Recently, Sephora held a big 20% off sale for their “VIB” customers who spent over $350 during the year. Unfortunately, many of those top-tier customers faced technical difficulties — their accounts were shut down or their ability to place orders were restricted with absolutely no reason given. This certainly caused quite the alarm for loyal customers who wanted to partake in the sale, but this was nothing compared to the shocking theory behind these blocked customers: Sephora is being accused of blocking their Asian customers.
Allegedly, the customers banned from the sale were those who have e-mail addresses based in China, or those who have Chinese/Asian surnames. Styleite caught just a few of the thousands of Chinese Americans waiting for an explanation from Sephora.
If these allegations are true, you may be wondering why Sephora would use geographic and ethnic profiling. Many have theorized that such a move was done to prevent international bulk buyers and re-sellers. However, we can all agree that it’s impossible to actually tell which customers want to re-sell their products and which ones simply enjoy Sephora products. As expected, many Sephora users are outraged.
“Long-time Sephora customer here,” one reddit user wrote. “I moved to Taiwan a few years ago, but really wanted some Sephora goodness. I sent an order to my (western last name) friend and had her re-ship the package to me, I had no issues with the order. Recently tried to make another order and send it to my brother (Chinese last name) who lives in Miami to bring back to me on his next trip home. My order was canceled and when I asked, they gave me the same TOS bullshit. When I asked which part of the TOS they were talking about, I was ignored.”
Sephora eventually released a statement admitting their concern over reselling products.
Message for Clients
Sephora is dedicated to providing an exciting and reliable shopping experience and we sincerely apologize to our loyal clients who were impacted by the website crash that occurred yesterday.
Our website is incredibly robust and designed to withstand a tremendous amount of volume. What caused the disruption yesterday was a high level of bulk buys and automated accounts for reselling purposes from North America and multiple countries outside the US. The technical difficulties that impacted the site are actively being addressed and our desktop US website is now functioning normally. We are actively working to restore our Canadian, mobile website, and international shipping where applicable. There has been no impact on the security and privacy of our clients’ data.
The reality is that in taking steps to restore website functionality, some of our loyal North American and international clients got temporarily blocked. We understand how frustrating it is and are deeply sorry for the disruption to your shopping experience.
However, in some instances we have, indeed, de-activated accounts due to reselling — a pervasive issue throughout the industry and the world. As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting our clients and our brands, we have identified certain entities who take advantage of promotional opportunities to purchase products in large volume on our website and re-sell them through other channels. After careful consideration, we have deactivated these accounts in order to optimize product availability for the majority of our clients, as well as ensure that consumers are not subject to increased prices or products that are not being handled or stored properly.
As expected, many outraged customers are pledging never to shop there again. What do you think?