Monday, April 18, 2011

Company Review: Ulta

This is the first company review ever in Buzzed For Beauty history. Ulta has just lost a customer as a result of their return policy. This past week I ordered a set of hot rollers from I saw one of my makeup gurus using it and it looked so easy to use, I had to have it. There aren't any Ultas in New York City, and until I started watching YouTube, I had never even heard of one. Ulta is basically the equivalent of a Sephora, but it has many drugstore brands as well as high end brands (such as Conair and Hot Tools). 
This was my first purchase from Ulta, and I was thrilled with the way everything was going. 3 free samples sent with each order just like Sephora. $5 shipping, and I paid about $3 in tax. The hot rollers themselves were $19.99, on sale from $30. I should have known by the sale price and the mediocre ratings that the rollers wouldn't turn out that great. Even on the guru I watched, the curls came out just so-so. They were nice but they did look a little limp straight away, which I should have realized would mean the curls would fall quickly after. However, the guru did not comment afterwards in the description box about being unhappy with the result at all, and if her curls fell she did not let her viewers know. Either way, I tried these rollers twice, and they turned out so meh. The reviews were right- the rollers did not get hot enough to really set the curls, and that's all there is to it. The roller system was easy to use, but it just wasn't effective. I had no choice but to return it. 

The company included a return label with the package, but unlike most companies, it was not pre-paid (either return shipping paid for by the company or $5 is deducted from your refund). It was simply a sticker with the address on it. I took it to UPS and the shipping came out to $19. When the guy tried to lower the price to USPS shipping, it was still $15. I could not believe it. It never occured to me how expensive shipping would be, or that I would be the one having to pay for it. I know Ulta could have helped me as a customer out with that because they managed to get shipping down to just $5 when originally sending it to me. 

After I managed to shut my jaw which was hanging open after hearing the price (which would cancel out any refund I got anyway), I went to a computer to look up Ulta's return policy. Stuck somewhere barely noticeable in a long page of text was this sentence.

Return shipping charges are the responsibility of the purchaser.

So basically, I'm stuck with the rollers. I can't return them in store because there are no Ultas around New York City. The closest is in Levittown, Long Island, and driving there or taking the train would cost money anyway. Good news is that there will be a review up on this blog shortly of the rollers and whether I managed to salvage them at all. I might try blow drying my hair for a couple minutes just after I put the rollers in to crank the heat up.

I'm really disappointed. So many YouTubers go to Ulta just as frequently as they go to Sephora. I was not expecting such unprofessionalism. Ulta does not even have a Customer Service link. It's called "Guest Services". This makes me feel like they don't want to bother with their customers at all. I think it's funny how at the top of their Return Policy Page it says this:

ULTA is dedicated to bringing you an unparalleled shopping experience from start to finish. If you are not completely satisfied with a product, you may return it to our fulfillment center for a refund or you can visit one of our retail locations for an exchange or in-store credit.

And yet they stick it somewhere in the middle in one sentence that any return shipping is to be paid for by the customer. Or "purchaser" as they call me. They wouldn't want to directly insinuate that they are making the customer pay exorbitant shipping fees.

So Ulta has completely infuriated me, and I'm fairly upset. The only reason I can see that I would shop with them again is that they are the only U.S. company selling Samantha Chapman's new RealTechniques brushes. I love her as a makeup artist and a guru, and I believe her brushes will be amazing, so I plan on supporting her and buying a few. However, as far as I can tell, that will be my only other purchase from them.

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