You Can Be Banned From Making Returns at Sephora

The beauty brand is using a service to track customer returns and behavior.

Photo: Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images

By Chavie Lieber

Do you love shopping at Sephora because of the company’s generous and convenient return policy? Well, those returns might not have been as carefree as you thought.

Today, The Wall Street Journal wrote about a service called The Retail Equation, or TRE, which tracks customer returns and gives stores the ability to ban shoppers from returning future items if their return patterns are deemed problematic. According to TRE’s website, over 34,000 stores, including department stores and footwear, jewelry, and fashion brands, use the service. And while it doesn’t list the full roster of clients, the Journal confirmed some of the stores that use the service include Best Buy, the Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney… and Sephora.

For years, there have been suspicions and rumors on beauty message boards that Sephora bans shoppers who return things too frequently. Officially, Sephora allows returns, both opened and unopened, within 60 days of purchase, and items without a receipt are accepted in exchange for store credit. But shoppers have recently been sharing on Reddit that they were banned from returning products at Sephora, with or without receipts, and the Journal’s report about Sephora’s official partnership with TRE confirms every shoppers’ worst fears. Sephora confirmed shoppers with egregious return habits could see consequences, issuing the following statement to Racked:

Sephora is dedicated to providing all of our customers with an excellent shopping experience. We make every effort to accommodate returns, but a small fraction of customers take advantage of our policy, in many cases returning more than twice as much merchandise as they purchase. This limits product selection and unfairly impacts other clients. When we identify excessive return patterns, we notify those customers that we may limit future returns or exchanges if no proof of purchase is provided.

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