One of the long-standing principles of Glamour Boutique has always been to treat our customers, new or existing with fairness and the respect they deserve. But we are made aware from time to time that not all sellers work the same way. Indeed with the proliferation of auction sites and the influx of Chinese products, we note that there are many incidences of counterfeiting products being sold as originals to unsuspecting consumers.
counterfeiting has been practiced for many years in certain retail categories. Probably best known are the copies of handbags, wallets , purses and luggage from such brands such as: Coach, Luis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. From a consumer prospective you may see no harm in purchasing a ‘copy’ if you think it a good enough quality reproduction, especially if you get a good price. Aside from the original brand losing out on the potential sale, it can be a problem for buyers getting tricked into thinking it is an original. The counterfeited products will most certainly be of sub-standard quality and of course you will have no protection with regards warranties that come with the top brands.
So, what does this have to do with breast forms you ask? In the last 3 years there has been an increase in the number of styles available on the market, which originate in China. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, during a time of economic hardship over the past 3 years many would have to have done without a pair of genuine silicone forms without the availability of the Chinese versions. However, we have seen more and more that some vendors are selling Chinese versions of more expensive breast forms without disclosing the fact that they are copies manufactured from the lower-grade Chinese silicone.
How can you be sure you are getting a pair of premium medical grade silicone breast forms?
Here’s the scoop – you get what you pay for. For example, it is highly unlikely you will ever purchase a pair of premium medical grade German silicone (widely considered to be the best) breast forms with contrasting nipples for less than $150 unless they are a ‘closeout’, have slight defects, etc. But the Chinese breast forms widely available on the market today are getting better and better in terms of quality each year. They are still some way off achieving the perfection of the top European and American brands but they are good everyday breast forms for those shopping on a budget. Our top-quality silicone breast forms sell for up to $189.95 a pair whereas our ‘affordable’ Chinese styles sell for under $100 a pair (unless they are very large).
There is nothing wrong with the Chinese forms if you know what they are and you pay a price that reflects that. Most vendors are fair in that regard but we have been made aware by customers that there are incidences of some sellers making Chinese copies of better known brands and passing them off as the expensive breast form. Furthermore, they use the picture of the well known brand breast forms but what you get delivered is quite different. What’s wrong with this? You end up paying 2, 3 and 4 times more than you should and the forms you end up with although they should be ok, they are not the top-of-the-line breast forms you thought you were buying.
We had a customer visit our showroom 2 weeks ago who had bought a pair of breast forms from another business over a year ago for over $200 and he was thrilled with them. Recently he went back to the same seller to purchase the same style in a different size but what he received was quite different. He first became suspicious when he opened the shipping box and found the packaging of the breast forms to be quite different than his first pair. It was a different colored packaging of a much cheaper quality. The breast forms themselves although of a similar shape were obviously made from a different manufacturer. The silicone was heavier, not the same skin shade and the finish, particularly the feel and the trim on the seams were not nearly as good.
How can you try to ensure you get what you pay for when shopping for breast forms online? If the following information is not readily available in the product description then call or email and ask before purchasing:
- Image/picture. Is the picture a true reflection of what I will receive?
- Where are the breast forms manufactured?
- Are they a known brand?
- Is the price quoted for a pair of breast forms?
- Can I return them if I don’t feel they live up to the picture and description on the website?
If you cannot obtain all the answers you need or you feel the seller is being ‘economical’ with the truth how can you be sure you get what you pay for once your purchase is delivered? Glamour Boutique deals with a large number of suppliers and so we have a good idea of what the packaging of most brands looks like and what the quality of the corresponding breast forms is. If you ever make a purchase from a seller and you think they may have miss-represented or even tried ‘passing-off’ then email us pictures of the forms and the packaging and we will try to help you. In the meantime try to remember the following:
PRICE: Not always a good indicator of quality since some sellers price higher than others BUT we would hope when paying over $150 you will be receiving a better quality silicone form manufactured somewhere like Europe or the U.S.A.
PACKAGING: Currently, most Chinese-made breast forms come in plain white boxes usually with a small hand-written label in the top right corner of the top surface. They do not have the plastic molds inside for the breast forms that come with the more expensive brands but are wrapped in thin white foam for protection. The more expensive brands always have a plastic mold in the box to help retain the shape of the breast form during storage. The exterior of the box will always have the brand clearly visible in professional type-face with the country of origin clearly visible.
SILICONE FORMS: The top brands should be perfect in every way from color to softness to clean trimmed seams. Most (but not all) top brands imprint the size of the breast form on the back of the breast form that attaches to the chest. Furthermore, if you buy another pair of the same forms from a different batch there should be very little difference in consistency and quality. The Chinese manufactured forms tend to be less consistent with regards color, softness and quality of the finish on areas like the seams. Color can vary to a good flesh likeness and mocha nipple to almost white silicone and orange nipples and may well vary between batches. Softness will also vary between batches – just make sure you do not end up with a shapeless blob if you have paid top dollar.
WARRANTY: Do the forms come with a Manufacturers Warranty and if so how long are you protected and from what faults. The top brands will offer a warranty against manufacturing defect (as opposed to damage inflicted on the form with a sharp edge etc) but the Chinese forms do not. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue if the seller has a standard replacement policy for goods with manufacturing defects. Ask them before you purchase.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: Check through any testimonials on the seller site from past customers and better yet, search for the sellers name in some forums online and see what past customers have to say about them.
Shopping for breast forms is no different than shopping for any other product over the internet and so there are certain standard precautions you need to check in addition when doing your research:
- Security. Is the site secure if you intend transmitting personal information such as credit card data – look for security certificates on the home page or read the Security Policy to find out if/how you are protected. Does the site ever sell or rent any personal information to 3rd parties?
- Telephone Number/Live Customer Service. Is there a telephone number clearly visible on the home page of the site with hours of operation where you can speak to someone. Potential ‘scam’ sites tend to make it harder for you to talk to a person.
- Retail Store presence. Does the business have a retail store(s) – whilst you may not be in the same state, having a physical store/showroom is a good indication it is a legitimate operation.
- Established. How long has the site/business been in operation? Longevity of a business will normally mean they have good repeat custom – again another indicator of trustworthiness.
- Return Policy. Should be easy to find from the home page of the site. With regards breast forms, unless they are a specialist item or a special order you should be able to exchange or return them for refund as long as you have only tried them on (and not used adhesive on them). Be sure to check if there are re-stocking or other fees for exchanging or refunding – if there is nothing on the website then ask.
- Response Time. When you contact the business either by phone or email do you get a response within a reasonable time-frame? For phone calls you should get an answer immediately during published business hours. If you have to leave a voicemail then you should receive a call-back within an hour IF it is during business hours and within a day for emails at the very least.
There you have it – a quick guide to ensure you get what you pay for where breast forms are concerned. When you are shopping around online you should see the vast majority of sellers are straight down the line but if you are at all doubtful then refer to the points in this article and make sure you look for and ask the right questions to make sure you know what you are intending to buy and that what you intend to buy is what is delivered to your front door. Remember, be a well informed consumer with realistic expectations.