Val Stephen wants to know what happened to her Ulta Beauty refund. The store won’t give her money back, even though she has a promise in writing. What can she do?
I have a problem with Ulta Beauty. The company has a generous refund policy, and I needed to return some makeup because the color was wrong, but the stores were closed because of COVID-19. They were accepting purchases but not returns.
I chatted with an Ulta Beauty representative on their website, and saved screenshots of that chat, where they said I have 180 days after the store reopens to return the merchandise. So I didn’t worry about it.
But when I went to a recently opened Ulta Beauty store today, six months after my purchase, and they couldn’t get the register to give me a refund because it had been more than 180 days. I showed them a printout of my chat and she said the chat person gave me the wrong information. She agreed I was in the right to expect the company’s own chat to be accurate, but they couldn’t do it at the store.
I called Ulta Beauty’s customer service department and they said the same thing: the chat was incorrect. I told them to go ahead and issue me a store credit and I’d reach out to you to help me get the promised refund. Is there anything you can do? — Val Stephen, San Jose
Ulta Beauty should have given you a refund, as promised. A lot of businesses have flexible refund policies during the pandemic, which was the right thing for consumers. I don’t think it’s asking too much for them to actually do what they promised.
You did everything correctly, including saving chat screenshots. Good job! In hindsight, maybe you could have asked for a refund a little earlier. But you were following Ulta Beauty’s own guidelines.
What I find incredible is that you had a promise in writing and the company still refused to give you a refund. A company should stand behind its employees. It’s not only good customer service, at least in your case, but also good for employee morale.
How to get your Ultra Beauty refund
Ulta Beauty’s site says that during the COVID-19 crisis, it was extending its refund policy to 180 days. But it looks as if it’s 180 days from the day of your purchase, not from when the store reopens.
I understand your dilemma. You had to wait until the stores reopened to get your refund. So it’s not as if you could have returned the merchandise when you wanted. Here are a list of failsafe ways to get a business to help you with a problem.
Your case reminds me of some of the Sears customer service problems we’ve dealt with recently. One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.
I contacted the company on your behalf, and it refunded the $55 you’d spent.
The pandemic excuse
Are businesses blaming the pandemic for bad customer service? if you’re a regular reader of this site, you could be forgiven for thinking so. So what’s the fix? How do you get a business to do the right thing — pandemic or not. The comments are open.