Lululemon Athletica, recently dubbed one of the most hated companies in America, has once again found new ways to anger its customers. The latest PR debacle for the high-end yoga clothier involves a bizarrely zealous approach to resale policy enforcement.
Lululemon's resale policy opens with this very unconvincing statement: "We completely recognize that once someone purchases our product they can do what they want with it." After acknowledging the basic principles of buying and selling, Lululemon goes on to say it doesn't "support those who acquire large volumes of our products to resell at an elevated price point."
After identifying resellers by their IP addresses, Lululemon banned the offending customers from future online purchases.
That's a fine stance to take, but as media outlets across the globe have reported, Lululemon started going after individual customers who were reselling products on eBay and elsewhere, for less than they paid for the product.
After identifying the resellers by their IP addresses, Lululemon banned the offending customers from future online purchases. "We're not selling ammunition, we're selling yoga pants," banned customer Starla Samson told CTV News. "Like, get a grip."
A policy discouraging the reselling of an expensive product isn't that maddening on its own, but when you couple it with an overly strict return policy, it starts to feel like Lululemon purchases are 'til death do us part.
The return policy brags about being "simple" before introducing 10 subcategories, many of which include reasons why your newly purchased $100 workout pants can't be returned.
One customer shared with us the saga of her attempt to return a pair of Brushed Wunder Unders (a.k.a. A Pair of Pants). Bella Tumabat-Pratt says after a few wears, her $92 purchase looked ragged.
By Lululemon's own definition, the pants were "defective" and eligible for exchange. But when Tumabat-Pratt took her pants back to the California store where she purchased them, she was told the pants were meant exclusively for yoga and not "meant to be sat in."
"I know it may seem surprising, but our technical luon Wunder Under Pants are actually designed for optimal performance during yoga, and they are not meant to come into contact with anything," reads a January 26 letter from the Lululemon Guest Education Center.
In response to the resale controversy, Lululemon is once again trotting out a public apology:
We looked into it and realized that we had indeed gone too far, and have taken steps to fix it as quickly as possible. Our approach is simply intended to limit major reselling which results in assortments not being available to all of our guests. We are reaching out to apologize to the guests who were impacted.