You’re not actually “splurging” when you cave and buy the fancy product that the hair stylist recommends at the end of your visit, because unlike the products sold in drug and grocery stores the product from the salon is verified, manufacturer guaranteed, and fully refundable; and typically less expensive as well.
Most people don’t have extensive knowledge about the world of hair-styling, so seeing name-brand products in the aisle of a drugstore likely doesn’t raise any red flags. However, for those in the industry “product diversion” is a very real threat to business.
What is Product Diversion?
Product Diversion is the term recognized by retailers and manufacturers in the beauty industry when products are sold by unauthorized retailer. In fact, you’ve probably seen it happen hundreds of times in your local grocery or drugstore.
In most cases, authorized purchasers will buy very large quantities of promotional products or lines that are very popular; they then store the products until the barcodes expire. Once the batches can no longer be tracked by manufacturers the purchaser will sell the expired product to retailers like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target etc.
Why Is It A Problem?
You think you’ve caught a great break on the price of the product that you opted not to get at the salon, but instead of saving you’re sacrificing both your safety and your cash.
When products sit for extended periods of time, the bar codes and batch codes aren’t the only things that expire. Believe it or not, beauty products do have expiration dates (shelf lives).
If those products sit for extended periods of time, the ingredients inside break down chemically rendering the product useless. Say you bought a product from a salon and were dissatisfied with the results, you always have the option of asking the manufacturer for a refund or replacement and as long as you can provide a proof of purchase.
But when you purchase a product from somewhere other than a salon, the manufacturer cannot verify that the product hasn’t been tampered with (because they are unable to track the bar codes) and therefore they can’t replace the item that you purchased.
This is is especially frustrating if you take into account that on average products sold in salons are priced between $2.00 and $4.00 lower than those sold in drugstores.
What Can I Do As A Consumer?
Though there is still little known about the channels through which the products are diverted, name brand manufacturers are taking aggressive measures to prevent diversion from happening.
The first step, don’t buy name brand products from anywhere other than a verified retailer. If you aren’t sure where those retailers are near you, visit the website of the brand that you’re looking for and use their store/retailer locator if their site features one.
Remember, evidence of tampering isn’t limited to broken seals. Because diverted products have expired bar codes and numbers, the location selling them must make a new bar code for their inventory so you’ll notice that salon-products have sticky paper labels where others have the bar code printed on the bottle.
If you want to learn more about product diversion and what is being done to prevent it, check out this video from Redken and visit their information page.
It might seem harmless, but when the truth is that when you purchase products from an unauthorized retailer you could be using expired, counterfeit, and potentially even dangerous products. Not only are you wasting money, but it could also be a real hazard to your health.
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