The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
ULTA/ Instyle Magazinecharged my debit card without my approval

A couple of months ago I purchased beauty products at Ulta using my debit card. The clerk offered me a free issue of Instyle magazine. I was not told that i would receive subsequent issues nor was i asked if i would be interested. Upon checking my bank account, there was a deduction for a subscription for Instyle magazine. The only way that they would have received my bank account information was by my debit card transaction. Isn't this against the law? I am beyond angry and am hoping that Instyle is familiar enough with this that they will refund my money. I see posts online about the same exact scam from 2008. Looks like they are back at it.
This is the same thing that happened to me on 10/12/10. I did not request this magazine. How did they get my debit pin number??? I am furious about this! How can they authorize a debit purchase on my accoount without my permission.


  • Pd
    pdxevergreen Feb 18, 2014

    Just have to add that this robbery...they should know better and understand the negative publicity this brings.
    Website Owner

    1 Votes
  • Do
    Doc-S Sep 20, 2013

    Ulta is still at it. Last night I tried to place an order for two items from their website. That is all that was in my cart. I double checked the balance due and put my payment infor in. The receipt page came up and they had charged me an extra $50.00 for another product I never even ordered?!?! Right away, I contacted them - both via their so called guest services email and by phone. In both cases I was told they could NOT cancell the order. The only solution they offered is that I can refuse the order and they will get around ot refunding the charges within 60 days of them receiving the return. AND... I am supposed to pay shipping. GRRRRR. Called to corporate got me right back to "guest services" - which is an oxy-###.

    I have been a loyal customer for 15 to 20 years. NEVER, ever again will I spend a dime with them. EVER.

    1 Votes
  • Di
    Dianakj Sep 25, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    On 08/23/12, I made a purchase in a Tennessee Ulta store. Before leaving, the young lady at the register asked if I was interested in free issues of InStyle magazine. I clearly responded I was not. On 09/25/12 I come home to find an InStyle magazine. I contacted InStyle twice to cancel the subscription without any luck. They said that I had to call [protected] (ValueMags) to cancel. I followed their directions and realized that it is nothing but a recording that says to go online for contact information. I went to and to my dismay, there was no number to call and had to submit an online request for help. I decided to call Ulta directly because I was concerned that a company had my information such as my name, address and my credit card information without my consent! I spoke to a manager named Jeremy and he told me to call Ulta customer service at [protected]. I called and spoke to Tairasha. She was helpful in that she tried going through the same steps as I did to end up with nothing. Her next step was to send this concern to Ulta Corporate. She said that they will contact me within 48 hours. After this, I proceeded to call American Express to ensure a charge hadn't been placed yet on my card. Nothing yet, however, they mentioned that that sort of thing generally could take a couple of months to come forward. In all, I am very angry that someone has my information as well as my credit card information WITHOUT MY CONSENT. In addition, I CANNOT SPEAK WITH ANYONE WHO CAN HELP CANCEL THIS OR FIX THIS ISSUE. I have looked online and noticed that this same thing has happened to many people. They never agreed to this and now they are stuck with a subscription they cannot cancel and are paying $35 a month for. Please HELP!!!

    1 Votes
  • Di
    display name2 Sep 20, 2012

    This happened to me as well! I always refuse the 'free subscriptions' at Ulta, but just found a $16 charge on my debit card for Glamour magazine. I am so ticked off! Now I have to order a new debit card and dispute the charge. I used to spend a ton of money at Ulta - never again! And for the people who keep saying 'You had to sign something, you had to authorize it in some way, ' I absolutely did not! I will be filing a complaint about this!

    1 Votes
  • Ol
    OliSalazar Jun 12, 2012

    This literally just happened to me on May 30, 2012. In Style refunded the money back to my account within 48 hours. I plan on calling Ulta to ask for a copy of what I signed, that gave them the right to hold my VISA debit card number and give it to In Style. This really pisses me off. I have a new card coming but I don't think I will even use it. I'm going back to writing checks to pay my bills, which will keep the post office in business, and I will think twice before I used by debit card again for anything but cash.

    1 Votes
  • Sw
    Sweeting4 Aug 31, 2011

    My daughter and I shopped at Ulta in last Fall. We were NEVER offered a free subscription. I have a Kindle and only subscribe that way. I would never ask for a magazine that is only full of ads and NO articles. Apparently I was charged in Dec for a subscription. I did not notice it on my bill. On Saturday, another charge of $24.95 was on my bill. I noticed this time. It was a "renewal". Don't you think it is interesting they never sent me a renewal notice and just charged my card. American Express has credited me for both charges and I have filed a fraud complaint with them. I have contacted the BBB and will NEVER shop at Ulta again. It turns out my mother is also a victim of this scam and was only aware when i told her. My father pays the bills and didn't notice the charges. We both had shopped at Ulta in Roseville, CA.

    I notice a lot of people were offered free subscriptions. Please note we were NEVER offered a free or paid subscription. I know nothing in life is free!!! Clearly the cashiers are commissioned and they STOLE our credit card information.

    1 Votes
  • Ou
    OutOfStyle Jul 28, 2011

    This practice is intentionally deceitful, and the cashiers do NOT take the time to explain the true nature of the promotion. I realized today that I've accidentally been paying for an InStyle subscription for the past year. I remember saying "sure" when the cashier offered me a free trial subscription, but there was no further explanation, I never received a post card, and assumed there was some clerical error when the magazines kept coming ... not that I was reading them. Yes, I signed whatever fine print was hastily put in front of me in the always too-long check-out line, and yes it was easy to cancel the subscription once I realized what was happening, but the way it's presented is super-shady, and hopefully if enough of us register our grievance with the BBB and attorney general's office to put an end to it. In the meantime, I love the store too much to stop shopping there, but the people behind the counter and behind me in line will get an ear-full next time they try to offer me a subscription. I believe in full disclosure.

    1 Votes
  • Lp
    LP3274 Jun 27, 2011

    I understand the surprise charge being a day buster, but there is a card that must be signed in order for Instyle to charge a guest. I apologize to anyone that didn't sign it and got messed up, but to the rest, please be aware of what you are signing. Ulta employees are required to ask each and every guest if they would like the magazine. It is an extremely quick agreement to undo and Instyle is easy to work with. You can cancel your free trial subscription with a quick phone call or a 5 minute, hassle free visit to the website. I have signed up for the free trial and canceled it without any problems. 90% of the people that claim to be 'too busy' to cancel, aren't.

    -1 Votes
  • Ca
    Cathyak1968 Jun 17, 2011

    Does anyone remember signing something and not realizing what was signed? Appears in DEC I was duped and May they came to collect on me with a charge of $27 from my checking account. I was certain I hadn't signed anything but after further investigation they provided a signature card. But honestly, during the holiday season and a long line, is anyone standing there to read through fine print when we were told, hey, enjoy a complimentary magazine! just curious if anyone was hoodwinked, and didn't realize it till much much later. If you are sure you did not sign anything contact them and ask to see proof. Every Ulta store might handle it differently and with young unexperienced sales clerks who are being pushed to promote this deal, it stands to reason why so much confusion is out there. For something so cut and dry, why are all of us confused five or so months later??? We can't all be delerious shoppers! lol

    1 Votes
  • Se
    segagirl Jun 07, 2011

    I just got charged today by In Style and was approached by Ulta in the exact same manner. They ask you if you want complimentary issues of In Stye- and thats all they disclaim, each and every time I have shopped there. Not once is there any disclosure during the store purchase that after you receive the complimentary magazine you have to cancel the subscription or you will be automatically charged on the same charge account you used during your UlTA purchase. My husband checks the mail so I am unaware if I received any paper notices regarding . Customer service at IN Style was quick to tell me I would get a refund so my monetary issue seems to be resolved. However (as much as I love the store) Ultas magazine bait and switch technique is deplorable, Im considering not shopping there anymore and filing a compaint.

    1 Votes
  • Mr
    MR12 Apr 13, 2011

    I think there are a lot of us with a similar complaint. About $24 got deducted from my account when I hadn't even consented the subscription. After chasing ULTA and the magazine's Customer Care Services for a long time I finally managed to speak to a representative. I was told that the receipt mentioned that the two copies of the magazine were "risk-free" and not "free" (contrary to what the sales person at the store had promised). She added that the account would be charged if the subscription was cancelled in the first 60 days (but I honestly doubt that they'd so it). So when I asked her to cancel my subscription she deducted the amount for the two "free" magazines and refunded the rest. I was not expecting having to pay for those "trial" copies!! This is absolutely outrageous...had never expected this...crappy magazine and all the more crappy customer-service

    1 Votes
  • Co
    concernedconsumer555 Apr 06, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    It is a scam and a completed crap! I am sorry to hear that it happened to some of you. FYI, I have heard that the law firm in Chicago, Edelson McGuire, is assembling a class action against ULTA. Contact them if you are interested.

    0 Votes
  • At
    atc5023 Feb 11, 2011

    The same thing happened to me!! When purchasing a few items at Ulta the cashier told me they were giving away complementary issues of InStyle and I'd receive another free one in the mail, she made it sound like a really great deal and assured me I wouldnt pay anything at all. I just checked my checking account and 24.95 was deducted for InStyle/Ulta. I never gave the cashier my credit card information regarding the free magazine which means they forwarded my credit card info to InStyle from the makeup purchase I made that day!!! Luckily I have called InStyle and Ulta and will be getting a refund but I am still pretty bothered by this, what a scam!

    1 Votes
  • Gl
    Glockaholic Feb 06, 2011

    Total scam. I was with my wife when she purchased a few things before Christmas and the clerk asked if she would like a "complimentary" issue to InStyle magazine. No other stipulations were stated. On Feb 1 2011, our debit card was charged 24.95. I will be turning this over to the Texas Attorney General's Office tomorrow as will be having our attorney issue a "cease and desist" letter to Ulta and In Style regarding the billing of our credit card. My bank also has an option to block authorizations with specific vendors. ULTA is going on that block list. I also plan to pay a visit to ULTA and plan to secretly video tape their little scam in action and I will then send the video to all local media outlets. Further, I will be reporting them to all commerce reporting/rating agencies (BBB). If ULTA was really a reputable business, they would not be running their business like a 1-900 number. These people are crooks and ARE NOT running a reputable business. I don't see ULTA being around in 2 years. Someone this hard up for business can't be doing good financially. While I agree that the employees are likely forced to try to pull this scam off during the check-out process, the employees are just as guilty if they know how this scam works and can continue to work there with a clean conscience. I guess anyone is willing to become a [censored] these days including ULTA and their employees.

    1 Votes
  • Ch
    ChristineT Jan 03, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I woke up to a 27 dollar charge on my debit card for InStyle Magazine today and came across this post and others. I was asbsolutely shocked as I had also declined to recieve this magazine. After reading this I checked my bank records to see when I made a purchase at ulta with my debit card and found it exactly 30 days ago on 12/03/2010. Clearthinking; don't be so quick to call someone a whiner - I called the phone number listed on my bank statement for InStyle's customer service and it seems like this is not an isolated incident as the woman I spoke with only needed to hear me say the word Ulta when she cut me off and launched into a short speech telling me that when I signed for my purchase I was also (unknowingly) consenting to have Ulta forward my information to InStyle. I let her know that I was unaware of that and did not consent to or request this and I was told that the charge would be reversed and the refund appear in 7 to 10 days without much hassle (other than having to make the call in the first place). Hopefully that happens but I will still be calling Chase to let them know that this charge was not authorized. I would encourage anyone else that is dealing with this to start with a call to InStyle's customer service before doing anything else and make sure that they reverse the charge immedietely - the number I have from my bank is [protected].

    1 Votes
  • El
    Elle2719 Dec 29, 2010

    Good news! We can file complaints against Ulta with the Illinois attorney general (the sate Ulta HQ is located in). The phone number is [protected] and the website is . I encourage anyone who has experienced a similar sitaution to file a complaint and put a stop to this. We need to send a message that this business practice is wrong so other companies don't start doing the same thing. Also, you can file a complaint with the BBB in the city where the incident occurred.

    4 Votes
  • El
    Elle2719 Dec 27, 2010

    I will never shop at Ulta again! I went in a few months ago to buy cosmetics and was offered free issues to INStyle magazine. I know about the scam where they automatically charge your card for a subscription (and I hate the magazine anyway), so I declined the free issues. Against my will, they forwarded my credit card information to the magazine company and authorized them to charge it. This is a scam and is illegal! You can count on the fact that if you use a credit card in that store, they have the ability to give the info out to another company and charge on it.

    The "clear thinking post" must have been posted by an employee and shows their attitude toward this issue. They see complaints about this unethical business practice as "whining." This is more reason to stay away from Ulta!

    2 Votes
  • Cl
    Clearthinking Oct 13, 2010

    You agreed to it, it's your fault. Also, there's no way they charged you TODAY for the subscription that's not supposed to start for 60 days. Prove it- post your receipt here or stop complaining. Whiner.

    -11 Votes

Post your comment

    By clicking Submit you are agreeing to the Complaints Board’s Terms and Conditions



    Unhappy consumers gather online at and have already logged thousands of complaints.
    If you see dozens of complaints about a certain company on ComplaintsBoard, walk away.
    One of the largest consumer sites online. Posting here your concerns means good exposure for your issues.
    A consumer site aimed at exposing unethical companies and business practices.
    ComplaintsBoard is a good source for product and company gripes from especially dissatisfied people.
    You'll definitely get some directions on how customer service can best solve your problem.
    Do a little research on the seller. Visit consumer complaint websites like ComplaintsBoard.