A new lawsuit filed in Chicago last week alleges that beauty giant Ulta has been repackaging and reselling used makeup to its unsuspecting customers for years.
Attorney Zimmerman represents Meghan Devries, a Chicago woman who works in the beauty industry. She became suspicious about some of the products she purchased from Ulta. A woman claiming to be a former Ulta employee first brought the allegations to light in early January. Posting under the Twitter handle @fatinamxo, she wrote that whenever a customer returned a product, employees were instructed by Ulta to repackage or reseal the item and put it back on the shelf for sale. This practice, she said, included everything from makeup to hair and skin-care products, fragrances and hair styling tools.
She said that makeup palettes, for example, were cleaned up so that they looked new and returned to the shelf for reselling, unsanitized. She then shared screenshots of other Ulta employees making the same claims. Those tweets were cited in the class action complaint (pdf) Zimmerman filed in Cook County, Ill., last week. The suit also cites the claims of former employees that Ulta has a limit on how many returned items can be thrown away. “Managers will take used products out of a damaged bin, and if they look good enough to resell, they’ll put them back on the shelves and resell them so they don’t exceed their quota,” Zimmerman told ABC7.
He said that some of the products purchased from an Ulta store on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago seemed to have been previously used, including eye shadows missing a brush and face cleansers that were already open. Those products, he said, could have pathogens on them that remain for weeks. “There is E. coli and Klebsiella bacteria, which is commonly found in intestine and expelled with fecal matter,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman told ABC7 that the goal of his lawsuit is to change the alleged company practice that limits the number of items that can be thrown away, as well as to provide compensation for customers who may have bought used products.