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Ulta re-sells returned beauty products as new, lawsuit alleges

Posted at 8:18 AM, Feb 13, 2018

Two women have filed lawsuits against Ulta, one of the largest beauty retailers in the United States, claiming that the company repackages and resells beauty products after they have been opened and returned. 

The newest lawsuit, filed by Meghan Devries in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, states that Ulta has a routine practice of repackaging and re-sealing products that have been previously purchased, used and returned by customers. It claims that Ulta will return those used products to its shelves to be purchased by other, unsuspecting, customers.

The complaint states that the company has a limit on how many returned items can be thrown away.

"Managers at [Ulta] retail stores are given a quota as to the number of returned items that can be deemed to be 'damaged,'" the lawsuit alleges.

It goes on to further explain, claiming that if returned items look good enough to resell, they're returned to the shelves so they don't exceed their quota. It goes on to state that the products are put back on the shelves without being labeled as "repackaged" or "previously used."

The complaint provides examples from former employees who have posted to Twitter about Ulta's alleged routine practice of instructing employees to repackage products and return them to shelves for resale. 



Devries hopes that her lawsuit changes Ulta's alleged practice of limiting the number of items that can be thrown away. Additionally, it seeks compensation for all customers who bought used products.

A separate lawsuit with the same claims was filed last month by a California woman.

“Every customer who has purchased cosmetics at Ulta since this practice began was put at risk of unwittingly purchasing used, unsanitary cosmetics and this risk reduces the desirability and value of all cosmetics sold by Ulta,” the lawsuit states.

This complaint also sites Twitter user @fantinamxo’s allegations, stating that the Tweets have prompted responses from countless other current and former Ulta employees from all over the country who confirm the practices at the stores where they worked.



The woman who filed the suit, Kimberley Laura Smith-Brown, hopes to form a class that would extend to everyone who purchased cosmetics from Ulta.

Mary Stringini is a Digital Reporter for WFTS. Follow her on Twitter @MaryWFTS.