There are many reasons why we love shopping at Sephora: beautiful displays of shiny new products, welcoming stuff, free samples, reward programs, and of course, its generous product return policy that allows customers to bring back both opened and unopened products within 60 days of purchase (even without a receipt.)
However, next time you’re getting a product at Sephora in the hopes of returning it later, think twice.
The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that the Paris-based beauty retailer is using a special program to track customer returns. TRE or The Retail Equation program helps stores to evaluate customers’ return behaviour and ban those who return too many products.
The program is aimed at protecting companies from return abuse, which according to The Retail Equation website is a form of “friendly fraud” where someone purchases products without intending to keep them.
So how does it work? The website explains that every time a consumer wants to make a return, a retailer will scan the original sales transaction receipt and/or swipe the individual’s driver’s license or government-issued ID card (including passports) to make an identification of the person and his/her unique return behaviour.
In the official statement, Sephora explained its decision to track customers who return products without any proof of purchase: “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.”
According to Racked, Sephora is not the only retailer that uses the service. The list also includes Best Buy, the Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney and more.