Julep Beauty Settles Case – Disputes AG’s Characterization

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The Seattle Times reports on the Julep settlement.

The Washington State Attorney General’s office says Julep Beauty and CEO Jane Park will pay $3 million for using “deceptive” marketing practices to get consumers to sign up for subscription boxes of makeup and for making it difficult to cancel their subscriptions.

Park, however, disputes that dollar figure, saying $1.5 million was refunded to customers before Julep ever heard from the AG’s office and the settlement will only cost Julep $500,000. She also says the settlement doesn’t acknowledge any of the disputed practices were “deceptive.”

Julep offers a “free” promotional welcome box of products to customers who give their credit- or debit-card information to pay for shipping and taxes.

But in that 2012-15 time frame, the AG’s office said in a news release, the company “did not adequately disclose” that those customers were also signing up for a subscription plan.

Consumers who tried to cancel sometimes had to call multiple times before a cancellation was honored and some were billed even after cancellation, according to the AG’s office, which added that Julep didn’t employ enough customer-service representatives to handle the volume of cancellation requests.

Julep’s most common subscription plans cost $19.99 to $24.99 a month.

About 55,000 customers nationwide canceled their subscriptions between December 2012 and September 2015, although “the precise number of consumers affected is unclear, due in part to Julep’s inconsistent record-keeping,” according to the AG’s news release.

The AG’s office said Julep agreed to pay $1.5 million in restitution to affected subscribers, and $250,000 in costs and fees.

Here’s how the Washington AG characterized the marketing practices of Julep.

According to the AG, as a promotion, Julep offered a “free” Welcome Box of Julep products. Consumers had to provide a credit or debit card in order to pay taxes and shipping fees, but in the time period covered by the lawsuit, the company did not adequately disclose that consumers were also enrolling in its Maven subscription plan.

Disclosures regarding the subscription and cancellation terms were buried in web checkout pages that the consumer was unlikely to see, the AG said.

“It is maddening for consumers to receive products they don’t want but are charged for,” Ferguson said in the AG release. “That’s a deceptive way to run a business, and I won’t allow a company to get away with it.”

Read more here

And more here too , where CEO Jane Park blasts the AG. Ouch!