When it comes to skincare the concerns around fake products always exist. Some will shop reputable sites with no concerns, but others will seek the cheapest possible prices in an attempt to save a couple bucks. To be clear though, fake products are not an epidemic in the beauty industry and it would be rare to come across them. One question we do see asked a lot is whether COSRX products are fake on Amazon. Amazon has a couple policies in place that make it possible, yet still unlikely, that you could get end up with fraudulent products.
We obviously cannot say with certainty that Amazon has or does sell fake COSRX products. We can however look at the experience from Amazon customers, combine that with some knowledge on how Amazon's third party marketplace functions and infer that some customers may have gotten fraudulent products.
The two most popular COSRX products on Amazon are the Acne Pimple Master Patch and the Advanced Snail 96 Power Essence.
Clicking into reviews and looking at the 1-star reviews, which should be noted are a small percentage of overall reviews, we can see that there are people that do clearly think they have received a fake product. This is often caused by either a change in the product consistency or something phishy with product packaging.
Worst case scenario is that the product has been swapped and the packaging has been refilled with filler that has negative and in rare cases harmful effects to the skin. This is serious and should be taken lightly.
It is also worth noting that consistency and effectiveness can change with shelf life. For this reason it is important to always check the expiration date on products you receive. If you received a product that is expired or is close to expiring it is worth calling the seller and getting an exchange. Even if a product hasn't yet expired, but is close the seller should be willing to take products back in exchange for new product or refund. They should realize that many consumers don't use products in just a months time and selling something that expires in the next 1 - 2 months will not work for most people.
So can you reliable shop Amazon and ensure you aren't buying fake COSRX products? The answer is yes and no.
As you know Amazon is a marketplace, that means that anyone with a business license who has gone through the onboarding process can list products in any category that isn't gated (gated categories require additional approval).
As a customer you can buy a product that is
- Sold by Amazon and shipped by Amazon.
- Sold third party, but shipped by Amazon
- Shipped and sold by a third party meaning that Amazon never took possession of that item either into their warehouse or as a seller.
but the question is which if any of these buying options can prevent against buying unintended products. The first is do not buy from any sellers you do not recognize. Feedback ratings can help you navigate this. For example below are three sellers that you may or may not recognize as being reputable beauty retailers. Take a look at the last seller and notice their feedback is positive (99%) along with having tens of thousands of ratings.
What if you see the manufacturer as the seller?
This still is not a slam dunk because of what is called comingled inventory. In order to help with warehouse efficiencies Amazon allows sellers to choose whether they want their inventory mixed in with other sellers.
Here in lies the problem
Regardless of seller, one bad apple, who may not even be the current Buy Box winner or the seller you choose to purchase from could have still sent in bad inventory to an Amazon Fulfillment center that will get mixed in and sold regardless of what buying option you choose.