Fraud at Saffire Blue: What are your worst online shopping horror stories?

As you all know, I’m not one to complain… very much. When I run into problems behind the scenes at theNotice, 95% of the time, you never hear about it — whether that’s a PR firm who’s upset over a product getting a bad review, or a rep for the company who could stand to learn a few things from Emily Post.

Over the past few months, though, I’ve been going through one of the most upsetting interactions I’ve ever had with a company. I don’t have any other form of recourse for their behaviour (you can’t Yelp an online store, after all — can you?), so here’s a warning for any of you in Canada who are thinking about buying cosmetic ingredients and packaging from Saffire Blue.

saffire blue - fraud vs bad business

I made an order at Saffire Blue this January (just shy of $100), and it arrived in early February. When I opened up the box, however, I found that a number of the items I bought were missing — seven of them, to be precise.

I contacted the company immediately, and contacted them again a week later when I hadn’t heard back from them. We exchanged a handful of emails, and then, after about a week, the folks at Saffire Blue suddenly stopped responding.


I called them out on it on Twitter to help speed things up (PayPal’s insurance is time-limited) because the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? But instead of saying “oops, sorry, we’ll get right on that,”, they instead made public claims saying I had never contacted them, even though their customer service rep had replied to many of my emails, and I have a record of all of them.

I had paid for the order through PayPal, so I opened up a dispute about the items. Throughout the course of this interaction, their CEO repeatedly stated that they had offered to send me the missing items — a request which I had been making for weeks, and which they had denied each time. Each time I offered to take them up on it, they immediately backtracked and said that they would only reimburse me for the cost of the missing items, and refused to send them out or refund me the cost of shipping for the missing items — a cost which was worth 4x the value of the items, which made up over half of what they charged me for shipping, and which they never had to pass forward to the shipping carrier.

saffire blue false claims - mission statement

Sure, I’m raving — but probably not in the way you wanted.

PayPal has now said that my only form of recourse is to file against them for fraud. I don’t intend to do this over a few dollars’ worth of items, but I did want to get a post on their company out there in the open.

If you need to buy raw ingredients or packaging materials in Canada, I encourage you to avoid Saffire Blue at all costs. They have a great selection, but their business practices are unhelpful, humiliating, and quite frankly, fraudulent. I’m not saying you should avoid all small retailers (this is the only time I’ve had anything but gold-star service from any online store, big or small!), but remember: even in the business world, you can’t count on everyone to be honest or professional.

What have your worst experiences with online shopping been? Is there anyone that you’d like to warn us about?

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  • WOW! I had just found out about Saffire Blue a couple of weeks back and had intended to purchase some containers for my DIY beauty products, now I won't even consider it. :/ I'm sorry you had to go through all of this and I hope things get resolved eventually. Thanks for warning us!
    My recent post Getting me through winter

    • I'm glad I could warn you off them, Christine — they have some beautiful containers, but they're not at all worth the hassle! (It's been almost two months and I still don't have all of the jars and lids that I ordered). If I find another retailer like them, I'll be sure to let you know :)

    • Vicky

      I must admit this blog and other negative reviews almost stopped me from ordering with Saffire Blue. However, I recently made my first order with them and I was over the moon with my order. It arrived in full very quickly and the products are exactly what I was looking for!!! I will definitely be ordering from them again. I'm sure as with every company there can be issues, but I would try a small order yourself before you write them off. I was very happy with my order. :)

  • vanessa

    Love the rant. :)

    Better watch your back Saffire blue.

  • Jenni

    i know some folks shop at HQhair…and got their shipments delivered. But I've made THREE ORDERS with them and NONE of them arrived. They sent me a shipment notification and they even had my address WRONG. How could that happen? I wrote my usual address upon registering an account with them to shop, and I've never had a single problem with missing shipment with any retailers I've bought with online. Avoid at all costs.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Jenni! I'm actually pretty surprised you've made three separate orders with them — I think I'd have had enough after just one! :/

  • ElizabethCoish

    I hate to say it, but I would file the fraud suit, if I were you. The constant lying takes it beyond a normal case of bad customer service and it sounds like it still isn't resolved even with the third party. Plus, you could be helping other customers they have screwed over this way.

    • Patricia

      I agree

    • I'm embarrassed to say this, Elizabeth, but quite frankly, I just don't have the energy to see a fraud claim through — even if this was a bigger case. I know it may well be the right thing to do, but my fibro isn't very well-managed right now. Between work, school, and health stuff, I literally haven't had any time for just doing things — it's been almost three months since I've seen a single one of my friends, and I'd have to give up too much to file a claim that may not even go through.

      In a lot of ways, this post is my way to make up for the fact that I can't do more. I hope it will be enough. <3

      • ElizabethCoish

        That's completely fair. It's easy to say that you should do it, but it is a lot of work.

        Hope you feel better soon!
        My recent post Review: Peter Thomas Roth Masque

  • Christina

    How frustrating! I think it's great that you posted this, any good company understands the power of social media. Hopefully if anyone searches for them, this post comes up right below their website!
    My recent post nars narsissist eye palette

    • I hope so, Christina! People should have the right to know if they're buying from a company that (a) won't send them everything they ordered and/or (b) will publicly make false claims about them. :/

  • Amalia

    This is the main reason why I avoid online purchases (although I want or need some items).The finances are not well in Greece ,so for me to lose some money (even the smallest amount) is a big problem .Sorry for my English .Big hugs from Greece.

    • Big hugs right back you, Amalia. I can't imagine how tough things must be for you in Greece right now <3

  • abeautifulzen

    wow! thanks for this heads up! i'll defs avoid this. and i think legally, the did commit fraud. but the hassle of it all might not be worth it.
    i'm glad you're calling them out! ppl listen to you.
    My recent post The Body Shop Color Crush Eyeshadows: Chocolate Liner, Boyfriend's Jeans, Grape Expectations*

    • Maaan, really? (I've never taken a single course on business or law — in order to file for fraud, I'd first have to learn what it is by definition >.<)

      Are you saying you listen to me, Jenn? :D :D ;)

  • mostlysunnybunny

    Ouch! I'm so sorry to hear about this, Rae! This is just unacceptable!

    I haven't had a lot of bad experience with online shopping (I'm knocking on wood real hard here). I think I've had one parcel missing (but the store sent it again without making any fuss), and my Naked 2 had a little scratch on the case when it arrived so they gave me a small refund. That's about it. Thanks for giving everyone the heads-up! I hope a store like this will go out of business very soon!
    My recent post Chanel Smoky Grey Stylo Yeux Waterproof &amp; Vert Grisé Le Volume de Chanel Waterproof

    • This is probably going to sound weird, but your customer service stories are exactly what I think of when I think of GOOD customer service! Mistakes will always happen, you know? But where you really see the merit of a company is in the way that they deal with problems.

      Honestly, I think my missing items probably just ended up in someone else's order or on the warehouse floor by mistake — but then they decided to stake their reputation on refusing to admit to having made a mistake, which. >.<

  • What a horrible experience! Tweeting this to let them know the blogosphere stands behind you.
    My recent post I’ve Got the Blues With Radiant Orchid

  • I think Elizabeth is right – I would file for fraud as well. The lies the company's been sprouting in their communication with you go beyond just bad customer service. Gosh, this is truly awful… Hang in there, Rae <3

    • Thank you, darling <3 (Replied to Elizabeth above re: fraud!)

  • That's awful!! I had been thinking of ordering from them but I will stay away now. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Jamie

    Thanks for the warning! So sorry to hear about all that. It's such an awful position to be in when they have your money already and you know it's not fair. But I agree with you that it's most likely crappy customer service and bad quality control to blame for your experience – not fraud. I'm not sure what the requirements in Canada are, but in the US, fraud is a rather complicated and difficult case to win as a plaintiff that rises above rudeness, negligence and internal communication breakdowns.

    Do you have any kind of arbitration or administrative process you can go through where you're at? It's usually not a binding process, but it's WAY cheaper than formally filing suit, and small businesses and individuals often comply with the rulings/opinions of the arbitrators in order to avoid the costs of going to court. Where I live, our most well-known arbitrator is the Better Business Bureau. Might be worth looking around if you still feel wronged.

    • I think they definitely messed up, but honestly, I don't have the time or energy to file against them (even through the BBB). I'm just hoping they will see how many people are now aware of their poor handling of this situation & smarten up in the future!

  • My favourite webshop is Feelunique. They have the best customer support I have ever experienced, just sayin'. I love them!
    My recent post Favvolippiesar just nu

    • Thanks, Ninni! I'm thinking of putting together a follow up post about the BEST customer service, but it looks like you're two steps ahead of me ;)

  • fieran

    Sorry to hear about your bad service. I've had bad service from time to time but nothing this serious. Not sure if there is a consumer court in Canada, but you could consider that. *HUG*

    • It's not worth the hassle, but thank you for the hug!! It's very much appreciated :) xo

  • superpopbooks

    I have worked for online businesses in customer service. I've seen problems like this all the time.
    Sometimes, it is not the company's fault but a bad/new/or unwillingly to help representative. That's why it is better to speak with more than just one representative and/or the managers.
    I used to have a manager who was extremely unhelpful with customers, she refused to give refunds or send missing items to them. That gives horrible customer experiences.
    Probably they have a non-refund shipping policy, however, when the case is extreme, they should give you the refund for the missing items AND the shipping as well.

    Just because one person has a bad experience with a company doesn't mean it will be the same case with everyone. But I guess that how the business world is.

    The only bad experience I've had as an online shopper was shopping on ebay.

    • I totally agree that customer service can just depend on who it is you're dealing with, but I think, in this case, it's a broader problem. I spoke with both their customer service rep and their CEO, and the latter was actually much worse — something that, now that I'm looking for it, I've seen mentions of elsewhere online, too.

      I'm never going to understand no-refund shipping policies! Like, if it's a warranty thing or a return/exchange, then yes, that makes sense — but charging a consumer shipping for an item that you never sent??! That one continues to boggle me >.<

  • I'm sorry to hear you had to experience something like this!
    I myself went through this huge e-tailer phase and I've heard many horror stories from fellow people from the MUA boards.
    The worst one for me was with an online site for color contacts called, who lied to me about the shipping date and sent me defective items but didn't do anything until I posted a rant post on my blog. Later on they tried to fix the situation but it was too late.
    It is true there are unreasonable consumers who try to take advantage of the system and vice versa.
    How can we protect ourselves wisely? I really don't know since there is no real way to tell when it comes to smaller business.
    My recent post Review, Swatch – Manna Kadar Lipstick Saucy

    • Oh, geez — that actually sounds really horrifying, Lena. It is so, so easy to damage your eyes, and you only get two in your lifetime! I think you were totally in the right not to accept their attempt at repairing the situation.

      I always worry that I'm the one being an unreasonable consumer in the face of conflict, but from what I've read about Saffire Blue since this post went up, I'm 100% sure that this wasn't on my end. That said, I'm still not really sure how to protect ourselves from stuff like this, either :/

  • Alma

    Luckily I haven't run into any issues with online shopping, however I am currently dealing with some phone insurance problems! I bought iPhone insurance from a new york company through my provider Rogers. Sure enough, I lost my phone, and called the insurance and paid the deductible to get a new phone. A couple days later I received a call that they were out of replacement phones so they were going to mail me a check as compensation. 4 months went by and I still haven't received a check! It's at the point now where I have filed a complaint with the better business bureau. Hopefully the situation will resolve!
    My recent post Sheer Vintage

    • That's terrible, Alma! I really hope they fix the situation soon — have you tried calling them out on it publicly? (For some reason, I find phone companies have better customer service if you contact them via Twitter.) iPhones are pretty costly, especially for the larger sizes — it's pretty terrible that they've left you in the lurch for so long.

  • kristen

    Thank you, Rae. I am so sorry you've had to go through this but I'm sure this post will help others not get fooled again, to quote The Who. I cannot imagine a company's CEO not being helpful in this situation! I agree with previous posters about filing the fraud claim via PayPal. It is fraudulent to keep someone's money for items they never received. GOOD LUCK, girl!
    My recent post Are you ready for The Scrub of Your Life? Whisk away your worries (and dead skin cells) with Soap &amp; Glory! | Review, Photos

    • I've filed one through PayPal already, actually! They've said that they can't do anything about it until I provide paperwork (I think within a couple of weeks) as proof that I've filed a proper, legal fraud claim against the company — which, honestly, I don't have the time or energy for. :/

      Hopefully, this post will be enough — it's really a shame that there isn't an online-equivalent for Yelp.

  • jenny

    Ugh this company sucks, by the sounds of it! I’ve ordered from a small company in my local area before, and it took 12 days to ship two lip balms 10miles. Two days! Never again.

    • I'm not actually sure quite how long a mile is, but I'm pretty sure that's a long time to ship something that far! :p

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  • chela

    I had to open a case on ebay and ebay refunded me. Now I always read the reviews on the sellers specifically all negative and neutral reviews. With I suggest to get it with a tracking number. They do send thing when you don't get them but to get them to respond is a hassle. I had first opened a ticket on their site and a few went by and no answer. Then I twitted them and no answer and finally opened a case with paypal. I explained to paypal that a month went by and no package. I told them I wanted my money back. Born pretty store didn't answer instead sent me a traceable package in the mail.

    • Thanks for the warning, chela! That sounds like pretty terrible customer service — I think I'd rather avoid the company altogether than make sure to pay for tracked shipping, you know? Like, it's not worth my time or hassle, and I don't want to be giving bad businesses my money — they just don't deserve it.

  • Jen W

    Horrendous! So glad you put out the warning, they shouldn't get away with this.

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  • Jenna N.

    My experience isn't as extreme as yours but it was still enough to not order from saffire blue again. I ordered my items over a long weekend holiday and took those shipping days into consideration. After 6 business days with no shipping notification, I emailed them and got a reply stating that my order will be sent out today minus the item out of stock (refund included of course).

    This is direct from their site: "In the case of out of stock items on orders without Rush Order Processing, we will contact you prior to processing your order to confirm whether you would like us to hold your order until all items are in stock, or cancel out of stock items and ship the remainder of your order"

    I was not contacted about my order and there was no sincerity in the response that I received. I will not be ordering from them again.

    • Jenna, thank you so much for sharing this — I'm really glad that it's now out there for everyone to read. I hope you got everything you needed in the end! :(

  • Marie

    I am in several soap making groups on facebook, and the Canadian ones I am in have SEVERAL people complaining about the lack of service from this company, and now it is rumored that a new company that is called Purple Citrus may be them too. It takes weeks to get orders filled, they don't respond more than half the time to emails, when people call them they are rude and belligerent, and to top it off, a lot of the product they sell is of poor quality.

    • Hi Marie — thanks for the heads up on the soapmaking groups, and on Purple Citrus! I will be sure to avoid them in the future as well :/

      I'm not a believer in karma, but I sure do hope that Saffire Blue gets put out of business soon. There is no way they'd have been able to get away with doing this kind of business if they were a brick-and-mortar store, and it really saddens me that they're abusing the online shopping community in this way — stores like them give all etailers a bad name!

  • Marie

    I had seen in one of your comments about wishing there was an online version of yelp for this company…I found one I believe

  • guest

    So something you should know about saffire blue is a family run business the customer support center all family and run by lies. They say the shipped your order but may have not just pass the blame onto the carrier.

  • soapy

    I have used this company recently and was totally ripped off by them too. They were out of stock of the main items I ordered and shipped a few remaining items anyway which means full shipping and rush order charges. I ended up paying through the nose. The option to cancel was not permitted by them and my request to do so was ignored. I will never deal with them again and advise others to be very careful and prepare for these situations.

  • Carol

    There was a dead bee while putting together a mix in my calendula flowers…..I called as it was just a fluke I saw it, but they said they couldnt be held responsible because it was cosmetic grade.

    • HOLY GOD, THAT IS THE MOST TERRIFYING THING I HAVE EVER HEARD. I can't believe they didn't even try to fix the problem — like, if you sell something defective, no matter what grade it is or not, you should PROBABLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT A DEAD BEE.


  • Carmen

    I got a very large order from Saffire Blue. It came promptly within one week and I was pleased. I made a second order… and this one took THREE WEEKS to get to me. UPS didn't even receive the package until 2 weeks after my order was placed. When I got my order, it was basically good, except for a number of yellowing fragrance oils (I knew they were old cause the last batch was pure white), obviously mis-measured materials (where in the last order and the current one my "454 g cocoa butter" was 2 distinctly different sizes when put into containers), and literally everything REEKED of pot. I had ordered lots of packaging containers such as lip balm tubes, lotion bottles etc… all of which have a lingering marijuana odour that almost overpowers the fragrances I'm using, and the cupboard in which I store the containers. Too bad selection is so limited in Canada. Boo Saffire Blue.

    • Thank you so much for adding this comment, Carmen — I think it's really important to have consumer experiences from more than one person when it comes to a topic like this!

      That said, your experience sounds AWFUL. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that! If I ever find another wholesaler in Canada like Saffire Blue (but, you know, less completely-terrible), I'll let you know :(

  • Debra

    Rae, I just noticed that you posted a Yelp review of this company, but that it was 'not recommended' by Yelp. I posted a review and had the same happen to me, as did someone posting after me.

    I think it's important that more people share their experiences of this company on Yelp as well as here. I had checked Yelp before ordering from them, and since nothing came up on the main page, I figured (wrongly) that they were fine. Hopefully if people keep posting, some will make it onto the main page.

    • Hi, Debra. Thanks for letting me know about this — that's so frustrating! I have no idea why our reviews were hidden by Yelp's algorithm, but I hope your comment will help encourage more people to review Saffire Blue over there. I always check online before ordering from small businesses, too, but it's hard to keep yourself safe online when the negative reviews don't even show up!

  • Eri

    I've had a similar experience with Saffire Blue! Not only did my order arrive incomplete ( wrong size containers and the lids did not match up) but also took 15 days, when I live less than 2 hours from their warehouse, it's just that I do not have a car. The ingredient list was also wrong on one of their products, which for people with allergies is kind of a big issue. Currently waiting on a second order, and I wish I had read the reviews first.)

    • I am so sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with them too, Eri! That sounds like a nightmare. :(

      Depending on what kind of stuff you're ordering, you might be able to get it at New Directions Aromatics instead!

  • Carla

    A few months ago I learned first hand how dishonest this company is. They don't reply to emails or phone calls. So if something is wrong with your order you are out of luck. I work in Customer Service and I can tell you it doesn't take much effort to do the right thing. I'm on their FB page and I noticed they made an interesting post. They mention that you can no longer call them for Customer Service issues. You now have to email them – which would be fine if they actually responded. You know what that tells me? They are inundated with unhappy customers and they are not fixing their mistakes.

  • Mary Catharine White

    I am currently waiting to pick up an order from Saffire Blue and already 2 of the items I wanted are apparently no longer available but still on the website as being able to order! I would never have known these items were no longer available as I did not receive an email from them…..only found out by going into my account wanting to print out my order receipt! I called but was told that I had to put in a Support Ticket! Not sure what to do and now I'm afraid my whole order will be screwed up! I wish I had stuck with Voyageur Soap and Candle Company in B.C.

  • Mary Catharine White

    I recently picked up my order at the Saffire Blue warehouse and was most impressed by the service I received! My whole order had been filled and the owner and her assistant could not have been more helpful in answering my questions since I am new to soap making as well as bath bombs! I will not hesitate to order from this company again! I give them 5 stars for their product line, helpfulness and great personalities!

  • Becky

    I have dealt with Saffire Blue four times so far, and each time has been great. The service has been friendly, the products were better quality than other Canadian companies I have tried, and my orders are always processed quickly and ready for pickup, where the friendly staff has reviewed the order and we signed off to acknowledge everything was correct. They even added an item to their inventory after I inquired about it. They have been a pleasure to deal with. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience.

  • Cccmuse

    I ordered from them previously, a few years back, and like most others had a horrible experience. I was flat out lied to about why my order had not been shipped after 2 weeks. So I foolishly decided to try them again, hoping customer service had improved, and in truth I wanted one fragrance that I could not get at New Directions who I usually deal with. BIG MISTAKE!! Again, it's been 2 weeks & a small order of a few essential oils & a Shea butter has not even been shipped yet. I HAVE demanded a refund I will go back to New Directions like I should have in the first place. I will escalate this legally if I do not get my money refunded…what a nightmare these people are.

    • I am so, so sorry to hear that you're in the middle of such a bad experience too! I hope that your order gets refunded soon – no one deserves the hassle of having to escalate a simple purchase legally. Sending you good luck & good vibes!

  • Sophie

    I made the same mistake… just horrible customer service… now I try to cancel an order because the previous were just a mess, and they refuse to cancel it by phone, they informed me they will charge 20% of the purchase for a 'cancellation fee' even if the order have been done an hour ago… i'm not even sure this is legal… they only take message from the website, they didn't answer…..Now I have to do follow-up to make sure the order is cancelled. Unbelievable…

  • Heather m

    Beware. I'm going through this nightmare with them right now. This has been going on since may 2016. They have verbally harassed me, threatened me, sent a lawyers notice and now threatening to report me to Equifax.
    They shipped product to me after I told them not to as they shipped too late for my class and if it didn't arrive that day I would report to PayPal. They sent product anyway arriving 2 days later and in the meantime PayPal reimbursed me.
    I told them I would pay them what I thought was right less the amounts for my loss classes that I had to reimburse and they are hounding me for this difference. I refuse to give any more money to Saffire blue cosmetics Tillsonburg Ontario
    Beware everyone

  • bumpmediastudios

    They are completely garbage.
    1.5months later still waiting for refund!

    • If you're still able, I would definitely recommend following up with your method of payment to see if they can push the issue — PayPal, your credit card company, etc. Safire Blue stretched out emails out for long enough that I couldn't pursue a refund by other means, and I never saw a cent back from them.

  • Elena

    I have very frustrating experience with the Saffire Blue online store in December 2016. Their website shows the products are in stock but apparently they do not have any.
    When I paid for the order I have not even known that these products are out of stock (they never informed that these products are not available). I received the parcel with the missing items. After long and not pleasant discusion with the customer servise they refunded for the missing goods 20% less (as per their policy).
    Basicaly, Saffire Blue are saling not existed products, take money for them, do not ship them, and if you search for the missing in the parcel items they make a refund with 20%less cancelation fee.

    They are taking advantage of all customers charging 20% cancellation fee for the products which are out of stock and were never shipped.
    I would highly recommend searching for the other online stores. Stay away of Saffire Blue store, as they cheat the customers and make money by selling not existed products.

  • SB Former Customer

    Wow, I just googled Saffire Blue reviews because of my bad experience, and found this post. So it's not just me. The latest on their website states that they no longer do customer service by phone (so don't bother calling because no one will answer or call you back. But what the announcement should really say is that they no longer do customer service at all. I've been trying to receive my $200+ order for almost 2 weeks now, with frustrating interactions with the SB "ticket system". The box arrived with the most important and expensive part of my order missing… no paperwork included in the box. I issued a "ticket" via their online form and left a message with their hotline…given the lack of response I got with the initial order over the previous 2 weeks, I decided to communicate with them any way I could. Finally after messaging via their FB page I got the answers. What I needed was backordered and wouldn't be arriving for a couple of weeks. Since I was threatening to contact my credit card company (because the back order wasn't communicated and I wasn't getting responses), they decided in a big F-U to just refund the portion of my order that I didn't receive…. so 2 weeks after placing an order I needed for my business that I thought was on its way, I'm just SOL. The last message from their helpdesk is quoted here: "You're not the only person submitting to the ticket system. Im sorry we didn't get back to you as quickly as you would like but you have to patient.". Order from SaffireBlue at your own risk… be prepared for frustration and disappointment. If they make mistakes, don't expect them to acknowledge, take responsibility for it, apologize or resolve it with the customer in mind. Here's all they had to do to make me happy – give me an ETA on my order, apologize for the delay. If they gave me a small discount as a real sorry for all the issues I'd be a customer for life. Epic Fail.