We abused a good thing

In the past, when you bought something, a retailer might guarantee to support it for life -- like Sears' old policy of replacing Craftsman tools. But those days are just about gone because we abused them.

Josh is a retail analyst at Houston's StreamlineRetail.com.

"Even Nordstrom's kind of cut back; the infamous or famous L.L. Bean policy -- just last week they rolled that back."

Josh says such policies aren't completely dead, but they're on life support.

"I mean, it's always going to exist but I would say where that may have once been the expectation of high end brands that's now going to be the exception."

In the case of L.L. Bean, customers will now have a year to return items. Retailers say too many of us got stuff at yard sales and returned it for a profit.

Josh remembers outfitter REI's generous return policy of the past.

"If you were an REI member and bought a tent, six years later you could return it if there was a tear in it; now they've started to restrict that. They make a lot of exceptions but now you generally have about a year to go back."

Companies also say competition has made profit margins razor thin and they can no longer afford to accept a lot of old inventory.

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