With some recent tips I’ve gotten about a certain online fragrance discounter, I decided to strip all mention of them from my blog. Just in interest of anyone reading my blog, FragranceNet at one point was a trusted perfume discounter. I used to be a customer, but have since noted their decline in quality and can no longer recommend them as a fragrance discounter to others.
Thus begins this post, how do you navigate your way through the hundreds of online fragrance discounters out there. Who’s trustworthy and who isn’t? In the case of FragranceNet, a lot of fragrance fans thought and rated them highly a few years ago. There has since been some decline in quality control and hopefully they can pull out of it as I thought their selection was excellent.
This post is more of a general tips sort of deal for buying anything online. The one tip you should always keep in mind and adhere to is to read reviews and research before you do any sort of business. Remember, these people can’t see you, sometimes they’re impossible to track down, and getting a refund isn’t as easy as walking into a store and saying you want your money back. So always, always, always:
- Check to make sure the online retailer has been reviewed at a credible reviewing site. I use ResellerRatings, RedFlagDeals (Canadian), and BizRate. Please keep in mind that some people may have mistakenly submitted their review before they realized their product wasn’t of acceptable quality and forgot about their review or simply cannot edit it. That is why it is important you read a healthy mix of negative and positive reviews. If I see a lot of negative reviews telling me the product they got was a fake, I get very suspicious of the vendor.
- Ask someone. Get yourself onto a fragrance forum like BaseNotes and ask someone to describe their experiences with the retailer. Also get their opinion of the retailer’s more recent service. A company can start off excellent and decline to unacceptable so it is important to get recent experiences.
- Remember that you may be more knowledgeable than some reviewers. I think a great deal of fragrance consumers cannot tell between a fake perfume and a real one. And I also think it is easier for people to accept that they were sold an old bottle than it is for them to accept that they were sold a counterfeit. So it is entirely up to you to educate yourself on what your perfume is supposed to smell like and who you want to buy it from. Perfume isn’t cheap with most fragrances running from $50-$300. I would hate for someone to spend that much money to find out they were scammed, so the best advice is and has always been to educate yourself.
- Always protect yourself by ensuring that you can get your money back somehow. Whether the retailer offers refunds (read these terms very carefully as they are sometimes tricky), or if you have some other way to get your money back if you receive something counterfeit. Like I said, perfume is expensive so you will want your money back in case the deal goes sour, whether that’s through the retailer’s refund policy, filing a dispute with Paypal, or getting your credit card company to help you.
- If you’re a hobbyist, collector or plan on doing this perfume thing for a while then keep up to date on the goings on. Fragrance forums and blogs are invaluable sources of information and news. I never would have known about what was going on with various retailers and discounters if I hadn’t been keeping up to date.
I’m sure most of you already know how to navigate the world of perfume resellers and discounters, but hopefully these tips refresh the memory or they help someone else out. Or at the very least, all the individuals who end up on this blog while searching for “is [X Company] selling fake perfume?” get an idea of where to start their investigation.
That’s interesting reading, thanks. I have so far not had a bad experience with a fragrance discounter, but I’m careful. I’m interested to know what sort of bad things can happen. Counterfeits? Spoiled stock? Packaging damaged?
I was in a bricks & mortar retailer the other week and the owner told me very rudely that what you get from online sellers is ‘old stock’. I was too taken aback to respond much. But I came away thinking that in the case of say, Miss Dior Cherie, many people might be glad to get old stock because it might date back to before the recent reformulation.
And of course, unless perfume has spent a week sitting in a container on a wharf somewhere in the sun, there is nothing necessarily wrong with old stock. Perfume is not like cows milk. It keeps.
I’ve heard stories and had an inconvenient experience once where I was sold a bottle that had been kept improperly and the juice inside had gone off. Of the stories I’ve been told and read about a lot of people run into counterfeits with fewer people running into expired perfume.
Damaged packaging has happened to me a lot, particularly with online retailers. But I let the outer packaging damage slide unless it was a vintage and the outer packaging was advertised as “pristine” and actually wasn’t. I’ve only had a damaged bottle happen to me once, but that was sold to me through a popular department store’s online shop so they were able to replace it with no hassle.
The brick&mortar retailer you spoke to is generally right though I can tell that neither one of us would agree with his tone :D. Most online discounters do sell old stock. But it’s like you said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Perfume keeps, and like you said, it doesn’t just go bad unless whoever was selling it had no idea what they were doing and decided to bake it in an oven.
Expired perfume being sold through an online retailer does happen, but it’s one of those situations where if the place is reputable then they shouldn’t have any issues replacing the product or offering a refund. So yeah, I don’t see the problem either. 😀