ATLANTA – They want their money back.
When Lacey Landin joined the ever-growing popular wholesale women’s clothing company, LuLaRoe, a year ago, she never thought she’d be stuck with thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise just taking up space and emptying her wallet. But when she resigned, she was stuck with boxes of leggings and a load full of debt to the tune of $5,000.
According to LuLaRoe paperwork and contract she showed 11Alive, the pricing for entering as a consultant is anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000.
They promised success and empowerment, she said, and she figured it would be an ideal way to make some extra money for her family.
Now, the last thing the stay-at-home mom feels is empowered.
“It is very upsetting. Because I joined that company for that reason. To feel empowered. It gives women confidence. They’re a great company. They give a lot. They still do many great things.”
Landin is one of 80,000 consultants that span across the country, from LuLaRoe's headquarters in Corona, Calif., with the bulk of its consultants residing in the Midwest, Southeast and East Coast--creating an uber competitive environment for sellers.
That's why, Landin said, she left the company because there were just too many retailers like her in metro Atlanta, all competing against each other. Money wasn’t being made, and furthermore, she revealed, the company would send her products at random. She could not handpick what she wanted to sell. Which added to the difficulty of making many sales.
In a statement from LuLaRoe, they acknowledge the waiver that they say they provided for some of its consultants, or what they refer to as "Independent Fashion Retailers," but refute any wrongdoing on their 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."
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), after receiving so many complaints, they have scored them an "F" rating. Many recent complaints drawn from the same dissatisfaction as Landin's.
On Sept. 18, Justin V., posted the following review for LuLaRoe on BBB:
"Horrible broken promises, without warning, that have left thousands of consultants stuck with non returnable inventory."
"This was after a written promise of 100% refund including shipping, if a consuleant decides to go out of business. They've decided to take the money and run. Not ethical, not truthfull, not Christian like they claim. Stay far far far away from this snake oil company." [sic]
Others defending their wives who were consultants, writing, "Stay away from LuLaRoe at all costs!!"
Lorie P. posted on the BBB website on Sept. 14.
"I am no longer a LuLaRoe consultant, my contract was cancelled with LuLaRoe on 8/3/17. LulaRoe received my inventory on 8/25/17 via UPS. I have emailed numerous times to ask for an update as to when I will receive my refund and I've been told it's still processing and to wait for my refund verification email. As of 9/13/17, LulaRoe has changed their return policy and i may not receive my full refund."
Now, that Landin has resigned, she wants the company she trusted to give her a full refund. But the company’s buy-back guarantee has changed she said.
“We would get 100 percent back of our wholesale pricing that we paid. And they would send us shipping labels to send it back to California. And, unfortunately, one night we got an email that that policy was no longer in place.”
While the company said that they are providing temporary waivers for consultants who left between April and September, Landen said, if that was true, she would have received her shipping labels in the mail already.
But, she’s still waiting. Frustrated.
“I have about over $5,000 worth of inventory that I’m honestly scared to send back. If they deem it unsellable. They won’t refund my money and they won’t send the items back,” Landen said. “I feel like that’s not fair. If you are going to change your policy, you need to grandfather the people that have already submitted forms for resignation.”
In a statement from LuLaRoe provided to 11Alive, they said that they have not changed any material in their written policy.
“The only change is that the company is ending a temporary waiver offered to Independent Fashion Retailers leaving the business since April. LuLaRoe is making this change now because it has addressed issues that led to the waiver.”
And argue that not all of the returned inventory has been in resalable condition.
"In order for LuLaRoe to continue to administer this benefit to Independent Fashion Retailers, we need to ensure that product returned to us as part of this policy is provided in resalable condition. In recent months, LuLaRoe has seen rampant abuse of the policy, with Retailers returning product in extremely poor condition."
A slew of consultants, from across the country, have taken to social media to express their frustration with the clothing company.
One consultant has even proposed a online petition, which has garnered 10,500 signatures.
In April 2017, LuLaRoe announced it would give 100% money back plus free shipping for a retailer who was wishing to end being a retailer with them. Since that time, they have drug their feet with the return process, leaving many retailers in the dark and waiting for shipping labels. Today, September 13, 2017, LuLaRoe announced they will now be 90% net money PLUS pay for our own shipping, plus all items must be in the original packaging it was received in. LuLaRoe reiterated many times we did not need the packaging. They have also said if you are in the process of going out of business but did not receive shipping labels from LuLaRoe, this new rule applies to you. Per their own Policies and Procedures, they must give 30-day notice before any policy changes.
We are demanding LuLaRoe grandfather in anyone in the current cancellation process, as well as expedite anyone who has been waiting over 30 days for their refund check.
11Alive tried to reach out to local independent retailers who are with the company who have had a positive experience—and a search online and throughout social media prove that there appear to be many locally. However, the women declined to talk, because according to their contract—which 11Alive has seen a copy of—prohibits them from speaking to the media.
© 2017 WXIA-TV