Kim Bhasin, Bloomberg:

For more than a century, L.L. Bean Inc. has offered lifetime returns on its products. Now, thanks to growing abuse of the program, the bootmaker is drastically cutting back its generous policy.

The Freeport, Maine-based company will impose a one-year limit on returns, executives announced Friday. The return policy was a part of a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, never meant to be used as an unlimited replenishment method. Shoppers may still return products for any reason within the one-year limit.

“Increasingly, a small but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent,” L.L. Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman said in a letter to customers on Friday. “Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.”