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Thread: Be careful when buying gifts at Sephora

  1. #1
    Junior Canuck EvilTofu's Avatar
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    1
    So I bought several things at Sephora few weeks ago using the VIB $20 off discount - a gift for my friend at $50 and something for myself at $30. Total comes to $60 + tax. I asked for gift receipt for the gift item.

    It will be my birthday next week so I went to pick up my birthday gift, but they said it was already claimed. It was claimed in Scarborough which I have not been in years. They told me to call customer service. I came home to check my account. What happened was that my friend returned the gift and bought someone else for herself, and she claimed my birthday gift as well. (Well, she did add the 58 points to my account.)

    Couple of problems:
    1. The $20 off was only applied to the gift. When she returned the item, she was only able to get $30 towards her new purchase. i.e. I didn't get the discount at all! VIB was completely useless!
    2. My friend was able to claim my birthday gift without my membership card. How is it OK to let someone with gift receipt take the birthday gift?


    I called customer service, they are not going to give me the $20 back because coupon codes are non-refundable. But they are able to give me another birthday gift. And the lady on the line was not even surprised about the birthday gift thing. Seems like it happens regularly.

    My advice is to separate purchases when buying gifts at Sephora.
    This thread is currently associated with: Sephora
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    I'd be more upset about my friend claiming the birthday gift.
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    Wow! Thanks for the info!
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    The only other way around the membership card is supposed to be a printout of e-mail about the birthday freebie. I usually have both the card and printout but one year, I only had the printout for the cashier so she had something to scan/hold on to prove item was picked up for my VIB account.

    Your friend did a number on you-no more Sephora or gift receipts for her!

    Definitely see if the Sephora terms have something printed about the birthday freebie or send an e-mail regarding that gift receipt recipients should not be able to access your freebie (it's not hers to claim). This issue is definitely a privacy/accountholder matter.

    While I was perusing a (different) store charge card's booklet of terms and conditions, it was stated several times that an authorized user of the primary accountholder's store card cannot ask or obtain information about the account nor make changes. Only can use the card once authorized to do so. Primary accountholder takes on full responsibility for own and authorized user's balances.
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    Smart Canuck sampler's Avatar
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    I would be more concerned about having a friend who takes my birthday gift.

    Seems like the points she added (58) were around the same amount of points you originally should have had from for your first purchase on her, so she just helped you get back the points you well deserved for buying her gift from Sephora...am I right? (maybe 8 points extra), unless she spent $108. Her helping you keep your original points shouldn't cost you your bday gift...I wonder why she thought it was alright to take the gift.

    Keep an eye on that friend...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciel View Post
    Your friend did a number on you-no more Sephora or gift receipts for her!
    Quote Originally Posted by sampler View Post
    I would be more concerned about having a friend who takes my birthday gift.
    Seems like the points she added (58) were around the same amount of points you originally should have had from for your first purchase on her, so she just helped you get back the points you well deserved for buying her gift from Sephora...am I right? (maybe 8 points extra), unless she spent $108. Her helping you keep your original points shouldn't cost you your bday gift...I wonder why she thought it was alright to take the gift.
    Keep an eye on that friend...
    I wouldn't necessarily be so quick to blame the friend.

    Instead, I would suspect the clerk (perhaps a new hire or poorly trained at doing refunds) and/or the point-of-sale system (or a combination of both) to be at fault here. Especially if, as the OP says that Sephora told her "this happens regularly".

    I'm going to wager that the return and the new purchase were done on the same transaction. It's also a safe bet that the VIB profile came up during that transaction which would explain the additional 58 points that were added to the account. By the end of the sale, the clerk was probably automatically alerted by the computer to the birthday perk during the transaction and without thinking probably just said "and you're eligible for a gift..."

    My guess is that friend might not have known what was happening but if a salesperson ever tells me *I* am eligible for a free gift, especially when I just bought something, I dont often question it. I most likely would just say "sure, what do I get?" and more-over if I was not all that familiar with store, their policies, and/or their loyalty program.

    And while I absolutely agree that the salesperson should NOT have made any assumption about who was standing in front of him/her, especially when handing out the birthday rewards, I can easily see this happening. It's happened to me in other stores/programs where they assumed it was "me" -- and even though it was me, I've taken note that there was no validation of who I was when redeeming the points/perks/etc (*not Sephora mind you, not my kinda store)

    Along with the redemption of perks, the point-of-sale system should alert the salesperson to ask for ID, OR make it impossible to redeem without the member's card, etc. However, making these things MORE difficult can dissuade people from using it too. (just look at PC Rewards)

    Ultimately, however, Sephora took responsibility for their clerk's error and gave the reward back... so good for them.
    Last edited by bhlombardy; Mon, Dec 25th, 2017 at 06:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTofu View Post
    So I bought several things at Sephora few weeks ago using the VIB $20 off discount - a gift for my friend at $50 and something for myself at $30. Total comes to $60 + tax.

    ...The $20 off was only applied to the gift. When she returned the item, she was only able to get $30 towards her new purchase. i.e. I didn't get the discount at all! VIB was completely useless!

    Yes you did... How do you figure you didnt get a discount? You only paid $60 for $80 worth of product. It doesn't matter what happened afterward, that's what it cost you... you saved $20.

    --

    The $50 item was a gift... so it's not like your friend only gave you $30 for it... it was a gift. She is the one who was stuck with the discount on the refund when she returned it. She only got $30 back on the $50 item.

    That being said, if you went and returned the item you bought for yourself, you'd get full cost for it back. The full $30+plus tax... not $10. Count yourself more fortunate that it was your friend's item that got the discounted price, not your item.
    Last edited by bhlombardy; Mon, Dec 25th, 2017 at 06:18 AM.

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    Smart Canuck sampler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhlombardy View Post
    I wouldn't necessarily be so quick to blame the friend.
    My post wasn't about who is at fault for the situation. I don't blame the friend for Sephora not having a better system in place, instead, I blame the friend for accepting/keeping something that doesn't belong to them. I find it hard to believe the friend is not familiar with the Sephora program and how loyalty card programs work in an age where there are tons of loyalty programs out there. Too many variables would have to come into play for me to think that the friend is 100% innocent in this situation. For example...

    When I get my bday gifts from Sephora, they often describe what it is to me and they tell what it's for. I have never had a situation where the clerk just scans the bday gift and puts it in my bag without mentioning what it is to me. If I was the friend, I would wonder why I was getting something free and how they knew it was my bday (if it was actually around the friend's bday time). I would also have made the connection that this offer is associated with my friend's loyalty card, maybe not on the spot but definitely sometime after as I would be pondering why Sephora was so cool enough to give me something neat. This is assuming the friend has no knowledge of the Sephora program. And if we are assuming the friend is totally innocent, I would expect that the friend would be excited to tell her that she did the return/swap and that Sephora was awesome to give her something extra (bday gift). I know if I was given something free from Sephora, I would want my friend to benefit from the freebie as well.

    Obviously, the OP can determine how innocent her friend is in this situation herself, but without all the details I am going to guess the friend didn't think it was a big deal to take the bday gift and thought that it would go unnoticed. The friend just told her about the return was complete and didn't bother to tell her about the great freebie.
    Last edited by sampler; Tue, Dec 26th, 2017 at 06:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sampler View Post
    My post wasn't about who is at fault for the situation. I don't blame the friend for Sephora not having a better system in place, instead, I blame the friend for accepting/keeping something that doesn't belong to them. I find it hard to believe the friend is not familiar with the Sephora program and how loyalty card programs work in an age where there are tons of loyalty programs out there. Too many variables would have to come into play for me to think that the friend is 100% innocent in this situation. For example...
    When I get my bday gifts from Sephora, they often describe what it is to me and they tell what it's for. I have never had a situation where the clerk just scans the bday gift and puts it in my bag without mentioning what it is to me. If I was the friend, I would wonder why I was getting something free and how they knew it was my bday (if it was actually around the friend's bday time). I would also have made the connection that this offer is associated with my friend's loyalty card, maybe not on the spot but definitely sometime after as I would be pondering why Sephora was so cool enough to give me something neat. This is assuming the friend has no knowledge of the Sephora program. And if we are assuming the friend is totally innocent, I would expect that the friend would be excited to tell her that she did the return/swap and that Sephora was awesome to give her something extra (bday gift). I know if I was given something free from Sephora, I would want my friend to benefit from the freebie as well.
    I've bought cosmetics and fragrances at Sears, The Bay, and others where if I bought certain items, I got a free gift... a tote bag, or free samples, or some such. And told to the point "Would you like a free tote? It's free today with your purchase..." It had nothing to do with any sort of loyalty program and not something I was aware of before I walked in there. If I went into Sephora to make a similar purchase, and someone told them I was entitled to X, Y, or Z, for free with my purchase (without any details), I wouldnt argue it. I wager most people would do the same. -- On the other end of things, I've been told at Sobey's that I was entitled to $20 off my groceries, without being told why. Found out later it was because they redeemed 190 points of my AirMiles Cash... (another story for another time) but suffice to say, the clerks don't always do the best job at confirming the how's and why's of these perks.

    All of us in these forums are savvy to these offers and programs (it's why we're here), but not everyone in the general public is. I have MORE friends who couldnt care less about these programs and dont even know most of them exist, or they just block them out when someone offers them to apply. They're keen to a sale, and to getting something for free, but couldnt be bothered with points collecting. In fact, I relayed this story to a couple of female friends of mine, and while they are very much aware of Sephora, some had no concept they even had a loyalty program, nor what perks were available, or they knew but didnt care.

    The first time I bought something at Sephora was for my mother this Christmas because I couldnt find it anywhere else... she's never even heard of Sephora, and I never stepped foot in the place before a few weeks ago. I wasnt offered to join their VIB program, and I never knew about it until now. And even if they had offered, I'd probably decline since I wouldn't be an avid shopper in that store. Their program is of no interest to me, and I just wanted to pay and get on my way.


    So I don't begin to assume the friend in this scenario knows about the program, its perks, nor exactly what happened or what she did, nor assuming she covered up the act with mal-intent. I guess I was more lenient to giving her the benefit of the doubt because of my own experience and that of my friends.


    Obviously, the OP can determine how innocent her friend is in this situation herself, but without all the details I am going to guess the friend didn't think it was a big deal to take the bday gift and thought that it would go unnoticed. The friend just told her about the return was complete and didn't bother to tell her about the great freebie.
    At what point above did you read that the friend told the OP she made the return? ...and then the added opportunity to discuss the "freebie" during that conversation? That wasnt made obvious to me. The OP only found out about the return when she came home and checked her account. I didnt assume the two had spoken (at least about the return) between the time of the return and the discovery that her gift was redeemed.


    But ultimately, you're right. It's up to the OP to decide her friends' innocence in all of this, with us not knowing what exactly transpired nor their relationship with each other.


    Regardless... what happened at the Scarborough store is undoubtedly the clerk's responsibility for offering something he/she shouldnt have to the wrong person on the other side of the counter... If it DOES happen regularly, as they say, then it's a flaw in their system and needs fixing.

    But again, kudos for Sephora for making it right and coming good with it.
    Last edited by bhlombardy; Wed, Dec 27th, 2017 at 12:17 PM.
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    Junior Canuck EvilTofu's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that you guys are more upset about my friend taking the birthday gift. I always find the gift to be worthless. I mean, samples were free. When did they start calling them rewards?

    Anyway, my friend's birthday is in mid-January. Maybe she thought it was her own birthday gift that they allow early redemption? My friend gave me a Royal Doulton teapot set, she's not the kind who steal samples.

    I'm just upset that I lost $20. The entire year of VIB was forking bullshirt, the year closed with more forking mess. Don't even get me started with the shirtshow of "makeover". That chick was 15 minutes late, made me look like the hooker from Metal Gear Jacket. VIB, not worth it!
    Last edited by EvilTofu; Sun, Dec 31st, 2017 at 07:16 PM.
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    Junior Canuck EvilTofu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhlombardy View Post
    Yes you did... How do you figure you didnt get a discount? You only paid $60 for $80 worth of product. It doesn't matter what happened afterward, that's what it cost you... you saved $20.

    --

    The $50 item was a gift... so it's not like your friend only gave you $30 for it... it was a gift. She is the one who was stuck with the discount on the refund when she returned it. She only got $30 back on the $50 item.

    That being said, if you went and returned the item you bought for yourself, you'd get full cost for it back. The full $30+plus tax... not $10. Count yourself more fortunate that it was your friend's item that got the discounted price, not your item.
    What do you mean, "count yourself more fortunate"? How so?

    As a VIB, I'm supposed to get a $20 discount a year. But the $20 has evaporated. So how am I more fortunate? How?
    Last edited by EvilTofu; Sun, Dec 31st, 2017 at 06:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTofu View Post
    What do you mean, "count yourself more fortunate"? How so?
    As a VIB, I'm supposed to get a $20 discount a year. But the $20 has evaporated. So how am I more fortunate? How?
    Actually, I'm still trying to figure out how you think it evaporated? You bought $80 worth of product and paid $60. No one came after you for the $20 after the refund. ??

    There are several ways to view this:

    1.) The value of the Perk discount:

    Let's say you bought JUST the one item... the gift for your friend (forget the item you bought for yourself) -- that would have been a $50 item that you would have paid $30 for. When it got refunded, you were expecting the refund should have been $50? (I know you don't. I'm being rhetorical)

    Coupons and discounts (including loyalty perks) never ever work that way. and coupons and vouchers almost always have a disclaimer as "not refundable" and/or "no cash value".
    I vaguely understand why you feel this way, because it's a perk of the loyalty program, but in the end it's still just a one-time discount.

    If you used any other coupon at any store and later returned the item, you wouldn't get the value of the coupon back. You'd only get back what you paid for the item. This is really no different.

    AirMiles Cash is a similar example... It too is a loyalty program. A perk is that if you redeem 95 miles at many participating retailers, it's worth $10 off your receipt. But if you refund the purchase, you don't get that $10 back, and you don't get your 95 miles back. They aren't refundable either.

    Another similar example: Executive membership (not to be confused with a business membership) at Costco costs TWICE as much as a basic membership. However, a few times a year, an exclusive coupon book ONLY valid for Executive Members only gets mailed out to those members. (I just got one on Friday). It's one of the perks (among others) that for paying extra for that membership yields. Yet, when I do a refund on an item which I used such a coupon, I don't get the coupon back, nor do I get the value of the coupon back. I only get what I paid at the register. Again, same exact premise here.


    2.) Your friend's value on the item.

    And yes, it's unfortunate that the item got returned, but you weren't exactly out any money. You paid $30 for that item after the discount, and $30 is what got returned. Nor was your friend out any money. In fact, to her it was a GIFT... whether it cost $50 or $30 -- it was a gift to her. She doesn't feel slighted, I'm guessing because she returned a gift and whatever was paid for it, she used toward something else during the exchange. I guess, technically SHE is "short" the $20 -- but again not at all, really because she didn't pay anything either, it was a gift... (continued in point 3)


    3.) The $20 problem is now no more

    ...This is where I say you are "more fortunate". What I mean was that if after all of this (say tomorrow) YOU were to return YOUR item from that same transaction, you would get the full $30 you paid for YOUR item back. They wouldn't hit you for the $20 discount because that's already been nullified with your friend's return.


    4.) The discount is still the discount

    Another way to look at it is this... say your friend actually DID get the $50 value back, and YOUR item was the one with the $20 discount... how much further ahead are you? None, you STILL only paid $60 for $80 worth of product. Your final balance is still the same, no matter how you break it down. Nothing has changed.


    5.) Ignorance is bliss

    Yet another way to look at it: If you never even knew about the return, you would be none-the-wiser and you'd be just as content with having paid $60 for $80 worth of product, because that's what you did.


    And while it sounds like I'm being argumentative with you, I'm not. In fact, I'm trying to show you the silver lining by demonstrating how you are still ahead. To repeat: you paid $60 for $80 worth of stuff. How you felt at the time you paid for the purchase is how you should STILL feel... you saved $20. That has not changed.
    Last edited by bhlombardy; Mon, Jan 1st, 2018 at 02:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTofu View Post
    The entire year of VIB was forking bullshirt, the year closed with more forking mess. Don't even get me started with the shirtshow of "makeover". That chick was 15 minutes late, made me look like the hooker from Metal Gear Jacket. VIB, not worth it!
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