Just because you buy sex toys or kink devices, doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to customer protection.
So, in the spirit of World Consumer Rights Day (in March), here are some things you should think about or find out before you start shopping.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
“Consumer protection is a group of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and accurate information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent the businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors.”
And, when it comes to sex toys, INFORMATION is the most important part.
The first thing you should know is…
THE INDUSTRY ISN’T REGULATED
If you remember nothing else, let it be this.
The sex toy industry is like the wild west.
There are some countries that classify certain sex toys as medical devices (which is good), the bad part is that anything “medical” comes with a slew of regulations and standards – most of which end up being expensive for the manufacturer.
There are a few products that go this route because they’re things that doctors would actually prescribe (like things for erectile dysfunction or strengthening your PC muscles).
Most companies will label their packaging as an “adult product”, just use the name of the product, or call it “novelty”.
For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with something being called an adult product or not straight out calling it a sex toy. There are plenty of high-quality sex toys out there that don’t abuse this workaround.
There are many that do.
You’ll often see this with super cheap toys or things made from materials that is harmful to your body (like Jelly) or made for single use only. So, if you see the words “novelty” anywhere on their packaging or site, run like the wind.
This means another important thing…
Most of the ownership is on the customer to be smart with their purchases (which, I guess, is like most other products).
KNOW YOUR BASICS
Know which sex toy materials are safe, how to properly care for you toys, which ingredients are safe or dangerous (for lubes, massage oils, and sex toy cleaners etc.). That way, you’ll be able to spot any red flags.
HINT: Read the ingredients on the bottle AND on the box. If they’re not the same, don’t buy it.
Also, beware of fancy or “unique” material names. Cyberskin is a good example of a red flag, because you don’t know what’s in it and the seller doesn’t have to disclose because it’s “their own unique material”. “Blends” are also usually something to steer clear of.
These are made from Jelly. Jelly = Bad.
Now, before your start freaking out, it’s been my experience that MOST sellers are upfront about what’s in their toys or sex products. The shady ones rely on you NOT knowing what Cyberskin, UR3, Futorotic, Fanta Flesh, Neoskin, FauxFlesh, Silica Gel, SEBS, and Silicone blends are.
The information is there, you just have to look for it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Cheaper toys don’t matter as much, because if it’s not something you’re happy with, you won’t be out that much money (as long as it’s body-safe of course). But if you see something that will set you back a few hundred dollars, make sure you do your research ahead of time!
Read blogs, reviews, Amazon reviews (take them with a grain of salt), the LoveHoney review section, product details etc. Even go into a brick and mortar store that carries it so you can see it with your own eyes.
Some great reviewers include – DangerousLily, Slutty Girl Problems, and Hey Epiphora are good starts (if I might throw this blog in there too:P)
KNOW WHICH DETAILS TO LOOK FOR
When it comes to reviews, you’ll also have to learn how to separate reviewer’s personal feelings from facts.
Meaning, it’s not unheard of for a customer to give a product a low rating because it was late being shipped, or they ignored the return policies and are butthurt when they can’t return the product – rather a rating on the actual product.
Someone might also dislike a toy because it just “didn’t work for them”, which is 100% okay. This doesn’t mean that it will be bad for you. A good example is buzzy vs rumbly or weak vs strong vibes.
How do you sort through this?
Read multiple reviews.
Gather as much data as you can.
KNOW YOUR BRANDS
With any product, there are trusted brands that are safer to buy from. Learn them.
Also, if you end up brand-loyal, you should still do your due diligence before any purchase. It’s just smart bees – because some brands can decrease in quality over time or totally change if they’re bought by a different company or change their CEO/higher up positions etc.
PRICE DOESN’T GUARANTEE QUALITY
Well, it doesn’t and it doesn’t.
There ARE toys out there that are super affordable, quite safe, and of decent quality. There are also sex toys that are massively overpriced (in an effort to come across as luxury), but aren’t that great. Then, there are some that are worth the money you paid for them.
KNOW RETURN POLICIES
It’s surprising how many people ignore this. Make sure you know ALL the return and/or exchange details for the company you’re buying from. And, for the love of god, KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS!
SIDE NOTE: If you’re buying a toy as a gift, make sure you gift it within the return policy period, so you can return it if there are any issues.
There can be different guarantee periods on different parts of the toy (eg. a masturbation case vs. the TPE sleeve).
WATCH OUT FOR KNOCKOFFS
Yep, there are copies of famous sex toys! Make sure you buy from a trusted site (if you’re going through Amazon) or from the seller’s site.
A good example is the Hitachi Magic Wand.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you’ve followed all the steps with the return policy, and a company is giving you the runaround, get on Amazon page you bought it from and leave a strongly worded message – they’ll usually get back to you.
Contact them again and again until you get a response.
And, if all else fails, contact whatever Consumer Protection agency is in your country.
SIDE NOTE: Always check your junk mail. Sometimes emails can get lost in there.
You’ll spend a couple hours researching which phone or television you want to buy – gathering details, comparing etc. We need to get in the habit of treating expensive sex toys the same way.
Want more useful articles? Check out these…
- How to Care for Your Sex Toys – World Worship of Tools Day
- Over 30 Tips on How to Clean Your Sex Toys
- Sex Toys 101 – A Positive and Detailed Beginner’s Guide
Anything you want to add? Share in the comments!