Lululemon says customers don’t have to downward dog for a refund
Shoppers browser through products at the Kitsilano Lululemon store in Vancouver in this 2007 file photo. (Richard Lam/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, March 25, 2013 3:53PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2013 6:40AM EDT
Lululemon Athletica Inc. says it is accepting garments that have been recalled over concerns about sheerness “no questions asked,” despite reports from some women who said they were asked to don the garments and “bend over” to demonstrate the problem when they tried to get a refund.
The company said last week that it was recalling a batch of its black women’s bottoms made from its “signature luon fabric,” including its popular wunder undergroove models, after some store managers expressed concerns about the sheerness of the garments.
Staff members pulled the affected product from stores, showrooms and the website, and the company said customers could return bottoms purchased after March 1 for a full refund or exchange.
But some women haven taken to social media to complain that they were asked to put the pants on to demonstrate their sheerness.
“I went into my local store to return my Astro pants and Invert crops, both purchased this month,” one customer who lives in Ontario posted to the company's Facebook page on March 19.
“I was asked to BEND OVER in order to determine sheerness. The sales associate then perused my butt in the dim lighting of the change room and deemed them ‘not sheer.’ I felt degraded that this is how the recall is being handled.”
In an email to CTVNews.ca, the woman declined to speak about her experience, saying she would let her Facebook post and updates speak for themselves.
Other women have posted to the blog Lululemon Addict that either they were asked to try on the garments and bend over, or overheard other customers being asked to do so.
In a statement, the company said Monday that customers who purchased black luon women’s bottoms after March 1 “and think they have affected product are welcome to return them for a full refund or exchange, no questions asked. We do not require guests to demonstrate the sheerness of their bottoms. If they feel like they have affected product we will make it right and process the return.”
The statement went on to say that it is not possible to determine if the garment is sheer “just by looking at it, touching it or even trying to put your hand through it. It’s truly only when the weave is stretched 4 ways (eg. when in downward dog) that transparency becomes obvious. When trying on clothing, guests are welcome to move in the clothing to ensure they are comfortable with the level of coverage.”
The company did not immediately answer specific questions about whether it will offer an apology to customers who have been asked to demonstrate sheerness when asking for a refund, or whether it has taken steps to ensure stores know of its return policy.
When the company first posted a notice on its website about the recall and an expected product shortage on Mar. 18, a section entitled “How do guests return product they have purchased?” explains customers can obtain a full refund or exchange and includes contact information for the customer service department.
An updated notice posted on Mar. 21 includes an added paragraph that customers don’t have to demonstrate the sheerness of the garments.
Less than 10 minutes after Phillips posted her complaint, someone named Siya posted a comment using the company’s official Facebook account asking which store Phillips had visited, saying she would “like to follow-up with them directly on this.”
The comment also said that if Phillips was “not comfortable” with the products she had purchased, “we want to make that right for you.”
In the end, the company sent Phillips a shipping label so she could return the garments.
The recall sparked concern among Lululemon devotees that they wouldn’t be able to get their hands on their beloved yoga and running gear.
In its statement, the company warned of a potential shortage, but said it is working with suppliers and manufacturers “to replace these key items as quickly as possible.” The recalled garments represent about 17 per cent of all women’s bottoms the company sells.
The company said it is still investigating the cause of the sheerness problem.