Spreading the Negative Word-of-Mouth: Perfumarie

First thing first: if you ever decide to buy anything from Perfumarie, do it at your own risk. I will never do it again.

* * *

A couple of months ago I shared with you how I talked myself into buying perfume when I learned that the brand was going out of business. I was so excited to find one of the last bottles of DelRae’s Coup de Founre out there! I didn’t even think about waiting for a sale or a discount for the fear of missing on it altogether. I should have.

I could have written a couple of pages describing in details how it went on, but I’ll give you a cliff notes version. Perfumarie sent me a brand-new bottle of rancid perfume, refused to deal with it and, when confronted via PayPal conflict resolution center, pretended to respond long enough to satisfy formal requirements but had never addressed the actual issue. PayPal’s resolution was that they couldn’t conclude that the “product was significantly not as described,” so I couldn’t use their “buyer protection.” And since I was leaving for my long trip, I just didn’t have any energy or time left to see if my credit card would be more reasonable. As the result, I’m out of $150 and acquired a bottle that isn’t that nice to use it even on my bottle display.

So, all I can do is to leave a word out there: in my opinion, Perfumarie behaved dishonestly. They didn’t argue that the product was fine (I offered to send it so that they could see it themselves – and they, positioning themselves as a “Discovery studio,” should have been able to tell that my bottle was off), they didn’t suggest any remedy to the situation. They chose a one-time profit over potential long-term relationship with me as a customer. So be warned.

 

Rusty and DelRae Coup de Foundre

 

In addition to plainly getting my hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of negative publicity to Perfumarie (I realize, I’m a tiny blogger but karma, you know…), I wanted to discuss the situation in principle to see what you think, and whether you agree with my arguments.

We all had our share of perfumes that turned while in our possession, as well as vintage “finds” on eBay or estate sales that weren’t what we expected them to be. But buying vintage perfumes and hoping for the best, we acknowledge the risk and are prepared to write off the losses. But what about getting a full-priced brand-new bottle from a real store (either with just online or, especially, with both B&M and online presence)?

What I tried to argue both with Perfumarie and PayPal: while I understand a general return policy for beauty and personal care products, and I, for one, wouldn’t want to buy any product opened and returned (though, in this particular case, I even suggested to Perfumarie that I would take an open tester if they still had it and thought that it was fine), the policy shouldn’t apply to the case of a spoiled product since after being returned that product should not be sold to anyone – be it opened or sealed. And since to determine that this type of a product is spoiled one must open and try it, doing so, logically, cannot void warranty/right to return the product if it cannot be used as intended.

It is impossible to determine that a sealed product without an expiration date printed on it is spoiled. And we all know that some perfumes stay stable for decades, so it’s hard to predict when any of them would go off. So, I understand that, in general, a store cannot really know that they are selling something that is past its prime. But a consumer has even less information to go on by: a store would at least know when they got a batch, how they stored it, and whether there were any other complaints about that batch or that brand. All-in-all, while it is a loss, I would expect it to be a store’s loss, not an individual buyer’s one.

On a separate point, as much as I am against what IFRA does to perfume industry and would prefer it (and similar agencies) to stay away from regulating what can go into perfumes (bar really dangerous ingredients), I would love if one of them would protect our rights by making beauty, cosmetics and perfume companies put production dates on packaging – as Givenchy did with one of my favorite LE perfumes (by the way, it’s still fine, 12 years later).

 

Givenchy Amarige Mimosa 2007

 

Images: my own

30 thoughts on “Spreading the Negative Word-of-Mouth: Perfumarie

  1. I’m so sorry you were treated in such a bad way by this company. It really is not right when as you say, you paid full price for a brand new product. They should take the hit, not you. The manner in which they dealt with the PayPal resolution centre makes it even worse. What a stressful, expensive and unpleasant experience.

    I will avoid them like the plague.

  2. What a shame that a company treated you that way. My way of dealing with crap service of late has to been to take to Twitter. Seems to get results from a lot of companies, they don’t like the exposure there. I certainly won’t be patronizing Perfumarie!

  3. Shockingly shabby treatment. Think that is a great idea to print production dates on the bottle. Your experience would definitely infringe the Consumer Rights Act over here. I am surprised PayPal didn’t step up. Send them the bottle and give their staff a nasty niff?

    • PayPal rarely takes customers’ side – not unless it’s something really black and white. I should remember it the next time I have any issues and go directly to my Credit Card.

  4. I am so sorry to hear this. I would have filed a charge back with my CC company regardless. What shameful business practices. Have never shopped with them and never will.

    • I would have but you cannot do it in parallel with PayPal and CC, and by the time I got PP’s resolution, I was preparing to my long business trip, then was traveling, then tried to catch up… And then it was too late.

  5. I am so sorry you experienced this – how utterly awful! Thank you for letting us know, I was actually thinking of ordering from them for Holiday gifts. I too, learned the hard way with another online retailer (SkincareRX), I also paid via PayPal, the complaint resolution did not favor me in the end. It’s unfortunate, but the few times I have filed a complaint, PP has dropped the ball.

    American Express has excellent consumer protection, that’s the card that I use for any online purchases from now on and it’s helped if there are issues. Twice, my card # was hijacked and the other time, I needed to file a complaint. Each time, they came through and then some.

    • I vaguely remember that I had once before an issue that PP hasn’t resolved the way I hoped they would. But since they do not send a copy of the exchange to e-mail, and later just remove access to the resolves cases, I don’t remember any specifics. But yes, in future I should use my CC’s customer service.

  6. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a bad experience with this bottle of Coup de Foudre.
    You must’ve been super excited when you found a bottle available but how could you know that the rest of this story is going to be such a let-down. What a shame that even Paypal wasn’t able to solve this problem. Now you’re left with a bottle of perfume that you can’t even enjoy wearing. My heart would’ve been broken…

    Perfumarie were really unprofessional by not accepting a faulty perfume and returning your money.

    I was had a situation that a sprayer of my Azemour stopped working. I contacted the perfumery where I bought it and since my bottle was half used they offered that they could replace it with their tester which was also more or less half used. That worked out well.

    I can see that there are still many of Delrae fragrances available at Galilu in Poland but I doubt you’re willing to take the risk after this incident.

    • I was disappointed, and you’re right, partially because I was so excited to find that bottle. Oh, well… I won’t go broke (or scentless :) ), and I hope somehow what goes around…
      If perfume produced and stored in the US got spoiled, there’s a good chance that other bottles might be on their way to the same place, so I’ll probably stop looking for this perfume.

      I think that the perfumery where you bought your perfume found a fair way of handling the situation, and I’m very pleased for you (and them). I myself offered Perfumerie to exchange my bottle for a tester, which clearly showed that I didn’t just change my mind or tried to scheme them. And the fact that they didn’t even respond to that offer clearly shows that they didn’t think I was lying – they just didn’t want to acknowledge their responsibility.

  7. That stinks. Pun intended, but the situation isn’t amusing at all. $150 is a lot of money, and that doesn’t even include the disappointment. I had a very bad experience recently with FragranceNet. They sold me three Dior testers at an attractive but not crazy-low price, confirmed my order and charged my card, then canceled the order on the grounds that the testers were “out of stock.” The SAME testers then appeared on their website at double the price, and slightly higher than the full retail price for the same fragrances at Neiman Marcus! They refunded my card, but I wanted the purchase, not the refund. I used to order a lot from them, but now I don’t.

    • I heard similar stories about FragranceNet before, but I know that theoretically they might have had a software glitch in the system where they sold more units that they actually had, then corrected the mistake, then either got some of the stock replenished or returned, but by that time their system already decided that it was in high demand and raised the price using some pre-programmed formula. I realize that it doesn’t make your disappointments any lighter but at least you can hope that it wasn’t some mean individual doing: they are too big already to manually handle and adjust both sales and price setting.

      • You may be right, but when I complained via email, they told me I could order at the new (higher than retail for new in box) price. Hey, if I’m going to do that, I’m going to go to Neiman and make some SA’s day!

    • Me too. But at least I managed to buy earlier this year Bois Des Paradise, and I still have some Wit left (though I wish I had bought a bottle of it when I still could).

  8. I’m so sorry this happened to you! I have never ordered from Parfumarie and never will. I usually use American Express for my online purchases and, as SmokeyToes mentioned above, AE has great customer service. I sometimes take my chances with PayPal but I view it like I view evilBay…use at your caution as they don’t no nothing unless it is in the rule book and spoiled perfume seems to be missing in their playbook.

    • I always prided myself on being reasonable and being able to communicate the issue to the participating party. But in this case it seems like they were set on to not even listen to what I was saying. They stuck to the mantra (paraphrasing): “it can’t be bad because it came directly from a perfumer but anyway since it’s open it cannot be returned.” What can I say? If that $150 sale was really so important to whoever was that stubborn person who dealt with my complaint, I’m fine, those weren’t my last money for perfume this year. But I hope that I warned at least some future buyers. And yes, I hope not to have to, but if anything like that happens again, I will use a credit card protection without even trying PP.

  9. Side topic, while we’re discussing credit card protection: Amex used to have, and I think it still does, a double warranty provision for dmall electronics if you used your Amex card to buy them. I had a Kindle Paperwhite that completely died just past the one-year warranty, and Amazon only offered a $25 rebate if I bought a refurbished one for almost $100, and sent mine to them ( no doubt to fix and resell). I remembered that my husband had used Amex to buy it. Called them and they refunded the whole $200 purchase price, and all I had to give them was it’s serial number. Yay Amex!

    • Yeah, I know about extended warranties. I think Visa also has something like that. But people rarely think/know/remember about it.
      I’m glad it worked out for you.

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