The internet is an amazing platform that provides us nail polish addicts with great ways to acquire nail polish from all over the world. With so many indie brands and Facebook swap groups to choose from, it can sometimes be confusing, and at times quite scary, to purchase nail polish online. After a recent, negative experience I had with an indie brand, I was reminded of the precautions we must take to protect ourselves and our purchases. I have put together this guide to help those in the nail polish community stay safe when buying and swapping.
- Do your research! You’ve finally found that perfect polish you were looking for, but before you hit the “checkout” button, head on over to Google. Type in the indie shop you are hoping to purchase from and see what pops up. This simple step can provide you with lots of helpful information regarding a seller’s reputation that you can easily miss without doing your research. An indie’s name can bring up feedback, blog posts, online forums, and other useful tools to shed light on the product you wish to buy. Along the way you could find out that the quality of an indie polish is not what you want it to be, or that the seller simply does not ship items. If I did my research I would have found a Facebook post letting me know the seller I had trouble with is known for not shipping packages!
- Pay with PayPal! Always ensure that you are protecting your money by using PayPal when shopping. Almost all indie brands sell on websites like Etsy and BigCartel that use PayPal, but if you are buying from a seller on Facebook or through a blog sale that may not be the case. Always request a PayPal invoice. An invoice will outline your purchase as an itemized list, and it is the only way you can file a claim for goods you never receive. If a seller refuses to create an invoice for you, that is a red flag that she is not reputable.
- Get Delivery Confirmation! Almost all sellers provide delivery confirmation, otherwise known as a tracking number, with every purchase. If you are swapping, however, it is imperative that you and your swap partner use delivery confirmation. This is your “insurance” that your package has been mailed. Make sure your swap parter sends your the tracking number as soon as your polish has been mailed.
- Keep your personal information private! This may go without saying, but do not give out your home address or other personal information if you do not trust the person from whom you are buying or swapping. If possible, get a PO Box to use when you are shopping online. You can also give out your work address if it is permitted by your employer. Otherwise, only give out your home address if you have done your research and trust the seller.
- Be active in the community! If you plan on doing a lot of nail polish shopping online, join some Facebook groups dedicated to nail polish chat. By actively engaging with other nail polish aficionados you will soon learn which indie brands are great, and which to avoid. You will also learn who trusted swappers are.
If you would like to know of some Facebook groups I recommend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.I am not actively participating in any Facebook groups for buying/swapping nail polish that I recommend as of 9.9.15.
- If swapping, invoice each other! This is a tip that I recently learned. If you are doing a swap, you and your partner should invoice each other on PayPal for the same amount of money. For example, if you are swapping a $5 nail polish, invoice each other for $8 to cover shipping. That way if one person does not follow through with the swap, you can file a claim on PayPal.
“I never received my polish! What do I do?”
If you followed the steps above and you find yourself without your purchase, you can still rectify the situation!
- Contact the seller! If a few weeks go by and you never receive your polish, the first thing to do is to get in contact with the seller. Most sellers have an email address, but others can be contacted directly through Etsy or social media. Every once in a while, a seller can simply overlook an order, or something may come up in her life that causes a shipping delay. Whatever the reason, politely ask the seller why your order is taking so long. Usually this step will clear up any issues.
- File a PayPal Dispute! If the seller does not respond to your message in a timely manner, file a dispute with PayPal in the Resolution Center. Doing so will alert PayPal that you never received your purchase, and will also contact the seller an additional time. If a seller does not respond to your dispute, your money will be refunded. If she does respond, your purchase will either be fulfilled, or the seller may choose to refund your money. If you properly used PayPal to purchase your item, you will always be protected!
- Contact the admin of the Facebook group! Many sales and swaps occur in Facebook groups. If you try to contact the seller or swapper to no avail, message the admin of the Facebook group. She will be able to help you resolve the problem, and will warn others from dealing with that person in the future.
I hope you have found this guide to buying and swapping nail polish online helpful! I love indie nail polishes and will continue to buy them, but I will be doing my research from now on. Out of all the brands I have dealt with thus far, I have only had issues with one. Keep an eye out for the bad eggs and you will be good to go! If you have any questions, or would like to add a tip to this list, please email me at email@example.com.
Stay Safe & Happy Polishing!