A large number of Chinese shoppers are currently locked out of their Sephora accounts due to suspected bulk purchasing & reselling activities, despite not making any bulk purchases.
Sephora's website experienced severe disruptions this week during its annual 20% off sale. According to Sephora's official message posted yesterday, the website was unable to handle the large volume of purchases made by bulk resellers:
"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".
Many locked customers posted on Sephora's facebook page, where it became apparent that they all had common Chinese surnames. Though most used Chinese domain emails to register on Sephora, a number of locked customers used Gmail and Hotmail. It is speculated that Sephora deactivated their accounts based on their ethnicity.
A few of the Facebook complaints:
In Sephora's public statement, it states: "if we are able to verify that your account was erroneously deactivated, it is reactivated immediately. Please call 877-VIB-ONLY (1-877-842-6659)". Customers who have called the hotline were told that their accounts could not be reactivated at this time. Some were told to fill out a form, others were not even asked their name or account ID.
For locked customers who emailed Sephora to complain, they received the below generic reply:
source: Sephora Facebook