Despite its loyal following, everywoman fashion juggernaut LuLaRoe has seen its share of backlash as of late. On Tuesday, the company proved it’s listening. In a show of loyalty to its consumers, the brand announced its new Make Good program, which is offering refunds to anyone who bought defective LuLaRoe leggings between Jan. 1, 2016, and April 24, 2017.
The program has been a few months in the making. The controversy surrounding the four-year-old company’s merchandise stems back to at least February, when a customer filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania, “alleging that it has been illegally collecting sales tax in states that don’t have it.” From there, LuLaRoe was indicted in a chorus of complaints for the allegedly poor quality of its wildly popular patterned leggings.
First, customers began lodging complaints against LuLaRoe for selling leggings that are so flimsy, they develop holes after very little wear and even “rip like wet toilet paper.”
At the time, Patrick Winget, LuLaRoe’s head of production, wrote in an email to retailers: “The leggings may get holes, because we weaken the fibers to make them buttery soft,” adding, “We have done all we can to fix them.” Winget said the company uses a special airbrushing effect to achieve the texture.
— Rottaa (@ranjaporcelana) April 21, 2017
Winget sent the statement in an email to LuLaRoe’s 80,000 independent retailers, who hawk the fashions through a mulilevel marketing model. Many sellers host pop-up shops and home parties (think Avon in the modern age), and promote products via social media. Consultants, as the company calls them — many of whom claim to make six-figure salaries — also make a profit by recruiting friends to sell the products. The clothes have reached cult status among fans, many of them new moms, who are fanatical about the fit and style of the garments.
But in April, the complaints reemerged in the form of a lawsuit filed by two disgruntled customers in northern California, who accused the company of intentionally selling defective leggings. The women alleged that not only did the company knowingly sell low-quality goods, but also failed to respond to consumers’ complaints.
“Customers have complained that the leggings are of such poor quality that holes, tears, and rips appear before wearing, during the first use or shortly thereafter,” reads the lawsuit, noting the “wet toilet paper” comparison. The suit also alleged that the leggings have “one leg that is substantially larger (or smaller) than the other, and leggings that are supposed to be for adults, but instead would only fit a child.”
According to Consumerist, the women even sought class-action status for their complaints to protect anyone who bought LuLaRoe leggings since March 16, 2016 — and there are many dissatisfied customers. There is even a private Facebook group called ‘LuLaRoe Defective/Ripped/Torn Leggings and Clothes’ where LuLaRoe detractors convene to air their grievances. The closed group has more than 26,000 members.
At the time, LuLaRoe sent Yahoo Style a statement that read, “We categorically reject the fabricated and exaggerated claims of this suit in the strongest terms and believe it is completely without merit. We stand by the quality of our products and are committed to ensuring consumers are fully satisfied. We are confident we will be able to fully refute these allegations.”
However, LuLaRoe appears to be changing its tune. The company is now offering replacements or refunds to unhappy customers. LuLaRoe told Yahoo Style in a statement:
“We developed the Happiness Policy [see below], Make Good Program and Limited Warranty to reinforce our commitment to providing value and enjoyment from our products. We take pride in our clothing and want everyone who wears LuLaRoe to be happy and satisfied with their purchase. These policies represent our wholehearted commitment to stand behind our brand. While Independent Fashion Retailers continue to handle consumer requests directly, the LuLaRoe Consumer Services Team is an added resource for consumers, helping them to find another Independent Retailer if the one they originally purchased from is unavailable to process a return or exchange, or to help the consumer process a claim under the Limited Warranty.”
Under LuLaRoe’s Make Good program, those who file a claim no later than July 31, 2017, are entitled to “a product replacement, a LuLaRoe gift card, or refund for the original purchase price if the product purchased contained a defect in materials or workmanship,” according to the company’s site. The refund/credit option is up to the consumer, and will be issued once the consumer returns the leggings “for inspection” to the independent retailer who sold it to them.
According to the company’s policy, though, “The program does not apply to non-apparel and promotional items, and does not cover damage caused by accident, improper care, negligence, abuse, normal wear and tear, and the natural breakdown of colors and materials that occurs by extended use.”
The company’s mea culpa doesn’t end there, though. The company has also announced a going-forward plan called the Happiness Policy. The plan ensures that customers who are not satisfied with their product during the first 30 days are entitled to full refund, credit, or exchange when they bring the product and receipt to the retailer who sold them the item.
Within 90 days, dissatisfied customers can contact any LuLaRoe seller and receive an exchange or credit by presenting the item and receipt. “We stand behind the quality and craftsmanship of our products and value your happiness!” the site says.
Fans are quite happy about the happiness policy, according to replies to LuLaRoe’s Instagram announcement. One seller wrote, “Thank you! As a retailer, I really appreciate this move. I have always taken care of my customers, but it feels great to be backed up by LLR. Huge confidence boost.” Another expressed what LuLaRoe surely hoped its goodwill policy would sow, writing, “Thank you!! This renews my faith in LLR! Can’t wait to make another purchase.”
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