L.L. Bean Answers The Phone When You Call And Other Minor Miracles

I’m a fan of L.L. Bean, but don’t actually own a lot of their products. It’s only recently I got into them. When the Boat & Tote lunch bag came out, I really had to have one. Of course they sold out and were back ordered (they’re very cute lunch bags!) I placed my order on October 7th, when the items were all said to be backordered until October 29th. Well, that date came around and they still didn’t have enough to fulfill the pre-orders, so I got a charming little e- mail telling me they were backordered again until November 2nd. This time round they actually shipped (with free shipping on any order!)

Since it was free shipping, I was expecting it to be slow, and it was. It was shipped USPS with an estimated delivery date of November 15th. The 15th came round, and no package. I gave the post office the benefit of the doubt and waited to see if it showed up that Friday or Saturday. No dice.

So, this morning (Monday, though I have a feeling if I had called at 2 am on a Saturday they might’ve picked up) I called the Bean. I spoke to a real, live person RIGHT AWAY (and they actually sounded as though they weren’t in India!), and was taken aback like other people have commented. I was expecting to sit on hold or sit through an automated message. I explained the problem – that my package still hadn’t shown up despite the online tracker’s say-so – and was transferred to a helpful gentleman who instantly offered to send a new one out. They were still sold-out of the Navy one, so I got to pick a new color (Red, which I secretly wanted more anyway!) and it is being sent out today via 2nd day FedEx this time. The nice rep apologized profusely for the trouble. He also said if the 1st one shows up I can “give them a call if I want to.”

This is a beautiful example of a non-fawning L.L. Bean tale. Things went wrong – just as likely Bean’s fault as the post office’s – and they fixed it. Nobody questioned my story in the least, I didn’t have to wait for the exact item to come back in stock, and they did my original order one better by upgrading the shipping. And alluded to me keeping the 2nd lunch box if I want to (which I just might, they’re so cute).

Customer service at it’s finest. It just works, simply. :) I am now completely won over and will buy MANY more things from them in the future! Go L.L. Bean!

Good customer service makes people so excited that they take the time to write complete strangers just to tell them how happy they are.

We think that’s cool.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Critcol says:

    I buy whatever I can from LL Bean. They put their lifetime warranty on everything they sell. Because I bought my Timbuk2 bag from LL Bean, when it finally dies, I can go back to LL Bean, they’ll happily refund my $100 and then I can get a new bag. It’s sorta like I gave them a long-term loan and they’re always willing to refund my money.

  2. B says:

    LL Bean customer service is awesome. I got a duffel bag as a birthday gift, and a couple years later the clip on the strap broke. I called LL Bean, and without a receipt or even knowing when it was ordered, the customer service representative was able to identify which bag I had and they sent a replacement strap free of charge.

  3. ludwigk says:

    L.L. Bean takes customer service super seriously. My friend had an LLBean jacket that her pet parakeet had eaten the zipper off of. She showed it to the Customer Service rep, who said “Oh, you don’t want that…” and promptly refunded the purchase price via GC so she could pick out a new one.

    I have a picture of myself wedged underneath the toe of that giant boot.

  4. atomicbeaker says:

    I can’t agree more about LL Bean’s service. A couple years ago, the zipper on my LL bean backpack (which I’d had for 8 years, at the time) came apart; they sent a pre-paid box, replaced the zipper, and had it back to me within a week. Best customer service I’ve ever experienced.

  5. WesFromMaine says:

    If you’re ever in Maine and get the chance, the experience of actually visiting the store will only enhance your opinion of L.L. Bean. Sometimes I will go with friends at 1 or 2 in the morning just for something to do. They offer free coffee (past midnight I believe) and the staff is ALWAYS quick to offer quick, expert advice even at 2 in the morning! Since 1912, the company has upheld the promise Leon Bean made to it’s customers: unmatched customer service and a product satisfaction guarantee unheard of at other retailers around the world.

    One quick example why I love this company: A friend and I were bass fishing in a canoe. He handed me his 4 year old L.L. Bean fishing rod (handed down to him from his unfortunately now deceased grandfather). Mistakingly, I grabbed the non-reel end of the rod and it bent enough to break. He was upset, but I suggested we head to L.L. Bean the next day to see if it can be replaced. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of a customer service employee searching a HUGE paper catalog behind the desk (it was an old fishing rod), the friendly rep found the model and Scott was given $80.00 store credit!! That was the value of the rod 4 years ago!! Keep it up L.L. Bean.

  6. Anitra says:

    (Disclaimer: my aunt lives in Freeport, so I’ve been receiving items from LL Bean since I was a small child.)

    I’ve always been happy with the level of customer service you can get from LL Bean. They replaced a 3 year old backpack, including the monogramming, for free, when I brought it into the store with me. Even when I’ve called about an item I couldn’t find (Christmas season, they were sold out), the person on the other end of the phone was helpful (they were sold out, but it was a very popular item; the rep assured me they would be available again the next year).

    Their clothing is expensive, but it’s worth it (especially if you wait for a sale or look in the clearance section of their website).

  7. PaulMorel says:

    I got an LL Bean Backpack during my freshmen year in High School. It wasn’t the coolest thing in the world, but it was big and sturdy so I kept it.

    …and kept it.

    …and 12 years later, after High School, college, and 4 years of work, the only reason I stopped using it is because I ran over it with my car. This made 1 buckle crack, but other than that, it is still in good shape.

    I keep it just for nostalgia now… and as I type that, I realize how odd it is to keep a backpack for nostalgia…

    Still, another good LL Bean story here.

  8. spryte says:

    L.L. Bean was always a favorite of my Dad’s. I’ve probably ordered half of his birthday, Christmas, and Father’s Day gifts over the years from them…and I don’t recall ever having a problem. Nice to know that if I had, it would have been resolved quickly and easily!

    I know a lot of people who say the Bean is too expensive but as others here have noted, it’s WORTH IT. Their stuff lasts forever and is really good quality. The only reason I had to buy my dad new slippers was because our new dog had chewed up his old ones – which he’d had for about 4 years at that point, worn almost every day.

    Their clothing isn’t really my style but I still admire them as a company.

  9. ludwigk says:

    @PaulMorel: They’d replace that backpack for you if you asked. That is, if you can bear to part with it.

  10. Snakeophelia says:

    LOVE THEM. I love that they pick up the phone on the first ring. I love that they worked with me in my fight to get UPS to leave things at my front door (we didn’t win that fight, but at least LL Bean was willing to put “Leave at customer’s door” in big letters on the label). I love their travel stuff. I wish their clothes fit me better, but I love it all nonetheless.

    Right now, Zappos, LL Bean, and Sephora are my holy trinity of amazing customer service. And I have all the credit card receipts to prove it.

  11. Katharine says:

    I love LL Bean. I went to Freeport this weekend. Everyone is super helpful and nice. I thought I had a gift card but I couldn’t remember the amount and didn’t have it with me. They looked it up for me and I was able to use it with no problems.

  12. catskyfire says:

    I can’t often afford to buy LL Bean things, but when I do, I’m never disappointed. They have a quality to their stuff that is amazing. I’m wearing a polo shirt that is at least 6 years old, and it’s still in pretty good condition.

    I just wish they carried more things for those of us who aren’t anywhere near ‘proper weight’.

  13. BrianH says:

    As a longtime LL Bean customer, I always get upset with people who use an LL Bean backpack for 20 years, and when it finally yields, they go back and say “gimme another…..” Sadly there are some people like this (the same people who used to abuse Costco’s policy on TVs and computers). One can argue “yes but little Johnny is within the letter of the law…” yes but not the spirit. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. Thanks Criticol, LudwigK, et. al., you’re real sports.

  14. PaperBoy says:

    Customer service there is awesome, esp. for the specialty sporting goods. I bought a fly rod and couldn’t believe how much time the specialist spent with me, and how meticulous he was about all the specs on how I wanted the rod set up (or, more accurately, how he helped me figure out how I wanted the rod set up). Plus, the value of the package was excellent for the price, so it’s not like it was some big-ticket item where they made a lot of money.

  15. peggyhill says:

    My wife orders for herself and the kiddies from the Bean (I’m more of a Carhartt person because of my vocation). She recently ordered something for our baby that we had to send back because their child sizing chart was actually accurate… she ordered something big for the baby because she figured the sizing chart would be more in line with the size of a Sri-Lankan child (like most of the other stuff). The thing was so big that (oddly enough) we could not use it immediately.

    I thumb through the Bean catalog a lot while on the throne, and the one thing that I come away with is that they really like to model their gear with the yuppiest of NE whitebread… I’m a blue collar guy in thermals from Nov-April working outside and their cat makes me feel like such a loser.

  16. peggyhill says:


    I would still enjoy a trip up to their retail locations in Maine as part of a larger trip…

  17. skadoo323 says:

    I am a huge fan of LL Bean products. Back when I was in high school my parents bought me one of those backpacks that pretty much everyone has. Ten years later the bag has not had any major problems except for normal wear and tear. I finally called the customer service number and they changed my bag for a new one without any problems. All I paid for was the shipping costs, which may around $5.

  18. Anitra says:

    @BrianH: I would guess that most people don’t set out trying to abuse the return policy at LL Bean. Especially with bags or boots, the customer is usually saying “I love this, but it’s starting to break. Can you fix it?” The unreal part is that Bean’s policy is to replace it for no charge rather than charge for fixing it or not offering any kind of repair/replacement (like most yuppie clothing stores).

  19. Buran says:

    @catskyfire: I could say that about almost all stores that sell clothes. I think anyone, whether superskinny or over normal weight, should be able to find and buy good clothes with no problem.

    Unfortunately, the fashion industry, instead of doing it right and designing clothes for the REAL range of body sizes out there, keeps designing for the superskinny models they use “because clothes look better on thin people”. Well, duh, that’s because your shortsighted stupid brains keep only designing for an unrealistic shape.

  20. Buran says:

    @BrianH: Uh, what law? The place has good customer service and is helping people. Why are you blaming people who were helped? I can’t believe that someone on THIS site would complain about someone else getting good service!

  21. whackker says:

    When I was younger I had a school backpack for about 7 years, and the nylon straps started to tear. I convinced my mother to take me to Beans to get a new one. I got to the service desk, and the lady behind the counter asked me if I wanted it replaced, and I just couldn’t do it. She asked me why and I told them that the bag had been phenomenal, and if they could reuse it at all that she could take it back, but I was not going to take any of their money. She declined to take it, but offered me a $10 coupon towards a new one anyway. I didn’t take it, cause I wanted to support their amazing company. I still buy from them year-round.

    Oh, and the reason why it didn’t sound like their customer service was in India is because it isn’t. It’s in Maine about a mile from the store. My now-retired mother works for them during the holidays, when they sometimes temporarily hire up to 500 extra telephone salespeople.

  22. zenhead says:

    i answer phones for cuddledown (cuddledown.com, shameless plug) and we answer our phones too – right here in portland, maine. i think quick and efficient customer service is a rare and valuable thing, and it is something we work hard to provide. so, as good as the bean might be, they are not the only one!

  23. viviennet says:

    @Buran: I don’t actually think that’s a fair comment. I am by no means super-skinny but on the tall and thin side and I have serious issues trying to find clothes that fit me.

    Clothing (especially in mall-centric stores) are usually NOT designed for super skinny people. Most stores have to pin clothes onto their superskinny mannequins to make them look fitted.

    Very often companies will fit clothes for people in the most populous section of the body shape bell curve. I have no qualms with that due to companies applying a simple supply/demand principle to clothing.

    I suggest you obtain more information about the fashion industry before you make comments like that.

  24. mattmill says:

    When in college in the 1980’s I lived in Rochester NY and came to Maine with my girlfriend to visit her family. We made a trip to LL Bean and I got a pair of the classic boot, a 12M was the closest to my size 12.5 narrow foot.

    About 6 years later I was living in Minneapolis and got one of their catalogs and it listed a Narrow boot was now available. I called the order number to place an order and the guy asked if I was familiar with the sizing of the boots. I told him that I was just replacing with a narrow since I felt it would fit me better than the medium, he told me to just put the mediums back in the box and send them back for exchange if the narrows fit.

    This was after a good 6 winters wearing the boots. I could not believe it, I was ready to pay $75 and got the correct size for the cost of shipping the boots back.

    I now live in Maine and drive by the store every morning on my way to work. It’s a great resource for coats and snow pants for the kids. My son blew out the knee of his snow pants two years ago and I stopped by and the embroidery shop sewed up the knee.

    I wish more companies too customer service this seriously!


  25. The Meathead says:

    @BrianH: This is piss-poor.

    When a company doesn’t adhere to their return policies, I’m sure you’re at the front of the line with a pitchfork ready to crucify them

    When a company adheres to their return policies, you rip those that avail themselves of the service.

    I don’t think LL Bean needs people like you “defending” them.

  26. jgodsey says:

    Love’s LLBEANS customer service.

    No they don’t need defense but the folks do need to be reminded that companies like LLBEAN are still around.
    I buy all my LONG term items there, winter coats, boots etc… if they weren’t so expensive i’d stick with them for socks and undies too!

  27. sarkathstic says:

    I absolutely love L.L. Bean! My mom bought me a TurboTransit pack before my freshman year of college. I used it almost every day in college (including two years of being on the track team when I carried a shot put around with me in the bottom some days) and through almost all three years of law school. I called the other day to see if I could get a strap replaced and I have a new bag en route to me. All I’ll be out is the $6.50 in shipping. They’ve made a customer for life!

  28. justinrussell says:

    Whackker is right – Bean really does try to keep most of their company local. They have a similar telephone service center here in Bangor, Maine. There’s a very good chance that the writer was talking to a Mainer when he called Bean’s customer service line.

  29. wtfoxtrot says:


    Thanks for the inspiration! The rucksack I bought on a trip to Maine in 1990 had a bad pull-cord. Last week I called customer service to see if I could get a new one. At 17 years old the product was a bit out-of-date, but she suggested a boot lace. I gave her the length and she found a lace then asked if I needed a clasp. I did and gave her my address. “is there anything else I can help you with?” After thanking her and hanging up, I realized she did not take any credit card information. Today I laced up my rucksack with its new lace and clasp. Nice to know some alleged positive urban legends are actually true.