Monday, February 24, 2014

The L.L. Bean Coat

I occasionally  blog about customer service experiences, both good (Chobani yogurt) and not so good (a local Binghamton, NY restaurant, who acknowledged my email but only after several days and although they said they would respond, they never did.)

This experience, though, has to be a first.

There is a long time company, located in Maine, called L.L. Bean. They have been in business since 1912 and have a reputation for excellent customer service.  Their clothing can be a bit pricey, but I've been wearing one of their light fleece jackets for years and years, and I will go into mourning the day it finally falls apart.

In September of 2011 I bought a ski jacket in their flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  It was a splurge, and I don't ski, but it had some features I wanted.  It was a light ivory/white, which I wanted, so I could be visible at night if I had to go out.  It had a nice red liner, so fleecy and comfy.  I hadn't worn it enough to have to wash it until this year, when it became my go-to coat, in our extended "polar vortex" weather.

I washed it yesterday, and to my horror...well, let my email to L.L. Bean from today tell the story.

"I purchased during a visit to Freeport in 2011, a white ski jacket with red liner... I didn't wear it much the winters of 2011 and 2012 but wore it a lot this winter and got it dirty. I washed it for the first time yesterday-cold water, gentle cycle as directed. The red liner has bled all over the coat in various places and is visible from the outside in many spots on the hood and the back. It is cosmetically ruined. Is there anything that can be done? I love this coat and we are ready to go into another cold wave later this week. Thank you."

Less than 1/2 hour later (on a Sunday!!) I got this response:

"I am sorry to read the red liner on your North Ridge Sport Jacket bled.
Unfortunately, the jacket was discontinued in 2011 and is no longer available for replacement. You are welcome to return the jacket if you wish. We would issue you a gift card for the return... Simply print a return form and return shipping label[from our website]."

After a little further correspondence (which they responded to in minutes, as if someone was waiting there to get my email) I was told no rush if I need the coat until it warms up - there is no time limit on returns!  (I've read that - and now I know it is true).

And maybe, one day, it will really be spring.  Meantime, tonight, it is supposed to dip down to 10 above, and by Wednesday, 3 above.  If you see someone with a blotchy white/ivory coat walking around Binghamton, you'll know who it is.

Have you had a really good customer service experience?

13 comments:

  1. Similar to my experiences with Bean: one year two colleagues and I had all purchased the same jacket, and, based on that warranty, returned them at the end of the winter because of a balky zipper. They recently repaired the strap on a pack I've had for years. They've feminized many of their styles (I.e., no pocket on women's shirts) so I don't buy as much from them as I used to. But you do get what you pay for.

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    1. It's good when you do get what you pay for. I'm impressed they let me keep the coat for the rest of our cold winter if I wanted. It's too bad about the "feminization" of certain styles - why should they assume a woman wouldn't want a pocket? (I won't buy pants without pockets, myself.) Let the consumer make the choice!

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  2. That is superb customer service. Too bad more companies do not serve as they do.

    Rachel recently wrote Using the Oreo Cookie to Get Clients

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    1. I totally agree, Rachel. That's one reason why I felt I needed to blog about it.

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  3. What a wonderful experience! It's so refreshing when that happens. I recently had an excellent customer service experience with a company based in the UK (John Lewis), and have been recommending them ever since. Even though I'm in Canada, I'd still shop from them!

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    1. I've never heard of John Lewis but I had to go to their website. Impressive, and they do ship internationally - but for 25 pounds, which is about $41. American. Yikes! But obviously there are a lot of people willing to pay for quality service. Companies must take note!

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  4. Yes, I have returned things to LLBean even after washing and wearing several times. If it shrinks or gets a hole, send it back! Best return policy I know.

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    1. Unbelievable. I might even go back to Freeport in the fall just to shop there again....

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  5. I also had a very good experience with LL Bean. Too complicated to go into here. But same speedy response to an email on a Sunday. As a matter of fact they called me back!

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    1. I'm getting nothing but super feedback about their service. Be proud, LL Bean!

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  6. This is just awesome customer service. Some day I need to recommend a ski jacket ( won't wear one cos I live in the tropics) I'll remember this post and this brand.

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    1. They sell a lot more than ski jackets - they have a full range of clothing - although most of it, true, wouldn't be suitable for tropic climates.

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  7. My experience with LL Bean has been good also. My kids had book bags and one of them had a zipper failure. They were prompt and courteous and everyone at this end was happy.

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