A firestorm of fresh complaints on Lululemon’s Facebook page and website about the quality of its new pants, with added digs at its customer service, hit the online headlines over the weekend just a couple of days after the company announced that Tara Poseley would be joining it from Kmart to be chief product officer.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of a customer’s outrage about quality came in the form of a photograph of an unidentified cityscape that was purportedly taken through the butt end of a pair of its Groove pants last June.
“Business Insider was unable to independently verify that the photo was taken through a pair of Lululemon pants because the customer left no personal information on the website,” writes Harley Peterson in a story that reprints the original post and a response the next day from a Lululemon customer service rep that apologizes for the bad experience the customer had at her store and suggesting she call the “Guest Education Centre” to “chat through a solution.”
Whether that chat ever took place and how the situation was resolved remained in the air as of Saturday as Peterson reported that Lululemon did not respond to “a request for a comment about the issue.”
The AP’s Michelle Chapman, with contributions from Anne D'Innocenzio, broke the story Friday about the fresh problems, leading with the revelation that “customers are increasingly reporting a new problem: pilling.” The Groove and the Wunder Under Full-On Luon pants are catching the brunt of the criticism, according to other reports, but Chapman cites a complaint about the Astro pants posted Oct. 10, on the website.
“I bought these pants on Sept. 25, two weeks ago,” it reads. “Have worn them once for yoga, once for walking, and once for weights/cardio. Have washed them once hung to dry. They are already showing pilling in the thigh area.”
Writes Chapman: “Lululemon is responding to some complaints, telling customers to get in touch with the company,” but it did not respond to her. Other reporters quickly pounced on the news.
“Lululemon complaints stretch beyond quality to customer service,” reads the hed above Martha C. White’s piece for NBC News.
Even after its recall earlier this year, the company “still faces a steady stream of complaints about thinner, more sheer fabric that snags and pills easily,” White writes. “And customers aren’t just upset about the pants, which can cost $100 or more per pair. Some say the company’s attitude toward their concerns is driving them to ditch the brand for competitors.”
There are more than a hundred comments on a thread titled “Getting a little concerned about Lulu quality!” on the company’s heylululemon.com customer forum site, White reports. “Although Lululemon staffers weighed in on the thread, users characterized the comments as unhelpful, she writes. Again, “the company did not respond to a request from NBC News for comment.”
It did, however, respond to the Wall Street Journal’sSuzanne Kapner and Joann S. Lublin, with a spokeswoman claiming that “the problems were experienced only by a very small number of customers and that the company determined after an internal evaluation that it didn’t have a broader problem.” She also said that it will “quickly resolve any quality complaints.”
Meanwhile, the search for a new CEO continues, with the departing CEO Christine Day saying she will stay though January.
“Several outside prospects remain in the mix, but they include currently employed retail executives unwilling to quit their jobs before the holidays,” a source tells the WSJ. “Others aren’t a good cultural fit or don’t want to relocate to Canada, the person said.”
A Huffington Post headline last Thursday tells us: “Lululemon Mocks Domestic Abuse Charity, Then Offers Them 'The Gift Of Yoga.'” A Dallas-area store evidently posted a sign that read: "We do partners yoga, not partners card," reports Jessica Prois, “referring to the nonprofit's ‘Partners Card,’ a discount card that offers purchasers bargains at local businesses and supports Family Place programs.”
Folks who saw it posted on Facebook. Lululemon Althletica NorthPark apologized and yesterday announced a $10,000 contribution to the charity and a commitment “to work with The Family Place to raise awareness about the warning signs of family violence.”
In yet another negative development, the Neon Tommy blog reports that by using the word “Brahmacharya” on its tote bags, “many believe that Lululemon is taking a sacred yogic word and stretching it to mean what they want it to mean, thus devaluing tradition and history.” Lululemon defines brahmacharya as “moderation,” neon Tommy, writes — a far stretch from the actual meaning of the Sanskrit word. Traditionally, the word means celibacy …”
Sometimes when the digital presses start to roll, the bad news just keeps pilling up, it seems.