Ulta has been reselling returned beauty products as new, lawsuit claims

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.

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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.


One woman, who claimed to be a former Ulta employee, posted on Twitter that “whenever a customer would return a product, we were told by managers to repackage/reseal the item and put it back on the shelf.”


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.

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“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.

Ulta Response: We Do Not Allow The Resale Of Used Products

For its part, Ulta denied the claims made in the lawsuit, saying that it takes the integrity of its products very seriously.

Ulta responded with a statement to ABC News:

“Ulta Beauty’s policies and practices do not allow the resale of used, damaged or expired products. As the nation’s largest beauty retailers, we take protecting the integrity of the products we sell very seriously. Based on our review of these allegations, we are confident that our stores uphold our policies and practices. Assertions to the contrary are inconsistent with what we stand for,” spokesperson Karen May said in the statement.

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Ulta’s shares dropped after news of the lawsuit reached investors this week.

Written by Mary Stringini for KGUN. 

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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