Sephora’s loyal customers have spoken—and they are NOT happy.
In early August, the makeup megastore advertised a promotion taking place both online and in stores: Instead of each dollar spent equalling one rewards point, it would equate to four. Additionally, for those who’d racked up 1,000 Sephora Insider points and over, there was the promise of earning “Epic Rewards”—ranging from a set of highly-covetable Givenchy lipsticks, to a freaking trip to Paris.
Pretty amazing, right?
Shoppers thought so, too, and went a little crazy stocking up on products in order to secure the ramped-up points and reap the rewards. But as it turned out, the promotion was a little too good to be true. Described by Sephora as being available in “extremely limited quantities,” the epic rewards were actually more of a raffle situation: Get the points, and enter for the chance to fly to Paris. Many people were told the smaller rewards were also unavailable.
Needless to say, Sephora’s customers were miffed—even after the company apologized and promised to somehow resolve the issues by September 10. So some extremely dedicated and creative folks decided to take matters into their own hands, igniting a protest on Sephora’s forum site by utilizing the store’s own lenient return policy.
Initially posted by user embracebeauty, it reads:
“LET’S REALLY SHOW SEPHORA HOW WE FEEL!
I like to rant & complain as much as anybody after two failed epic rewards events, but as long as we go back to business as usual in a few days, Sephora has no incentive to do anything different. I think we should all come together and take a stand.
After carefully reviewing the return policy, I plan on gathering up everything I purchased from Sephora in the past 60 days and return it to the store. No matter the condition – new, used, half full, almost empty, EVERYTHING is going back.
Who’s with me? I think if enough of us do it, we can make a difference. I also think we should post a picture of everything we’re returning along with an estimated retail value.
Let’s hit ‘em where it hurts ladies!”
The post has earned just shy of 50 replies, with many commenters agreeing with embrace beauty’s sentiments.
“I stayed up 11 hours only to come up empty handed,” wrote another user, who says she is “also returning as much stuff as [she] possibly can,” an estimated $500-$700+ worth of goods. “I will not accept store credit as I will never shop there again,” she wrote. Another promised to return $400 worth of merch, an someone else pledged $600.
The Consumerist obtained photos showing receipts of yet more returned Sephora purchases, totaling $3,142—which, while not much for a company as huge as Sephora (it reportedly generated more than $4 billion in revenue in 2013), is nothing to snuff at—especially when the reason is making the rounds and gaining publicity. In this case, all press is most definitely not “good press.”
UPDATE, 5:30PM EST
A Sephora spokesperson has issued the following statement to Yahoo Style:
“We deeply apologize to those Beauty Insiders who were not able to participate in our recent Epic Rewards promotion due to the extraordinary demand for the offering. We will continue to honor any returns sought, consistent with our policy.”