third injection-molding machine to manufacture the rubber soles, boosting capacity and creating jobs in Lewiston. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) – L.L. Bean’s generous return policy is going to be a little less forgiving: The company is imposing a one-year limit on most returns to reduce abuse and fraud.

Executives tell The Associated Press that returns of severely worn items, including some retrieved from trash bins or purchased at thrift stores, have doubled over five years.

Under the new policy announced Friday, the company will accept returns for one year with a proof of purchase and will continue to replace products for manufacturing defects beyond that.

The Maine-based outdoors retailer anticipates taking some heat from those believe the company is backing away from founder Leon Leonwood Bean’s satisfaction guarantee. But company officials say he never intended for it to become a lifetime replacement policy.

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