How to get a refund on your makeup - every time

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So, we’ve all been there. After two coffees you’re feeling particularly gleeful, and you thought it would be a good idea to go on a little bit of a shop. You wander into your local Westfield, dazzled by the gleaming lights and pretty merchandise.

You enter a store with lots of pretty jars full of creams that promise younger and more youthful looking skin, and little glass bottles of serums with sophisticated labelling and lids that are also glass eyedroppers – so you can deposit exactly 2 drops onto the palm of your hand to be pressed onto your skin. This way, the product will last like, forever!

The scent of the essential oils in the age-reversing potions are positively delightful, they smell expensive and worth every scent of the $5 per ml the shop-keep is asking for.

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And your skin has been looking a little bit "tired" – you deserve it, don't you? The shop assistant tells you that you do! And after a quick test, she sees the difference the elixir has made to your skin already!

Drunk from the fumes of the skincare, you hand over your credit card in a daze. You watch as she gift-wraps, and as she finishes you slowly come to.

Next thing you know, your caffeine-high is wearing off and you're standing outside the store with a bag full of products that are designed to "work together". You've spent almost $400 dollars, and you feel like an absolute tit.

The Glow is here to help, womankind!

Here is the ultimate guide to getting a refund on beauty products:

1. If you think there's a possibility that you will want to take something back, avoid beauty salons and stand-alone makeup stores.

Take it from me, you don't want to go through the red tape. And condescending and/or skeptical looks. And finding a good enough reason to qualify for one. Or the form filing. Or the week's wait to see the money dropped into your bank account. Or having to chase the store up after one week, only to find that the manager forgot to send the email.

It's tough, you see  – the head offices of these kind of stores deliberately make it hard for customers to get a refund. Refunds often cannot be processed in the store through the Eftpos terminal, and have to be reversed by the Accounts department.

Not to mention that refunds get reversed off the consultant's sales for the week – so all in all, neither the company, nor the person that sold it to you want you to get your money back. Sad but true.

This means that no one is going to have a particularly pleasant experience when you head into a store chin high and ready to ask for a refund.

I don't recommend a double-shot coffee before this interaction, it could end up in an altercation. And Westfield security staff don't particularly enjoy breaking up two chicks in a cat-fight.

This is a battle that's only worth fighting if the product has gone off, or there's something seriously wrong with it.

2. Department stores are your friend.

Oh, David Jones. How good you are to girls who want to return their race-day dress on the 6th of November. Though that Josh Goot frock distinctively smells like champagne, you are like Santa Claus. With a jolly smile, and an opposite exchange of money for goods, your credit card is filled back up and you can be on your merry way.


And they got to have that shoppers high too. Win.

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Jokes, jokes. No one does that. Right? Well, no one should do that, anyway.

But if you want to return your beauty products, it is a lot easier. The general rule of thumb for stores like Myer, David Jones and Priceline is that your purchased product needs to be in 'saleable' condition. That is, your product needs to be in its plastic wrap, unused and unopened.

But what if you're taking the product back because it's a disaster on your skin? The best thing for you to do is  tell the sales assistant what happened - say that you have had an allergic reaction.

Now, if you know you've got sensitive skin that reacts easily, it's probably better to ask for a sample before you fully commit to a product. But sometimes it takes certain conditions (like say, exposure to sunlight) for a product's skin irritating potential to rear its ugly head. We get it. And so does the sales assistant.

What if you haven't had a reaction though? What if you just really don't like it? It's fine to say that too. It's the job of a sales assistant to make sure you walk away with the best possible product for you, so if it turns out something just isn't right, at stores where great customer service is part of the experience, they'll still be pretty open to you returning the product.

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Oh and guess what, people – if you want an exchange, rather than a refund in some cases, AT DAVID JONES YOU DON'T EVEN NEED A FREAKING RECEIPT! You didn't hear it from me.

At Priceline and Myer you do though, Myer changed their policy after people made a habit of returning clothes with no tags attached and after months of wear. Those people have ruined generous exchange policies for the rest of us. Do not make it worse by further abusing them.

As a past retail girl, a funny story I heard around the traps is that back in the day someone returned a suit to David Jones, smelling of mothballs and definitely previously worn. Probably over ten years at an office job. He got a refund.

He was in his rights, man!

So I guess it's fair call that they tightened their policies. Slightly.

3. The laws you should keep in mind

Consumer Affairs Victoria acting director Phil D’Adamo told the Herald Sun, “If you buy cosmetics, you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law, including that you are generally entitled to return a product that does not do what it is normally supposed to or is unsafe.

"However, a store does not have to give you a refund or replacement if you simply change your mind about a product, including, for example, if you did not read the label and then later discovered that you were allergic to some listed ingredients.”

Good to know. And thank goodness for the big department stores.

Have you ever returned a product? What happened?