@lauradiniwilk, @KDramasinPajamas - well, since you asked...buckle up and make sure you pee ahead of time, it's a long one!
There are many issues, but the most unethical is the sales tactics the employees are instructed to use, and the bait-and-switch refund policy.
I had read some things about the company back when Glossybox sent out some other Orogold product (I think March 2015?), and then a few months later, an Orogold store opened in a casino nearby (where my husband works, so I’m there frequently).
(And they totally are related to the Dead Sea/Seacret Spa companies. There’s a Dead Sea kiosk in the same casino, and an “Adore Cosmetic Organic Innovations” (absolutely NOT organic) and the same salespeople work at all three, and all three places operate exactly the same way. )
I’d read about people’s experiences in multiple places online, but since I’m an empiricist and am strong willed, I decided to try them out myself in the casino. Seriously, I felt like I was in a play – it was just like the online BBB complaints said. A salesperson stands outside, offering free samples, and then once I reached out to take the sample, she grabbed my hand and asked me to come inside the store so she could show me something “crazy.” Yes, crazy, apparently. Then I’m in a chair and she’s smearing something around my eye and giving me back-handed compliments: “you have such lovely skin, but it’s important that you take care of it with the best products.” Another sales associate got involved, this one a VERY attractive male (the woman was attractive too – it seems all the salespeople are), and he kept talking about how my skin might look nice NOW, but that would change once I got older – “wait until 30” he said, which was hilarious, since this happened a week after I turned 34 (but I do look young, and that day I had pink hair extensions in, so I probably looked even younger). I didn’t say how old I was, I just went along with it. And maybe they knew I was past 30, but flattery was part of their tactic. Anyway, together, they did the hard sell, kept showing me different products, and asking me about the products I currently used. I purposefully dropped luxury brand names: Tatcha, Dior, Elizabeth Arden; all of which the Orogold sales team summarily dismissed as “bad” for my skin. First they wanted to sell me a cleanser and face cream set for $290. When I said there was no way I could afford that, the man immediately dropped it down to $99, winked at me and said “student discount, right?” I still said no, and then they started throwing in various “offers” of masks, scrubs, eye creams, until supposedly I would be getting over $4,000 of product for $765. There were no prices on the products or prices listed in the store. As much as I love discounts, that immediate and drastic price-dropping was a red flag - reputable stores have prices somewhere, and they don’t suddenly offer 80% discounts.
I should also add that he had previously demonstrated an exfoliator on my hand, showing me all the “dead skin” that came off (undoubtedly the glue trick), but since exfoliating my hand he was still HOLDING ONTO IT. He was very flirty, saying he wouldn’t give this deal to anyone, but that he liked me, liked my skin, and wanted me to stay “beautiful,” so he would give me “his employee discount” (no longer the “student discount” I guess), and kept punctuating all these compliments with little squeezes of my hand. The woman kept chiming in, verifying that he never gives discounts, that he must really like me, etc. And all this time I was still seated in the damn chair, while they stood in front of me. When I would attempt to stand up, they would ease me back into the chair, claiming they had “one more product [they] knew would change my mind.” I stuck to my no’s, but I can totally see how someone gets pressured into buying the products – stuck in the chair like that, I felt strangely like a hostage, and all the hand-squeezing flattery started to take a turn – the woman started intimating I was too cheap, while the man said that my acne scars and lines would “only get worse” (so much for my being “beautiful,” lol), and then, the worst, they started to accuse me of wasting THEIR time – that they allegedly lost all these other potential sales because TWO associates had been demonstrating products for me.
Now, listen: I’m pretty outspoken, I’m a performer, and I generally am not nervous about asserting myself, but my heart was pounding and my palms were sweating heavily by this point, and I honestly considered buying the cheapest product JUST SO I COULD LEAVE. I fortunately didn’t, but I basically had to run out of the store while they were shouting after me. I can see how the people get suckered in to buying thousands of dollars in the situations I’ve read about online. Then when the people try to return the product, the employee supposedly takes out from behind the register a little sign that says “no refunds, exchanges only” and tells the customer it’s their fault for misunderstanding.
At the danger of making this post even longer, a few weeks after that, I had a similar experience with Adore Cosmetics at the same casino. The samples, asking me into the store to show me something “crazy,” the attempt to smear something around my eye – all EXACTLY the same. It was less high pressured than Orogold though, in part because there was just one salesperson, and before she could smear the stuff on my eye, I ducked away and asked what was in it, claiming I had allergies to many products. She told me it was “impossible” to be allergic to anything by Adore, that it was all “100% organic.” Right, because no one has ever been allergic to something that grows in nature….I got out of there after that. From looking up Adore products online, they are most certainly not 100% organic, so there’s that.
When I go to the casino now, I purposefully walk on the other side of the store fronts, but I see them doing the same thing with the samples and the “crazy” demonstration to other unsuspecting customers. If it’s not busy, the person with the sample basket will call out to me to come over, that they have a “gift” for me. By the way – the “gift” sample at both places, and at the Dead Sea kiosk, is a tiny foil of hand cream.
I can’t say anything about the products’ effectiveness, but the sketchiness of the sales tactics I’ve both experienced and read about are enough for me to want to avoid this company.