Horrified at Sephora | Sephora Return Policy | Sephora Declined Return

Last night I went to exchange the Algenist Facial Oil ($79) for the Genius Serum ($115) which I absolutely love. My return was declined.

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.

54 thoughts on “Horrified at Sephora | Sephora Return Policy | Sephora Declined Return

  1. I don’t know why you expect special treatment to be able to return your purchase without a receipt. I think they did the right thing and as a result I feel more loyal to Sephora. Nothing irritates me more than people who think the rules don’t apply to them.

    1. I absolutely think the rules apply to everyone. My point is that the non-human system they use has flawed criteria. I’m not expecting cash refunds (or any refund) without a receipt and nowhere on their return policy does it say a receipt is required for an exchange.

      Nothing irritates me more than someone with no point.

      1. Just because you bought almost $6,000 worth of merchandise doesn’t mean you didn’t absolutely waste $900 worth of merchandise. They can’t resell it; it’s $900 dollars the store has to throw to the wind because you don’t make good purchasing decisions. They give out samples of foundations that would allow you to assess the texture or color of the product without wasting a whole bottle for the sake of your Pinterest board or blog. Now, multiply the $900 you alone wasted by how many customers Sephora has, and ask yourself again why they won’t let you continue to make bs returns. Good for Sephora for standing up for itself!

      2. Jessica – first, thank you for your candor, but let’s get some of your misconceptions clarified. The type of customer that Sephora is trying to weed out – isn’t me. I don’t fault them for the policy, it’s smart business, but to remove the ability of making decisions from their staff is baffling to me. After working in retail for 15 years, there’s no denying that fraud exists – but while there is a tiny percentage (maybe things have changed) of customers who abused the system, many customers don’t. This faulty policy is weeding out fraudulent returners (those who return product that isn’t purchased from Sephora or stolen – which does indeed result in loss for the store) while alienating those like me, who just didn’t keep receipts. If their system had gone back a bit further, they would have been able to verify the returns. This is NOT about me having buyers remorse.

        They basically threw out a net trying to catch the sh*t and killed a bunch of dolphins in the process.

        Now, let’s get to the finger pointing. Assuming that I purchase products simply “for the sake of my Pinterest board or blog” is laughable and couldn’t be further from the truth. The only reason that I even started this blog was to share my thoughts on products – basically an extension of my retail career. I don’t make any money from this blog. At all. In fact, I spend money to keep it ad-free and don’t use any affiliate links. I share BAGS of product several times a year with friends and co-workers because I don’t do “BS” returns.

        On the up side – the whole experience has changed my purchasing habits. Now, I buy from primarily from ulta.com, vendor or other beauty websites and keep my receipts items are purchased from a store. I’ve reduced my Sephora spending to about 10% (and only buy from them if I have to). I stopped “throwing” my $6000 to one store. So basically, instead of “losing” $900 (which they don’t lose in the case of a legitimate return by the way, a very common misconception) they’re losing $6000 in business. So yes. Good for Sephora.

      3. So just to clarify. You do log your purchases (and therefore the returns also) on your account right (I assume as you clearly spend a lot haha) ? So why wouldn’t it show up? Proof of purchase should be possible via your account history?
        Also, I’m not sure if Sephora would accept it as a legitimate “receipt” but at the retail store I worked at, who is also very VERY forgiving and generous with their return/exchange policy…when someone does not have any receipt BUT paid via plastic, we would accept a formal bank statement as proof of purchase and do a return that way.

    2. someone’s bitter lol
      You don’t need a receipt. I think they only see the returns and it sends a red flag but they didn’t delve deeper to look at the individuals account history to verify whether they have legit returns. From Cosmetic Monster’s point of view, I can def see both sides and she already acknowledged that she is guilty of tossing paper as is. The company has access to ones account and I have returned things for instore credit and I have had pleasant experiences so far with the customer service. I could def see her side and how frustrating it is on her end after being loyal and spending so much. If I count how much I have racked up in the past, I would be cursing on here if the same thing happened to me lol

      PS
      I am pretty sure I didn’t have a receipt but they verified my purchase and the SKU #, as each product has a part number and their own serial number when shipping out from their warehouse. If you bought it online then you can return it in store or ship it back. If you bought an item at sephora and tried to return something that was bought in store then I could see that being a problem but still…they have the serial number of the item to punch in whether they legitimately sold it or if it was stolen…etc

      1. Jessica is a complete idiot. I work for Sephora and their products are cheaply made in China. If a customer returns $100 worth of items they either resell it or lose out the $1 that it cost them to make it in China. They do not lose the retail value.

      2. I agree that Jesscia is an idiot, she is the reason cosmetic companies are making so much money. Why would you feel bad for Sephora when they just throw the returned items back to the Cosmetic company? Do you have any, I mean ANY idea how much profits cosmetic companies and sephora make on hard working girls? We should be free to exchange/return any products that we try if we are not satisfied with the quality. Their marketing cost is the biggest operating expenses in a lot of popular cosmetic companies like Lancome, estee lauder, dior, chanel, YSL….Read the ingredients of the 100 dollar serums, they cost next to NOTHING. The actual product is only 3% of the retail price. Please do your research before whining and complaining about “poor” cosmetic companies and Sephora.

    3. In their return policy it actually says that if the customer does not have a receipt, they can look it up through our beauty insider’s number, which can show proof of purchase as it is all logged on there. For someone who sounds like they spend a lot at Sephora, I’m sure she had a beauty insider card as well.

      1. I’m actually VIB Rouge. But their history only goes back 90 days. Sometimes I have things unopened for longer. The system used to go back farther – ironically it no longer does now that they have this protocol. Again – the point is that I’m not a fraudulent returner and the system they’re using is flawed.

      2. actually, this isn’t true. i’m a VIB Rouge member and like cosmetic monster i spent thousands a year at sephora. i hate returning and i hate keeping paper receipts. sephora employees ALWAYS encourage customers to try (aka buy) multiple products and return if they don’t like it. however, last week i went to return a brush i had bought online (couldn’t tell it would be so large). i went to a sephora store to return and they couldn’t find the item in my BI purchase history. my return without receipt was then rejected. as a VIB Rouge member this was a huge inconvenience for me. i guess i had too much for them to search through and they were just being lazy.

        i was determined to return the brush so after much searching, i finally found an email order confirmation so i could print the return label and send it back to sephora. it’s annoying that employees aren’t more aware of the change in return policy. it makes it difficult for customers to really test out products.

    4. I am shocked that you said this, pstrick. Obviously, the woman has good merit to complain, and I do as well! While we have loads of dollars spent, in my case, a likely $2,500 minimum I have spent at Sephora. It is simply a one $32 item i need to exchange for a different color. They won’t even do that without the receipt; and it turns out I only returned two things (exchanged) without the receipt in the past three years.
      SHAME ON YOU SEPHORA, FOR GIVING YOUR POWER OVER TO A THIRD PARTY IN INDIA and saying there’s NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT IN YOUR OWN STORE. I’m not shopping there any more because of this.

    5. FUCK YOU Patrick. Who are you to judge? Did you not read that she has bough over $6,000 worth of product. Stores have it built in that returns are permissible. Therefore if she picks to return some of her products she is not expecting special treatment.

  2. WOW! The amount you spent vs returns….It must be something in the system where they detect too many returns? Sorry this happened to you and Thanks for the great story. I, myself, am probably not going to keep VIB rouge status….it is alot of money and I, too, am a big spender.

  3. most of the stuff they carry can be found at nordstroms (except some of the hair straighteners/blow dryers etc) who has a much easier return policy. they should be able to recognize the card you used, or pull it up on your membership. you just wanted an exchange, thats ridiculous

  4. I don’t have a Sephora nearby, the closest one is hours away and I’d never been to it. I actually got my first sephora order as a birthday gift from my Mom. When some things didn’t work, I decided to go to the store and return those items and pick out the new ones in person. I had to borrow a vehicle, drive for hours each way, only to be refused, called a thief, accused of committing fraud, and had them threaten to call the police. I HAD A RECEIPT. I had all of the packaging, and everything was like new, and I only wanted store credit. For some reason the SA took this as fraud, and snapped. She demanded the original credit card it was purchased with, and I of course didn’t have it… it was a GIFT. I had the gift receipt. The manager came over to see the commotion, and looked over everything and saw NO PROBLEMS with what I was trying to do, told the SA to process the return. The SA and Manager than had a fight about it in front of me and everyone… and the SA begrudgingly, finally, processed the return… muttering under her breath the whole time that she shouldn’t be doing this, it’s fraud, and I’m a thief. I grabbed my store credit card, and GTFO. That was over a year ago. I haven’t been back and it still BAFFLES ME.

  5. Happened to me yesterday. Return declined. 2 sephora exclusive items that were a gift, unopened and never used! Ran my verify report and turns out I had 3 items returned in 2013 without a receipt for a total of $76. Possible retail fraud. Horrified and Appalled at this return policy. Never again. Skin store.com, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Bare Minerals stores, Fresh.com. Not another dime to Sephora.

  6. The same thing happened to me. I had 4 items to exchange. 2 were gifts off of my wish list (I had thrown away the packing when I opened the boxes – stupid on my part, I guess). I am certainly not going to call each nice person and ask for the credit card they purchased it on which is what the sales person said to do. One was purchased buy my sister who lives in Australia. She just paid cash, of course, and certainly is not a beauty insider so it would not show up. The fourth I had gotten for DIL for Christmas online (it was a brush – nothing with expiration date) who had just given it back to me stating that she had never tried the foundation, hence, the brush had never been used. The SA said she looked it up and did not see it. When I got home I pulled up the order and it was there plain as day. I was humiliated when she gave me a piece of paper stating I could not return anything for 365 and practically told me I was a criminal. The worst part is my 9 year old granddaughter was with me and looked at me in horror.
    I was so pissed that I did contact TRE and they did send me my return activity report. There was one return 2/18/12 and one return (which was an exchange for a different color) dated 10/14/14.
    Did I mention I am 70? I have called customer service several times (followed up by detailed emails) and was told that a “supervisor” would contact me. Never heard a thing.
    All on want to know is how a person with 2 return in 3 years could get in a criminal list?

  7. I used to work for sephora, and we never had that many issues processing returns. The only thing I can add here is that it is actuall outside of the hands of anyone in the building to be able to process a return after it flags you for too many returns. Even a manager couldn’t override that issue within the store. The manager still shouldn’t look at you oddly, but it may be more that she hasn’t dealt with that situation yet and felt uncomfortable with it/confronting you with the inability to compete the return. I would reach out to customer service and see if you can get the block removed. And yes the way it was explained to us was it was the dollar amount returned without receipt, not the percentage of returns to purchases kept. You could always take a photo of your receipts to use in the store and not have to keep the paper trail?

  8. I am a VIB and just returned a foundation I used twice that I bought back in June maybe? I didn’t have the receipt, but if you go to sephora online and access your account there is a history of all of your purchases in store, online, and inside jcpenney locations and it goes back further than 90 days. I just printed out a screenshot that showed the date and location of my purchase and had the items and total price. They didn’t give me any trouble, but I was also just getting store credit not an actual redund. Hope this helps in the future for anyone who can’t find their receipts.

  9. This is what happened to me today when I tried to return a gift I received for store credit. Add on intimidating snark and anxiety inducing judgmental attitude from the sales associate. I actually began stammering and almost cried at the counter because I was so flustered. VIB Rouge means nothing when you’re subjected to such horrid service. This is the reason I dread going to Ala Moana, I prefer shopping online. Like the writer of this blog, I’m not good at keeping receipts, but VIB accounts keep track of each purchase you make, you can access every order/purchase on your app. I usually show my purchases via app when I need to make a return. Thanks for making me feel like a criminal, Sephora sales associate. I think I will take my business elsewhere.

    Tried talking to customer service on the phone afterward, they said they’d call me back after speaking with a manager at the store location. No call back. Awesome customer service.

  10. If you have even just a beauty insider account, all your purchases up to a year will be on your account. I’ve confirmed this with the store when I had to do a return when I had misplaced the receipt. The cashier showed me on the computer so I know this is true.

    If you wanted to return something, Why would you wait over 3 months anyways? It doesn’t matter if you “just swatched” it- it’s still used and still can’t be re-sold.

    Jessica is right. Next time ask for samples instead of being unsure and returning $900 worth of stuff that just probably gets thrown out because of your bad judgement.

    I am also a VIB rouge and I had made a return without receipt once because I had received a eyeshadow set as a gift and we couldn’t figure out my auntys Beauty insider info for the receipt but it was accepted- because I don’t unnesissarily buy things and return them.

    I do applaud Sephora for having the best return policy when it comes to cosmetics. You can return anything as long as you can show a proof of purchase.

    1. I worked in high-end retail for many years and this type of policy goes against just about every good customer service rule EVER. The issue I have is with a computer deciding who is a fraudulent returner – not the policy itself.

      What baffles me about some of the comments here is how you turn them into personal digs – assuming that I make frivolous purchases and constantly return things. Is there an appropriate time limit for returns? I don’t unnecessarily buy things and never do so just to blog about them. That is NOT why I started this blog and reiterate that I do not make any money from it and could care less if 10 or 10,000 people read it. I give away giant bags of stuff to friends because I rather NOT return things and would never return something that wasn’t valid.

      About samples: I don’t do samples that are made from testers. Ever. I haven’t returned a color product in a very, very long time.

      That said, I’m done defending my view and stand firmly by it. Readers can extract what they want from what I posted – the fact remains that it is a smart business practice but a horrible way to service long time customers who were accustomed to previous policies.

    2. K-Ann, do you work for Sephora too? The problem is Sephora uses an outside company so they can reject our returns based on our return history at other stores. So if I returned $500 worth of stuff at Home Depot but never returned once at Sephora, they can still reject it. If they want to be fair, they should start monitoring our purchases at other stores too. And if we make too many purchases, they should reject our purchase at Sephora.

  11. let the buyer beware dude. if you as a customer lost any company 900 dollars in the course of two years you would most likely be banned from the premises, not denied a return. It sucks that you feel hurt though, because a lot of sephora’s customer service and the VIB program makes it seem like the company is your friend. its not. it just wants to make money. if I were you I would chalk this whole experience up to a misunderstanding– obviously you aren’t a thief and you know that. feel better babe

  12. Happened to me in Vancouver the other day, I received a gift with no gift receipt, I was told by by cousin it was purchased there and since Sephora are the exclusive supplier in Canada for Bare Minerals of course it was. My cousin didn’t put her personal information into their system and since they couldn’t find her purchase they would not exchange it for anything else (yes I said exchange, not refund), so now I am left with an item that I already have. Not impressed, I spend a lot of money in Sephora and from now on I’ll be shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart and collecting their fabulous points instead. I will order Bare Minerals directly from the supplier. Sorry Sephora, you failed, lost another customer and I’ll be letting everyone I know including all of the make-up artists in the film & tv industry here not to shop with you.

      1. Oh my gosh, sorry, not you! I clicked wrong, I was asking “Bobby” what the ideal resolution would have been in his situation. I agree with you CM, Sephora has the data well beyond 90 days (the IRS would shut them down if they didn’t!) and their decisions on who gets labeled a criminal seem to be arbitrary. For a company owned by Louis Vuitton, I don’t want to hear them complain over $70 or $700… they’ll still be in the black. In Bobby’s situation, however, there doesn’t seem to be any way for Sephora to track down the purchase, so I’m confused as to what he wanted from them.

  13. I know you love Sephora, but think about the company and employees. If you constantly shop at one Sephora and you’re constantly returning stuff that means you’re causing the store to lose money.

    Also, just because Sephora has a ton of different employees doesn’t mean they don’t know you. Most of the time on our breaks (I work retail) we talk about customers who constantly returns stuff and remember your description. I work cashier at VS and there’s this one lady who the whole store knows by now because she returns so much stuff. And did I mention how annoying a return is if you don’t have the receipt? It takes forever to issue/process.

    1. Sephora didn’t lose anywhere near the $900 in merchandise that was returned in total, even if every drop of all of the returned items was used, that is what no one seems to be understanding. You buy an item, you give them the money. You take the item back, they give you your money back, not their money. So, at this point, the only money in question is whatever Sephora PAID the company they mass purchased the item from to start with, right? Wrong. Although that amount would be a far cry less from what the customer paid, they still don’t even lose the amount that they paid the supplying company for the product to begin with. They can either send it back to the original manufacturer, or as is likely in this case what with cosmetic products being messy and generally a pain to deal with, they simply write it up in their returns log and trash it, and the wholesale value/price gets factored into their next purchase order from said company. So, Sephora loses no actual money, only the theoretical profit they COULD have made from selling the item and keeping the money paid for it. In other words, it didn’t help them make a profit, but it didn’t exactly hurt them either. It’s almost like it never happened, like they never purchased that unit for resale in the first place .However this is a vile situation in the retail world, from the store’s perspective, because it is a lost opportunity to basically rape the purchaser’s pocket (as each individual unit almost all the time only costs from a few cents to at most a couple of dollars to manufacture and is sold for sometimes hundreds) and also a no gains situation with regards to the shelf real estate (the teeny little space the product sat on while on the shelf/display), because each item on each shelf must make the store money or it was a waste to have it there, as the space could have been filled with an item that did make them money). Now, on to the next step in the return finance trail, once Sephora gets their money “back” (usually in the form of a collective write off on an accounts payable total) the supplying company actually does technically lose money. However, the amount is negligible, as these are the same people I was referring to earlier when I said that they make the product for usually less than a dollar and sell it for hundreds of times their actual cost. So, in summation, if I buy a thirty dollar foundation from Sephora, return it and get my thirty back, Sephora doesn’t get to make that twenty five-ish dollars in profit, but the 5 dollars they actually paid to get the foundation in the first place is given back to them by the supplier. The supplier then loses the 45 cents it cost them to make the foundation, and they write the total of those type of losses off at the end of the year at tax time anyway. So, if I pay that much for foundation that only cost cents to make, and am not THRILLED with it, hell YES I am taking it back. I felt the need to explain all that, because so many people are jumping all over her for being so awful as to cost Sephora so much money via returns. But now that that is out of the way, returns or how much they cost have absolutely nothing to do with the real issue at hand here. And that issue is that as a company that serves the American people, and promises great customer service, by outsourcing their loss prevention program to some crappy over seas joke of a company, Sephora has only succeeded in making some of their most loyal customers feel alienated, insulted, and betrayed. And have made quite a joke of themselves in the process, mind you. Because any company that allows a program to be put into place that takes away their own authority to make ANY kind of decision, in their own store, sends the message that they find themselves to be unfit and untrustworthy with regards to managing their own customers and business.

  14. Well, I’m having a terrible time with Sephora Canada, and I’ve been a client for over 10 years. I’ve spent in the high five figures on cosmetics, skin care and perfume, but I found the service has been declining n the past year. I’ve just had a problem now with returns when they switched from Borderfree to Uti, I follow the rules to a “t”, and I still do not get a refund. To add insult to injury, I get the rudest service imaginable from customer support, implying I’m a liar, and they won’t put me on to a supervisor. I’m supposed to wait 48 hours for them to get a ticket from the warehouse so they can follow up, even though I have furnished a tracking number. It’s utterly infuriating, and having spent an indecent amount of money, and been a loyal client for a decade, I expect better. This effectively terminates my relationship with Sephora once some sort of refund is made either through them or my credit card company. Oh, and their SA’s are so poorly trained, one girl had no idea who Kevyn Aucoin was!!??? Bitch really?! The man is a legend!

  15. I agree that people should be able to return stuff that doesn’t work for them, but Sephora has a clear 60 days policy, which is more than generous in my opinion. Even if it was more, ethically, I couldn’t bring myself to try to bring back stuff that’s been sitting around for months.

  16. This just happened to me!! Completely humiliating. I’ve spent TONS of money there over the years, been very loyal and loved it there. How embarrassing to have tried to exchange gifts and been denied. I’m waiting on that report right now. I almost cried and I never want to go back. Back to MAC and Ulta I go. I know I haven’t returned much at all -ever- so it will be interesting to see what the report says. I find it interesting to read that a guy had this happen to him at Home Depot (he had his report and showed it online) over him having returned $10.00 there before. Yes you heard right TEN DOLLARS.

  17. I wanted to update my comment since I got the report back. There was nothing on it. Absolutely NOTHING except the return I tried to make. I’m livid.

  18. The return policy states that merchandise can’t be returned or exchanged (with or without a receipt) if you’ve had it more than 90 days. That’s a pretty standard return policy. Since they couldn’t find it in the system and you admit that you had it “for a long time”, it looks like it’s been more than 90 days since you purchased it and it’s ineligible for return or exchange. Sorry you had a bad experience, but it seems like they did nothing wrong to you at all.

    1. Actually – there isn’t a time specified for in-store purchases. 90 days is for .com purchases.

      And again, the whole point was the removal of the ability for employees to make decisions.

  19. I just went yesterday to exchange some new things I had that my husband had gotten me for our anniversary and it was a brand new palette and they gave me crap for it because I didn’t have the receipt…. Mind you I only had done one other exchange since when I was in bed rest my husband got me a blush that was the wrong shade lol… well long story short I told them if they could check the purchase and the lady said it only went back 30 days…. It doesn’t help that she seemed to not like me…. Anyways it was an exchange for a different color and the item was not used… She made it seem as if I did it all the time it got me mad and embarrassed with her stupid remarks….

  20. Cosmetic Monster I understand where your coming from and it’s not right for people who are honest…. Plus I bet not all $892 was used… so sephora didn’t lose that much. It’s just the amount of money from all the items you returned, for the people that don’t know the difference… lol

  21. just happened to me today as well. while purchasing product i don’t plan on returning, i brought in a pair of tweezers i had purchased at sephora over 90 days ago that never worked properly. i wanted to exchange the defective tweezers for a new pair. i didn’t have a receipt, but the tweezer purchase was in my sephora online purchase history that i showed the cashier. the 3rd party company sephora uses declined my exchange. i’ve spent a lot at sephora over the years, rarely return anything and rely on sephora for regular purchases of items i use daily (and never return). i’ll be looking for another venue for these products. done with sephora.

  22. I had the same thing happen to me today! It was maybe my second return since 2014. I probably spend $10k plus a year on skincare and beauty products. Maybe return 2-5%, usually when I try new makeup products and really don’t like it. Considering how much I purchase, my returns are very low. I had all my receipts for the items I intended to return. The sales person said since the receipts were old, she would do it without a receipt. And then I got the return declined receipts. I explained to the salesperson that I had a child and simply did not prioritize driving an hour to return an item. Since I rarely return stuff, when I go shopping, I always forget to bring the item to return. I have no problems respecting and following the store policies. I am a firm believer in playing by the rules. But no were on any of my Sephora’s store receipts does it specify a timeframe for return period. I feel like Sephora is misleading and lying to customers. They want customers to feel free to buy and become beauty product shopaholics by saying if you are not completely satisfied, you can return with receipt. But really the answer is no. If it says 30 days or final sale, I would respect that. I have never asked for special treatment. I was super nice to the salesperson who felt bad since I did have my receipts. I will definitely not be shopping at Sephora the same way again. I am also a VIB member. Newman Marcus has a generous return policy and I usually shop there for all my skincare and beauty products since I mostly use Chanel skincare and makeup which is not offered at Sephora. I have probably only returned a few items in last 10 years. I feel like Sephora lied to me and I feel very offended by their treatment.

  23. I’m just going to put this out here, I am a sephora employee. I worked at the cashwrap as a cashier before I transferred into color. I have worked as the senior cashier for about a year now, so I’m going to help alleviate some tension and some stress regarding returns without receipts/boxes/SKUs.

    Aight, i honestly tumbled onto this by accident while researching the return policy for employees, which is a tad different from our clients.

    A lot of the anger seems to stem from returns without a receipt. I personally will say sorry that you were treated unjustly by your local sephora cast members. I shop at sephora just as much as the next girl, so I know how it feels to be put in that situation where they kind of stare you down; howevet, it didn’t really deter from my shopping experience. Sephora has one of the most lenient return systems that I know of.

    So, concerning the return policy, we do take returns, yes. We usually tell our clients about 60 days, so our clients can have the full experience of the product. We will definitely take returns that are less than 50% used, with or without a receipt, just as long as it is a recent purchase and as long as we can find it in your beauty insider (it takes notes of 10 pages worth of products, you have purchased over the years). There are some returns that can even be returned up to a year, just as long as they fit in the store policy of being less than 50% used.

    As for the no receipt returns, this is literally the penultimate form of return. If everything has been exhausted, then this is the only way we can return. The return screen is a tad different, it only takes notes of recent purchases up to a year, but if you shop a lot, most likely it will be bumped from the system and we will have to take the SKU and find it through that. If that doesn’t pop out, then the card you used will be swiped to look for it. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll have to do the return without a receipt.

    It goes through a third party system because sephora does get a lot of fraudulent transactions. Not to say you have been blacklisted from doing returns, just that you as a client have to also be mindful of your returns as well because the computer does track it. I know a lot of people are also saying, “but this is the only thing I have ever returned without a receipt,” we can’t do much.

    As an employee and as a client, I am going to get defensive. I have shopped at sephora for years waaaaay before I got my job. So, I am a loyal client, and have stayed that way. I am not attacking you personally; however, the belief of saying that the employees should make the decision is kind of biased, and personally kind of vain. It is the company’s way of saving their assets most of all, especially with the recent rise of fraudulent returns.

    I say this not only as an employee, but also as a client that, it is also your responsibility to keep track of your receipts. If paper receipts aren’t your thing, you can always get your receipts emailed to you and save them all in a folder. We cannot argue against your actual receipts. While the refund amount has a time limit, I can promise you that your exchange will go a lot smoother with a visible receipt, as well as something to scan and something to prove you purchased it.

    I’m not trying to attack you, I’m giving you a suggestion on what to do. I have many VIB Rouge clients that have come into our store and returned items from years ago with the same issues, or are consistently returning and buying. Many like to save their receipts and boxes. A lot of people forget that we actually email receipts (it is part of our rapport with our clients, actually) and I have suggested to my clients without receipts to do this because it makes life for both the employee and the client a lot easier and a lot faster.

    1. Thank you for your insight. I guess I’m old school since I started working retail in the 90s. Customer service has changed A LOT. There used to be a very small number of cosmetic counters in Hawaii and zero social media or computers. We charted and logged purchases in a book and had loyal clients. Sephora really changed that. All good things. But it isn’t vain to expect a manager or employee to be given control over what happens in their store. If I didn’t work in cosmetics for over 12 years when things were different, I probably would think differently. I worked at Neiman Marcus and at that time we would NEVER treat a customer that way. I only saw ONE client in 9 years get her return rejected and she was a little nuts.

      No offense taken – I agree with you on a lot of points and can tell you’re a good employee and care about your job. I haven’t had any problems since and continue to be a reluctant and less loyal customer. LOL. I honestly appreciate your response

      1. I wanted to follow up to my comment. A decent man from the Rouge VIB client services telephone line looked though my account, and agreed I spent a ton of money with Sephora, rarely returned items, and was an excellent client. There was something flagged circa 2004, now there weren’t any Canadian stores circa 2004, and I adore US shopping and he said something that old should not make a difference. I think really it was probably my my mother using my account, and being 78, she can get snippy if she isn’t getting quick or perfect service, not sure if someone would have actually put a flag on my account because a mature lady was being difficult but there you are. Now if I buy things online and need to return something I have no problem, perhaps it is worth a very frustrating and long call to get a focused staff member on the phone to look at your account to ensure there isn’t something silly like what I had back in 2004 and have it removed?

  24. Can someone tell me if I will get grief if I try to return a product (with receipt & within the 30 day period) to a different bricks-and-mortar Sephora store from the one I bought it at? Thanks

  25. I feel your pain, Cosmetic Monster. I was denied a return without warning at Sephora. I am a “VIB”, ha. A lot of good that does me. I rarely return items and all of the sudden I couldn’t make a return without a receipt. I don’t typically keep receipts because of Sephora’s return policy – at least the return policy I thought they had. The most annoying part about this is that, as far as I know, Sephora hasn’t provided its customers with any notice of this policy. Their website indicates that a “third party” is involved in the returns process, but it does not indicate what this means in practice. Sephora needs to be honest (and transparent) about this policy – it basically negates the policy one thinks they have, i.e., that returns without a receipt are okay. In the meantime, I’ll be shopping for skincare/makeup at Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Ulta, Blue Mercury and other stores that have good return policys and offer better, more regular discounts on their products.

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