<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=245060656550976&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Legging Behind Ethically

by Hannah Stiff | Jan 31, 2019 10:54:12 AM

Let me start out by saying that when news hit my
inbox that LuLaRoe was being sued by the Attorney General of the State of
Washington, I was sitting at my desk in a pair of butter-soft floral leggings.
A pair, in fact, of LuLaRoe’s.

This particular pair of ridiculously comfortable
quasi-pants I purchased from a local woman who set up a pop-up shop at a
Christmas market in Bozeman. She had neatly displayed her wares on racks she
carried in from the car on a very slippery December day. She meticulously
sorted her merchandise according to size and season. In a casual conversation,
the woman mentioned that she got into the business because she wanted to earn
money on the side while maintaining a flexible schedule. She was also proud to
sell clothing that fits all sizes and shapes of women. The leggings, she
explained, were the first comfortable item she found to wear to her 9-5 job in
a long time. And shouldn’t women be able to be comfortable and expressive with
their wardrobe, she asked me? I agreed with the woman, forked over some cash,
and walked away with my statement leggings.

This woman’s story stuck with me and I thought of
her every time I put on my softer-than-velour LuLa’s. Since that Christmas
market several years ago, I’ve encountered many other women selling LuLaRoe
leggings. 

LuLaRoe is a multi-level marketing company that
sells women clothing through local franchise holders that typically host
Facebook live shows and other social media events to sell their product. At
face value, the company is an empowering way for women to become entrepreneurs
selling a wildly popular product. But when you scrape away the veneer of happy
sales stories, there are many, many sad & frustrating narratives playing
out across the nation.

As we now know from reports we have gathered
through our BBB Scam Tracker and the breaking news that Washington State’s
Attorney General is suing LulaRoe, all is not well with the company or its
scads of local franchisers. The lawsuit states that LuLuRoe is running a
pyramid scheme.

In a statement released to media outlets,
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says,

“LuLaRoe tricked consumers into
buying into its pyramid scheme with deceptive claims of high profits and
refunds for unsold merchandise. Instead, many Washingtonians lost money and
were left with piles of unsold merchandise and broken promises from LuLaRoe.
It’s time to hold LuLaRoe accountable for its deception.”

LuLaRoe spokespeople denied the lawsuit’s claims and
told The Seattle Times: “We are enthusiastic about
the strength of the LuLaRoe brand, strong consumer demand for our new apparel
designs and enhancements, and the passion of tens of thousands of Independent
Fashion Retailers across America.”

What I wanted to know was how LuLaRoe treats its
Montana retailers. Three Montana woman have reached out to the BBB sharing
their stories about working for LuLaRoe. Because they wished to remain
anonymous with their complaints, we will not share their names.

A Livingston woman said that when she became a
retailer for the company, she was assured there was only one other retailer in
the area, which was important to her, since Livingston is a small town of
7,500.

“After on-boarding I found out that there are over
seven in our area alone including permanent pop ups,” the Livingston retailer
told us. “I want to warn others about signing up with this company that they
are only interested in getting your credit card information and that’s it! Once
you give it to them, they leave you stranded with no return emails or help
whatsoever. So much for a company that talks about having Godly morals and
standards.”

A retailer from Sidney, Montana said she was
having a hard time recouping almost $5,000 from the company when she sent back
her unsold merchandise. At the time of her complaint, the woman said she had
been waiting ten months for a refund. The retailer said she also filed a
complaint with the attorney general but worries the company will declare
bankruptcy and she’ll never see another dime.

The Montana stories are not unique, unfortunately.
The BBB has collected similar accounts from hundreds of retailers across the
nation.

So, what’s being done?

In Washington, if the court finds that LuLaRoe violated the law, the
Attorney General’s Office will seek the maximum penalties of $2,000 per
violation, as well as costs, fees and other relief. Ferguson is also looking to
help Washington consumers, but restitution amounts are currently unknown. This
case could set a precedent for other states and how they crack down on pyramid
schemes.

As I comb through complaints about LuLaRoe, I
think of the woman who sold me my leggings. Is she still happy in the business?
Did she try to get out and have trouble?

If you know a LuLaRoe retailer who has been treated unfairly by the company, please encourage them to reach out to BBB and file a report at bbb.org/scamtracker

Subscribe Now

Additional Reading