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Lawsuits claim Ulta re-sells returned beauty products as new

Posted at 10:52 AM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 07:10:21-05

(WTXL) - Lawsuits filed against Ulta claims the beauty retailer resells beauty products after they have been opened and returned, according to documents obtained by our ABC affiliate WFTS.

The class action lawsuit, which was filed by Meghan Devries in Cook County, Illinois, alleges that the company "has a routine practice of repackaging and resealing beauty products that have previously been purchased, used and returned."

The suit claims that managers and employees were instructed to restock used products to sell them as new. It asserts that there was no labeling to indicate to customers which products were used and which were new. 

It also quotes a former employee as saying that "managers would get [angry] if they saw items in the damage bin that looked [like they could be resold.]" Other employees quoted in the suit said they were told clean the used beauty products with cotton swabs "to make [them] look [like] new," for resale.

In fact, according to the lawsuit, retail stores are "given a quota as to the number of returned items that can be deemed to be 'damaged.'"

The document sites a Today report where an investigator found that the used beauty products were contaminated with bacteria to include E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which are normally found in the intestinal tract "that are expelled with feces." 

"As a result of this deception, consumers... purchased used Beauty Products that they otherwise would not have purchased," the lawsuit states. 

WFTS reports that a California woman filed a separate lawsuit with the same claims last month.

Ulta Beauty has locations in Florida and Georgia and is the largest beauty retailers in the U.S. It operates more than 1,000 stores across 48 states and the District of Columbia. 

You can read the full lawsuit filled in Illinois here.