Are Ulta Beauty stores reselling used, returned makeup? That’s the question of the hour in two lawsuits currently being filed against the beauty store brand.
Two Illinois women are in the process of suing the brand, claiming that the stores are consistently repackaging and reselling used, returned products, frequently without sanitizing them first. Ulta corporate has made multiple statements regarding the issue, claiming that they are looking into the claims and that it is against corporate policy.
“Our policies, training and procedures are aimed at selling only the highest-quality new products in our stores and online. The health and safety of Ulta Beauty guests is a top priority, and we strive to consistently deliver an optimal experience every time they shop with us.”
According to the standard operating procedures of Ulta, customers are allowed to return products that they are unhappy with “for any reason.” Then returned products are supposed to be “damaged out” by store managers. This means the products are shipped back to the manufacturer or vendor for a credit. Ulta frequently takes a loss on these products, but the margin on other items makes up for it, and allows the brand to function at a net gain.
However, reselling used products allows individual stores to have cushier margins and less loss. But this legal grey area is a hazard for makeup consumers.
Even an item that has been sanitized on the surface might have germs lurking beneath the surface. Using the same makeup as another individual can lead to the spread of disease and infection. In addition, buying a used product means a consumer is getting less product, so the price per ounce of already expensive items rapidly skyrockets.
So what do Ulta employees have to say about this? As it turns out, Illinois is not the only store guilty of this hazardous practice. Former employees are coming out of the woodwork to tell their stories of being forced to resell used makeup, and current employees are denouncing the acts. Simultaneously, several employees have spoken out that this isn’t a company-wide practice and that it’s only a few unscrupulous stores that are taking advantage of trusting buyers.
How can you keep yourself safe when purchasing makeup? Always make sure that the safety seal from the manufacturer is intact. And if there isn’t a readily visible safety seal, ask an employee to open a product for you to insure it’s cleanliness. Compare it to pictures of unopened, unused products or other products on the shelf. And if in doubt, buy it elsewhere.
Ulta may be feeling the heat from these two lawsuits and the ensuing media storm, but only time will tell how many stores are guilty of endangering customers.
Writer, Photographer, Dream-Seeker