Ulta Beauty has come to a settlement agreement in California for overcharging customers at several of its West coast stores. After an investigation by Monterrey County’s Division of Weights and Measures found that a handful of stores had overcharged customers at checkout, the major retailer agreed to settle and pay the counties involved a hefty penalty.
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Although the investigation found 43 incidents of overpayment for beauty products at stores in various counties, the inquiry did not stem from customer complaints, but rather standard checks done by the local government. Speaking with NewBeauty, Monterrey County chief deputy agricultural commissioner Rich Ordonez explained how the discrepancies were initially detected: “Back in 2014 and 2015, we conducted routine inspections of a few of the scanners within the stores. This lead to some violations, which resulted in a fine and a civil penalty to Ulta Beauty. There must have problems throughout California, at least in Riverside and Monterrey, and the settlement amount of $175,000 was agreed upon between the district attorneys of both counties.”
While Ordonez could not confirm whether customers affected in the case would get their money back, he did say the settlement amount would be split between the two counties. A press release by the Monterrey County District Attorney’s office said Ulta cooperated with the investigation and agreed to pay the penalty, but did not admit to liability. It did however say that most of the overcharges came from store-specific and employee errors, and that the company is taking measures to prevent future incidents like this at its more than 900 stores. While the case in California is now closed, this story serves as a lesson to customers across the country—double-, triple-check those receipts the next time you go on a skin care or makeup-buying binge.
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