Dealing with Scammers on Carousell

source: shutterstock

source: shutterstock

Hey guys! Terribly sorry for the lack of updates. I have so many things to talk about yet so little time to do so ever since school started. Before laziness kicks in again, here’s one wordy post I’m sure many online shoppers can relate.

As the title mentions, it’s going to be about dealing with unscrupulous people online. What prompted me to draft this post was my close shave with a scammer on Carousell who nearly cheated me of S$19 for a piece of brand new romper that I doubt ever existed. I have successfully gotten back my money so I really hope by penning down my experience, it would serve as a reminder for everyone to be more cautious when shopping online. Of course, I’ll also be sharing some tips on how to avoid getting swindled and what to do if you are in that situation.

Yes, S$19 may not be a lot but it’s money I painstakingly earned from a month’s slog. Even if I had to part with that sum of money, I would rather give it to people who are worthy of it, and not to those good-for-nothing individuals who live off others’ hard-earn money. Freeloaders top my list of most hated people and they include those shameless ones asking for money when they are perfectly abled YET refuse to work. Scammers are no different but they are definitely worse than them in terms of morals and ethics.

What happened

I was searching for Rochette Romper (from Love, Bonito) on Carousell and I stumbled upon one for sale at S$20. Those who shop at Love, Bonito would know that the popular sold-out romper retailed for about S$35 on site and resellers typically sell them for about S$30. So S$20 for a brand new piece was really a steal! The price included normal postage and was even reduced to S$19 when I asked if price was negotiable. But what made it dubious was the fact that it was still available even after several hours of being listed when the romper was highly sought after everywhere. Later I read the listing description that there were two pieces (of the same size and colour) available. Partially also not wanting to miss out on a great deal, I gave the seller the benefit of the doubt as after all it’s not uncommon for items to be sold on a first-pay, first-served basis.  She perhaps practised that, I thought to myself. Within an hour, I had already made payment (via ATM) to that swindler. However I couldn’t make any offer through that listing because the item was already “reserved for someone else”. In other words, she had already accepted someone else’s offer, probably the buyer of the first piece. That was before the App allowed multiple acceptance of offers after its recent update.

For the record, text in pink speech bubble was written by me while the one in grey was by the scammer.

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Her attempts at tempting me

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Refused to provide video proof. I didn’t insist as I tried my best to understand that she was busy.

Before transferring the funds, I did do some background checks on that seller such as reading her ratings. At that time, she had 3 positive, 1 neutral and 1 negative. Loss mail and dishonesty were the main reasons for the negative rating. To be safe, I asked for a video proof of postage but was declined because she was “mailing many parcels alone” even though she stated that she’d provide that service upon request on her profile. She also “encouraged” me to opt for registered postage and quoted me S$3.80 for it when Singpost only charges an additional S$2.24 for local registered articles. I felt more discouraged than encouraged seriously :\ and that’s probably her plan to deter buyers from opting for registered postage. Didn’t want to be ripped off, I told her to send me a picture of the parcel before mailing it out via normal postage. Biggest mistake ever.

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“Video proof provided upon request” as stated on her profile

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Her only negative but very descriptive feedback

But on second thought, if she was really out to cheat, I think she would find all sorts of excuse to delay the delivery even if I were to opt for registered postage so I guess the best solution is to not buy from her altogether? Unfortunately I didn’t contemplate any further as my eagerness had already clouded my judgement. The deal was just too irresistible and I think that’s one danger of online shopping. We get so immersed in finding dirt-cheap bargains that we gradually lose our sense of rationality.

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The romper I wanted to buy from her

Since she was selling two similar pieces (later it became three), I wanted to make sure that the rompers were originally and brand new from Love, Bonito and not some replicated piece from Taobao. She assured me that they were indeed from Love, Bonito and even had the tag on (as shown in picture above). Also, her replies were rather fast before I made payment.

The interrogation

However, two weeks passed and still no sight of the parcel. The longest time I had waited for a parcel’s arrival was a week and it was because my envelope was tampered with and Singpost took the liberty to repackage it. On other occasions, my parcel was returned to the sender because my address was smudged by the rain. The past two weeks had perfectly fine weather so there was no reason for the delay.

If she had underpaid the postage, the parcel would still be delivered to me but I’d have to bear the penalty.

And most importantly, I had never experienced any lost mail. I know Singpost has a rather bad reputation of mishandling mails and I believe that mails do get missing from time to time as it happened thrice to my friend living at Jalan Membina. But the postmen servicing my old and current estates never fail to deliver my parcels successfully, rain or shine. People who know me would know how much of a shopaholic I am and I receive an average of three bulky parcels a week. I am such a frequent online shopper that even my Bukit Batok postwoman once personally delivered a parcel that had no unit number to me LOL. Furthermore, it’s a national postal carrier utilised by major companies that send out bills and letters in regular envelopes every single day. If such small items can be delivered without any problem, how would an A4-sized bulky parcel disappear? Well, unless someone stole the mailbag away during transit but that’s VERY rare.

I decided to confront the seller but of course, I started off with a more courteous tone.

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She said she didn’t receive my message. I totally believe ya.

I asked if other buyers had received theirs to which she replied that they already did. What a liar. The truth will always prevail.

I felt being polite was going to lead me to nowhere, so I jumped the gun.

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Notice how she immediately turned the tables and accused me of not opting for registered mail although she “encouraged” me to? Typical response of a scammer who attempted to cover her ass. I’m sorry but your ass is obviously too big ‘coz I totally saw through you.

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The altercation continued. Each time she tried to outdo me in the length of writing. Okay sure, bring it on!

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A case of the pot calling the kettle black. I am soooo pathetically equipped with general knowledge *_*

I bombarded her with lots of questions which she couldn’t answer, and her replies were extremely slow.

The investigation

Carousell admin was also taking a long time to get back to my complaint because of a major event over the weekends. I grew really impatient and eventually embarked on my own investigation. I couldn’t get anything by Googling her username, but I made a huge discovery when I searched for the DBS CURRENT account I transferred the S$19 to because I found out that it actually belongs to 65daigou.com. 65Daigou works as a forwarder for sites that don’t accept international credit cards like Taobao. To purchase from these sites, you’d have to first top-up your account with cash (via bank transfer, credit card etc.) and you can withdraw them anytime.

Does that give you an idea of the scammer’s plan? Yes, that loser had been making use of a third party’s bank account to receive funds because she obviously knew that it’d be too risky if she used her own bank account. She avoided using anything that would suggest her identity. Smart move, but there is no such thing as a perfect crime. You’re bound to leave traces of your misdeeds.

On top of that, I also managed to find out who she is, her age, where she studies and her place of residence despite her extreme cautiousness. But I never once threatened to expose her.. although I did plan to do so if she ultimately refused to refund. I’m cut out to be a detective, doncha think? People say that you need to have the mind of a criminal to know how a criminal operates. That’s absolutely true although I don’t scam. I just have lotsa tricks up my sleeve hehe. Or maybe I’m just overly analytical.

On the fourth day, I messaged the buyer that left her the negative rating to understand more about her situation. Apparently, in a bid to deter meetups, that deceitful seller charged her S$3 for meetup at her (the seller’s) convenience. How ludicrous. No one in the right mind would PAY to meet when mailing would cost also around the same. She opted for normal postage in the end but of course, the parcel never came and she never got her money back. She also mentioned that there used to be many other negative reviews relating to the same issues on her page, but somehow they got deleted!

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Her lies… they’re exposed.

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Ridiculous!

At the same time, I also made an appeal on Carousell marketplace in hopes of gathering other buyers of the romper because Carousell admin couldn’t reveal them to me (it has got to do with their privacy policy I believe). I did so without disclosing the seller’s identity to avoid sounding like I was defaming her and also… to sieve out the nosey parkers from the genuinely affected ones. The aim of this was to check if they had received their parcels.

The refund

In the end, THREE people approached me. That makes FOUR buyers of the romper including myself. Didn’t she only have THREE pieces? And didn’t she say that everyone else had received their romper? BAM! That confirmed my suspicion that she was scheming to cheat!

Out of the three buyers, one received hers after two weeks while another had been promised a refund because her parcel was “returned”. Upon receiving the returned mail, the swindler ripped it open to find the romper stained! And she totally blamed it on Singpost haha.

Ifyouknowwhatimean

“Stained” on a female apparel? Are you trying to tell me that there are perverts at Singpost?

Why she would tear the envelope and inspect the item again is beyond me. But one thing for sure is that she only had ONE piece and was trying her luck at scamming the others of their money on the pretext of lost mails. She honoured one deal and refunded another to make it seem more plausible that two other mails were lost. Brilliant plan, come I clap for you?

She probably felt that I wasn’t easy to mess with so she finally relented and refunded my money through 65Daigou.com, which she referred to as her “supplier”, because my parcel was suddenly in her letterbox. *scoffs* She took screenshots of the process but cropped out anything that hinted the actual source of the money. Gosh, I have never in my life seen such a blatant liar.

The last buyer, like myself, never received the parcel but with my guidance, she got her money back via ATM transfer (as doing so wouldn’t reveal her bank account number on the payee’s bank statements) after waiting for the parcel for three weeks. But it was through perseverance and endless arguments that she finally got what she wanted. Despite asking for a receipt of transfer, the scammer never provided any and hasn’t replied since.

The aftermath

After everyone had received their refund, Carousell finally got back to me to ask for an update. Although I have no concrete evidence that she scams, I did manage to raise a lot of doubts about the seller which convinced the admin that she’s dishonest. They have since removed the scammer’s listings from the search engine and are now in the process of suspending her account.


avoid-scam

First, you need to be aware of the tactics that scammers deploy to hook their victims. It’s always the same modus operandi but people never fail to fall for them.. which I totally understand because we all want to get the best deals possible. I have seen many people avoid online shopping altogether because their experiences had been tainted by scams and frauds but these can be prevented if you are more street smart (it can be inculcated!). Keep your guards up if:

1. Prices are too good to be true

In order to get your moolah, scammers have to first manipulate you into their traps and one way to do so is set their prices as reasonably low as possible to avoid arousing suspicion. They are not priced too low but are definitely among the lowest in the market. This usually occurs for very popular items as they tend to attract more interested parties, thus pressurising everyone to make payment quicker. Also, if item (especially the popular ones which require immediate payment) doesn’t get “sold” within the day, it’s highly possible that seller is still waiting to defraud more people.

NOTE

I’ve noticed a rising trend in scammers using bank accounts owned by third parties, more commonly Freight Forwarders like 65Daigou, to receive money from unknowing users (which they can later withdraw without leaving a trace). To better protect yourself from scammers, do refrain from transferring money to the following bank accounts:

– DBS Current 054-903335-9
– OCBC 514-772680-001
– UOB 388-302-811-0

As Carousell is widely use by casual sellers, anybody who provides a CORPORATE bank account (e.g. POSB Current, DBS Current – these are typically operated by businessmen and organisations for commercial use) for money transfer should raise a red flag! 

2. Seller only mails and never meets

I know of honest sellers who practise this but it’s no doubt one distinctive characteristic of scammers who obviously do not want to be identified. They will never agree to your meetup requests even if you’re willing to travel to their convenience, or pay them to come to you. They give all sorts of excuses to deter you from opting for registered postage so that you’d go with normal postage in the end.

Yes, you can ask for mailing proof like a snapshot of the parcel with affixed stamps, or a Certificate of Posting (COP) but c’mon… envelopes can be reused, address can be overwritten with a new one. Who knows what the seller does with the parcel after sending you the so-called proof? She can just happily chuck it aside while laughing all the way to the bank.

And in case you didn’t know, a COP does not mean anything. You pay S$0.20 for that yet still have to drop the parcel into the post box yourself. I have first-hand experience so I’m definitely not writing rubbish. I was so appalled! Ridiculous right? What’s the point of buying a COP when I can just walk away without mailing out the parcel?

Hence, many people now prefer video proof (i.e. taking video of the mailing process), Make sure you ask for a clear still shot of the address on the parcel before he/she drops it into the post box. But think about it, if the seller is really out to scam, will this person send you any proof ultimately? No.

3. Seller denies responsibility for all lost mails

This is usually stated on the seller’s profile as part of his/her “terms and conditions” which I feel are heavily abused by so many people (especially the younger users who have zilch understanding of the law) these days. I know some people resort to doing this to protect themselves but if your parcels frequently go missing, don’t you think you should stop mailing and meet up instead? Or maybe just make registered postage compulsory? Why subject yourself to scrutiny when you know that your parcels will most probably get lost?

*shrugs shoulders* I do not have that silly clause in my terms and conditions, because my mails never go missing and I have absolute faith in Singpost lol. Plus, I take the initiatives to send mailing proofs even if I’m not told to do so. However if they do (which would only happen for low-cost/smaller items as they are strictly mail-only) get lost, I may, at my discretion, bear some responsibility by doing a partial refund or mailing out a replacement. But personally I don’t think parcels would be lost if you’ve duly written the addresses correctly and properly secured it. It’s not like you’re operating a blogshop business that you have to send out hundreds of parcel everyday. What’s the probability of losing the one and only parcel that you’ve mailed out?

Hence, I conclude that the term “Not liable for lost mails” are only used by people who always lose their parcels.

Just like the scammer I dealt with, not only did she not take the slightest bit of responsibility, she even pointed fingers at me for not opting for registered postage. That was her immediate reaction, like she had already planned to respond that way if someone confronts her about the lost mail. Pfft. Dishonest much.

4. Seller entices and reassures you unnecessarily

“I have many other interested parties!!”

“I have only one piece left!!”

“Don’t worry, I don’t scam!” although you’ve never hinted at any doubts about the seller’s trustworthiness.

Yadda, yadda.

These are some words commonly used by scammers to rob you the ability to consider. They make you go into a state of hysteria and worry that other buyers would beat you to buying it. Take a deep breath, read the seller’s reviews and access his/her credibility. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you sense something amiss, don’t be afraid to reject the deal and do not succumb to temptation.

Also, do not assume that the seller is legitimate just because he or she had registered the business with ACRA. That does not prove the honesty of the seller. ACRA registration is not difficult at all as you’d only need your Singpass and S$50 for registration fee. I’m sure you’re able to name some registered dishonest companies. If they can cheat, why wouldn’t ACRA-registered Carousellers?

After the above incident, I am now more wary of people with negative and (sometimes) neutral feedback that write about mails being lost. I assess those without feedback as well by looking at their sold items and join date.

5. Seller does not have real-life pictures of product

Never believe if seller says that the item is “true to picture”. We all know that pictures can be digitally enhanced, and studio lightings (for stock photos) can saturate or brighten the colours of apparels. The only way to find out how they really look like before paying is by looking at real-life pictures (if you opt for mailing). How hard is it to take a simple picture of the item with your phone, seriously? There’s a reason why Carousell was developed, to ease the trouble of uploading pictures on the computer before you can finally post them up on a classifieds site! So it’s very strange if the seller can’t provide any additional pictures. Is he or she hiding something from you? Does he or she really have the item?

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Rest assured that you’re not alone as a typical (or veteran) scammer wouldn’t only strike once. They are so hard up that they would try to cheat as much money as possible so you can be sure that there are many other victims around. Do not 打草惊蛇 (act rashly and alert the enemy) and accuse anyone without evidence. If you suspect that you’ve been scammed,

1. Approach the seller

Ask questions that you know would contradict the facts and use this against him/her later. Like my example above, I asked if everyone else had received their romper and she said “yes” when it’s not the case! However this only works if the seller doesn’t disappear into thin air.

2. Conduct underground investigation

Lol, this sounds like some crime show (which I’m so obsessed with right now yay Hong Kong drama) but it’s totally necessary because you cannot expect the authorities to do everything for you. Start by Googling the scammer’s username which won’t give you results 99% of the time because they can assume a different identity each time they plot to cheat. The only thing that DOES NOT change is the bank account number. Other details which you can try searching are telephone numbers, e-mail and residential addresses (for trades). Document your findings and use them to support your case later.

3. Gather as many victims as possible

Some people may not be aware that they had been scammed because they chose to believe the conman, that the parcel was lost. It’s only after you’ve semi-exposed the scam (without revealing the scammer yet) would they realise the truth. Take this opportunity to talk to them and gather as much evidence as possible. Get someone to head the discussion on how to deal with the scammer. Once you feel that it’s enough, you can confront the scammer or bring it up to the relevant authorities. If you know where the scammer studies or works at, lodge a complaint to the management (that was what I intended to do until I received my refund). If you have the scammer’s address, better yet, pay her a visit as a group. But please, no violence!

4. Report to Carousell admin

Honestly, they can’t do much because the conduct of sellers is beyond their control. The most they can do is to e-mail the seller to ask for a follow-up, and/or suspend the seller’s account. If the seller doesn’t reply, I’m afraid their effort ends there.

5. Make a Police report

Only escalate the matter if the scammer refuses to do anything. But making a report is a long and tedious process which doesn’t guarantee results (much to the advantage of the scammer) unless it involves a LARGE amount or many victims. Encourage everyone to file a report using the same reference number to show that the cases are related. An alternative would be to lodge a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal though this should be the last resort if all else fails.

That’s all I have to say! I hope this post serves as a helpful guide to anyone who has fallen prey to scams. As much as I’d love to help everyone, time does not give me the luxury to be involved in your investigation. However, I’m open to any questions so please feel free to drop me a message if you have any queries. Please also acknowledge that I am not an expert in this area so do consider thoroughly before heeding my advice. I won’t be responsible for any undesirable outcome.

Thanks for reading everyone! ❤

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Knowing Your Employment Rights

Hey everyone.

This post is more than a year overdue but I’d still like to publish it anyway because it contains an important account of what happened last year and my life actually had a major turn of events. I’ve been contemplating for awhile whether or not to post this coz firstly, it is rather personal and secondly, I’m afraid writing about it may jeopardise my chances of getting a job if my prospective employer decides to do a social media background check on me lol. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do anything illegal. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. I was being righteously indignant.

(wordy post ahead)

Introduction – The sack

I rarely discuss about my work life on this space for fear that I might reveal information that is not meant to be shared in public by accident. But I am making this an exception because I think it has some educational value haha, especially for students.

To sum things up, I fell out with my previous employer of 3 and a half years and yes, I was fired from the tuition centre I slogged so long for. The sack came after my outburst at my then bosses for their horrible treatment. I spent 3.5 long torturous years working for people who don’t give two hoots about employee welfare and would constantly push you around like a bully. I was young and in need of money back then (as I stopped taking allowance from my parents), so I remained in the company despite its high turnover rate (both admin staff and teachers alike) as it paid enough for my survival and also had quite flexible working hours.

As a job with no prospects, all they could ever hire are students seeking part-time employment to earn some pocket money. But the bosses seem to be very impatient and intolerant of them (most of whom with no relevant working experience) and always going into frenzy of rage, lashing out at them even at the slightest mistake. They believe that by instilling fear in their employees, they would be more efficient in their work. But little do they know that it lowers people’s morale instead and makes everyone afraid to do the more important tasks (and often leaving them to the seniors to do). Even though they do not physically abuse their staff like this crazy man here, they hurl the most hurtful insults capable of making anyone cry. Granted, there were times when the bosses were nice and would plan company retreats for us, but sadly those happy memories were minimal and didn’t last till the next working day.

To be fair, I gained the trust of the bosses after working for a year and was subsequently promoted to supervisor when I informed them about my plan to delay my studies. The promotion came with an undeniably high pay increment (but here’s the catch: I had to return to the centre whenever they needed me), 7-day annual leave (as opposed to the usual 14 days) but without CPF contribution. I requested for the latter but was turned down because my salary already had CPF included. If I wanted contribution to my CPF account, I had to do it myself coz I was a “self-employed” (erm wtf? Who are you trying to bluff?) At this point in time, I felt a little cheated but still went ahead to fulfill my commitment because it paid well and I needed to save up to pay my Uni fees. There wasn’t even a contract to bind me lol so technically I could leave if I wanted to. But I’m not that irresponsible.

Their attitude towards me began to change a little but being in a management position also meant more work and responsibility. My phone never failed to ring during my off days and most conversations began with lady boss chiding me for mistakes I didn’t make. Initially I took it gracefully but by the third year, I had enough. They really needed to stop treating me like a doormat. I started reasoning with them but my self-defence was regarded as being defiant so our relationship became sour again. My school term started and I reverted to part-time status and could only work 4 days per week including weekends. Gradually, my working hours were shortened by them to cut cost, leaving me with only 2 working days shortly before I was out of the company. Despite that, my workload remained heavy because other less experienced staff wouldn’t want to touch them. Working overtime was also prohibited because they were very reluctant to pay more (not sure why the massive cost-cutting exercise when their business was booming and tuition fees were always on the rise). However with just 2 working days with no time for me to do anything else during operating hours (was always wanted at the front desk as staff couldn’t handle customers’ enquiries alone), it was impossible to complete everything required of me. Thus I had to work overtime til midnight on my what-eventually-became-my-last day at work. I told my ex-colleague, who was there with me for awhile, to explain on my behalf if the lady boss questioned her the next day. I didn’t want to text her because it was already quite late at night.

Then came the last straw. I received a confrontational text from the lady boss the next morning, demanding me not to instruct my staff to tell her that I worked overtime (“Fiona do not get your colleague to tell me what you did for the day”). Apparently that colleague of mine texted her when she left the previous night because she was afraid that she would forget how to tell her if questioned (omg what?). That text came across to me as very brusque and suddenly all the agony and displeasure that I had been bottling up burst from me. In response, I typed 5 long angsty messages to tell her how I felt (no personal insults, just my feelings) and yup, you know it. I was fired. And the news wasn’t even conveyed by her, but by her husband who happened to be the other boss. It turned out that she had also taken a dislike to me (lol no surprise right?) and was probably finding the right time to get rid of me as well. Great, I had given them the opportunity.

To be frank, I don’t feel that offended when I read her messages now. I must’d felt really terrible back then to have such an overreaction. Please understand that I DO NOT usually behave like that!!!

The compensation

Having read a bit of employment law in Poly, I somewhat knew that it is wrong to terminate one’s employment without prior notice. So I sought advice from Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) and true enough, my ex-bosses had gone against the law (they never complied to most anyway). I quote the reply I got from MOM dated 4 March 2013:

Under the Employment Act, both the employee and the employer could exercise its contractual right to terminate the contract of service by giving notice in writing or by paying salary in-lieu of notice to the other party. The notice period shall be in accordance with what is stated in the contract of service. If no such period is previously agreed, the following shall apply:

Length of ServiceNotice Period

less than 26 weeks — 1 day
26 weeks to less than 2 years — 1 week
2 years to less than 5 years — 2 weeks
5 years and above — 4 weeks

If an employer wishes to terminate the employee’s contract of service without giving any notice, he may do so by compensating the employee with salary in-lieu of notice. The employer will also be required to issue a termination letter to the employee.

If you are covered by the Employment Act (ie. not employed in a managerial or executive position) and were given a contractual termination without any advance notice as stated in your contract, you could seek the assistance of the Ministry of Manpower to claim for the notice pay.

Based on the bolded part, I had the right to continue working in the company for the next 2 weeks. But of course, since my ex-bosses hated me so much, they’d rather pay me the salary in-lieu of notice so that they didn’t have to see my face ever again.

The compensation was labelled as “long-service bonus” on the payment voucher can you believe that?!? If I didn’t inform them about this rule, would they even bother to “thank” me for my service? NO. Even at this point of writing, I am still their longest serving admin staff (that’s how bad the turnover rate is). And I dare say I was one of their best employees, or probably the best. I practically slaved away for 3.5 years to get everything in the centre in order alright?

Actually they would la. They owed me a salary of $112 at time of termination. They wrote me a cheque of $120. $8 bonus. 🙂

The complaint to CPF Board

I admit I felt really disgruntled after the incident and all I wanted to do was to get back at them. But I hesitated on lodging a complaint against them to CPF because I knew the seriousness of the consequences they’d face. After all, they had NEVER contributed a single cent to anyone’s CPF account since they started operations in 2004. The arrears owed to all the employees from day 1, coupled with the fine for defaulting on CPF payments, were enough to wipe out most of their earnings (click here to read more about the penalties for defaulting on CPF payments). I didn’t want to be so cruel to resort to that but my boyfriend strongly urged me to get back what I deserved. Think about it: how much had they pocketed just by not contributing to my CPF alone for the past 3 years+ especially during the period of time when I was a full-time staff? It’s A LOT of money.

He is right. These exploitative employers ought to be taught a painful lesson. Most of the admin staff they hired were young female students and they were obviously preying on their naivety and timidity. Unfortunately, I am not one of these girls. And I really hope more students can stand up for themselves.

Hence I proceeded to lodge a complaint through my SingPass (procedures here). It took CPF Board only 3 working days to get back to me. I had to make several trips down to the office itself to be interviewed and produce supporting documents (bank statements to show how much I was paid, proof of employment etc.) but other than that, everything else was settled swiftly by CPF Board (staff that well-handled this case was Ms See Swee Ping who had already left the board). I am also very grateful to one of my ex-colleagues (whose identity remains confidential here) for agreeing to be my witness 🙂

The drama unfolded

It turned out that my ex-bosses never registered their business with CPF Board hence they were able to get away with defaulting on so many CPF payments. Apparently CPF Board and ACRA are separate entities so they will not be able to check which companies fail to make CPF contributions if they are not even registered in the first place. Quite a silly system if you ask me…

Anyway, my ex-bosses (and their partner-in-crime accountant) tried several absurd ways to save their sorry ass. I was extremely angered by their actions and they made me feel that they deserved the harsh penalty. Can you believe that they tried to wiggle their way out of trouble by lying that all the admin staff were freelancers!?!?! Freefreakinglancers. Because freelancers do not get paid CPF. And that’s not it. They even dug out contacts of past employees from as long as 3 years ago, instructing them NOT to reveal that they once worked for the company if CPF ever called them. Existing staff, under the influence of the evil bosses, were also told to persuade past employees whom they are friends with not to reveal the truth! How despicable right?

But I’m sorry. 老天有眼. CPF Board has their ways to investigate and we are definitely NOT freelancers. Furthermore, many past employees I got in touch with were more than willing to testify against them (shows how terrible they were as employers to incur so much wrath). Actually, once a person is proven to have worked for a company before, he would still be entitled to CPF contributions regardless of whether he wants it or not.

Aftermath

The entire process lasted for 3 months and I got my 3.5 years worth of CPF contribution in mid May 2013. And because it was the fault of the employers for failing to contribute, the CPF recipients did not have to pay anything at all, not even the 36% of wage contribution.

I understand that as students, you would naturally want more take-home pay. I wouldn’t mind not having CPF contribution if it was a short-term job. But if you intend to stay in a job for a long time like me, it is better to opt for CPF. Seriously only when you reach my age (a.k.a adulthood) will you comprehend the importance of CPF. Think about the prices of HDB flats nowadays… how to pay?!?! You have to start young to get that kinda money. Unless you’re some rich person la then I bo wei gong.

I know I seem like a very spiteful person here but truth is, if my ex-employers were nice and reasonable, this wouldn’t happen at all even though it’s wrong to default on payments. Believe me when I say that I’m compassionate.

So the bottom line is if you’re going to be a nasty employer, you better make sure you leave no trace of your dirty work ethics behind.

Anyway, the termination was a blessing in disguise. After being trapped in the job for more than 3 years, I could finally explore other career (not the right word to use but meh it sounds nicer haha) options. I had since worked at Love, Bonito, a company which I wanted to work for a long time ago but never had the chance to coz I was supposed to commit my free time to that tuition centre. Now I’m very happy providing tuition and designing services. Life’s really great now and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for that. Unless, yeah, there’s a job opening with really attractive pay package hehe!

Til next time 🙂

How to Spot Fake MAC Lipsticks on Carousell

Hello guys! I’m back with another “How to Spot Fake” post specially for the Carousell community but I reckon this will also come in handy for the penny-pinching online shoppers who buy frequently on eBay and Duriana.

Click here to read How to Spot Fake Urban Decay Naked 2 Palettes on Carousell.

If you had read my last haul post, you should know how much a lipstick junkie I am lately. But I only use certain brands such as Urban Decay (you guys know that I’m a UD fanatic), Benefit, Anna Sui and MAC, especially Urban Decay and MAC lipstick as their shades are to die for. I have no issues with buying Urban Decay lipsticks off the net because their Revolution line is probably too new in the market to spawn fakes. However the problem comes when purchasing MAC ones because counterfeit MAC lipstick sales is so rampant on Carousell! I had to be extra careful when buying them and thank god I haven’t gotten any fakes so far (I hope).

Singaporeans! Find out how to buy from maccosmetics.com here!

I have personally seen some users ignorantly buy fakes because the seller assured that they are authentic. And if these buyers don’t like what they bought, they resell them and pass them off as authentic ones again. It’s like a vicious cycle. Many a time, I wanted to leave a comment to clarify, but I guess many users take offense to that so I held back most of the time (except for a few occasions when I was terribly moody and wanted to confront someone lol gangsta). So instead of leaving truthful comments on every misleading listing, blogging about it seems to be more feasible since I know many Carousellers visit this site.

Google “fake mac lipstick” and you will get more than 2 million results but I will skip the size and swatch comparison since you most likely are going to pay before touching or viewing the product, and only list and elaborate on 2 simple steps to avoid purchasing counterfeit MAC lipsticks on Carousell.

1. Ask where the product was purchased from

To me, it is more credible if the seller elaborates on which MAC outlet she bought it from, and when. Highly unconvincing if seller claims that she bought it from a reseller who does preorders. Once again, NEVER buy branded stuff through preorders if you don’t know the source as 99.9% of the time, the products are inauthentic! Sellers can assure its authenticity all they want (but it’s always along the lines of “Supplier claims authentic”) but at the end of the day, when you realize that the product is not the real deal, are they going to refund you your money? Of course not, who are you kidding? Maybe half the amount for the nicer sellers, but definitely not the full sum.

However, if seller honestly tells you that she is unsure of its origin (because it was a gift), you can still probe further by asking for a…

2. Picture of the bottom label

The label is a round sticker found at the bottom (duh) of the lipstick. It is not a demanding request so go ahead and ask for this very important additional picture. Some ethical sellers would have probably known about this as I have also seen some voluntarily attach pictures of it on their listings.

For a clearer explanation, I am going to use my own MAC lipsticks to compare against some blatantly fake ones on Carousell.

Images are for illustration purposes so please don’t get offended if yours is used here. Please note that I am only familiar with MAC lipsticks so please do not use this guide to identify fake MAC foundations, blushes, etc, as they may differ in terms of packaging.

On Carousell:

@noor.shahirah.5 but seller makes known the inauthenticity of product so kudos to her!

@n**r.sh****ah.5 – Seller makes known the inauthenticity of product so kudos to her! This is one of the more obvious ones.

@shoppingcart - "Bought from another carouseller, she claim that this is ori(ginal)"

@sh**ping**rt – Description reads “Bought from another carouseller, she claim that this is ori(ginal)” – A classic example of blind reselling as mentioned above.

@rugrat - Another user who also makes known the inauthenticity of the product.

@r**at – Another user who also makes known the inauthenticity of the product.

Apart from the first picture, you can’t really tell the authenticity of the lipsticks unless you compare it with a genuine one. For my example, I’ve included one of different finish to give you a better idea.

Finishes from left to right: Dazzle, Mattene, Amplified, Sheen Supreme, Cremesheen, Retro Matte, Matte, Mineralize Rich, Satin

Finishes from left to right: Dazzle, Mattene, Amplified, Sheen Supreme, Cremesheen, Retro Matte, Matte, Mineralize Rich, Satin

Just a close-up

Just a close-up

Another close-up

Another close-up

Can you spot the difference?

Well, first of all, the genuine ones do NOT have the brand “MAC” printed again on the bottom label and this is consistent throughout different finishes. Even with some difference in the lipstick packaging (i.e. Mineralize Rich comes in a more luxurious tube), the bottom label still does not bear the brand name. What it has are just the name of the shade and the finish.. which brings me to my next point.

Fakes do not tell you what finish (e.g. lustre, matte, satin) the lipsticks give you. They just have the shade name and the serial number. Hence, do not assume that the lipstick is authentic just because it has a serial number as ALL fakes have one! It’s not that difficult to print some random numbers on the sticker after all! On top of that, genuine serial numbers seem like they are embossed on at random places, unlike those on the fake ones which are typed and aligned according to the shade name. Also, the serial number of genuine MAC lipsticks changes from time to time depending on their batches so don’t be alarmed if yours doesn’t match with those on Google Images!

I’m not sure if you can tell.. but the typeface used on the fake label is also rather tacky and lazy. It’s something that I’d notice at the first glance. Obviously the manufacturers couldn’t be bothered to bold and reduce the size of the serial number. It’s in the default Arial font.. a font which is used mostly by fake factories.

However, counterfeit factories are raising their game these days. They are able to make 1:1 imitation, so close to the original item that even I got deceived! Check out the fake MAC lipstick I bought off Carousell below for (thank goodness) S$5:

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I bought “Viva Glam Cyndi”. Dang, even the box looks exactly like the original. How not to be duped?!

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Wow, seems like these people no longer use stickers! They PRINT the names on the box instead! Just like the original!

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On the other side of the box

The sticker shown above got me a little suspicious, but I’ve seen authentic MAC products sold outside of Singapore with silvery stickers like this pasted on the box, so I closed my eyes on that. The exact same sticker is also pasted at the bottom of the lipstick casing! Furthermore, the sticker satisfies all the criteria of an authentic MAC lipstick: (1) it does not have a MAC logo, (2) the finish of the lipstick is stated and (3) batch number is emboldened and aligned differently from the rest! OMG WHAT. OK IMITATORS, YOU WIN.

By the way, I am not blaming the seller for selling me an imitation. In fact, she did express her uncertainty about its authenticity since it was gifted to her but I took the risk and bought it anyway! I’m actually glad to have bought it because only then would I be able to see and touch a fake MAC lipstick. This post lacks credibility without firsthand experience right?! So here I am, with a fake MAC lipstick that cost me S$5! Ouch. That’s two packets of chicken rice.

It was mailed to me and when I tore open the envelope, the box was already distorted even though it was carefully bubble-wrapped! This never happened to me before. Ignoring those minute details, I excitedly removed the lipstick from the box. Then, I took off the lipstick cap and immediately, I was greeted by a strong plasticky smell and a DISLODGED lipstick bullet! I was like wtf?!?!

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How the dislodged bullet looks like and it’s VERY DISGUSTING AND SMELLY. I tried to put it back into the casing but it was too soft to withstand my touch/grip/whatever (I swear I held it gently enough), thus making a dent on the bullet!

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The lipstick casing isn’t of very good quality too! Look how easily they can be detached from each other! It’s made of thin, light plastic.

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A closer look at Cyndi’s signature. Quite convincing, dotcha think?

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The bullet fell out NICELY and definitely wasn’t pulled out because why? There isn’t any trace of lipstick in the casing! Omg, use a better and stronger glue, won’t you?!?

Now, let’s do a quick comparison between this and an authentic MAC lipstick! I know one common way to distinguish a fake is to compare its weight and size against an authentic one. But I’m really all about convenience and that method is definitely too troublesome for me. So I did something else which could tell me the results in a snap of the fingers!

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Fake on the left, real on the right. You won’t be able to tell which is fake just by looking at their sizes!

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The cap! Clearly, the logo on the fake one is fading.

fakevsrealmac

Watch the animation! I’m sorry that it’s a little slow-mo but I can’t seem to change that on Photoshop.

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In conclusion, the cap of a fake MAC lipstick would not be able to fit onto a real MAC lipstick nicely as it is too loose. On the other hand, the cap of a real one will not be able to fit onto a fake at all. Fakes are made a little bigger than the genuine ones!

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In general, this is the crap I bought.

Hope this is useful information to you! If you have other ways to spot fake MAC lipsticks online, do leave them down in the comments below 🙂

And yes, most of the lipsticks shown in my collection above are my latest haul 😛 Will do a review on them in my next Carousell haul post!

Exposed: Urban Decay Palette Counterfeit Preorder

Hello guys! 🙂

This is a little late but, thank you for all the support in my How to Spot Fake Urban Decay Palette 2 on Carousell post. Honestly, I had my reservations about posting such a controversial entry because I knew it would stir up anger in the sellers, especially those that I featured (and censored). But your encouraging comments made me feel that posting it was a right decision. Hopefully it had prevented many people from being conned on Carousell, the recently-launched Duriana as well as other online marketplaces like eBay and Groupon (if it did, please do let me know in the comments! 🙂) I do see more sellers stating their uncertainty in the authenticity of their UD palettes in their listings instead of blatantly declaring that they are genuine without first verifying them.

Today’s topic is going to be somewhat a continuation of the fake UD Palette 2 post. I believe this is a prevalent problem not just in Singapore and Malaysia but in other parts of the world as well so I hope I’m doing good for the community.

As you guys know, I’m pretty active on Carousell. Recently I noticed some sellers (can count with one hand) carrying out preorders for all sorts of Urban Decay palettes such as the Basic and Flushed palettes and also outrageously claiming to have a certificate to prove their authenticity.

orly

Soooooooo certain ah?

As those listings were posted quite some time back, I had to do a search for “Urban Decay Authentic Cert” and “Urban Decay Authentic Preorder” to retrieve them. I will be censoring the usernames so if you’re interested to know who these people are, feel free to search for the same keywords. It’s usually the first few results with many likes.

Example 1

Example 1

Example 2

Example 2. This particular listing makes me rage because of the price.

I knew from the start that their palettes were fake but I was really curious about the certificate. So I private messaged one of the sellers above on the pretence of being totally interested in their stocks and I received this image upon request:

The so-called "Certification of Authenticity"

The so-called “Certification of Authenticity”. Never mind if you can’t read chinese because a NAKED 3 stamp is sufficient to make it “authoritative”. And sigh, I want to protect her identity also cannot ‘cos it’s all over the image! I’m sorry, I tried.

Let me get this straight: I can understand and read Mandarin. But I wanted to know what is stated on this certificate personally from the seller so that I won’t come across as being a bully who goes around accusing the innocent and saying mean things about these people on my blog (*cough* refer to one of the comments in my previous fake UD post). So according to the seller, this certificate is “from the china authority certifying that our factory is the only factory outsourced by urban decay to manufacture & distribute their products. Which (sic) includes the ones selling in sephora & several asia country“.

Wow, very convincing hor. Sadly girl, I can’t just listen to one side of the story when it’s also from YOUR factory. Plus, China is such a HUGE country. I’m sure the Chinese authority has better things to do than to meddle in the beauty business. Furthermore, why is the Chinese authority doing the verification instead of Urban Decay themselves?

Thus I shot an e-mail to Urban Decay (yes, as in urbandecay.com, the headquarters) to clarify and this was what they replied:

urbandecayreply

Their official reply. They were very kind enough to respond to my question but please don’t go and disturb them and ask them questions like if your palette is authentic. If you didn’t get them from authorized resellers, chances are they are not.

I guess their reply is self-explanatory. This also means there’s no such thing as “REJECTED GOODS” or “FACTORY SECONDS”. People who had bought their palettes from these sellers and are still very insistent that they are authentic, you can bring your palettes down to Sephora to get them verified.

I have to laud Urban Decay for their VERY swift response to my query too. I got a reply within 3 hours of sending my first e-mail which also showed how concern they were regarding this matter.

People say imitation is a form of flattery which I guess is pretty true for popular and widely-used brands like Urban Decay, Benefit, NYX, MAC and Bobbi Brown. Sadly this flattery results to great loss in profits and misconceptions among consumers who use counterfeits without realising that they pale in comparison to the real ones. Please don’t believe counterfeit sellers who claim that their fake products work as well as the real one (and that using a fake one is a good way to decide if you should buy the genuine one) because obviously they don’t! I mean c’mon, comparing a fake which costs $10 and an authentic one which costs 8 times more, you dare tell me they give the same results?!?

Also, before I conclude this entry, never believe testimonials especially those that “vouch” for the authenticity of the products. Frankly, only the ones who work for Sephora or Urban Decay are able to tell, not even myself. Trust your instincts. Many times, your intuition doesn’t fail you.

*Updated*
Some websites that you should be wary of when purchasing branded cosmetics:

1. Groupon.sg and other deal websites
2. Honeybay.com
3. eBay.com and other online marketplaces
4. Carousell and Duriana
5. qoo10.com and Taobao

These sites MAY have authentic products for sale. You just have to be extra careful when purchasing them.

I don’t know how to put it but no proper beauty sites would explicitly indicate that their products are “AUTHENTIC” in the description if they are really authentic. Look at ASOS and Beautybay, do you see them making their products’ authenticity known?

How to Spot Fake Urban Decay Naked 2 Palettes on Carousell

Note (1): This is going to be an informational entry about Urban Decay products (more specifically Naked 2 palette since it is the hottest thing around in Sephora) mainly for girls but guys can also read on to advise their girlfriends/sisters when it comes to purchasing cosmetics online.

Note (2): This applies to the latest Naked 3 palette as well! Now counterfeit makers claim that they are Urban Decay factory rejects because they have alignment problems, warped mirror, etc. Ridiculous! Please don’t fall for it!

Hey guys, I’m back again with another update. However it’s still not going to be about my life but on something I think is going to be really useful for everyone.

Before I go on about the main subject, let me give a mini introduction and review about the Carousell App. Do skip the part in blockquote if you’re not interested to read! Lol.

Like many ladies out there, I’ve been frequenting Sephora and tempted to buy many of their products but somehow I knew my limits and managed to curb my spending. Last year, the founders of Carousell (a Singapore-based mobile marketplace) e-invited me to join its community but I was too lazy to download anything on my phone so I regrettably chucked that e-mail aside. Then, seeing that I hadn’t registered they invited me again 4 months back so I thought, OK these people are so sincere.. maybe I should give it a shot? After all if I don’t like it I can always delete it, right? And wow, the moment I went into the App, I knew I wouldn’t be exiting it so soon. There were just too many great deals around! You can easily get a product worth $80 at Sephora for just $65?! I could’ve possibly saved a lot of money if I had joined earlier -_- But since this post is not about Carousell, I shall do a more in-depth review on it some other time! (full review here)

So anyway Carousell, being extremely user-friendly and organised, has a “Beauty Products” section for users to sell mainly their (brand new or used) cosmetics, nail polishes and other stuff which you’d apply on your body parts. When I first joined I was still pretty new to (high-end) make-up but I definitely spent time long enough in Sephora to know the price ranges for the brands like Benefit, Urban Decay, M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown. An Urban Decay Naked Palette 2 is sold for $80 in local Sephora stores. So imagine my joy when I saw this:

Fake Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette for sale on Carousell

Fake Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette for sale on Carousell

Naked 2 for $30?! How not to be tempted? For your information, this user actually posted about the same item TWICE with the other one stating his/her contact number for quick replies. I was enticed by that listing but I shall not be ruthless and reveal his/her personal information here. (But if you’re interested to know which username you can always ask in the comments below)

Though it was a really attractive deal, common sense told me that something was amiss. It does not make monetary sense for someone to sell something worth close to a hundred bucks for less than half the price? I texted the seller immediately and verified its authenticity with him/her (ok this is getting tiring. Let’s just assume that it’s a her). I do not have the SMS conversation with me already but she replied along the line of, “It’s close to authentic… Minerals are directly shipped from the U.S… I have sold hundreds of it already… You can check my Facebook page for reviews..” FUNNILY she didn’t leave her Facebook link for me to see. Trying to smoke me with the “shipped from the America” gimmick ah? Not so easy babe!! And notice she didn’t mention outright that it’s NOT authentic? Close to authentic my foot! If it’s not authentic, it’s NOT authentic. There’s no such thing as close-to.

Of course, upon knowing that it’s a fake, I rejected the deal albeit very nicely. However I was still very concerned that others may be duped into believing that it was a real deal. I went back to the listing and saw a comment posted by a potential buyer, also asking if it was authentic (pictured above). It was a simple yes or no question but this seller didn’t want give a direct answer and chose to reply with the same minerals-shipped-from-US phrase again. On another listing (MAC blush), a user saw through her and commented, “So it’s not authentic..?” and this crook responded that “…imitate sounds a bit too weird. It’s a graded one, stocks taken in directly from the U.S. Minerals and products are authentic..”. Seriously, does she know the meaning of “authentic” or not?!?! *roll eyes*

Because it is a marketplace, I didn’t want to appear like I’m breaking her rice bowl by exposing her misdeeds. But I really hope people were smart enough to see that the UD palettes were fake and probably NOT shipped from the U.S. If not, I don’t know… I guess that’s the price to pay for being so gullible.

I skimmed through her other listings and saw many more unoriginal products for sale (e.g. M.A.C, Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy perfume, Marc Jacobs wtf…), some which she blatantly claimed were authentic under the Comments (can be seen by everyone) when she had clearly told me they were near to authentic through private messaging. What a downright despicable and greedy liar!! I despise you!

More examples of fake UD palettes for sale on Carousell and also evidently showing sellers being delusional themselves.

Fake UD Good Karma brushes won't have the UD logo?! Oh yeah if the fakes factory can imitate a UD PALETTE, they can pretty much imitate ANYTHING! C'mon don't kid me.

Fake UD Good Karma brushes won’t come with the UD logo?! Oh yeah if the fakes factory can imitate a UD PALETTE, they can pretty much imitate ANYTHING! C’mon don’t kid me.

And the item above is already SOLD. Who bought it? Hallelujah to you my dear! $55 for an imitation product is definitely.. wow, so-worth-it.

This seller foolishly thought she had the real UD palette as her friend “bought it from the shop (I’d guess it’s Sephora?)” Her friend also one kind ah, made this kind of lie.

An ongoing preorder which you can find by searching some of its keywords. Factory rejects? No such thing.

An ongoing preorder which you can find by searching some of its keywords. Please, people, do not believe every single thing your supplier says. They are also doing a business. THEY ALSO NEED TO MAKE MONEY. And factory rejects? No such thing. And I really detest it when sellers say “Quality Assured” when they obviously do not know what “Quality” is.

I’m definitely not trying to deter anyone from buying cosmetics online. You can still get the real deal on Carousell at a fraction of the retail price, in BRAND NEW condition, but you just need to be more careful and alert. Now, let me show you how mine looks like:

The real deal.

The real (brand new) deal at just $65. #nofilter to show how it really looks like lol

You can already see a vast difference. I’m not going to open up my palette at this hour (it’s past 1 am here) and swatch all the colours for you since I do not own a fake palette to compare with. But I have done numerous research and watched too many fake-vs-real YouTube videos that I can tell at one glance if it’s authentic. To make everyone’s life a lot easier, I shall do a quick summary on how to spot a fake UD on Carousell (applies to eBay and other online marketplaces as well).

Fake UD Naked 2 in Appearance and Packaging

  • (Old packaging) Usually does not come with the mini lip junkie (a lip gloss) which is pictured together with my own palette – the red stick-like thing on the right. For UD Naked 1 palette, it comes with a primer potion. You can tell from the imitations above that the palette fits into the box nicely with no space for the lip junkie. However some fakes nowadays do come with it hence this is not the main determinant anymore.
  • (New packaging) Does not come with primer potion samples
  • (Old packaging) Does not come with clear hard plastic box because it is cheaper to use one made of paper.
  • (New packaging) Does not come with good quality, thick paper box. This is a little hard to tell so if in doubt, please refer to the rest of the guidelines.
  • See below:
If palette was originally bought from local Sephora store, it should bear this sticker.

(Old version released before early 2014) If palette was originally bought from local Sephora store, it should have this sticker. Criminal organisations are too busy making black money that they wouldn’t care about minute details like this.

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(2014 onwards) After Naked 3 was released, Urban Decay changed the packaging of Naked 2 and is now imported by LS (L’Oreal Singapore) Cosmetics instead of Sephora (as shown above).

Fake UD Naked 2 Palette (pre-2014 exterior)

    • (Old packaging) The brand “NAKED 2” is printed on it in a darker font (almost like black).
    • (New packaging) “Naked 2” is gold embossed. REMEMBER THE FONT (thickness, kerning between characters etc.) because even though counterfeit makers can make copies very well, there are bound to be some dissimilarities!
    • Feels less heavy or very light, about 5.7g as compared to the authentic one which weighs more than 7g.
    • Does not come with a batch number (e.g. A046) printed on the lower back of the palette itself.
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This is the latest packaging (2014) which kinda resembles that of Naked 3.

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In the latest packaging, you’ll be able to see (1) an expiry date, (2) batch number, (3) bar code tag if purchased from Sephora and (4) an import sticker, as mentioned above.

Fake UD Naked 2 Interior and Eyeshadow Colours (applies to both old and new packaging)

  • Mirror looks warped and your reflection appears stretched or distorted.
  • Mirror is hence of low quality and looks like it’s going to come off any moment.
  • The names of the eyeshadows are not aligned to the centre and some may also be misspelled (e.g. ‘D’ typed as ‘O’ and vice versa, so it’s printed as “HALF BAKEO” instead of “HALF BAKED”).
  • Colours generally look less shimmery (for shimmery colours), dull on the overall and less pigmented (i.e. you need to apply many layers over another to make the colour “appear”)
  • Fake Good Karma brush has darker-coloured bristles and when you lay it in front of you with the fluffy, rounded-tip brush facing towards your left, the brand “Urban Decay Naked 2” should also face nicely towards you (i.e. not inverted)

Fake UD Naked 2 Sellers (!!!)

  • Usually sell these palettes through preorders. A high-end brand like Urban Decay do not sell in bulks unless you personally visit authorised resellers like Sephora, Ulta and Urbandecay.com and purchase many of them (but rarely anyone does that because it’s about the same price if you include shipping charges)
  • Having said the above, DO NOT BELIEVE 100% even if the seller has a receipt (proof of purchase that she bought it from “authorised resellers” overseas). Always scrutinise these “evidences” THOROUGHLY, bearing in mind that these may also be fabricated (I mean, how hard is it to forge a receipt with Photoshop nowadays?). But if item looks exactly like the duplicates above, do not buy. See example below from lowyat.net.
    Why are the reference and transaction numbers for all receipts the same? Even if they were bought at the same time, all transactions should be on one receipt, no??

    (Click to enlarge) Why are the reference and transaction numbers for all receipts the same? Even if they were bought at the same time, all transactions should be on one receipt, no?? Some crooks may also get these pictures from Google Images. One way to check is to drag the image and drop into the search bar on images.google.com.

    Lo and behold, cheated Malaysians lamenting on Lowyat.net bought their palette from deal sites like Groupon, deal.com.my and other similar pages. So people who like to purchase coupons from deal sites, beware and be extra careful.

  • Obtain their stocks from unidentified suppliers. THIS IS A GIVEAWAY and applies to any other luxury/high-end goods. No luxury brand, I repeat, NO LUXURY BRAND will allow sale of their products to unauthorised resellers like… you and I? I mean, who are you to represent the brand? JUST WHO ARE YOU? Lol. Sorry if I sound very agitated.
    Ask “Where did you buy it from?” and if answer is “supplier” or “another Carouseller”, it is highly unlikely that it’s authentic.
  • Believe everything suppliers say, for instance like the above, “FACTORY REJECTS”. High-end brands like Urban Decay, M.A.C, Bobbi Brown do not release defected products (or also known as factory seconds) for sale. Why? Obviously it will TARNISH their reputation if they don’t work well on UD users, duh! Wake up your idea, people!! THINK!
  • Priced their palettes ridiculously and unbelievably low, but that does not mean that a $50, $60-ish UD Naked 2 is authentic either. Refer to the points above again!
    If you wish, you can also ask why they’re selling them at such a low price. You’ll probably get a crap answer but it’s entertaining to see how they react 😛
  • Are likely to sell other fake stuff as well. Always, always check his/her listings when in doubt. If you spot one imitation product, STEER AWAY FROM THIS USER. Ok maybe not so serious, but exercise precautions alright? I’d never trust anybody who sells fake stuff. That’s so mean! How could you bear to sell something HARMFUL to someone else?
  • Do not have real-life pictures of the product. Either the user has something to hide or truly does not have any because the items are obtained from his/her “trusty” suppliers (hence pictures are also provided by them).
  • Are not very sure of its authenticity. If they’re not sure, then they probably didn’t get it from an authorised reseller. Likewise, stay away unless you have all the time in the world to verify. (Why bother? Patience is a virtue. Just wait for the real deal or get it from Sephora if you can’t)
    Ask “Is this authentic?” and do not stop questioning if they say “yes”. Probe further! Ask where they got it from 😉
  • People who buy from the ultimate counterfeit cosmetics wholesale centre called VogueMagic (originates from China). No matter how many A’s they claim the grade has, DO NOT BUY.

Always keep a list of sellers who sell counterfeit products. I have mentally blacklisted some and reported many of them.

Identifying Ethical Carousellers (who only sell authentic products)

This is just my observation so please don’t blame me if I’m wrong..

  • Usually have a profile picture of themselves (ok not 100% true because I don’t put a picture of myself hahaha..) because they are proud of the authentic stuff they put on their faces 😛
  • To reiterate, they sell other authentic products too. No sight of unauthentic items for sale. These people are damn atas (high class).
  • Usually indicate that everything on sale is 100% authentic on their description box. I once saw a seller semi-lashing out at doubtful buyers that she does not buy and wear fake make up and “neither should you”. How awesome is that? I like her.
  • Usually provide real-life pictures of their products on their listings automatically (without having you to request for any). Unethical sellers only know how to use low-quality pictures grabbed from Google or from their beloved suppliers.

Likewise, keep a mental list of sellers who only sell authentic stuff by perhaps, following them? Keep a lookout of their listings because that’s probably where you can find real deals at reasonable prices!

I think my brain has stopped working for now.

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy Counterfeit Make-up

Just a quick summary once again…

  • Fake cosmetics are made of HARMFUL ingredients that are likely to worsen your skin conditions and cause you to break out. Or even worse than a pimple outbreak.
  • Unlike fake branded bags and apparels, you are applying them DIRECTLY on your face which will then get absorbed into your body. And then what happens? I don’t know. Why don’t you try and let me know? Ha, just kidding.
  • The money earned from selling fake make-up (I’m referring to the original sellers like the “SUPPLIERS”) is used to fund illegal activities like drug trafficking, people smuggling and robbery. Gasp, gasp! Why would you want to support that??
  • You want to buy Urban Decay products because you’ve heard great things about them. If you buy a counterfeit one, you are definitely not going to experience what beauty bloggers and product critiques went through! You’re better off buying Watsons/NTUC/Drugstore cosmetics that way.
  • Give Urban Decay credits where it’s due! Why are you supporting imitation? UD spent so much time and money perfecting the formula and yet you’re paying someone who is not involved in all these hard work at all?

OKAY hopefully I have knocked some sense into people who think wearing fake make-up “is no big deal as long as it does its job”. Well, if you still think it’s no big deal then I guess it’s your choice? You got problems later don’t regret ok?

There’s another fake Naked Product in the market! Wanna guess what it’s called? It’s no brain teaser I swear because counterfeit makers don’t have much creativity, do they?

Alright, let me unveil the name! It’s…. *drums roll*

NAKED 4!

naked4-lol-whut

WHAT.

naked4-lol-whut2

THE. HECK.

Those are screen captures from Carousell, by the way. I can’t remember if the seller actually indicated that it’s authentic but I think she did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have screengrabbed these. But seriously, if anyone bought this thinking that it’s authentic, then gosh you deserve to be conned because there is no such thing as Naked 4 (yet)! There were however quite a number of enquiries about its authenticity in the comments section. *face palm* Please leh, can you girls not be so gullible and naive?!

Ok ladies, that’s about it! 🙂 Thanks for reading and good luck in finding great deals on Carousell!

Read also:
Carousell Beauty Hauls 2013
Exposed: Urban Decay Palette Counterfeit Preorder

References (read to find out more, with pictures):
Vickyhoang.blogspot.sg
Amytabby.blogspot.sg
Where-is-my-mind.com
Dailymail.uk
Interpol.int