From a Big Box? Not in MY Box!
Risk #1: Counterfeits and Knock-offs:
There are a lot of well-known brands and models of coveted, high-end sex toys. While the reputable brands that make these popular toys do everything they can to protect their trade secrets, there are always going to be companies out there making cheap, possibly dangerous lookalikes to try and make a few bucks. They build them in shady foreign factories for pennies on the dollar compared to what the real versions cost to produce, and then try to offload huge quantities of them to resellers that have a way to remain anonymous and untraceable...and websites like Amazon can give them that cover. From a buyer's perspective, the saying, "If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is." definitely applies here. If you see a toy that normally retails for $150 for sale on a site like Amazon or Groupon for $60, that's a red flag. Most legitimate and luxury sex toy manufacturers set a minimum price that their toys can be sold for, so if an online mass market retailer or big box store is selling it for substantially less than that, it's likely because it's not the real thing. If you receive a counterfeit toy, and you can immediately TELL it's counterfeit, you might feel pretty disappointed and ripped off. Some fakes are pretty well-faked though, and it might not always be easy to tell. This means you may just wind up using that cheap knock-off toy without knowing, which brings with it even bigger risks, like...
Risk #2: Poorly-made Toys
One of the main reasons luxury, name-brand sex toys cost what they do is because of the extensive levels of research and development that goes into making not only a nice product, but a SAFE product. For a device you are going to be using so intimately, and frequently inserting into your body, it is absolutely critical that sex toys are made from body-safe materials. When you order a toy from a site like Amazon, where you can't necessarily trace the source and guarantee it's real (more on that later!), that means you can't guarantee it's safe or healthy to use in or on your body. Some dangerous features of cheap, poorly made sex toys could include, but are not limited to:
- Rough or sharp seams, joints, or openings that can scratch or pinch you.
- Porous finishes that can harbor bacteria, even with proper cleaning.
- Undisclosed ingredients, such as latex, which you may be allergic to.
- Unsafe, unstable materials that can leach oily residues, irritating plasticizers, or dangerous phthalates with use.
- Shoddy motors or batteries that may overheat, smoke, smell, burn out too soon, not charge correctly, or can even be a fire hazard.
- Insufficient packaging (read: a "nice, new" dildo wrapped in nothing but a crinkly cellophane bag) with limited or no useful (read: in English) instructions. And worse, that crappy packaging may be because, in fact they are...
Risk #3: Used Toys
Yes, you read that right. I'll give you a minute to throw up in your mouth here. OK, you back? Yes, sadly, it is true that when you order a sex toy or intimate product off of Amazon or any other mass market online retailer that doesn't specialize in selling sex toys, you may be getting a used one. Ew! Let's talk return policies. While you look for good ones when you're buying clothes, a TV, furniture, or a vacuum, when it comes to buying sex toys, the retailer should always have a firm NO RETURN policy! It is actually illegal in the U.S. to accept returns of intimate products, but by operating anonymously and from different countries, sellers on Amazon, Wish, AliExpress and the like, can get around this loophole. So, let's say Suzy orders a fancy new vibrator from one of those sites, and it's not quite what she expected. The website has a pretty lenient return policy, so the seller has to accept the return. Suzy bags it up, sends it back, and gets her refund. It doesn't matter if she used it or not. Well, that seller doesn't just want to be out the profit he should make on that item, and won't throw the product away even though it was at least handled and possibly used, so they wrap it back up and try again with the next unsuspecting victim. Proper, legitimate online retailers of adult products such as LoversLane.com and SexDrive.com have a strict "no returns, no exchanges" policy on all intimate products for your safety, but we also have a fabulous customer service department that will help you reach a resolution should the item you receive be damaged or defective. While it's always a good rule of thumb to clean your toys thoroughly before and after each use, including before your first use, you still DEFINITELY want to be the only person that has ever used it. Seriously, if you wouldn't buy questionably "new" sex toys from a stranger on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, don't buy them from mass marketing online websites like Amazon or Walmart, because of...
Risk #4: Third Party Sellers
Remember earlier when I mentioned that you couldn't necessarily trace the source of your item if you buy from a big, non-specialty website like Amazon? This is because of how these websites sometimes register third party sellers to sell on their platform, but with little to no accountability for what they actually provide. For simplicity's sake, let's talk about this through the lens of a shady new Amazon seller, Vi Brator. Now, Vi has some sources overseas for some of these "high quality" counterfeit toys; let's say they are all modeled after the popular CalExotics toy line. He buys them for $10 a piece, so he makes a huge profit no matter what he sells them for. Vi doesn't own a store or website or have any other way to anonymously sell these fake toys, so he signs up to be a seller on Amazon. The important thing he clicks here when signing up, which is available to anyone, is "Fulfillment through Amazon". This means Vi ships all of his fake toys, in whatever level of faked packaging they may or may not come in, to Amazon, with labels and SKU numbers that make them appear to be the real deal, at least as far as their digital scanners and overworked warehouse employees are concerned. So the Amazon warehouse gets Vi's package and scans in the first ten items, which are all (falsely) labeled as being the California Dreaming Catalina Climaxer, so the Amazon employee adds these to the bin with all of the OTHER Catalina Climaxers. Now, Suzy places an Amazon order for a Catalina Climaxer for $89, which seems to be the correct price (she's done her research!), and while some of the toys in that bin may have been the real thing, the picker filling her order just grabs one out of the bin, because they're all the same thing, right? So now Suzy has paid the cost of the real item, but she gets one of Vi's fakes. If Vi never gets caught, he keeps making his money and the racket continues. See how easy that is? Vi gets rich and Suzy gets screwed, until she sees that she can RETURN it...that's where that part of the story comes in! And she didn't even have to venture into the thicket of "See what's available from other sellers" when looking for her item...once Vi shipped his fakes to Amazon, Amazon becomes the seller, and there's no way of telling the difference. Walmart and some other online stores have similar policies, so Amazon isn't alone in this problem. Now, getting a third party seller's items may not be a big deal when we're talking about books, or headphones, or luggage scales, but sex toys? No thank you, please.
So, What Can You Do?
Luckily, this problem has an easy solution. At least until online big box stores and mass retailers like Amazon implement MUCH better policies on who can provide products for sale on their websites...just don't shop for sex toys on those sites. Stores like Lover's Lane are authorized retailers and have direct relationships with the manufacturers of all of the great, high-end, reputable brands and products we sell. We also guarantee those products and help you get a replacement should you get one that doesn't work. The products we sell come directly from the manufacturers to our ONE distribution center, and then on to you, the buyer. No middle man, no risk of counterfeit, unsafe, or used (blech!) intimate products, and no Vi. As a general rule, don't order your sex toys from the same website you order your cat food, drain cleaner, and digital picture frames, and you should be good to go! If you're concerned about privacy and discretion, our policies are some of the best...no need to bury your purchases in a huge Amazon purchase for fear of embarrassment...selling pleasure is all we do, and we make sure it stays your business alone! If you need more reasons why Lover's Lane is a great choice for your bedroom needs, check out "Why Buy From Lover's Lane?". Before you order from any other sites, make sure you read reviews, ratings, and any Better Business Bureau entries, if possible. If we don't have what you're looking for, do your homework, look for websites and companies who specialize in sex toys, and shop only where you know that what you want is what you'll get. When it comes to your sexual health and your orgasms, you definitely don't want to risk more (or less) than what you bargained for!
Happy & Safe Shopping, Lovers!
~The Intimacy Advisor