Sunday, September 30, 2012

LL Bean Wool-Lined Rain Trench Review


Coat (see more wool coats)

So, several months ago, well OK, more like 6 months ago, back in the spring, the lining fell out of my LL Bean 3/4 Rain Trench that I bought back in 2007 or 2008.  I paid what I thought was a lot of money for it back then, how much I couldn't remember, exactly.   I don't know why the lining fell out - it seemed to be a malfunction.  I just took off the coat one day, and the lining peeled away from the shell, and I couldn't unzip it, or zip it back in, either.  

Fortunately, LL Bean has a stellar return policy:  They will take any item back for a refund or exchange if the item doesn't perform as expected during the life of the item.  I had to return a winter jacket because of similar problems with the zipper - it wouldn't go up and it wouldn't go back down, resulting in a hot mess of a coat.  The jacket was about a year old.  I requested an exchange, printed out the free return label and the return/exchange merchandise form, took it to UPS to ship it, and in short order, they sent me a brand new coat.  This was very important, as it was early winter, and I didn't want to have to buy another coat.  

Since the problem with the rain trench seemed to be a technical flaw with the garment, I figured it would be covered by the return/exchange policy.  Once again, I printed out the return label, filled out the return/exchange form, waited several months because I kept forgetting to bring it to the UPS Store, and it was summer, so I didn't have an urgent need for a wool-lined trench coat, and then finally took it to the UPS Store, and sent it off, writing in my phone number on the exchange form in case they needed to reach me.  

LL Bean called me last Saturday, to let me know they received my package, and did I have any questions for them?  I didn't, I just wanted to make sure they would send me the correct item, since I wasn't too clear when I filled out the exchange form.  I filled it out at the UPS Store, since I forgot to do it at home, and didn't have all the information with me.  The customer service rep gave me some information about the new coat I would be receiving.  It was acceptable to me.  

As it happened, I got the package on Friday, just in time to try it out on a rainy fall day in NYC.  The coat wasn't a three-quarter model; it was a full-length model.  LL Bean let me know via e-mail that the full price of the trench coat they were sending me was $239, that the price of the returned coat was $119, and they weren't going to charge me the difference, PLUS, they were sending me a $10 gift card (which I have yet to receive, but those take awhile).  

The coat I wore Friday performed well.  It's just very long, which is actually a good thing, since the lower part of my legs would get soaked with the 3/4 length coat, because they weren't covered.  With this new coat, my legs are covered.  It still has a zip-out wool lining.  In addition, it has set-in sleeves, instead of raglan sleeves like the old model, and it has adjustable snaps on the cuffs, and a collar, instead of a funnel neck, which was what the old model had.  There's a double zipper on the shell of the coat, and a placket that snaps up the front over the zipper for extra protection from the elements.  

On the whole, it is a very well-made coat, and I expect it will last many years, barring any problems with zippers.  LL Bean is an excellent company that produces quality goods, and their customer service is outstanding.  I hope to take good care of my new rain trench, to make it last a long time.