Today I was sent a press release from Priceline which included a gift guide for Mother's Day. Ordinarily, I quite like these press releases as it gives me some good ideas about what to write about. Amongst other beauty items, the press release contained four perfumes - from Lancome, Estee Lauder, Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs. You might have seen my little rant yesterday about how I was pissed off that Priceline sold grey market Orly polishes. In light of this, I decided that I would contact the PR's from each of these brands to find out whether Priceline was an authorised stockist for the perfumes. This is what I found out from the PRs:
Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Lancome.
Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Estee Lauder.
Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Juicy Couture.
Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Marc Jacobs.
This means that Priceline are also selling fragrances sourced from the grey market.
What is so bad about grey market fragrances?
I have gone into the whole issue of grey market cosmetics in much more detail here, but basically grey market fragrances are fragrances sourced from a non-authorised seller. This means that the authenticity of the fragrance cannot be guaranteed. So, you might be buying a cheaply made fake perfume or a genuine perfume that has been diluted to make it go further, or a genuine perfume that has been sitting in a warehouse for the last 10 years. This is bad, not only for the consumer who might end up purchasing a fake perfume made with dodgy ingredients that could cause a reaction, but also for the brands. If someone buys a perfume that they believe is genuine and it smells terrible, or has really poor staying power (due to being diluted), or worse case scenario they have a severe reaction to the dodgy ingredients, then they will never buy that perfume again. They will also most likely complain to their friends, or complain online.
StrawberryNet are probably the most well know seller of grey market cosmetics. I don't think that any brand would authorise them to resell their stock. However, when you purchase from them most people do so knowing that they are taking a risk that they may end up with a sub-par product. The problem with Priceline selling grey market cosmetics and fragrances is that the majority of people would believe that they are buying genuine products from an authorised reseller. Now, I am not saying that Priceline are selling fakes. I don't know know whether the fragrances they sell are fake or genuine - but that there is the problem - I don't know if they are fake but then I also don't know if they are genuine as they have not been sourced from an authorised distributor.
I am not trying to bad mouth Priceline here as I have happily shopped there for years. However, I do believe that we have the right to know whether we are buying genuine stock or not. As long as you are educated and are happy to take the risk of buying grey market cosmetics and fragrances, then go for it. But, I would hate for people to end up disappointed with their purchases and not know why it was not as good as they were expecting. Not all the fragrances in the press release I was sent were cheap. One was selling for $140, which is a lot of money to spend on something that cannot be guaranteed to be genuine. Up until yesterday I had no idea that Priceline sold grey market sourced goods, so I suspect that many other people would be similarly blinded to this fact.
Anyway, I am not saying don't shop at Priceline. Just trying to educate. If you are looking to purchase genuine fragrances, your best bet is Myer and David Jones. Or, if you are in doubt, go to the website for the brand of fragrance you are purchasing and it will either provide a list of authorised stockists or a customer service number that you can call.
Has this changed your opinion of Priceline at all? What are your thoughts on the grey market? Do you prefer to steer clear and spend your hard earned cash on genuine products or do you prefer to hunt down a bargain?