What brand or retailer has had the worst online shopping experience for you?

More recently, the “worst” is more like the most annoying, which is Neiman Marcus, who may ship your online order from stores across the country. This results in an order of say, 12 eyeliners, coming in six boxes that are all standard size (which I get from a theft standpoint). It’s so much excess packaging and waste that I’ll avoid ordering from Neiman Marcus unless they’re the only retailer or have a really good sale going on.

— Christine


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Kristen Avatar

Pat McGrath and Natasha Denona hands down. Natasha Denona’s Black Friday sale was a DISASTER this year, somehow even worse than last year’s. It took what, like twelve hours for the sale to even go up because their site was such a mess? Then people were charged two or three times.

I personally had a bad experience recently with Pat McGrath during the $12 lip sale. I bought a lipstick and a liner, but they never arrived. I opened a dispute with PayPal and they just sent their faulty tracking. No response via email or social media. I *finally* found their NY phone number and the person I spoke to was amazing. They made it right (and the shade I had ordered must have sold out because they sent me one of the limited edition pavé ones which were definitely not in the sale), but good grief it took a lot of work. I’ve seen on their Instagram and Facebook accounts that LOTS of other people had the same experience.

Daisy Avatar

Hi Kristen! Any chance you could pass that phone number along? I received my order from PMG but it was short one lipstick, which I was charged for. I’ve sent at least four emails to customer service with no response. Of course there is no phone number listed on their website. I’m so frustrated.

staci minovitz Avatar

Hi Kristen,

My name is Staci Minovitz. Long time Temptalia fan. Just read your PMG experience. Last time I bought a lipstick it had a funny smell. I just ignored it. I placed a ordered over a month ago for the “12” dollar lipstick and keep getting the computer generated response. Anyway I can get the phone #?? Would be much appreciated!!! And good karma! Thanks so much!



Gina Avatar

Colourpop for sure. They sent me a weird, oily, defective eyeliner. I explained the texture was totally different from the other liner I purchased, and different from the exact same shade I was replacing! I even sent a picture of a swatch, which looked more like a sheer black gloss than an eyeliner. They said there was nothing wrong with it, and refused to replace it. I decided to never buy directly from Colourpop again.

Fidan Avatar

For me it’s definitely Pat McGrath, since I had a horrible experience on Black Friday of 2019. Ordered 2 lipsticks, they took forever to ship them, then I got an e-mail stating that one of the lipsticks wasn’t available anymore, so they’ll refund me for it. They never did despite my countless e-mails. I couldn’t prove to PayPal that I ordered 2 items and not 1, because the item description on the transaction simply was “Pat McGrath”. The black sequin that comes with their packages is not environmentally friendly and is frankly just annoying. I’ll never order directly from their website again.

Ana Maria Avatar

On the refund side, I once got a refund processed 7-8 months after my complain. 😅 I was almost shocked, since I simply gave up in frustration. Sometimes there’s an automatic step in the background that gets stuck with the bank or something. But that’s why is important for brand to be transparent and give constant updates.

I see Path McGraph stance on environment like Hourglass stance on darker skin tones inclusion; they simply don’t care and they’ll always have people buying the products, so they continue not to care. And they’re not shy to show the brand doesn’t care.

Nancy T Avatar

Worst? Possibly MAC of late. I say this because even though I haven’t received anything broken, I feel like it’s only a matter of time due to them switching over to using bubble wrap type envelopes instead of boxes. This change bugs me on several fronts. Not only is the risk of ruined product there, but boxes are biodegradable, those envelopes are not.

Ana Maria Avatar

There’s no specific brand or retailer that is the worst, but I dislike some experiences from multiple websites.

Personally, having too many choices, categories and products confuses me, I like a streamlined shopping experience. So I don’t like the searching experience on huge websites like Ulta (also, it’s just me or their website always takes tons of times to load?). Somehow Sephora is slightly better just because it carries less brands and products.

Then there are things like MAC online store. Sometimes I think they make searching on their website hard on purpose. The whole website design is a mess, they use tons of useless flash elements and the pictures for their products are not useful at all. One would believe that a long standing brand like MAC would have better pictures and swatches of their products. It’s a shame since delivery and customer service is always great.

Kate Avatar

1. Pat McGrath: It hasn’t been a disaster but when I’ve ordered from them, they’ve been very slow to ship and kind of rude to deal with, at least over email.

2. Rituel de Fille: I’m mentioning them chiefly because of their extortionate shipping rates to Canada. Their threshold for free shipping is the highest I’ve come across for a cosmetics company and their shipping rates below the threshold are very high. They’re not the slowest to ship out, but they’re nowhere near the best, so it’s not even like you’re getting better service for your money. Other small companies offer way better service for less.

Aj Avatar

I’ve never been on Rituel de Fille’s site before and wow you were not kidding when you said they were high! It’s actually absurdly high and for EU/UK shipping it’s $100 higher as well! And it apparently may not include tracking which is ridiculous! For buying $250 worth of products, the customer should definitely be getting tracked shipping, not maybe.

Blue Avatar

I’ve hands down had the worst products (expired or defective) from Beautylish, although to be fair they were Sugarpill liquid lipsticks I knew had been discontinued for a long time. Their customer service handled it really well and offered me a refund after I sent them a video of a lipgloss lid that wouldn’t latch shut. I only asked for a refund for the one because the items were technically nonreturnable sale items and I knew they were probably expired to start with, but TBH 2/4 I bought smell so off that I ended up throwing them away. I shouldn’t have bought them, but I’m not sure Beautylish should have been carrying them either, so I was not overjoyed but also not mad about the experience.

I’ve since learned some people are boycotting Beautylish due to their continued support of a certain blonde, pink tracksuit wearing individual. I’m super on board with that, so for now I’m not shopping with them. It will be interesting to see if they ever drop him. I doubt it.

Jane Avatar

Wow, has it been more recently? Say the last year, because my experience has been quite the opposite. They’ve had good selection when others didn’t, no problems with any products, super fast delivery and sometimes very interesting sales. And I’ve purchased over the past 5+ years ( with exception of 2020) over 10+ times. They’d actually be my example of who to follow especially shipping to Europe (one of the first to workout customs and tax issu for overseas.)

Genevieve Avatar

So far, MAC. I thought I had ordered some lipsticks – started wondering why they hadn’t arrived, went back through my Paypal account – and nope – the website wouldn’t accept my mobile number and therefore didn’t accept the order.
Other than that – most websites I visit are OK.

Rebel Avatar

JD Glow Cosmetics has been hands down the worst brand to date. I had placed an order on Dec 5. The order said it shipped Dec 7 and then completely stopped moving for 3 weeks. I reached out to the brand’s customer service and they refused to answer me. I eventually opened up a case with Paypal for goods not received as well as an investigation with USPS. Finally, customer service got back to me, but by then PayPal had sent me a refund and closed the case. JD Glow Cosmetics then proceeded to accuse me of stealing from them and refused to let me place future orders – despite me offering to pay them if I received the items I bought. The way I was treated was absolutely atrocious, especially since I have spent quite a bit of money with them in the past without an issue.

Susan Schneider Avatar

I’m having trouble getting a refund from Charlotte Tilbury right now. I returned something I bought in their Black Friday sale. Returned it Dec. 7. Still no refund. 🙁

Debbie Avatar

The first time that I ordered from Morphe left a bad taste in my mouth. It was the original Kathleen Lights palette, and the communication was pretty bad. I didn’t know if they were going to send it or cancel my order. It did come but took two weeks.

brendacr1 Avatar

It’s not really a bad shopping experience but when PMG had one of her LE sales and I absolutely had to have whatever it was she was offering I was fortunate enough to get it but it took sooo long to even get a ship notification I checked many times to make sure that I actually did buy the product. But to be fair I can imagine the amount of orders they get. On the other hand when one of my palettes arrived damaged they had one out the next day, I couldn’t believe it when my doorbell rang and the courier was at my door with the package, that was service!

Elise Avatar

ULTA, by far! I returned an entire order because it shipped too late and because of COVID and the California lockdown I had to return via USPS and pay for it myself (since they don’t offer free returns). I packed 3 orders in one box and I was credited for 2 of the orders but the most expensive order was not refunded and they are accusing me of not including the items! I am platinum and have spent well over $2,000 in one year and they are refusing to help. I keep getting the run around and not just that it’s a $100 return but they keep implying that I am to blame that is the problem. Why would I lie?! I have given them thousands over the years. They haven’t offered me a thing- not a store credit; nothing. And now they aren’t even responding to me. I’m so upset. The products were sent, unused and they obviously received the package because they refunded the 2 orders that were less than $20.00. I don’t want to shop with them anymore.

Lisrisch Avatar

The bane of my shopping experience is Sephora using Lasership. Every experience I have ever had with Lasership has been a disaster beginning in 2018. Packages delivered to wrong addresses, not delivered until after 10pm, delivered days later than expected. It was enough to encourage me to stop shopping Sephora online in 2019. Then in 2020, I realized I could specifically select USPS as my shipping method, so I did that a couple of times until the posts service went to heck. Today, I’m attempting my first Lasership package again, and it was scheduled to be delivered today but it’s already after 10pm with no update on their tracking info in 24 hours. Ugh!!

Jenn Avatar

I had a MAC MSF and the matte side of a Cover FX blush come shattered from Ulta. It was easy to get a replacement and those came intact but it still broke my heart to toss the originals out because Ulta likes to chuck things in a box and hope they get there in one piece. Makes me want to just buy directly from the brand instead

Nikki Avatar

Clionadh is the company I am most dissatisfied with at the moment. Their stained glass collection eyeshadows are amazing, but the waiting…..and waiting….. and waiting….for things to be in stock. And then, more waiting….. and waiting….and waiting for things to be shipped. I placed an order on the 19th of December and haven’t none of my items have shipped. I understand that more with items that were identified as “pre-order” items, but some of the shadows I ordered were not pre-order. This is my third order since July, and it is the same issue every time. So???? For the price point, I expect faster delivery, even with Covid. This will likely be my last order, even though I have items on my wishlist that are always sold out/unavailable.

Keri Avatar

I don’t think that’s fair to them. They’re an indie brand and for the longest time it was just 2 people, they JUST hired more people last year. You can’t expect a company with maybe 10 people to ship lightning fast, especially with the high volume of orders they’ve been receiving since they’ve become more known. And they’ve specifically said that any items you order along with the pre-order will be shipped together.

Nikki Avatar

I don’t know if this is the store’s fault or just bad luck, but when I bought some Urban Decay Stoned Vibes items from Ulta a couple months ago the eyeshadow palette came with several of its shimmers cracked and shedding all over the place (the other items-2 eyeliners and a lip gloss-were fine). I have to wipe the flakes off the case and off some of the other shades pretty much every time I use the palette. I wish I’d just bought it direct from UD in the first place!

Clidre Avatar

Selfridges is the worst hands down! Little or no discounts. They now charge taxes, due to Brexit, when other retailers decided to refund them. I received a broken palette (1 pan shuttered) and they offered only 20% refund. I could get full refund by shipping it back to them.

Arena Avatar

Natasha Denona (online)
Dueing black friday sale, had issues with my order…..the only way to contact customer service is through email. Which is fine, even the Ordinary/DECIM does that.

No answer. To this day, despite repeat email on my part. Product is still a mess. Obviously ND corporate didn’t care.

Amy Lyons Avatar

Ulta is the worst. Their contactless pick-up is a big hassle. I sent my husband for my order, and they would not give it to him even with ID. What are the chances that someone with my same last name and address and with my email notice for pickup would try and abscond with my order? none. Never again!

Lisa Phillips Avatar

Peachy Queen is the worst!! Customer service is horrible! A month after ordering their Spicy Palette, I contacted them about not receiving it. They told me it was out of stock, even though I had received a shipping email AND the palette was showing IN STOCK on their website. I basically got the “It’s on its way” attitude. It took 6 WEEKS to finally get it. I will NEVER buy from them again, not that they will care.

Lauren Avatar

I agree with Neiman Marcus. Not only do they not accept returns on open packages of beauty products (seems odd compared to other retailers), but they stopped sending return labels in their packages. I asked why this was done, and was told it was in order to make packaging “more eco-friendly”. This would make sense if they didn’t send a mascara in a shoebox with a receipt printed on adhesive paper.

Amy March Avatar

Natasha Denona. I grabbed the 2 28 pan palettes during the black Friday sale. One came damaged. It took multiple emails and calls to get someone to respond to me. Then they wouldn’t send a replacement til I (a) sent pics of the damaged palette; (b) returned the damaged palette and (c) they were in receipt of the damaged palette. They blamed the slow response on covid and the holidays even though I initially contacted them on December 3rd, weeks before the holiday. My replacement palette just came today, almost two months after my original order.

Jen Avatar

I can’t think of a worst one, exactly, but Ulta is definitely the king of packaging roulette. I’ve gotten a single lipstick in a box big enough to ship a basketball and eye shadow palettes loosely wrapped and sent in an envelope. Their wishlist annoys me, too. There’s no reason why it should return to the top of the page every time you delete something. At least I can see it all. Sephora cuts me off after a certain number and I have to use sort options to see the rest.

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