Like everyone else I’ve been Christmas shopping for the past few months. In a bid to find inspiration I looked at the stores advertising on Facebook. A lot of adverts pop up regularly with what seems like high quality goods, and I was sucked in not once, not twice but five times in total.
The items I bought weren’t even cheap, this is why I thought I’d made a wise decision. Some were offered with very good deals, such as 80% off, but still, they weren’t pennies and I lost a lot of money as a result. I’m now stuck with poor quality clothes, accessories and gifts that I’m too ashamed to wrap up, as friends and family will think I’ve been shopping for presents in the Pound Shop. (Side note, the Pound Shop is great for sweets, tree decorations and other items, but not for a present that should have a value of £30 plus).
I was also stung once buying goods on Ebay and found the same rules apply when looking at what to avoid.
I’m here to make sure you don’t fall for the same scams. After being stung quite a few times I’ve now mastered the art of spotting fake items, fake stores and very low quality goods. Here are all the stores I tried and hated, along with some tips on what to look for so you don’t waste your money like I did.
I fell for the hair colourants from Twiggy Deals. These are combs with hair colourants in but they promise they’re not chalk or wax. I fell for the images (below) and bought all 6 for my daughter. I thought she’d love the ability to colour her blond hair temporarily. There’s a reason they don’t show the size of the product, it’s tiny. The colour does not blend into hair, it goes on lumpy and the colour stick breaks easily. I also noticed that although it says it ships from the USA, it came from China. Now I’ve nothing against China at all but as a Factory laden place I’ve found China is usually the source of very poor quality fake goods. I could not be more disappointed.
These were meant to be a Christmas present, the positive that came out of it was, my daughter and I laughed very hard at just how bad they were when we tried them (I couldn’t bring myself to wrapping them up, so I told her of my mistake).
A quick search and sure enough everyone is complaining about Twiggy Deals on Facebook. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Like many other people with skin conditions or tattoos I was blown away by the Dermacol ads, and so I decided to buy some. Why oh why did I choose Dipee deals? I think it’s because they looked genuine, their ad was stylised and they seemed legitimate. I had misgivings within minutes of placing the order and sent a message asking to cancel. I was told it had already shipped. I paid £40 for two. That didn’t seem cheap as chips.
The order arrived a few weeks later from China and I tried the concealer, on my hand, thank goodness. It was disgusting. Like plastic, it was indeed hard to remove but clumped and flaked and made my skin look extremely oily and fake. I dread to think what was in the product. At this point I still believed the product to be real. I assumed it was some craze I’d never get behind and that the concealer just wasn’t for me. I also decided that Dermacol was a nasty nasty brand and told anyone who would listen. Then I put the unopened tube on EBay. It was immediately flagged by the real Dermacol as fake. So now I know.
I’ve been tempted but I’ve never ordered from Rosegal. The reason I mention them is because I think they are linked to my next con artist.
I was so happy when an ad from Lily Lavender popped up. The clothes looked absolutely beautiful with designs I couldn’t find anywhere in the UK. They sell children’s clothes. I chose a rainbow jumper dress (pure wool) and a dinosaur rain coat for girls (so difficult to find) and I looked forward to the package arriving. I spent £50 on both items. It seemed worth it to have such unique designs that I knew my daughter would love.
Delivery took quite a while because, you guessed it, they came from China, despite marketing themsleves as a UK company. I don’t have to explain how shoddily made the clothes were. I could see through the raincoat the material was so thin and threads were hanging from the polyester rainbow dress. We used the dress as a nightie instead and it fell apart after the first wash. The raincoat was two sizes too small and wouldn’t protect from a light shower, so that has been left on a coat hook. You may be wondering by now why I didn’t return all of these items. The reason is, I tried, and have not received a response or an address where to send items to.
I’ve not yet received my items from Pat Pat so it may seem strange to mention them, but I’m quite convinced that their products will be shoddily made and of very low quality. Why? Well, I was taken in by their matching pyjamas for families. I bought into the idea of the family wearing matching sets on Christmas morning and loved that they’d said they’d ship within 4-6 business days. After checking out, I was informed this 4-6 business days meant they would ship in this time once the product has landed in the UK, which could take up to 30 business days (nearly two months) because the items come from, take a guess, China. Christmas will have come and gone by then, and I can’t save them for next year as children have a tendancy to grow. I’ve tried to cancel the order but been told its already shipped (again) and so I just have to wait and see what atrocities turn up in the post.
Living Chic advertised a new hair removal system that seemed like magic. I wanted to know how it worked. During our conversation that panned a few days I found the product specifics which clearly stated it used 18 rotating razor blades to cut hair. See for yourself, the response I got and how they tried to blind me with science regarding the magical properties of this razor.
If a product is ever invented where light can remove hair at home, in less than a second, without regrowth, I think we’d be hearing about it on the news, not from some dodgy company on Facebook. I didn’t order but many did and of course, they were disappointed.
A Little Word About Wish, Joom, AliExpress and Home
My two teens are heavily into anime, while my youngest adores Studio Ghibli. I looked everywhere for anime related gifts and then came upon Wish, Joom, AliExpress and Home. It seemed like all my dreams had come true. Of course, I placed quite a big order for Totoro inspired products and other anime related presents.
The results were hit and miss. The clothes were dreadful, always the wrong size, cheap material, bad stitching. The homewares were worse. The ornaments were always a lot smaller than led to believe in the product descriptions. The stickers and teddy bears meanwhile were actually ok however I wouldn’t shop there again. I’ve learned my lesson. Beware, as there are many people selling Wish items on EBay for ten times the price. I found this out when I ordered a Totoro notebook to replace the poor quality one I’d bought from Wish. The same poor quality item arrived. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the UK also becomes anime obsessed!
How to Avoid Fake Facebook Companies
I’ve now learned how to avoid these companies that sell fake items. It’s not a case of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” as these products weren’t very cheap. It’s the price that made me believe I was actually buying high quality products. If they had been just a few pounds I wouldn’t have looked twice and these companies know that.
This is what I do now, and after looking at all the sponsored posts on my feed I’ve found that 95% of them are con artists.
- Find out where the company is based. Don’t ask the company, the company lies. If you’re in doubt Google the address they have on their Facebook page, a lot of the time it’s a complete fabrication and if there is a company at the address it’s under a completely different name.
- Check the shipping times to see when you’ll receive your order. If it’s more than 5 business days ask yourself why. This can be difficult as there are so many good companies in Europe and the USA but generally if you have to wait 6 weeks, it’s not worth it.
- Search posts on Facebook to see if anyone else has mentioned the company. When I searched those above I found at least one public post for each warning people about shopping with them.
- Read the comments on the ads. There is usually someone, if you scroll far enough, who hates the product and has something to say. The best comments will float to the top as they’ll like these making them Top Comments. Dig a bit deeper. If you don’t find any negative comments, don’t assume they’re legit. They can easily delete them.
- Ask questions. Ask them what the material is, where the product comes from. Ask away. They will probably lie but this alone will show you that they’re not to be trusted with your money.
- Avoid affiliate links. These make it hard to find the company in question later. If you like a product, Google it, and see what people are saying first before choosing the best outlet on its merits.
I’m now avoiding all companies overseas and sticking to UK shops only until I’ve built my confidence again. It feels right to support local businesses. I’ve lost over £300 with these companies mentioned above. If I can save just one person from falling victim to these scams, my job is done.
Please do let me know of any other companies you’ve encountered that don’t deliver on their promises of high quality products and I’ll add them to this post for others.