Review: Strawberry Net

Strawberry Net is a Hong Kong based company who sells discounted cosmetics, normally the high end stuff, skincare, body care and fragrance.

Brands of Cosmetics they sell:

Academie Freeze 24/7 Origins
American Beauty Fresh Orlane
Anna Sui Fusion Beauty Patricia Wexler M.D.
Arezia Givenchy Paula Dorf
Bare Escentuals Guerlain Payot
Biotherm Guinot Philosophy
Bobbi Brown Helena Rubinstein/Pierre Cardin
Borghese Kanebo Prescriptives
Bourjois Kiehl’s Pupa
Calvin Klein Kose Scott Barnes
Cameleon L’Occitane Shiseido
Carita L’Oreal Shu Uemura
Chanel La Mer Sisley
Chantecaille La Prairie SK II
Christian Dior Lancaster Smashbox
Clarins Lancome Stendhal
Cle De Peau Laura Mercier Stila
Clinique MAC Sue Devitt
Darphin Make Up Set T. LeClerc
Dermalogica Mavala Switzerland/Tweezerman
Elizabeth Arden Max Factor Versace
Estee Lauder Models Prefer Von Berg
Flirt Nina Ricci Yves Saint Laurent

Phew!

It is worth remembering that they do not always have the most up to date ranges, and they by no means have every single item by each brand; a good search will tell you if they have the product you desire.

Location

Strawberry Net caters for various locations, and you can select this when you first access the page, and it will change the currency for you.

I have noticed that if you are in the UK like me, the price is actually ever so pricer than if you were to shop in dollars; you can buy the item if dollars if you wish, they will still ship to the UK if you shop on the ‘US’ website or in dollars. I do generally browse with the UK setting, since I like to have an accurate idea of the cost.

Delivery

Strawberry Net offers free recorded shipping all around the world. It is an extremely, extremely fast and reliable service in my experience; at its fastest, just 2 days. There is a speed post option, but I feel the standard delivery, certainly to the UK is fast enough.

Prices

OK, the most important thing is the cost, no?

Now, there are some items that always have a small discount, and something things, in the “specials” and “top 20″ section, that have 50% or even higher discounts.

I find that even at the full RRP, the website is still cheaper than it actually is in the UK high street. Quick example – Chantecaille Eyeshadows do not come up as having a discount, and sell for £14 on the site. In Space NK, they actually cost £19 each, so there is a £5 discount, even though they didn’t realise it!

Because UK prices are SO high, there is generally a decent discount on goods that makes it worth ordering online – if you are in the US though, I am not so sure that the prices are that much lower, especially on items like MAC.

They offer a loyalty scheme which works fairly well –

2nd order extra 1% off
3rd order extra 2% off
4th order extra 3% off
5th order extra 4% off

Extra 5% off your 6th order (6th until 9th order)

Extra 7.5% off your 10th order (10th until 19th order)

Extra 10% off your 20th order (and all future orders)

If you buy 3 items at a time, you get an extra 5% off.

You MUST use the same email address in order to qualify, although you can also ask them to transfer your credits so to speak.

The general discount plus the 10% I get normally (not always) makes it worth ordering from them. But…

Customs

I was reading reviews on Ciao and DooYoo (both consumer review websites that I stopped reading long ago because I realised that really dumb people just want to complain about things that are actually their own fault.) and a lot of people who gave the company 1 star were complaining about customs charges.

I can only write about the UK situation because I am too lazy to look up the US rules, but its like this – when you buy anything out of the EU that costs more than £18 – no it doesn’t matter if its marked gift, then you may be charged customs. This is the RIGHT of the government (and I don’t like it either) to charge you, so be AWARE before you buy your La Mer lotion.

When I say MAY be charged, that is because sometimes you get lucky and they just chuck it through.

Now let me be honest about Strawberry Net. Because they are a big company they will, 99.99999% catch a parcel over £18 from them. I have had items customs £18.50 and it has still been stopped, so me thinks the lovley men in Duty and Excise realise checking thier ribboned boxes = easy, guaranteed money.

Tax by the way, in the UK is 17.5% on goods. I have no issue paying this, I do have an issues with paying Royal Mail an £8 fee to do a job that they should be doing anyway (sending little pieces of card out? Wow, that is worth £8), and then there are handling fees. On my box with was £18.50, the customs charge was less than £2, but the total paid was around £13 due to handling fees.

Strawberrynet will refund, on descretion only, the customs fees. So far they have done so for me (but I never check my bank statements, so…I could be utterly wrong), but they have always emailed me to let me know they have refunded me, once I have sent in a photocopy or for me, a JPG of the box and charges. This is DESCRETION only.

Fresh?

Being a discount store, Strawberry deal with a lot of discontinued items. If you are looking for a HG item that has been discountiues item, thats great. Sometimes though, that could mean the product is a few years old. Sometimes that is not the case, and its just that the packaging has been changed around recently.

Good prices are also there for unboxed goods (good, I hate the packaging).

I have to say, the majority of goods I buy (and I check the date) have had at least a year on them. Try and recognise the packaging to see how old the item is. Technically, they cannot sent you out of date things (if something is close to the end date they must say so.) So if you get a dud, get another one or refund but this has never persoanlly happened to me.

Most of the things I buy are newish ranges. For example- I fell for the new Dior Quints, the iridescent range. I immediately had a look on Strawberry net and purchased Tropical and Sea Something (the name escapes me)..as they were £30 (they are £33 in the uk normally) plus with 10% off gives a reasonable price. When i checked again the next day, they had all gone (they had every colour choice in the day before). So the newer in demand stuff will just appear and disappear.

Best Brands to Buy

Some brands seem to be discounted heavily, like Stila. Other brands like Anna Sui are great to have, since they hardly sell them in the UK. I like looking at Chanel and Dior, since they sometimes has Asia exclusives and US exclusives.

Payment Options

Credit Card (no debit) and Paypal (if you want to wait a lifetime).

Packaging

I hate Strawberrynet packaging. It is completely, totally wasteful and excessive. Due the the customs palaver, if I order 3 things I will do is separately. Even the smallest item will come in a rectangle box, with a peace of white foam board, little bits bubble, gift wrap for the product and bubble wrap, ribbon, a receipt, a promo letter. Its TOO much for a small item. If they pared down (stop sending the promo letter, we can see it all on the website anyway) and send e-receipts, quit using the boxes and the daft ribbon, as well as all that padding! (a bit of bubble wrap would do), that would be ideal. I feel insanely guilty for the packaging I throw away from them.

Customer Service

I will be honest and say I am currently, for the first time in 128 orders, having troubles with the service. They are sending me generic emails…ugh. The problem is when you pay by Paypal, they spend a lifetime matching your email up the payment details. So I always give them a hand by emailing them my address, my order number, my transaction ID. this normally clears things up, but this time, they’ve been telling me the payment has been received but not ‘cleared’ – erm, so where do my money magically disappear too? Paypal is immediate, unless its a e-cheque, no? So I have sent a hissy fit email, hopefully they will pull their socks up.

Other wise, it is email for any correspondence. It seems like they only have two members of staff – Joy and Zenny.

Emails – info@strawberrynet.com
orders@strawberrynet.com

Are generally the ones that will get things done.

They CS can be very good to medium-lame. This is normally when comes to trying to clarify things (like with my Paypal debacle). Another issue I had with them once was when they accidently wrote a £ sign instead of a $, meaning I got charged for customs. The charge cost more than the items, so they didn’t understand why, and didn’t refund me for a while – they eventually got it, and just refunded the item, but that was human error and I expected it to be sorted out a lot sooner.

Overall

Website – 3/5 (bit too messy)

Customer Service – 1.5/5 (pot luck)

Prices – 3/5 – Sometimes worth it, sometimes not

Range – 3/5 – Not bad, but they need some Nars and RMK!

So do you like it or what?

Yes! I like it, I don’t know how much I recommend it. Ebay is cheaper. Check the item prices in your own country and beware of customs and paying by Paypal!

UPDATE: I have since received the same form letter from Strawberrynet – the same as yesterday despite me pointing out that the money has left my account. Tut Tut, I am not amused at all. I am actually convinced that they have an automatic responder (a bit like Ebay) and that they don’t ever read emails.

Hmph.

If they haven’t sorted it tomorrow I am going to have to claim my money back, seeing as the can’t dispute it unless they have proof they sent the item.

Ignore me, I’m ranting.

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Comments

  1. Askmewhats says

    I’ve ordered at strawberrynet as well and I would say I totally agree with a lot of stuffs you’ve said :) It’s really helpful for new customers. They do waste packaging and they really send generic emails! hehhe but overall, I’m still ok with them as we don’t have Stila here in Manila :)

  2. Row says

    Hey askmemakeup!
    I agree I like to use the website for anna sui which is hard to buy in the uk.
    I mean I do really like them but their cs is really disappointment at the moment!!

  3. MandyPandy says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with a gripe about SN’s packaging. It’s a bit much to receive two boxes, ribbon and a mound of Styrofoam for one lipstick (which is what I ordered). Still, the shipping is quick, registered and most importantly, at no additional charge.

    That stinks about the customs duty in Britain. Is the customs duty only for countries outside the UK and or outside the EU? I wonder if packages from HK received customs duties before 1997.

  4. Row says

    Hey Mandy

    Yeah, taxes still applied back then, I am 99% sure I still had to pay customs back then. Out government isn’t very sensible. EU packages are not excempt from VAT, but they are free from customs and duty.

    Yeah I have no issues at all with the speed and efficency with strawberry net at all – when its quick, its like they just threw it over. I am sure they have a magic strawberry net concorde plane.

    I am terrifed about how much the bloomin customs will be for my 2 dior quints. Very worried indeed.

  5. Askmewhats says

    you said it right! I had problems with my paypal and I emailed to ask them if I could just pay via credit card.. and they went “yeah, just pay via paypal” HUH??!!! ??? hehehe

    well at least i’m happy I got my orders and they’re nice packed..though i would be bored and would feel it’s a waste if I ordered more and get all of them wrapped…i like the bubble wrap though…it really protects the product :)

  6. Row says

    Hey askmewhats

    I totally agree, bubble wrap is essential :) and a nice stiff envelope or box if its a big item but they go OTT esp with gift wrap and things. Makes me feel guilty about buying from them.

    In the end they finally realised I was right and 2 days later my stuff was ‘released’ tut, but means i prob wont get it now til next week. Booooo!

  7. coco says

    ive ordered from http://www.feelunique.com quite a few times and its pretty good. if your ordering from the uk, im pretty sure there’s no extra customs charge… (well not that i know of). the order takes a few days to come, ive never had to wait for more than a week which i think is quite good seeing as they’re shipping from jersey or somewhere like that… check it out and let me know what u think…