A Lakewood, Colorado, mother says she bought into the dream that the direct sale clothing brand LuLaRoe sells, but she has now been waiting months for the promised buyback refund her family desperately needs.
“I was kind of changing my career,” said Janie Tyler, a Lakewood mother of three who was going to graduate school and looking for a way to make a little extra income. “I had some friends who were successful at the beginning of LuLaRoe, and I thought I would give it a try.”
Tyler spent about $8,000 to buy in to the direct sale company LuLaRo last year, a company then known for its buttery leggings and its 100-percent buyback guarantee for consultants.
“I knew there were risks, but because of the 100-percent buyback guarantee, I wasn’t as concerned,” said Tyler, who quickly realized the business wasn’t for her and decided to get out. “I thought I just needed to get my money back.”
Since she bought the clothes, the company had changed its policy to only a 90-percent buyback.
“I was definitely annoyed by that, but 90 percent is better than nothing,” said Tyler.
She documented the process starting last September, and said she waited until November just to get a tracking number. She shipped more than $6,500 worth of clothes to the company in November. Since then, she has been waiting, begging the company for her refund. The company processed her clothes more than a month ago, but emailed that there was “no time frame” for her refund.
She is not alone. Last year, Denver7 profiled other Colorado women stuck with thousands of dollars of LuLaRoe clothes.
The brand is best known for clothing with bright colors and patterns, as shown below in this image from the company’s Instagram feed.
Six class action lawsuits across the country filed last year against LuLaRoe have since consolidated into one amended lawsuit, alleging the company is a fraudulent pyramid scheme and that the buyback guarantee is deceptive, leaving many consultants “holding the bag.”
“Don’t sign up,” said Tyler, who wants to warn others, but the class-action lawsuit will come too late for her.
Her family adopts a 4-year-old girl from Ethiopia next week, and they told LuLaRoe they were counting on that promised $6,500 refund to help with expenses.
“That could have paid for plane tickets. That could have paid for legal expenses. That could have paid for a whole lot,” said Tyler. “We’re talking about an orphan’s life. It’s a huge burden for our family.”
The Brand Responds
LuLaRoe released this statement in response to Tyler’s case:
“Independent Fashion Retailers who are leaving the business have clear and established processes for contacting LuLaRoe to manage their cancellation process. As a policy, we do not respond to inquiries about the private and confidential business information of Independent Fashion Retailers.”
As far as the class action lawsuit, the company will be in court next month and released this statement:
“The allegations in this complaint is without merit. In 2017 alone, Independent Fashion Retailers sold more than $2.3 billion of LuLaRoe apparel to customers across the United States. During the year, we shipped over 100 million units of clothing to customers. We are proud that our business model has empowered tens of thousands of Independent Fashion Retailers to build their own businesses and sell merchandise directly to consumers.”
LuLaRoe In The News
The brand has weathered a number of controversies in recent months.
In January, a LuLaRoe seller made a video in which he appears to mock a person with disabilities.
“Hi my name is Robert and I’m special,” the man said in the video, which has since been deleted.
LuLaRoe came under fire for standing by the retailer, saying that they felt a later apology was sincere. LuLaRoe ended its relationship with the National Down Syndrome Society when the group refused to accept the man’s apology.
“Unfortunately, NDSS leadership is unwilling to accept the retailer’s apology and has informed us that unless we terminate his contract with LuLaRoe, the organization will no longer associate with us. We do not believe the most productive response to his actions, which he has fully apologized for, is to close his business and threaten his ability to provide for his family,” LuLaRoe wrote in a statement.
You can read their full statement below:
The brand also came under fire after many women came forward to say that their leggings ripped after one or two wears.
— Cori Marino Reali (@corimarino) January 9, 2017
Written by Jaclyn Allen for KMGH.
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