Monday, December 9, 2013

Sephora Bans Parcel Forwarding Addresses (HopShopGo).

Hi lovelies,

You might remember this post I did on a recent haul I picked up from Sephora, using parcel forwarding company HopShopGo. Many of you wanted more details so I promised a review post on the service, once I completed my second order (which should be winging it's way to me as I type this). Everything seemed well until I decided to put in a spontaneous order on Saturday night for the much coveted, newly released Urban Decay Naked Palette 3. The order went through on the Sephora website without any problems, leading to much happy dancing in my flat...until I received an email a few minutes later stating that the order had been cancelled!

(Image sourced from Google Images)
There was no proper explanation given, save a vague comment that Sephora had cancelled the order because they were 'unable to confirm payment information'. I knew for a fact that there wasn't anything wrong with the card I'd used, so I sent them both an email and a Facebook message asking for a reply.

Here's what I got back via Facebook message (verbatim, with the exception of names which I've removed for privacy reasons):

"Hi, your order could not be approved because the address used is associated with multiple users.  If you have a different address you can have the order shipped to, you are welcome to replace the order. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Regards,
Sephora Facebook Team"

Naturally, I wasn't very happy with that answer, and replied, stating that parcel forwarding was the only way in which Aussie beauty lovers had access to Sephora. Before I could finish typing, I received another reply, stating:

"Hi, while we do not have stores in or directly ship to Australia, we are excited to let you know that select products through Sephora are now available on the Australian online shopping Mall, Tarazz. Please paste the URL listed below into your browser for more information. http://www.sephora.com/australia"

That answer really frustrated me for several reasons, which I will list below:

a) Tarazz only carries selected Sephora products, all at higher unit costs than those offered on the Sephora website, and which are also subject to high shipping fees (though, admittedly, much lower than the crazy shipping fees quoted several months ago)...this leads to my next point, being,

b) Yes, I'm aware that prices quoted on the Sephora website are pre-sales tax. However, some parcel forwarding companies like HopShopGo are in tax-free states, which mean that the prices you pay are exempt from taxes anyway (unless you exceed the tax-free limit for your country - $1,000 Australian Dollars, in case you were wondering).

c) I could understand if Sephora was associating multiple orders to the same address with fraud, however, with HopShopGo, you are provided with individual IDs which differ for each person (this goes on top of the generic parcel forwarding address, much like an apartment number changes for the apartment address).

d) In this modern age where social media reigns supreme, Sephora are banning beauty bloggers based in other countries from accessing their products. This could ultimately end up shooting them in the foot as it cuts off a lot of free publicity for their products.

I raised these issues with Sephora but never got a response back afterwards, so I took my concerns to HopShopGo to ask for an explanation.

The rep explained that Sephora was now one of few online retailers that enforced Brand Owner’s Rights – a policy of not allowing their products to be shipped out of the U.S due to distributorship rights. She also explained that the 'Buy For Me' Concierge Team (a service offered by HopShopGo which purchases your products on your behalf) would still be able to make purchases at Sephora as they had separate address systems, however, the fee would amount to 10% of the total sum of purchases, meaning it could add up to quite a considerable amount if you purchased in bulk. I also asked if we could use our Sephora VIB points with the order, but was told that it would not be possible with the Buy For Me Concierge Service.

I also came across several forum threads on new Sephora practices, pertaining to accounts being blocked due to purchasing too many products and being suspected as 'resellers', which you can read here and here.

Overall, I find the whole issue rather disappointing. I was just getting into the thrill of purchasing products that weren't available here, like Urban Decay, so it's a little sad to have that taken away from us. Sure, there are other retailers we could try, but it can take months for some of the sites to stock up on new releases.

Of course the argument for supporting your country's economy will always be there, but when you think about it, we are still paying for groceries, clothing, utilities and many other items that pour money back into the economy. Was it too much to also ask to treat yourself to a rare beauty product from overseas from time to time? Clearly, the answer was yes.

What do you think of the whole issue, lovelies? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to find someone in the US who would be happy to forward parcels on to me.

Much love,
MM.
x

58 comments:

  1. Thank you for clarifying this, I was planning on making one last order for the year this Thursday, looks like I can't now :( This really does annoy me too, products are way too pricey here plus we don't get half the brands they get in the US and this was really the best opportunity to get them. Plus I just got a $15 gift voucher too which I was planning to use.

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    1. My pleasure, Peta...I'm so sorry you missed out. :(

      I agree completely with you, it really is a shame.

      Delete
  2. Aww that really sucks, I was thinking of using a parcel forwarding service as well (that ships to the UK) but if Sephora are tackling this issue then I guess there's no point :( Might as well just wait til I know someone that goes to the US.

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    1. Yes, unfortunately, you might have to wait! There are several other options available (I'm compiling notes on that) but there are also more downsides. Stay tuned!

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  3. hmm try priceusa? I've used them before and they're within a tax-free state. You can also get a quote from their page and shipping and fees are REALLY reasonable (they buy for you). Maybe that'll help?

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    1. I'm looking at them! Thanks for the tip! It's one of the options I'm considering. :)

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  4. Have you tried shopandbox.com? I am awaiting my first package from there but so far so good! :)

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    1. I've heard about it, looking into more details now! :) I'd love to hear what you think when your parcel arrives!

      Delete
  5. I've been using Hop Shop Go's BuyForMe service with Sephora and it's worked out alright (I didn't know they accepted international credit cards!) That being said when some stuff I ordered was out of stock it took a month (yes a month!) to get the payment cancelled, even through PayPal. So honestly I don't think I'll be using them again.

    Ulta refused an order I tried to do through BuyForMe stating they didn't ship their products internationally. I was trying to buy L'Oreal liners not available here. I'm still waiting for that refund.

    More brands need to be accessible here, prices need to be lowered too, maybe US stores like Sephora might actually ship to us then. It's taken the fun out of it for me too!

    I've pre-ordered Naked 3 through HQ Hair, I think it's out of stock at the moment. Not shipping until Dec 21. The price wasn't too bad, they have discount codes for Christmas.

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    1. It was a bit of an experiment for me, I entered my card details and it accepted it, so away we go (or went)! :)

      I think the whole Buy For Me thing sounds a bit painful, sigh.

      Such a shame that we can't get access to Ulta, but I know they banned parcel forwarding addresses a while ago. Sigh. Any luck sourcing the liners from eBay?

      Oh yes, I forgot to look at HQ Hair! I'm off to KL next week so might see if there are any palettes left in stock by the time I get there (it releases tomorrow). If not, I will see if I can order from any of the usual suspects.

      Delete
  6. Got a solution to your problem =) Check your email! Rebecca, x.

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    1. Thank you for the email! :) I'm very intrigued!

      Delete
    2. Eeek is it a reply worth sharing? Im from NZ and have had no issues until just now where I forgot to change my address (my freightforwarding company had moved) and they shipped and completed the order untill it was returned - then they refused to update the address and refunded the order. So silly.

      Delete
  7. It's nice to read other people offering solutions here, but frankly it's just not good enough for Sephora to do this! I'll certainly be letting them know what I think! Urban Decay, Too Faced, Tarte etc are not THEIR products - they just stock them, therefore they should not have a say whether or not we have access to them, and while we could still buy them directly from the brands website, why should we have to? Same goes for Ulta as Tara aboved me mentioned, why should they deny us L'Oreal?!
    We're paying customers not doing anything wrong, paying a butt load to actually get their products, they should be thankful, not punishing us. It's so disappointing. Thanks for writing this up, I hope all us beauty lovers let Sephora know exactly what we think...
    xx

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Jasmine. Very odd decision for Sephora to come to. I think it would be great to share your opinion with them, I certainly have!

      It's all a bit bizarre! I'd love to hear what the rationale is but sadly, no one seems to be making an official statement.

      Delete
  8. Wow that really is pretty sad of Sephora to be doing this! I would think that they would like international customers (any customers are good customers aren't they?). Here I thought there was finally a way to buy international products easily, and it's been taken away! :(

    I am currently based in France and being here has made me realise just how overpriced international products are when they are sold in Australia. Really, we are paying such exhorbitant prices (everything from Topshop to Zara to Benefit just to name a few) that it really makes sense that we are all trying to look for other pays to be able to pay more reasonable prices...
    I am all for supporting the economy of course, but sometimes it is made very difficult (and expensive) for us to do that!
    I hope you find another way to purchase from the US miss N, and let us know when you find it!

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    1. Very true, Lou, but who knows what's behind their decision!

      I was just getting used to parcel forwarding when they had to stop it, lol...so I feel your frustration! And yes, Europe is SO much cheaper than what we pay here, sigh. I had a ball when I was there!

      I'm looking into it, so stay tuned! :)

      Delete
  9. Those bastards! Send me your wishlist, I'll be happy to try get them for you when I go to the states :)

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    1. Exactly!!! *Shakes fist*

      Haha...thank you so much, Abby! I'm not super desperate for it (yet) so I might try looking in KL... :) If you want anything from Asia let me know?

      xx

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  10. Well done, Hun. It doesn't affect me, personally, as I haven't considered ordering BUT it's the principle of it all and I'm really glad you're using you facility with your blog to bring this crazy situation to the notice of your many readers.
    It really does sound crazy and you haven't been given a satisfactory response. Well done for what you are doing in bringing this to the attention of so many who are affected.
    Take care and don't stress. OH - I LOVE the photo and it is so appropriate!!!
    With love,
    Trish.

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    1. Thank you so much, Trish, I really wanted to help spread the word to help others too!

      It's rather bizarre how this is rolling out, and without any explanation too!

      Glad you love the photo, I had a fun time looking for photos to fit! ;)

      Delete
  11. That's really upsetting. I was planning to use a parcel forwarding service to buy some things from Sephora but I cant now. It does sound like Sephora have forgotten about international buyers when they made this change. Very disappointing.

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    1. Very upsetting, Shae! It's a little odd that they've made this decision. It's not just Australia (with their partner Tarazz) but other countries too! I just can't reason it out from a business standpoint at all!

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  12. Found your blog in a comments on another blog. Jeez Sephora really have a cheek. We get stung with high prices because Australia is "isolated" and as a consumer base we are too small for big companies to bother with. However dictating who buys products they stock just smacks of Big Brother telling us what we can and can't buy! Jeeze so much for the global economy! Good for you for hilighting this issue!

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    1. It's all very bizarre, Jan...don't forget, this doesn't just affect Australia but all the other countries that use parcel forwarding too! I'd be keen to be a fly on the wall to see how it affects their profit margin!

      My pleasure, I just wanted to help others in the same boat. :)

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  13. Boo... That's annoying! Essentially, isn't it better for them to allow the forwarding to happen? They would make more money this way - how silly! If anyone needs a hand getting stuff from Sephora, I know a few people who can help out in the States. :)

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    1. Very annoying...you would think so, wouldn't you?! I did email, message privately on Facebook and also ask on their Facebook wall for some clarification as to this decision, but never got a reply!

      I'd love to know, could you shoot me an email at themadeupmaiden@gmail.com, please? :)

      Delete
  14. That is very unfair, considering Sephora does not have a shop here. They have one in Malaysia but not in Australia, how is that? They must be making a lot of money to say:" we don't need yours, bugger off."

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    1. I agree, Ailyn. If its any consolation, Malaysia only got their stores a couple of years ago, so hopefully we get it in Australia soon.

      I wonder if there might be more to it than meets the eye, perhaps we might find out soon.

      Delete
  15. Damn it!! And to think that I just started buying off Sephora a few months ago thanks to your recommendation of HSG. My gripe really? Well, it IS the mega buyers (resellers) who spoil the market. Eg. the person who bought quite a number of Naked 3 palettes which in turn also contributed to the palette being sold out. Spoiled the market. :(

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    1. The problem is, it won't really stop the resellers, many of whom are able to just walk in and purchase from the stores. It's also hard to determine which ones are resellers and which ones are just purchasing for their friends and relatives.

      It won't stop the people who break the rules, they'll just find a new way to get around it.

      Delete
  16. How frustrating! I actually haven't used any parcelling forwarding service before because I've relied on friends going to the US or to Duty Free, but it seems like Sephora is taking a hard line with this issue. Thank you for your detailed post and I hope it will be resolved… Enjoy the goodies Xxx

    (I may or may not have bought myself a new Bobbi Brown palette for Christmas as a gift from me to me. What can you do:) )

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    1. Very frustrating! Duty free is one thing, but Sephora was a great portal to brands we can't access in Australia.

      I'm glad you found it useful...and I'd love to see the palette, I love Bobbi Brown! I think Christmas is the season for giving, and that includes to yourself. ;)

      Delete
  17. Wow, that's so frustrating! (Okay, I'm personally too broke to afford Sephora brands but I was hoping to one day.) I'm sure they've got valid reasons, but as you said, beauty bloggers give them free publicity - and following blogs that aren't Australian, while interesting, is a bit pointless as the vast majority of products aren't available here. Maybe there's an opening for some enterprising person to create a mainstream, recognised-as-legit parcel forwarding service?

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    1. I agree, it's good to have had that option even if we didn't take it up that often.

      We can only hope that it happens soon!

      Delete
  18. I think that this is the silliest thing that Sephora did. Not only are they taking forever to set up shop in Australia but now they are stopping us from being able to purchase from their overseas counterparts. Luckily for us, the internet is on our side and some smart person will come up with a way to overcome this silly rule they have made up. There's also ebay and there is no way they can stop that even if they tried! Anyways, I feel your pain and was actually saving up for a big Sephora purchase before this all happened. I think they are going to lose a lot of money this way so I wonder how long it will last.

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more, Billi. I don't think a store in Australia would truly solve all our problems, as they still wouldn't carry the full range, and most definitely not at the prices Sephora in the US offers.

      There are options to get around it but none presently exist that offer the same benefits as the parcel forwarding option did. We can only hope that a good option pops up soon!

      I agree that they would probably have lost money this way, which is why it doesn't make much sense from a business perspective.

      Delete
  19. Coco, that is so frustrating! I can't believe Sephora is banning parcel forwarding. Even though I haven't bought from Sephora using parcel forwarding, I would've used it when I need to buy something from Sephora. I guess I'll have to stock up when I go to the US in March. Let me know if you want anything coz I'm happy to get it!

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    1. It's definitely annoying but let's hope the Sephora stores here open up soon and offer great prices!

      Thanks for the offer, too! xx

      Delete
  20. I agree, totally ridiculous. The only thing to try now is buy for me services...Forwarditus are brillant and I have ordered with them for Tarte and Too Faced cosmetics and have never had an issue. Sephora are alienating a great deal of potential customers with this policy and if they ever decide to open up shop in the U.K. Or Australia/New Zealand they could encounter apathy or at worst hostility. I dunno...global recession so let's say no to potential business .. Utterly ridiculous!

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    1. Ah well. With the recent news that they are planning to open stores in Australia, I think the hype has far outweighed any apathy they might've encountered!

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  21. Spewing. I hope Urban Decay comes to Australia soon, otherwise every single person who goes to the States from now on will have a carry on full of makeup for me.

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  22. This post was really helpful (even if a little bit old), thankyou :) Looks like us Aussie girls need to find a friend in the US to do some shopping for us or save all our pennies and fly to the US ourselves. Hope things get sorted out and you can get back to shopping in the US in no time :)

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    1. Glad you found it useful. :)

      Hopefully they'll be open here before too long!

      Delete
  23. Funny thing... I've placed a number of orders from Sephora since the Black Friday sales, till early March this year, but have not had any problems with my orders. I'm like you, living in AU, and having my orders posted to HopShopGo. How did I get through the net? My problem now is with HopShopGo and their ridiculous shipping quotes....

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    1. Just a recent update.... Sephora's having a 15% off all purchases at the moment for BI and VIBs, so I placed 2 orders overnight. Just got 2 emails saying that the orders have been cancelled. I rang Sephora up this morning to ask them to please explain, and they said it was because of the shipping address (i.e. parcel forwarding company HSG). So it's happened to me too. Very disappointed :(

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    2. Im located in Melbourne, and offer a forward shipping service

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    3. I believe each order is approved individually, so there's a chance the odd one may get through. Shame that they've definitely cracked down now. Guess we'll have to wait till they open in Sydney in a few months, and hope they roll out to the rest of Aus sooner rather than later!

      Delete
  24. Thanks for this post! I made an order just before Christmas last year so wasn't expecting my order to be cancelled this time around. This explains a lot and frankly, has left a bad taste in my mouth for Sephora. It really shouldn't be this hard ... grrr!

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    1. Apologies for the late reply...It appears that a lot of parcel forwarding orders are now getting through again, though the odd one does get cancelled.

      I agree, they really shouldn't be making things so hard for us...it's just more business for them!

      Delete
  25. I'm from Pakistan and sufferning the same pain like you guys. I was wondering if you got any solution yet?
    If not I'm also interested in using parcel forwarding companies. Any suggestions?

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    1. I've been able to put a couple of orders through in the past month using HopShopGo (its a parcel forwarding company), so that might be a good option for you. Some orders do get cancelled but you can always try again!

      Delete
  26. From what I understand Sephora Sydney won't be selling Urban Decay because Mecca holds the distribution contract.
    Problem with that us I can't find it on the Mecca site either

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    1. Apologies for the late reply. I missed this.

      That's true, UD used to be stocked by Mecca a long time ago...there are rumors that a flagship store will be opening shortly...time will tell. In the meantime, you might have to buy UD from the Sephora US store, using parcel forwarding.

      Delete
  27. Hi MM

    Was wondering if you found a solution to the problem yet? You mentioned in one of your earlier posts that you were looking at options? I just had my orders cancelled too. :(

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    1. Hi Enerac!

      Sephora has now opened in Sydney...though they don't have as many brands as the Sephora US store does.

      I've had a couple of orders put through using parcel forwarding so you might have to look at that?

      Delete
  28. I found this post because my Sephora order got cancelled also due to the same reason that you mentioned. It's already 2017 and Sephora still doesn't ship to forwarding companies. Shame.

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