The beauty emporium Sephora (you know, that candy store for grown women) has been accused of racially profiling, or e-filing, its Asian customers, and four Chinese women have collectively come forward with a lawsuit against the mega chain.
It is believed that Sephora had locked accounts under Asian-sounding surnames to try and prevent the re-selling of coveted items (think Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow palette) for bulk sales. The major faux pas that Sephora did was instead of just blocking the accounts of specific, proven bulk sellers, they chose to group all Asian names by association. The ladies that have filed the lawsuit all respond by: Xiao Xiao, Jiali Chen, Man Xu and Tiantian Zou.
The profiling occurred in early November when a special 20% off voucher for its top-tier customers (that had spent over $1,000 in the past year) was delivered by email. When throngs of Sephora fans excited about the discount caused the site to malfunction, after the fact, it was discovered through the company’s Facebook message board that a large percentage of those problematic accounts were under culturally and traditionally Chinese names.
In response to the controversy Sephora released the following statement without really addressing claims of racist practice.
“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.”
On behalf of the women suing, their lawyer had this say: “This is an egregious example of a retailer singling out individuals based on racial stereotypes”.
It was later revealed by the plaintiffs that when they called Sephora’s customer service line, a representative actually admitted that “all customers with qq.com email addresses were blocked.” qq.com is an online service and community based in China, similar to the way that Google is based in the U.S. Seriously? Sephora? Ugh.
Legal actions are proceeding. #SephoraDoBetter
Hey Beauties! Link up with me at Twitter: @lavishrebellion