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Be Careful with Online Shopping:

Hands holding a credit card using laptop computer and mobile phone for online shopping .

I just finished watching a video from CBC Marketplace that one of our dermatologists recommended to me. A portion of the episode was dedicated to shopping online and mistakenly buying fake products. What an eye opener!!!

Now, I can admit, I LOVE shopping online!!  Me in my jammies and a hot cup of my favourite specialty coffee checking out the deals…. that’s as good as it gets. But, while you and I may know that buying designer products online is a big no-no, did you know that buying many things from a third party, in many cases, is often fake?

The episode had a panel of 3 experts in the field of fraud including a lawyer who specializes in fraud and fake products. They were introduced to a selection of accessories and make-up as well as your basic skin care lines such as Biotherm. These items were sold on EBay, Wish, Amazon, AliExpress and Walmart. In most cases, the audience was polled and felt the items being shown were real, but in almost every case, the item was a fake.

I guess for me, I don’t trust big item or high-cost products to be real, so I avoid them. And of course, I have always known that medical-grade products are typically fake, as they can only be sold by medical retailers. I think what startled me the most was that even basic items like Urban Decay eyeshadow or items from cheaper lines could also be fraudulent.

While I have never trusted AliExpress or Wish, and I know some retailers on EBay and Amazon are known to sell fake purses and accessories, I kinda thought Walmart, with its naturally lower priced lines would have no reason to sell imitation products. Walmart was the only company of those five mentioned to deny fraud, but the experts didn’t buy it. And the other companies say they are working hard to eliminate third party sellers when they have been tipped off to the unfair sales. But this has been going on for a long time, and I don’t think it is possible for some of these sites to ever completely be on the up and up due to the way their items are sold by individuals all over the world. It would be impossible to prevent all fraud, I would think.

There are some sites that sell legitimate products and have been proven to be on the up and up. But those sites are dealing directly with the manufacturers, not a third-party seller.

So, while you and I are at home in our jammies, shopping online and relaxing, pay attention to the details. Know what can and can’t be sold online. Or, if you want to be really sure your hard-earned money is going to the purchase you THINK it is going to, buy direct. Reputable companies like Toronto Dermatology Centre have websites and will often sell their products online, especially now that most of us aren’t able to get out to shop. Be assured that when you buy direct from companies like ours, you are getting what you pay for and not some cheap or even dangerous knock off. Our clinic has been in business for over a decade and plans to be around for a very long time. Our reputation is everything, so you can always count on the most effective medical-grade skincare products at the best price possible. When it comes to skincare, the last thing you want to do is put something on your face that isn’t what it says it is, doesn’t have enough or any of the key active ingredients, or which is long-expired!

If you have purchased an item you suspect to be a fake, you can contact the Canadian Anti- Fraud Centre, located in North Bay and dedicated to eradicating illegal sales. Without tip- offs though, they won’t be able to help us feel safe with our purchases. And remember, try to buy direct from the stores or clinics when purchasing skincare as well as most other items. When this is not possible, do your research, read reviews and be as knowledgeable as possible so you won’t suffer from buyer’s remorse.

~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre

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