Trusted for 23+ Years
Authorized Dealer For Sex Toys
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
Don't Get Scammed
When it comes to sexual products such as sex toys, personal lubricants, massage oils, and beyond, most people are unaware of the consumer safety issues as well as the scams that go on concerning the sale of them.
This article will help you better understand key issues that you should be aware of when purchasing a sex toy such as:
- How to avoid buying a used sex toy.
- How to avoid purchasing a counterfeit sex toy.
- How to avoid purchasing a toxic sex toy.
- Empowering resources for learning about body-safe sex toys.
Sex Toy Scams
Beyond what we warn most about on our site (which is avoiding a sexual product that contains toxins and toxicants such as lead, phthalates or parabens, etc.) many consumers are finding out after they make a purchase from shady resellers of sex toys that they have bought counterfeit products, have purchased used products and even were sold products packaged together that should under no circumstances be used together.
In 2014, the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS.org) did an undercover investigation and found that as many as 10% of the retail sex toys they purchased for the study through major online retailers showed signs that they had been previously opened.
Indicators noted in the study to determine if a sex toy had been previously purchased were physical evidence found on the sex toys such as human body hair (including pubic hair), vaginal and anal secretions (including fecal matter), saliva, fingerprints, lubricant residue, animal fur, lint from clothing and more.
These unethical practices are outright disturbing and are trends that are growing. Below we review how some of these unscrupulous sex toy sales are occurring as well as how we make buying our brand new sexual products safe, easy, and discreet.
Used & Returned Sex Toys
Sexual products may be returned sex toys and in these situations, the old adage of 'too good to be true,' may apply as many unethical retailers will put them on sale at a price that is equal or even below their own costs to entice you to buy them and help them to get rid of them.
We suggest you use extreme caution when purchasing products that could put your health at risk, such as using a previously used sex toy.
One of the first flags as a consumer will be those companies that will take back a used sex toy that is not defective. A good sex toy retailer will not allow for a sex toy that they can no longer verify as unused back into their inventory so take a look at a sex toy company's return policy to see if they are allowing for someone to send back that dildo they used and decided to send back to let someone else try.
Some resellers will say that they only accept returns if they are "unused and unopened" but many sex toy manufacturers do not shrink wrap or safety seal their products so it's not difficult to carefully close up a sex toy box and make it look like it was never opened.
That is why, as an ethical company, we cannot take properly working sex toys back. In fact, on the rare occasion that a customer reports one as defective, we have them dispose of the defective product and provide a replacement, or if the manufacturer wants it back to better understand what caused the defect, we have the customer send it directly to the manufacturer with a prepaid shipping label.
We will NEVER take back a sex toy into our warehouses where we have our inventory because we cannot verify that it was not used or tampered with, and we simply care too much about our loyal customers to risk their health.
Sex Toys Should Only Be Sold by An Authorized Dealer
- A good sex toy company will treat customers with respect. Due to the nature of sexual products, they will only sell new products that can be verified as new to protect consumers.
- Due to risks of STDs, it would be a huge liability to be sending a sex toy that may have been used. No business should ever risk a customer's health by guessing if something was used or not.
- An ethical sex toy retailer will always abide by the manufacturer's rules and regulations so they can keep receiving the products they offer you along with all of the manufacturer's warranties.
Counterfeit Sex Toys
One of the biggest concerns beyond toxicants in sex toys and used sex toys are online counterfeit scams, and the most shocking thing is that these scams are occurring through major online retailers that allow for third-party sellers such as Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, and Alibaba.
Many of the major retailers that use third-party sellers to provide them with the products or that have the third party companies sell through them are allowing scam artists into your life and wallets.
Consumers make the mistake of feeling secure buying from them because of their brand name, but the products are not actually being purchased by the major retailer, rather they are being supplied by independent sellers.
We know this because we are not just a retailer, but we are also a manufacturer, and we sell our products through them, so we have a very clear understanding of how all of this actually works as well as how some unethical businesses are taking advantage of you and violating your trust.
Just like in the fashion industry where there are knockoff designer products such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and others, there are also knockoff sex toys posing as such brands as Lelo, Blush, Fun Factory, We-Vibe, Le Wand, Tenga, and even the Hitachi Wand.
Because these brands are so popular many manufacturers outside of the U.S., Decide to get in on the scene by introducing products that look very similar to the real brand with identical packaging, colors and even use the brand's logo.
We know about them because we are continually being contacted by these companies wanting us to resell these counterfeit items for them here in the United States.
Some knockoff brands do not even try to pretend to sell as the brand name; they are just sold as inferior sex toys. The problem is many of these are being sold directly from China and other countries that use toxic materials to make their cheap toys and are not passing safety protocols or are being lab-tested.
See our article on Avoid Toxic Sex Toys to become better educated about this.
Furthermore, those that allow for returns restock used items and resell them, meaning you may be getting a used sex toy.
To learn more about classification, testing and safety please see our guide Why Are Sex Toys Called Adult Novelties?
How Do These Scam Artists Work?
Sellers get an account through one of the major retailers (i.e., Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, and Alibaba). They can choose to ship you the products themselves, which makes it easier for consumers to see who they are buying from, but they can also send in their inventory to a warehouse where it is stored until it sells, and then the major retailer then ships it out for them. The major retailer makes its money by taking a cut of the profits that the seller pays them.
However, for the consumer who is often in the dark, it looks like it is a product that is being fulfilled by a reputable big-name company and that they are obtaining the product from the legitimate manufacturer when in reality, the major retailer is not buying the products at all.
In most cases, they are simply storing them for the independent reseller, and meanwhile, the consumer has no idea who is involved in selling them that sex toy or where it came from, let alone its authenticity or if it is really new and nontoxic.
Example Of A Fake Sex Toy Scam
There are sometimes subtle differences that you can spot if you know what to look for with a counterfeit sex toy, such as is the case with a Hitachi Magic Wands. For example:
- A real Hitachi Magic Wand has a rectangular blue plate that surrounds the on and off switch, whereas those knockoff versions typically will have one that is oval.
- The genuine Hitachi Magic Wand is UL rated, and you will see a black UL in a circle to let you know it is. UL stands for (Underwriters Laboratories), and they provide safety-related certification to let you know if an electrical product you are buying has passed tests, letting you know it is safe to use. A counterfeit Hitachi Magic Wand will not have a UL rating.
- An authentic Hitachi Magic Wand comes with a one year warranty in the box, and a knock off Hitachi Magic Wand will not have this.
Signs You Are Buying From An Authorized Dealer
Make sure when buying any sex toy that you are buying from a certified reseller. You may be charged a few dollars more, but you will know it is authentic, that the warranty on it will be good and if the sex toy retailer is ethical that it will not be a used sex toy.
Those resellers who are certified will be able to answer a few basic questions for you, such as knowing whether a brand has a legally binding Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) agreement and, in some cases, can verify that they have had to sign legal paperwork showing they will abide by such agreements.
It is important to also ask sellers about these issues as it can show you that they are in good standing with the actual manufacturer. You can also contact the manufacturer directly to ask if the reseller is an authorized or certified seller of their products.
This also means researching third-party sellers through companies like Amazon and eBay, etc. If you cannot find out who you are actually buying from because a major retailer is doing fulfillment for them, then you may want to avoid such a purchase all together from a company that allows for third party sales.
Companies that sell way below an MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) are often violating the manufacturer's sales agreement and are considered to be unauthorized sellers.
When a company sells products as an unauthorized dealer, the manufacturer may not honor the warranty on the product. That means if the product were to break, you would not be able to get any form of compensation through a replacement or repair.
Selling Too Low Is Too Good To Be True
There are some companies that sell wholesale to the general public. This is forbidden by reputable and legitimate manufacturers that supply the products they sell, and they are at risk of not being able to carry such products once the manufacturer discovers this violation.
There are a few reasons why selling low is done as you must remember that all businesses must make money to stay around, so if the price is too good to be true, it most likely is as you will be paying for it in other ways.
Please note that we do not do any of the following as we respect and care about our customers.
Selling and Sharing of Your Information
Even with large, mainstream companies, this is done.
Advertising To You
They will bombard you with all kinds of sales pitches by email, phone, and mail. Some may be pornographic.
Stolen or Used Merchandise
Some people and stores will resell used sex toys. There also may be a chance that the merchandise was not purchased wholesale, rather it was stolen.
Knock-Offs & Cheap Toxic Products
Be aware that some retailers sell knock-off sex toys or cheap products that contain toxins and toxicants. In addition, some retailers sell their own brand of sex toys by having them private labeled.
These are usually very cheap sex toys that they buy directly from China to have better margins on their sales. However, many retailers do not have their sex toys verified as nontoxic and truly body-safe. They fail to have them tested or take adequate precautions, such as third-party lab testing.
For example, they may be selling a silicone sex toy that is cured with tin and contains toxicants that are harmful to those who use it. You will often see these products have the same name as the retail company name or are marketed as their own brand.
Retailers may be completely in the dark about what the products that they are selling are really made out of and base the information they give the consumers on marketing hype.
Products That Should Not Be Used Together
We have seen a variety of sex toy retailers that decided to get into this business to make money and have little knowledge about the safety of sexual products. We feel strongly that retailers such as these are causing harm to consumers by selling them products that have toxins and toxicants in them but are also providing inaccurate information and, in some cases selling sex toys with lubricants that can chemically melt the sex toy.
It is shocking to go onto other retail sites to see them selling a sex toy with a lubricant that will melt the sex toy material as the health risks of this may be harmful.
This is particularly common on some of the major retailers that allow for third party sales where they will offer a free lubricant in order to entice you to buy the sex toy but are pairing a sex toy with a lubricant that is incompatible.
We brought this to the attention of the largest online retailers as we educate professionals through our National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality, NAASAS.org; but nothing was done to change this, so consumers are continuing to be misled by thinking that what they are buying is always safe and compatible.
This problem continues to not only persist but also expand. It is our hope by educating you about these concerns that we can positively affect change for consumer safety and satisfaction.
Products That Are Mislabeled
Retailers depend on the manufacturers to provide them with information about their products as the regulation for sex toy safety is quite lax. The lack of regulations for safety as well as labeling means that even retailers have a hard time understanding what they are selling, let alone a consumer who depends on the reseller to educate them about the products.
Many sex toy manufacturers saw that there were health benefits in using 100% silicone to make sex toys because they are nonporous, hypoallergenic, phthalate-free, and long-lasting.
The issue is that the majority of sellers in the sex toy industry have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to types of silicones let alone what is body safe. For that reason, we have put together an extensive guides to educate both professionals and consumers:
If you read these guides above, you will be able to understand how complex these materials can be, so our best advice to consumers is only to use a sex toy retailer that does their homework and discloses the materials used in a product along with resources that help you to understand what those materials are and how to best care for them.
Beware Of Fake Verified Reviews
In a scam called "brushing," which is popular on sites like Amazon or Alibaba, scammers try to gather many top-notch reviews. Unlike our reviews which are verified internally, these sites are allowing fake reviews because scammers are working around their rules. Here's how that works:
- Sellers of products employ people to act as fake buyers to essentially cheat the system and buy verified reviews to hype up their products.
- The problem they must overcome is using the same shipping address, so these fake buyers find real names and addresses to order products from the seller, and ship them to random people, using the seller's own money.
- The seller sends low-quality items to the random address chosen by the fake employees who pose as buyers.
- This is why you may one day get some cheap product you never ordered. They do this so that they will have a tracking number associated with their fake purchase and it will look like a real transaction.
- These fake employee buyers leave excellent reviews on the seller's product page.
- With all these "verified reviews" that are actually fake, potential buyers feel more confident to purchase items from the seller.
- Thanks to their great reviews, the seller also appears higher in search results.
- As soon as negative feedback begins to appear, the seller shuts down their fraudulent shop and restarts the process with a different identity.
For more information about toxicants in sex toys as well as how to use them and purchase them, please see our sex toy buying guides and remember that we are a company that sincerely and passionately cares about your health and happiness so feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns as we are pleased to assist you.
To learn more about sex toy material safety, please see our Body Safe Sex Toy Guide.