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Retailer under fire after banning customers from e-commerce site

24 February 2014 - 11:23 by Sarah Collinson

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Yoga clothing retailer, Lululemon, has been criticised after it admitted to having banned a handful of customers from using its e-commerce site because they sold some of its own-brand items via eBay.

Business Insider reports that the company has a policy which prohibits people from selling on products purchased online, which includes putting them up for auction on eBay and equivalent rivals.

This has led some people who have listed Lululemon gear online to sell privately being contacted by the firm and subsequently prevented from making any more purchases from its e-commerce outlet.

The issue is being exacerbated because many people are dissatisfied with the returns policy operated by the retailer, which requires people to send back unwanted, unworn items within two weeks or else be unable to claim a refund.

From a certain point of view, the actions of the retailer are justifiable, as recent updates to its policy wording make clear the fact that it does not want customers to resell items which are new via auction sites, with an inflated price that goes beyond the RRP.

To prevent people who have breached this policy from shopping on its site, Lululemon has not been closing their accounts, but taking the action of blocking their IP addresses.

One of the customers impacted said that he had spent the equivalent of almost £7,000 on Lululemon's site over the past half decade, going on to sell about 10 of the hundreds of items through eBay.

This is clearly an unusual set of circumstances, and one which has greater impact in the US, where rules governing what consumers can and cannot do are different from the UK. But it should also be a lesson for retailers offering shopping online, because the backlash against the site in question has been significant.