Better Business Bureau cites complaints from cosmetic retailer Julep Beauty

Beauty has a price—especially for subscribers of Seattle-based Julep Beauty Inc, who say once they sign up, it is nearly impossible to get out.

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has identified a pattern of complaints from the cosmetic retailer’s consumers, who claim Julep is unresponsive to phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. Consumers also allege after following cancellation instructions, the company continues to charge them.

“The only way to cancel the service is to call someone,” a Seattle consumer reported to BBB. “They say this is for privacy reasons, but they had no problem collecting my credit card information online in order to start the service. Clearly, this is a thinly veiled attempt to make cancelling their service more difficult than it needs to be.”

To date, BBB has received 172 complaints from Julep’s consumers; 113 of those have gone unanswered and 5 remain unresolved, earning the company an F rating.

According to Julep’s website, subscribers called “mavens” will receive a customized package each month containing nail polish and other cosmetics, and they may cancel at any time. But consumers allege the company makes it difficult to terminate a subscription.

Another Seattle consumer reported calling Julep’s customer service line 27 times before she reached a live person, and still the monthly charges did not stop. “I had to call AMEX to have Julep blocked as a merchant so that they could not continue to charge my card for a subscription that I had already cancelled,” she wrote in her complaint to BBB.

BBB urges consumers to use caution when they consider signing up for a subscription service.

  • Do a reputation check. First check the company’s online reputation by reading what other consumers have said about their own experiences. BBB publishes the details of complaints, and now also posts verified Customer Reviews.
  • Read the fine print. Before submitting payment information, carefully read the terms and conditions of the offer. Understand the billing schedule, product guarantees, return policy and cancellation policy.
  • Document communications. Keep track of all transactions, phone calls, emails and other communications with the company. This documentation will be useful if it becomes necessary to file a credit card chargeback.

BBB advises consumers to file a complaint at BBB.org if a business is unwilling to work to resolve concerns.