22 November 2014

Is Sephora Racist?

Consumers who tried to go to Sephora's website on 8 November 2014 got an error page, but was not because of their computers.

The beauty giant posted a message apologizing for the outage, which happened during its big VIB beauty insiders's sale. The message reads: "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."

In the process of fixing the site, Sephora acknowledged that customers' accounts were blocked. And while some accounts were restored, others were shut down due to suspicions of reselling.
"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."
But there's been account de-activation fall-out: Styleite reports that Sephora is being accused by customers of blocking customers who have Asian-sounding names.

No official word yet has been released, but Sephora employees understandably denied any accusation that they are racists against Asians.