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You might be. Fake Beauty Products on Amazon aren’t actually being sold by Amazon, as much unscrupulous the third party sellers. Let’s face it, everybody loves the convenience of shopping on Amazon with the next day delivery and the second-to-none customer service. However, this has opened up the perfect opportunity for opportunistic fraudsters who are more than happy to get near as damnit packaging of top selling products, fill them up with whatever second rate nonsense they can find to pass as the original product and sell them for the same price as the genuine article. Making a ton of money in the process.
Even though Amazon touts that it uses an automated system to detect counterfeit products, the truth is that customers have ended up with unauthentic products. News of counterfeit products first starting circulating the internet in 2018.
So, what does a rookie buyer do to ascertain whether a beauty product on amazon is real or fake? Read on ahead to find fake beauty products sold on amazon and the ones you should avoid.
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What is Amazon Beauty?
Amazon introduced its beauty category in the last two years. It houses products from luxury high-end brands to low key indie brands. Demand was always strong in this category which has further escalated since the pandemic as it became the go-to supplier with high street and mall shopping all closed.
Despite the number of products it sells, it is unknown which products came from which retailer. Along with being duped, customers are also exposing their skins to dangerous materials. Counterfeit cosmetics often contain the likes of cyanide, mercury, or even poop!
Why Does Amazon Allow Fake Beauty Products on Amazon?
The short answer, they don’t. Amazon has strictly penalized sellers for providing counterfeit products. Amazon Seller Central clearly states that selling or supplying counterfeit products will result in the termination of the seller’s account along with disposal of fakes. It also states that payment is withheld till the customer receives the legit product. Legal action is also taken against seller/ suppliers that violate this policy as imprisonment, loss of sales received from inauthentic products alongside attorney fees.
Amazon also has a good check and balance when a seller starts selling through its platform. It offers two selling plans along with a demand for legal documents (bank account number, National ID, an active credit card along with tax info and contact details). It then registers you on the “seller central” where you manage your inventory, payments, and make updates. But despite their stringent policies, sellers often find a loophole by slipping in fake products along with real ones and then eventually marketing in fake ones only.
Moreover, beauty and health are restricted categories on Amazon. This is to say that the seller must provide at least three invoices from licensed wholesale distributors, an FDA registration document, a Certificate of Analysis (COA) along with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certificate. Sellers are also required to sign a liability insurance policy and present a 510(K) Premarket Notification. Furthermore, a $3000 fee is also required to start selling in these restricted categories.
Why Would Sellers Want To Sell Fake Beauty Products on Amazon?
The most obvious answer is to make an extra buck on the side. Selling cheap products manufactured in China as the real deal is a far more lucrative business than investing in legitimating licensed products from a wholesaler. It is next to impossible for Amazon or the authorities to check every single product manually.
Also due to Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) policy, counterfeit products often slip in. FBA operates warehouses worldwide where third-party sellers can store their products for Amazon to ship directly. Keeping products in stock helps Amazon fulfill their two-day shipping timeline regardless of where you’re ordering from. But there’s a glitch, the stock is not separated according to the seller in warehouses! Each Stock keeping unit with the same number is stored together no matter where it came from.
So basically, if a counterfeiter sends a fake product for a certain brand, it’s grouped with other in-stock products of that brand. That means you could buy a real and fake version of the same product on the same listing on Amazon.
How Can Avoid Buying Fake Beauty Products on Amazon?
To be real amidst this fakery, the truth is “you can’t.” But don’t give up just yet, here are a few simple tips to follow to avoid being scammed by counterfeiters and know if beauty products on amazon are real:
- Read reviews: fake products often have fake reviews to go with them. Five stars are not synonymous with authenticity. Likewise, an abundance of positive reviews is cause for alarm as well. Don’t let the “verified purchased” tag on amazon fool you either. Sellers have found loopholes to cheat the system by making fake accounts to show purchases and whip a stellar review.
- Compare Prices: does a low price translate to a low-quality product as well? Brand loyalists often fall for such scams. It is best to compare prices from other authentic sources to smell out if the beauty product on amazon is fake.
- Check the Seller’s Profile: see how long they’ve been selling and what other products they sell. Also, look up their Seller Feedback Score. Use Fakespot to assess fake reviews to help smell out a fake product.
The next best thing you can do to avoid buying sub-par fake beauty products on Amazon is to adopt shopping directly from Amazon’s range of products. In recent years Amazon has released a range of skincare products, Belei, which have gained a following of fans and lots of 4-5 star reviews.
What If I Bought Fake Beauty Products on Amazon?
If you thought the product you were buying was real but when it arrived something just didn’t look right? Take to social media before you start using the product. Upload photos of it and post your reservations in the product review. Chances are some other users who experienced the same would agree with you or satisfy you that the beauty product sold on Amazon is legit. You should also directly contact the seller or report/complain about him on amazon to prevent other users from getting scammed as well.
So How Can I Protect Myself From Buying Fake Beauty Products On Amazon?
Our advice would be to shift to other online outlets. Due to the pandemic. Amazon’s rival retail stores like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Costco have also started online deliveries. Besides ULTA and Sephora still, own the beauty market when it comes to buying cosmetics. Both these have something that amazon lacks, an actual store outlet where customers can view the products live before purchasing them.
I Still Want To Buy Beauty Products On Amazon, What Should I Do?
In today’s modern age it is unfeasible to quit online purchasing, especially amidst the pandemic. We would recommend that you stick to the tips we mentioned above. Moreover, purchase your first buy of any product from a reputable source, this will help you better in telling the fake from real.
If odds are in your favor and you receive a legit, real product from amazon, do your civic duty and leave a review so other buyers may benefit from it. Plus there is no harm in bookmarking your seller for future purchases. In the likelihood that your product turns out to be fake, report the seller and don’t buy from that seller again. Fingers crossed and happy shopping!
For more detailed posts on Anti-Aging, No Make-Up Make-up and Beauty, check out our other posts.