Options Galore to Order OnlineThe internet has made shopping for everything more accessible, and that includes hair. Gone are the days that we are limited to our local beauty store to provide extensions or our stylist to give us the "exclusive deal" on bundles. Social media and Google have presented us with endless options to order online for the longer bundles at the best prices. But with more choices comes more responsibility and more opportunities to get scammed. Don't let companies catch you off guard by never fulfilling their civic duty to you as a hair consumer.
Be Smart, Don't Get Scammed: Do Your Research
1. Read reviews on Social MediaSocial media is the best place to read reviews before you order online. Look at their photos and see what their consumers are saying. Take it a step further, search their hashtags or look on others pages to see what they've posted about the company. I'll never forget the one time I commented on a Companies "Sale Going Now" picture to ask about my hair, and five minutes later I was blocked. Weeks later, I posted about my experience with the company and tagged them, before I knew it I was receiving so many stories of others who experienced the same.
2. Ask other people who have bought from themOne fatal mistake some people make when they order online is relying solely on "Instagram famous" companies reliability because of their strong following. Get into the meat of the company and ask people you know if they've ever bought from them or know someone who did. Even in this technological age, word of mouth is still the most reliable. At Private Label Extensions we often post Instagram Stories so our clients and potential clients can see an inside look at our office and photos sent in from our clients.
3. If the business has a storefront, check it out for yourselfYou've heard the reviews, you've stalked their social media, the last thing to do is pull up. Often hair companies have better deals at their physical location, they even usually have some things that are not on the website. Additionally, in person, you have the opportunity to feel, smell and review the hair before purchasing to get a good feel if these bundles are for you. Another benefit of going in person is no shipping cost and getting your hair in hand that very day.
What Should I Recieve after completing a purchase?
1. ReceiptWhether ordering online or meeting up with a stylist, you should always receive a physical or emailed receipt. A receipt keeps track of the date, times and items you've purchased. Obtaining a receipt seems like a no-brainer, but often it can slip through the cracks. Be adamant about receiving one in case you need it for a later date or a court case-you never know.
2. Email/TextIf you've ordered online or picked up in person, you should receive an email or text. Often companies do this to thank you for purchasing, giving hair tips or ensuring that your hair is up to standard. A simple form of communication is an excellent sign that a business is serious about their product and customers.
3. Tracking Numbers and ConfirmationAfter ordering online a confirmation email and tracking number should be sent to you immediately or within one to three business days. Tracking numbers will keep a record of the day shipped all the way up until your package has arrived; this is another way to keep your money and investment safe in case of disputes or delays. I had this issue recently, after purchasing a wig and never receiving it, through the fault of the Post Office. It could've been a complete loss. However, I had insurance which guaranteed me fifty dollars. Additionally, for never receiving my wig and providing proof of a long wait with no delivery, I was refunded. Shop smart!
What are the different ways I can get scammed?
1. Never receive the hair/ shifting datesNot getting your hair is quite possibly the worst thing that can happen! You are anticipating your hair and you merely never receive it! Or the dates are always being jerked around; your two-day shipping has turned into three weeks! Avoid this by getting a contact number, receipts and tracking information. Furthermore, when you decide to order online, be mindful when purchasing. Most hair sites have a 'processing' and 'shipping' time, so maybe this is what you've agreed when buying. The shipping may be two-day shipping but processing or creation can be three to fourteen business days, which means it excludes national holidays and weekends.
2. The person is always "sold out."Beware if after you've paid, and are swamped with notices about your product being 'sold out,' but there isn't any refund or talk of store credit. This is another way that companies like to scam people. It gives the illusion of solving the issue and notifying the party or providing updates, but no real work is being done to deliver your hair.
3. No updatesIf a company provides none of the things mentioned above, in addition to no updates, it is more than likely a scam. These companies flourish on the idea that you are not waiting on their product or are not aggressive enough to seek out information. Show them that you are! Ask for updates via email, forum or social media, and when all else fails, report!
4. Fraudulent chargesWhenever information exchanged, you run the risk of having dates, ages, credit or debit card numbers and personal information copied or reused. Small or fraudulent charges may appear on your account. Dispute the charges and cancel whatever orders you've placed with the company to be on the safe side. Run to your nearest bank and get a new card to protect your money!
5. Receiving a terrible productGetting your bundles in the mail only to discover that they smell, tangle poorly and have a significant shedding problem is number 1 on the list of annoyances when you order online. Again, try to do your research before ordering, keep all information ready and notify the company as soon as possible. Also, take pictures of the issues, documentation is essential.
How to Know What Sites to Avoid
1. Too Good to be trueWith anything being sold or marketed to you if it's too good to be true, it is! Everybody loves a good bargain, but you do not want to get caught up in getting way more than you bargained to get.
2. No pictures of real peopleIf all a company uses is stock photos or photos of celebrities they may not be a credible site. Often websites steal pictures of nice frontals, thick and luscious hair and pass it off as their wigs or units. Look for real people with the companies real products.
3. Only short positive reviewsAll companies, good or bad will experience bad reviews. It is a fact of life that everybody will not like everything. No one can guarantee that every single sale will be perfect and every single customer is satisfied. A plethora of short positive reviews is suspicious and treated as such, especially reports that come from no-name accounts or blank slots.
More Tell Tale Signs
Late response rateIf you are inquiring about the products or money with extended response windows or no response at all, then you should be wary of their company. People who care about customer needs and satisfaction, and their business work hard to make sales and promise quality. I like to order online from websites that have an instant messenger or a phone number for direct contact.
Information is constantly changingIf and when, you finally get in touch with someone from the company, told continuously different information than it is probably not an ideal situation.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
1. Use secure payment formsFor websites like AliExpress or eBay that have multiple random vendors, I like to pay through Paypal, a separate secure site. Not giving the information ensures that those websites and vendors cannot store my personal information instead of that they process the payment through the reliable third party. Using Paypal allows me to directly upload the amount of money I am spending to Paypal and pay using the balance or link my card directly to PayPal.
2. Ask questionsWhen it comes to the hair business, sellers or companies should be used to an extensive line of questioning about textures, lengths and possible sales. I always see a red flag if the vendor has little information about their product or quantities on hand.
3. Order early and do not spend much money the first time aroundTo ensure that your hair comes in time, try to order early. Ordering ahead of time will cut down the risk of you not having hair when your event or salon appointment rolls around, it also gives you the opportunity to file a dispute or find an alternative.
Buying extensions can be a smooth process, but it is essential to be mindful of your information and buying practices.