InTruBeauty: Adventures in Customer Service

Monday, July 16, 2012

Adventures in Customer Service

The way a company treats its customers is extremely important to me, especially when I am a frequent customer there. I had the same issue with a bunch of high end makeup recently (past year or so). Normally, I would just suck it up and eat the cost but I've kind of had a change of mind when it comes to issues like that and now I always contact the company when I have a product issue. I then decided to make it into a kind of test comparison of how different companies deal with the same product issue.

These are my personal results and findings for this one isolated experiment. You may very well have had different experiences and feel free to comment and share them! Overall, these were isolated product issues and I am a huge lover of all these brands! The companies were all contacted by the email on their website or through facebook for QVC. I had pictures of the defective product for all companies. I've included the emails that I still have.

Top Rated:
1. QVC
QVC replied promptly when I had an issue with a Laura Geller product. It was within the first 30 days of my purchase. I returned it and did not have to pay for return shipping. They promptly send me out a replacement. I was super happy with the way they handled the situation. I also received an email notification when my replacement had shipped along with tracking information. I first contacted them through facebook and got a prompt response. Here is the later email from them.

Dear Jessica Trudell,

We're writing to let you know that we have received
the Laura Geller XXXX

We're happy to tell you that you can expect to receive your replacement within
7-10 days.

For your convenience, you can view the status of this order or manage your account by visiting Customer Service on

We're always available to answer any questions you might have. Click here or call 1.800.367.9444 between 7am and 1am Eastern Time, seven days a week.

Thanks for shopping with QVC.

Best Regards,

The QVC Customer Care Team

2. Sephora
I took a couple broken products I had purchased recently back to Sephora in Milwaukee, WI. I didn't have my receipt as I often lose those quite quickly. I just had to show a state ID and I was given in-store credit. I decided to do an equal exchange for the products that were broken. Everyone at the store was really helpful and nice. One of the sales woman even tried to search for a lipstick I thought I had seen in this month's Glamour.

3. Stila 
Next day e-mail reply. After sending them a picture of the defective item, they indicated they would replace this and I didn't have to send the defective one back in. After not receiving it for about a month or so, I had to recontact them and then after that the replacement was sent out promptly.

Hi Jessica,
we will be happy to send out a replacement.

Thank You,
Stila Customer Care
Stila Styles, LLC.
P: 866-784-5201
Mon-Fri 8am-5pm

about a month later...

Dear Jessica,
We will make sure the replacement is sent out this week. We apologize for the delay.

4. Little Black Bag
Little Black bag provides an option where you can return a defective or unwanted product for the retail credit and be given a product of the same value in your next bag or you can keep the item and be credited the % amount of the total $ paid for your entire bag ($50). The email reply was very prompt. For my first return I did the second option and was very pleased with the speed of reply and quick solution. See my other posts by searching for little black bag for more details. Sign up here.

4. Tarte
This is very high in the "middle category". Tarte replied promptly and indicated if I mailed back my defective product that they would send out a replacement. I paid for return shipping. It shipped it out recently, so I haven't received the replacement yet. Justina also sent back a product she had an issue with and they provided her a postage paid envelope to send it back in. Justina did receive her replacement in a timely fashion.

Hello Jessica,

Thank you for contacting tarte cosmetics customer service. Please send your defective product to the address below along with your shipping address and we will be happy to process an exchange. Thank you!

5. Birchbox
If you have an issue with Birchbox, you will likely get a friendly personalized email back. Although that may be it. I had a shipping delay issue and was not compensated as others were. When they sent out an expired product, they gave those that received it extra points which I appreciated. My friend had an issue with a product in her box and they gave her points for her troubles (it was kind of a unique situation though).

6. Urban Decay
This is very low in the "middle category". Email reply next day. UD indicated that since I had not purchased the product online that they did not have a record of my purchase. They told me to bring it back to the store where I purchased it. Luckily, it was Sephora and they handled it really well. However, if they wouldn't have exchanged it I would've been unhappy with Urban Decay not providing a replacement for a defective product simply because I hadn't ordered it online. I believe a company should stand behind their product. Although I also see the side of possible fears of abuse of this if they were more lax. I did email them back to say there wasn't a Sephora within 300 miles of where I live and I never received a reply.


Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately I was unable to locate your order with the information you provided. Please reply with order number for further assistance, this was provided to you at the end of the checkout processed. If you do not have the order number please reply with your first and last name and email address used to place the order. You can also give us a call to provide us with your credit card information and we can locate your order that way. If this was purchased at a retail location make sure you take it back to the original retailer since we will not have record of the sale. We look forward in hearing from you soon.

7. Benefit Cosmetics
Same as above. Email reply came the next day.The problem with this response is I live in an area right now with no Sephora or Ulta. The closest ones are about three hours away so I always purchase when I am in a town with a Sephora/Ulta. It is not easy for someone like me to replace this product then if it was not purchased online.

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

We are so sorry to hear your XXXX broke.
Unfortunately, we do not have record of items purchased at Benefit Cosmetics counters, boutiques, or other vendors. Please return or exchange your merchandise to the Benefit Cosmetics counter/boutique where you purchased it. To return the item(s), you must have the original receipt along with the credit card used for the purchase when returning the merchandise.

Our suggestion is to call the Benefit counter/boutique where you made the purchase for further assistance with this issue. Store phone numbers can be found by using the Store Locator link at the top of any page on

Thank you for shopping with Benefit Cosmetics and have a beautiful day.

Too Faced is ranked as low because I received no response other than an automatic reply email. No customer service is just as bad as bad customer service.
8. Too Faced

Other places I have gotten great customer service
  • Kohl's 
  • Jansport: will replace your broken backpack for free
  • Lane Bryant: gave me a gift card and coupon for products I had an issue with 
  • Tupperware lifetime warranty
(I've heard you can replace American Eagle jeans by bringing them to the store if there is a rip, etc, but I haven't personally tried this). 

What good or bad customer experience have you had? Please share!

Yours in Beauty, 



  1. I completely agree that good customer service is essential. This is a really useful post, thanks for this! I will certainly keep these in mind.

  2. Customer service is super important!! Glossybox has horrible customer service not because they were rude but because they honestly don't care. I was just shocked...but hey you can expect great customer service everywhere.

  3. Thank you for sharing your customer service experiences! Great customer service can easily turn me into a loyal customer so it's nice to see how different companies responded to similar problems.



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