Sephora’s Offering To Customers Upset About Epic Rewards: $50 Gift Codes

Earlier this month, we shared with you the story of Sephora’s Epic Rewards promotion that quickly ran out of rewards. Customers were upset after the promotion, believing that they had been misled into racking up points for special “rewards” when there were so few rewards to go around that it might as well have been a raffle. Today, as promised, Sephora is starting to e-mail these customers with their final offering: a $50 gift code.

A gift code is different from a gift card in that it’s not transferable, and it must be used all at once on an order of $50 or more or the customer will lose the balance of the code. It’s essentially a $50 coupon, issued to anyone who e-mailed about the Epic Rewards. Customers in Canada are receiving codes worth 50 Canadian dollars, or about $37.50.

The other catch is that the $50 code means that customers can’t use any other promotional codes, like coupons or any of the rotating weekly samples that require a promo code.

Here’s the full letter. Sephora appears to be generating the codes and sending out e-mails in waves, so if you’re expecting one, you should receive it later on.

Hello from your friends at Sephora,

Our Beauty Insiders, like you, are of enormous importance to us, and we deeply appreciate that you reached out. Please again accept our apologies that you were not able to participate in our Epic Rewards promotion on August 10th. The demand simply far exceeded what we expected based on our prior events.

In light of this, we want to offer you a $50 promotional gift that can be used toward any online merchandise purchase from sephora.com through September 30, 2015. We hope that you enjoy it.

There is no minimum purchase needed and this is a one-time use code. In order to put the offer to use, please type in [redacted] at checkout and, as always, Rouge orders ship for free.

We truly value the relationship we have with you, and we want you to remain a part of the Sephora community of beauty lovers. Please know that we are using our learnings from this experience as we plan for future promotions to continue to show our valuable Beauty Insiders how much you mean to us.

This includes that we continue every day to make the experience of shopping with us more fun, exciting and convenient from always seeking out the hottest and most effective new beauty products to our focus on sampling and our fair return policy. Additionally, at the core of the Sephora experience, our Beauty Advisors love working with our clients, learning what you are looking for right now and sharing what we have that is the best in the world of beauty—customized especially for you. We invite you to visit one of our stores, and while you are there, you can of course enjoy one of our free services in our Beauty Studios, ranging from Mini Makeovers to classes.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Sephora.

Sincerely,
The Beauty Insider Team

Many of the customers behind the revolt seem to be satisfied with this resolution, though they aren’t all pleased. Reader Dawn thinks that it’s unfair that everyone receives the same code regardless of how much they’ve spent at the store or how many points they had saved up to “buy” the high-end rewards. “If I had 1000 points, [I should have received] a $50 code; if I had 3000 points, a $150 code,” she wrote to Consumerist. “That would have made me happy. This does NOT in any way make me feel valued as a customer.”

Some of the dissatisfied customers have a new form of protest in addition to their mass returns: making the company ship them free samples purchased with rewards points in as many separate boxes as possible. “[T]here are lots of women out there buying a single hair tie or empty Sephora eye compact for $1 and cashing in their [rewards] points 100 at a time, to cost the company money,” Dawn writes. “I am one! I have had 8 boxes thus far this week. I figure – you want to screw us around? That can go two ways.” She plans to donate the items that she collects to a local women’s shelter.

Eight UPS packages won’t doom the multimillion-dollar company, and seeing packages go out containing a hair tie and a face wash sample must be incredibly frustrating for warehouse workers.

These customers also say they won’t be shopping at Sephora anymore. Now, that is the free market at work. Customers who feel their business isn’t valued go elsewhere.