Sephora Says I’m Stuck With Expedited Shipping Charges Even Though Purchase Didn’t Arrive On Time

If you pay a premium to get an order within a specific period of time, then it would only make sense that you’d get a refund on that extra shipping cost if the order doesn’t arrive in time. But apparently not when you order from Sephora.

Since she was leaving the country in a few days for a wedding, Consumerist reader Krystina decided it would be worth the extra few bucks to have her order shipped 2nd Day Air so that she’d be sure to have it in her hands before getting on her flight.

Things seemed to be going well at the start. On Friday, she got the confirmation e-mail, complete with UPS tracking number, from Sephora that her order had shipped. Tracking the package via showed a delivery date of Tuesday, which is exactly what she’d planned on.

And the outlook only got rosier on Sunday, when Krystina received an update from UPS My Choice that her delivery, which was only coming from an hour up the interstate, would be delivered Monday, a day early.

But there was no package waiting for her at her apartment on Monday night, and none came that night. So around 11:30, she tracks the package again — and suddenly it’s 1,000 miles away at a transfer center in Illinois.

Regardless, this does sometimes happen, where air-shipped packages go thousands of miles out of the way but still make it on time. And the UPS site was back to telling Krystina that she’d have her package on Tuesday as was originally scheduled. Still okay, right?

But when she checked her status yesterday morning, the delivery date had been pushed back a day, meaning her package would not get delivered until after she left for her trip.

Her calls to UPS only confused the matter, as the rep on the phone explained that her 2nd Day Air order had been changed to ground because she lives so close to the point of origin. But no one could explain why the package then went — by air — to Illinois.

Since she’d paid Sephora for the expedited shipping charge, Krystina would need to call them to get that money refunded.

“The nice guy on the line told me that he couldn’t do anything for me on their end as it was UPS’s choice to change the shipping,” she tells Consumerist. “And because the package was already processed through their distribution and with UPS, they were no longer liable.”

She tried UPS again, but was only told once again that UPS can’t issue a refund to her because UPS’ actual customer is Sephora. And this is actually the truth with almost all mail-order/online purchases. It’s up to Sephora to get the refund from UPS and then decide whether to pass that refund on to its customer.

So Krystina called Sephora again:

This time, I asked the CSR what happens when I am not there to sign for a package and the package gets delivered back to Sephora? She informed me that once it arrives back in distribution, I will get refunded. But what about my shipping? Could Sephora request a refund from UPS since it’s their fault? Again, I was told no, nothing could be done because they were given enough time. Also, I was given a lesson on what a business day is. Thank you very much, because I didn’t catch onto that at any point in my life. Even with the weekend, UPS had time to deliver my package and have screwed it up.

We’ve sent multiple e-mails to Sephora asking it to clarify its policy on refunding expedited shipping charges, but the only reply we’ve gotten was a single out-of-office reply from one of the seven media contacts we have tried to reach.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.