Why can’t I buy LVMH fragrances on Ebay?
Lately, I’m becoming something of a perfume fanatic, but since only have a small budget, I have been buying from various resellers on Ebay. This way, I can get part-used bottles, small sample bottles, discontinued fragrances, etc. But yesterday I noticed something very strange – you can’t buy luxury LVMH-owned perfume brands on Ebay if you live in France.
There’s not a single Dior, Givenchy or Guerlain fragrance (or, for that matter, beauty product) listed on Ebay.fr, though you can get LVMH’s lower-priced brands such as Fendi and Kenzo. There are masses of Diors, Givenchys and Guerlains listed on Ebay.co.uk, and Ebay.com, but when I bid on them from France – even if the seller permits overseas bidding – my bid is blocked ‘pour raisons judiciares’.
I would have thought this amounted to restriction of trade, though doubtless the companies concerned would claim it’s an anti-counterfeiting measure (it is a criminal offence to buy or own a counterfeit object in France, so even by having it, you’re breaking the law). But why assume that all vendors are counterfeiters? And why would this only apply to the luxury end of the brand spectrum? And why only LVMH-owned brands? I can, for instance, buy niche luxury brands such as Serge Lutens and Annick Goutal perfectly easily on line, so I assume this is not a government matter.
Anyway, I find it annoying, really, when all I’m trying to get is a little 5ml sample of each perfume, and it leaves me thrown back on firms like The Perfumed Court, and having to pay for postage from the US, as I am obviously not about to drop 100 euros on a large bottle of perfume which I then find I don’t like after all.
However – I have also found a way around it, for anyone who needs to do the same. It’s (obviously) not allowed by Ebay, and you have to trust the vendor, but just ask them to list an item that doesn’t exist, with a buy-it-now price, and you buy that and they send you the real thing instead. Yes, it’s a risk, but for a 10-quid sample bottle of fragrance, no great loss if you do get shafted – though if you do, it’s a simple case of caveat emptor.