Lululemon Athletica is fielding fresh complaints about the transparency of their yoga pants, and now customers are increasingly reporting a new problem: pilling.
The $US10 billion yoga apparel company suffered a massive blow in March when it had to recall 17% of its pants for being too sheer. The mishap could cost the company as much as $US67 million in revenue this year.
The replacement pants, made of the company’s patented “Luon” material, hit stores in June. Customers snatched them up, and dozens are now complaining on the company website and on Facebook that the $US98 pants are still too sheer and that clumps of fuzz began materialising on the fabric after only a few wears.
“I am angry beyond words…. My pants started pilling in two months,” one customer wrote on Lululemon’s website on Oct. 11. “I contacted the [customer service line], where the person said, ‘pilling is to be expected and not considered a quality issue.'”
Another customer wrote that she’s worn her Lululemon pants “a maximum of three times and they’re already pilling so much.”
Responding to some of the complaints, the company asked whether customers had followed washing instructions for the pants. Many claimed that they had, but still experienced problems.
“For the price I paid, it’s just not justifiable at all,” a customer wrote on Oct. 7. “The waist bands are pilling, the back is pilling and same as the complaint below I wash and care for them with like garments.”
Another customer reported, “I bought a new pair of Groove pants in late August. I wash them ONLY with other Lulu fabrics in order to prevent them from looking shabby. Unfortunately, this did not stop them from pilling; they now look like they are YEARS old.”
Several people who said they have been loyal to Lululemon for years lamented that the quality of the brand’s yoga pants has declined over the years. A few called the newer version “scratchy,” while others complained that it is much thinner than in years past.
“I’ve been addicted to Lulu for years and have a TON of it! I can tell you in my opinion the quality is gone,” a customer wrote on Oct. 4. “Fabric is much thinner and now pills.”
Lululemon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
In addition to pilling problems, customers are still reporting that the brand’s pants are too sheer. To prove their case, a few people posted pictures of themselves wearing Lululemon pants — with their undergarments visible through the fabric — to the retailer’s Facebook page.
“Bought some groove pants with a gift card, because I was excited that the see-through issue had supposedly been resolved,” a customer wrote. “It hasn’t. In fact, they were somehow more see-through than the pair that I purchased last year.”
One customer even stuck a camera inside a pair of Lululemon pants and snapped a blurry photo through the fabric to illustrate her point on the company’s website.
Lululemon has been individually responding to many of the complaints by directing people to the company’s customer service phone line.
In response to a complaint posted to Facebook about pilling, the company wrote, “Thanks so much for bringing this forward. You should be seeing more wears out of your gear with proper use and care than this. Either bring them back into a local store so we can take a closer look or ring us at the [Guest Education Centre]. This is for sure something we want to work through together.”
Based on similar responses from the retailer, one unhappy customer said she was led to believe that her pants would be replaced if she experienced pilling. But she claims she wasn’t offered a new pair.
“[Lululemon] is misleading their customers by posting responses to complaints about pilling,” she wrote on the company’s website. “I feel like I was robbed.”
Lululemon doesn’t accept any returns after two weeks, and only accepts merchandise with original tags that has never been worn.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.