Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bad beauty and The Best Store Return Policies

As a beauty writer, it’s a given that you’re going to read an abundance of information about beauty products, techniques and general beauty advice. After all, it’s The Makeup Examiner’s job to stay on top of what’s happening within the beauty industry and to keep in touch with topnotch industry insiders. In conjunction with staying in constant contact with a myriad of industry professionals, TME has her feet on the concrete, and is also always perusing the internet to check out who’s doing what.

Initially, The Makeup Examiner had intended to share with readers the specifics of bad beauty advice and dangerous information floating about online. But after learning of a makeup exchange forum, I stopped dead in my tracks. The Makeup Examiner was gobsmacked by the popularity of a forum where complete strangers were swapping, buying and selling “gently” used makeup. Let’s start with the fact that “gently” used makeup is, in fact, makeup that a complete stranger has opened and applied to their eyes/face/lips! And women are actually purchasing this? How disgusting! Think about it. Would you ask a complete stranger if you could borrow her mascara? The Makeup Examiner set out to understand why women would involve themselves in such an unsanitary practice.

After visiting the forum, The Makeup Examiner realized that there are a lot of women who purchase products that simply aren’t right for them, and further realized that there seems to be a lack of understanding for store cosmetic return policies. So, just in time for the holiday shopping season, The Makeup Examiner investigated the return/exchange policies for some of Apparel Magazine’s “Top Ten” department stores, along with a few others, and even she was surprised to learn which stores were more than accommodating and which ones have an “eat it” policy. Read on and armor yourself before you waste your money. One last piece of advice, if you know the store’s return policy and a sales clerk attempts to “bully” you, immediately ask for a manager.

CVS has a 100% satisfaction guarantee on beauty purchases. Customers can return opened products with a receipt or invoice to any CVS/pharmacy store and they will refund the full purchase price, no questions asked! CVS Customer Care: 1.888.607.4287

Rite Aid has a “100% Risk-Free Beauty Guarantee”. Any opened or used beauty product of any brand name can be returned for a full refund when accompanied by a receipt. Rite Aid Customer Support: 1.800.748.3243

Walgreens doesn’t have the best return policy. Returns for cosmetics are handled at the discretion of the store manager, meaning that they don’t automatically accept a return whether the product is opened or not and customer reimbursement is usually in the form of a Walgreens gift card. Walgreens Customer Support: 1.800.925.4733

Barneys New York gives customers 30 days to return a beauty product for a full refund. And, the product can be slightly used, which means that if you hate that $45 lipstick, back it goes and you’re not out any money. Barneys New York Customer Service: 1.888.222.7639

Bloomingdale’s allows customers to return beauty items without a time restriction. Although The Makeup Examiner wouldn’t recommend that you attempt to return a lipstick that you bought over a year ago. Bloomingdale’s Customer Service: 1.800.777.0000

Bon-Ton does not accept returns for opened beauty products. Even their return policy for other items is, uh, not exactly customer friendly. Oh, and actually finding Bon-Ton’s customer service number was also a bit of a challenge to find! Bon-Ton Stores Customer Service: 1.800.233.7626

MAC customers can simply return the unused portion and will be fully refunded for their purchase. Empty containers cannot be excepted for refund and that’s fairly ridiculous for one to attempt. MAC Customer Service: 1.800.866.6464

Macy's strives for customer satisfaction and has topnotch service. The store accepts returns and exchanges at any time after purchase. Macy’s Customer Service: 1.800.289.6229

NARS customers may return items for a refund within 30 days from the date of purchase, but you pay the return shipping. NARS Customer Service: 1.888.788.6277

Nordstrom seems to have one of the best return policies. “Don't love it? Don't worry—returns and exchanges are easy. Simply send your item back or bring it to a store near you.” Nordstrom Customer Service: 1.888.282.6060

Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman have clearly stated return policies regarding beauty products. “All fragrance and cosmetics items must be unused, unopened, and in original packaging for a credit/refund or exchange to be issued”. Neiman Marcus Customer Service: 1.888.888.4757 Bergdorf Goodman Customer Service: 1.888.774.2424

Saks Fifth Avenue was oodles of fun to try to decipher. “If for any reason you are not completely satisfied, you may exchange, replace, or credit your purchase when it is presented in saleable condition”. This little blurb prompted TME to call Saks Customer Service (1.877.551.7257) for clarification and they do not accept any opened beauty items.

Sephora has a topnotch return policy. “If you are not completely satisfied with a Sephora purchase for any reason, please return it for a full refund”. Sephora even pays return shipping and handling fees. Sephora Customer Service: 1.877.737.4672

Target’s return policy was a shock. Flat out, Target does not except beauty product returns. Target’s return policy, “Most unopened items in new condition returned within 90 days will receive a refund or exchange”. Target Customer Service: 1.800.591.3869

ULTA gives customers 60 days to return an item and accepts opened beauty products. The only downside is that you’re responsible for return shipping fees. ULTA Customer Service: 1.866.983.8582

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