Last night I went to exchange the Algenist Facial Oil ($79) for the Genius Serum ($115) which I absolutely love. My return was declined.
BACK STORY (I’LL OWN MY FAULTS): I shop A LOT at Sephora both in-store and online. Any self respecting Cosmetic Monster does. I will confess that most of the returns I do are without receipt. There is something so annoying about random pieces of paper and for the most part, I don’t intend on returning what I buy. Plus (as my co-worker pointed out) I had the product for a long time before returning it. Keep in mind that while I was blogging more regularly, I consistently had to change products and use what was sent to me – so a lot of times bottles would sit idle. So if you’re going to ding me on that – feel free. I own it. Still – nowhere on the Sephora Return Policy does it state that in-store purchases have an expiration date for returns.
Did I also mention that I almost NEVER want cash back or a refund? I almost ALWAYS exchange and spend more.What did I return? Mostly foundation (for color or texture reasons) or skin care that just didn’t work for me. All products were returned nearly unused. ALL PRODUCTS RETURNED WERE ABSOLUTELY PURCHASED FROM SEPHORA OR SEPHORA.COM. I have Pinterest Boards to prove it. LOL!
SIDE BAR: I was totally nice to the cashier and manager about it. Didn’t fuss, didn’t make a stink. The cashier actually THANKED ME for being so nice about it. But tell me that manager (who’s NEW to the Pearlridge location – yes, I’m talking to you) didn’t give me a stink look like I was trash.
STILL…DECLINED? DID YOU SAY FRAUD?
Stupid me went to the 3rd party company they use to monitor fraud and looked at their FAQ (http://www.theretailequation.com/Consumers/FAQ) and this is what set me off. Since I obviously am NOT trying to commit fraud of any kind – the other explanation is that I’m a “returnaholic”. In my years of retail experience – I know what a chronic returner is. That, I am not.
4) What is a “Returnaholic”?
A returnaholic is someone who buys and returns goods excessively either with fraudulent intent, dishonest intent, or simply due to an inability to control his/her shopping behavior. There are three basic types of returnaholics: 1) those whose objective is to commit fraud through deceiving a retailer into giving a cash refund or credit which is illegal; 2) those who may not be breaking the law, but who abuse retailers’ return policies and/or buy merchandise knowing they will return it later; and 3) those who are sometimes referred to as “bulimic shoppers” who feel compelled to buy things to get a high or fill a void of sorts and then feel sick afterwards and have to “purge” their purchases through returning them.
Holy. Now I’m pissed.
So I went to their website and got my RAR (Return Activity Report) – that’s how mad I am at this point. It basically lists everything by date up till April 2013 without any product description. Just your returns; not what you purchase in between those returns. So I painstakingly type in every SKU to see what I returned, combed through my Pinterest to catalog what I purchased from them (the list is about 90% accurate) and this is what I came up with:
TOTALS (2013 – PRESENT)
$892.00 TOTAL RETURNS
$5,932.50 TOTAL AMT. OF PRODUCTS I KEPT
$6,824.50 TOTAL SPENT
13% RETURN PERCENTAGE
200 PRODUCTS PURCHASE
22 PRODUCTS RETURNED
11% RETURN PERCENTAGE
I’ll admit that I’m a little shocked at how much I spent – so it’s probably working two-fold to curb my spending big time. That aside (don’t judge me – LOL), does that look fraudulent to you? I obviously have a SPENDING problem, but I would hardly call that a returning problem.
THE REAL PROBLEM. Sephora basically turned me, a loyal and loving customer, into a number. While I returned $892 worth of products – I kept almost $6,000 worth of stuff. Was it because I didn’t keep my receipts? If I had a regular salesperson (or if they didn’t have a revolving door of associates) they would know it wasn’t fraudulent. I JUST HATE PAPER. Shame on me. It also says they don’t trust their employees to make good decisions – they couldn’t even override the decline.
THE LAST ROAR. So here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to post this here, on social media and send it to Sephora (not that they’ll care). Wish I could say I’m not buying anything from them ever again – but my loyalty stops here. I left the store simply horrified – embarrassed, confused and later after learning what the criteria was – insulted. Deeply. I loved Sephora. It was my fun place where all my cosmetic dreams could come true.
Sephora basically told me to fu*k off.
So I’ll do just that. Smooches.