LA County

Cosmetics Kiosk Sales Tactics Questioned

You expect high pressure sales tactics when buying a car or home, but not strolling through a mall.

One LA woman says that is exactly what happened to her, though, when she was bullied into a makeup purchase she never wanted by an aggressive mall kiosk employee.

While walking near a MicaBeauty Cosmetics kiosk at the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall in late January, Esther Pardilla says she received more than a sales pitch.

"'Oh, just come on. Just like that, you look beautiful. I can fix you, you don't look old,'" she recalls the saleswoman saying.

The 72-year-old says she didn't want a makeover but the sales associate insisted, sat her in a chair and told her it was free.

"She said 'Come here, I will show you how to fix yourself, especially your eyebrow,'" Pardilla says. "I said, 'But I'm not going to buy.'"

Pardilla says the salesperson made-over half her face, so she could compare before and after looks. To finish the other half of her face, she would have to buy the products.

She recommended Pardilla buy the products she used on her.

"It looked good, but it's, you know, too expensive," Pardilla says.

Pardilla says she refused to buy anything and was asked by the associate for her identification for an unknown reason, so she says she pulled out her wallet.

"'Oh, you have a Macy's card,'" Pardilla says the woman said to her. "She just pull it like this and then put it in the machine."

Pardilla says she felt compelled to sign the receipt. She was charged $130.80 on her Macy's American Express card for powder, eyebrow liner and blush.

"She would never spend that much on makeup. She's pretty frugal," says Pardilla's daughter, Caroline Pardilla.

After hearing the story, Caroline checked Yelp reviews and several also warned of aggressive sales tactics at the kiosk.

The I-Team contacted the cosmetics kiosk and a manager responded.

"I have heard complaints before and I released one sales associate and haven't heard any more complaints," he said.

The associate the manager referenced was the same saleswoman who gave Pardilla her makeover.

The manager says sales associates don't grab credit cards and "without a signature we don't have a sale."

Rigo Reyes, chief investigator for LA County's Department of Consumer Affairs, says that any tactics like the ones used on Pardilla are not acceptable.

"We need to find a way to prevent it," he says.

Consumer advocates say you should never sign anything unless you intend to buy it, including a receipt. You always have the right to move on.

Pardilla says she has offered to return the makeup for a refund but the makeup kiosk has said the sale is final.

Her daughter Caroline says what happened to her mother is unacceptable.

Caroline reported what happened at the kiosk to mall. The mall gave Pardilla a $150 pre-paid American Express gift card. She can use that card anywhere, a good thing since Pardilla says she afraid the sales associate will again prey on her if she returns.

"I don't want to go to that mall anymore," she says.

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