After claiming that LuLaRoe retailers are returning merchandise covered in “rat feces,” the leggings company has changed its buyback policy, prompting sellers who have extra inventory and empty pockets to launch a petition demanding compensation.
LuLaRoe uses a multilevel-marketing strategy, allowing independent retailers (or consultants) to purchase a hefty inventory of leggings, the typical investment being about $6,000, and then resell it through social media for a profit.
According to BuzzFeed, the company’s original buyback policy, announced in April, stated that anyone who quit selling could return their inventory for 100 percent of their investment without paying shipping and handing fees, and with “no required time frame in which the product should have been purchased in.” The only rule: The products must have been purchased through LuLaRoe.
However, the new policy announced on Wednesday allows retailers to receive only 90 percent of the cost of their inventory — on a few conditions. According to All the Moms, the merch must have original tags, have been bought directly from LuLaRoe (versus from another seller), and have been purchased within the last 12 months. What’s more, consultants must pay the shipping and handling fees associated with mailing back inventory.
Sellers took to Twitter to vent.
@LuLaRoe Please give clarification on the new return policy. This literally ripped the rug out from under MANY trying to GOOB the "right"way
— LuLaRoe Jennifer Roe (@LularoeJenRoe) September 14, 2017
@LuLaRoe changing your policy after someone requests shipping labels and that person isn't qualified for 100% buyback suddenly? Scam
— Lisa Schwarz (@lularoelisa651) September 14, 2017
— Laura McKibben (@Editor_Lola) September 14, 2017
— Erin Winter (@ErinWin30424684) September 14, 2017
According to notes taken during a conference call by a LuLaRoe consultant who shared them with Yahoo Lifestyle, there are three reasons for the change in policy: The company underestimated the number of people who would go out of business and deemed it “not socially responsible” to assume the associated costs; a large portion of merchandise was returned covered in “rat feces” and “smelling like old cigarette smoke,” affecting its resale value; and the company discovered that some people were returning items on behalf of others and being compensated for it.
A Change.org petition called “LuLaRoe honor 100% refund to those who have started the cancellation process” has been signed by nearly 8,000 people.
One woman, who preferred to be called Kelsey, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that after spending $9,000 to sign up as a consultant in December and resigning on Aug. 9, she is retroactively included in the new policy. “I am left with about $5,000 worth of inventory that’s sitting in my garage,” she says. “I’ve also heard the return process is a nightmare — either people don’t receive their checks at all, they bounce, or checks are written out to the wrong amount.”
The company has endured plenty of controversy, from a lawsuit claiming that its leggings tear as easily as “wet toilet paper,” to leaked conference calls during which CEO Mark Stidham called customers “stale,” and for releasing an unofficial dress code using “mean-girl tactics.”
LuLaRoe sent a statement Yahoo Lifestyle, which read in part, “LuLaRoe provides a fair and generous path to Independent Fashion Retailers who want to exit the business. Last week, we simply reiterated a long-term written policy that each Retailer agreed to when he or she signed up. We had temporarily provided a waiver on some of the policy requirements between April and September 2017.”
The statement also read, “LuLaRoe grandfathered in Independent Fashion Retailers exiting the business who either received an email confirmation from LuLaRoe of a refund amount due to them, or received valid return shipping labels from LuLaRoe. These Retailers will not be impacted by this announcement.”
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