SO FAKE IT HURTS
Thanks to the internet providing access to a global marketplace, fakes, parallel imports and liquidation beauty products are readily available, and if you aren’t savvy, things can get unhealthy, unsafe and even downright criminal. Is that bargain really worth it?
It is in our nature to seek out the best price point for something we want to purchase, and looking online has become a natural part of that process – where it isn’t hard to find what looks like a bargain.
But here are just a few reasons why this is not a good idea.
1. Purchasing on overseas websites takes jobs, income and economic stability away from New Zealand.
2. Even sites with a NZ URL (website address) can be based overseas where regulations on product are not as strict and more at risk of counterfeiting, testing on animals and coming from unaccredited sources.
3. Counterfeits can be manufactured in unhygienic factories with no health or safety standards and contain substances like paint thinner, arsenic, mercury, lead, high levels of bacteria and even traces of urine. But even scarier is that as a billion dollar business, many counterfeiting rings are linked to organised crime networks and fund terrorist groups.
4. Parallel imports are branded goods imported and sold without the consent of the local agents or distributors, for example genuine branded surplus stock brought in from other countries to undercut the local price. Whilst legal, drawbacks include no backup or after sales support, warranties or consumer guarantees – and not being sure how old something is; like a French hair care label who recently found a mass market retailer selling a shampoo of theirs that hadn’t been distributed in New Zealand for more than 10 years. With natural products in particular, freshness and shelf life is vital to product effectiveness and purity.
5. Is the price too good to be true? Then it probably isn’t real. Prestige beauty products do not discount except through authorised dealers and loyalty programmes.
So what can you do?
1. Buy cosmetics from authorised retailers only: It may surprise you, but even large stores can sell knock-offs. To avoid unpleasant surprises, visit the manufacturer’s website to check the list of retailers where you can purchase authentic products.
2. Pay attention to the packaging: even the smallest discrepancy can be a sign something isn’t right.
3. Check the barcode, serial number, and manufacturing information: If the product is a counterfeit, then the first 2 or 3 digits of the bar code may not match the country of origin listed either on the packaging or product itself. Also, the serial number is most often missing. Also, authentic products always have their ingredients indicated on them, and genuine high-end cosmetic brands often provide their customers with additional information in several languages.
4. Check the shades of the product: Does M.A.C make a shade called BONER? Maybe… but fake eye shadows, blushes, lipsticks and powders are often produced in shades that are not used in authentic products. To avoid buying a fake, visit the manufacturer’s website to see which colour names are real.
5. Pay attention to the smell and consistency: Authentic cosmetics shouldn’t glob or separate, smell strange or be heavily perfumed.