Friday, December 31, 2010

Web for GlittersnifferCosmetics.com/Glittersniffer.net Followup

I received an email today from Fasthosts, the host of GlitterSnifferCosmetics.com. It contained no confidentiality disclaimer, so I present it here, unedited, except to remove my personally identifying information.
Dear redacted,

Ticket Reference Number: redacted

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

As a hosting provider, we are unable to confirm absolutely that the website in question is fraudulent or is involved in a malicious malpractice.

We do take reported cases of fraudulent activity extremely seriously. However before we can take further action (as may be appropriate) we require your concern to be verified by the appropriate authorities or regulatory parties.

With this in mind, we ask that you forward the evidence which you have gathered to The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) either via letter or by contacting their consumer advise/advice line on 0845 4040506.

They will then make any additional enquires that they feel appropriate to prove the complaint.  If and when action is required by Fasthosts, the OFT will liaise with us directly on the issue. We will then take the appropriate action to edit or disable any website which has been designed for or is involved in fraudulent activity.

Please rest assured that we are fully committed to acting as a responsible hosting provider, and will take the strongest course of action available to us with anyone we find to be misusing our services.

We thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

Best Regards
Fasthosts Misuse Team.
Fasthosts Internet Ltd.
http://www.fasthosts.co.uk
Sure, it may be a form email, but it's better than what I got from the US host of GlitterSniffer.net (nothing). It has the added benefit of providing me a resource where I can register my complaint with the appropriate agency.

I will be calling the OFT on Monday and outlining the situation. I read up a little bit and it seems that GS may be covered under the Distance Seller Regulations, which covers internet sales. From the OFT site:
The key features of the regulations are:
  • you must give consumers clear information including details of the goods or services offered, delivery arrangements and payment, the supplier's details and the consumer's cancellation right before they buy (known as prior information)
  • you must also provide this information in writing
  • the consumer has a cooling-off period of seven working days.
I have worked in the internet business before, and I know there are laws that apply in the jurisdiction where the servers are located. Since information flies through the ether in the internet, and thus is hard to pin down to prove jurisdiction, it became common practice to place jurisdiction in the physical locality of the servers, which is why I am going to file a complaint in the UK, where the servers are located.

I will post a followup when I know more.

3/2/11 ETA: Correct the title and the reference to glittersniffercosmetics.com

No Comment

The description reads, in part:
I've been scammed before and believe me- it wasn't pleasent. Well- I've flipped that around and made a GREAT Scam.

Etsy, again

I'm fairly certain that when this is all said and done that Etsy will no longer let me report anything, ever.

I was researching (of course) this evening when I ran across Psycho Bath Co on Etsy. From their blurb:

New to Etsy! Psycho Bath Co.™!

Created by the same fabulous girls that brought you one of Etsy's top selling cosmetics shop @ glittersniffer.etsy.com!
The store is empty, and it hasn't been updated since 10/30/09, a day after it was created. It has no feedback. Despite this, I still took the precaution of reporting it.

I used the Report This Shop link to inform Etsy that a previously banned seller has yet another shop on their site.

Not Vegan

It's been stated before in the comments, but I've honestly been busy with so much I overlooked this bit of information, which should also be publicized: GlitterSniffer sold itself as a Vegan company, when in fact, they were not.


From GlitterSniffer.com:
Are your eye colors really all vegan?
Oh yes! Not only are they 100% vegan, they are also not tested on animals. We love animals and we love make-up, but those two things are not for mixing!
What are the ingredients of your cosmetics? I might be allergic and/or I have sensitive skin.
All our ingredients are clearly and happily listed here: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Tin Oxide, Silica, Iron Oxide, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Ultramarines
Our products are also created with ZERO fillers thus making your face and sensitive eyes happy ♥ 
 Please be aware that according to Lela's statement that she used ingredients in some shadows known to contain carmine which is derived from scale insects. It is approved for use in cosmetics, but has been linked to anaphylactic shock if consumed. Notice that carmine is NOT listed as one of her ingredients.

Per the FDA this is information that must be included in an information panel:
 Ingredients. If the product is sold on a retail basis to consumers, even it it is labeled "For professional use only" or words to that effect, the ingredients must appear on an information panel, in descending order of predominance. [21 CFR 701.3].
Also this:

It is illegal to introduce a misbranded cosmetic into interstate commerce, and such products are subject to regulatory action. Some of the ways a cosmetic can become misbranded are:
  • its labeling is false or misleading,
  • its label fails to provide required information,
  • its required label information is not properly displayed, and
  • its labeling violates requirements of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 [FD&C Act, sec. 602; 21 U.S.C. 362].
Additionally, GS sold badger fur brushes (scroll down to related items at the bottom). These were labeled as such, so while not in probable violation of any labeling laws it's certainly not 100% vegan.

Others Experiences

A few more links regarding other people's experiences with GlitterSniffer:

Chelsea was sold inferior product that took an inordinate amount of time to arrive and was refused a full refund. Pictures of what she ordered, and what she ultimately received, are here.

Julie issues a retraction of her endorsement of GS.

A big thanks to Dez for the information.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Feedback Please

First of all I wanted to say thank you for the overwhelming response to this blog. Along with the comments I have received several emails thanking me for the information presented. I am glad that you are finding value in it, even if I can only record my experience and not recommend that you follow the same path. I am also happy to report that I have only received one negative response so far. I was braced for an onslaught, so that's not bad at all.

It's a bit scary to me to look at the page view stats on Blogger and see how many people might have an interest in this because they were affected by GlitterSniffer in some way. But it's that, and your response, that keeps me going, even when I am exhausted by all the research and followup.

I never really thought that this would occupy as much of my time as it has, but as it's grown I find myself more than ever committed to following through in making sure that I have done everything in my power to recover my funds and inform as many people as possible.

That being said, I posted a Buyer Beware about a company I suspect of selling unsafe pigments. This was outside of my stated Purpose and scope of what this blog was started for. I've already stated my reasons for doing so in that post.

I bring it up because I want your honest opinion. I plan on continuing my efforts to recover from GS and that will remain the main focus for me, but would you like to see more of these posts going forward (providing I find anything else untoward)? The posts would be strictly for informational purposes only, presented without personal comment from me. I would, of course, be following up with the companies to request removal or labeling changes, as per FDA guidelines.

I've also been asked via email to recommend companies I do buy from. I've refrained from doing that because, to be honest, I don't consider myself any kind of authority on makeup. I was considering posting my experiences regarding customer service, however-things like was the order correct, was it received in a timely manner, was it as described, etc. I know there are already a ton of reviews out there that provide this information along with product review, and I don't want to be redundant/overstep my bounds, but if it would aid in making an informed purchase I would be happy to post that information as well. I figure if I stick to the facts of the purchase, without personal comment, that it should not interfere with the main purpose of this blog. I was also thinking about linking to reviews where the blogger feels that the customer service leaves something to be desired. I am, after all, only one person and can't buy from everyone. I also understand that if you are a purchaser of MMU and are reading this blog then you probably read other blogs as well. Again, I don't want to be redundant.

I really don't know if this is the direction I want to go in. What I do know is that we have the right as consumers to be as informed as possible.

Thoughts?

Buyer Beware: Pure Luxe

I have debated this post as it's not related to GlitterSniffer. I seriously thought about it for about an hour, weighing whether or not I wanted to post this and open up another can of worms. In the end I realized I just could not let this go because it's the same issue


I was doing some research this evening and I happened upon a site selling blacklight and glow in the dark pigments. The ingredient list on the PureLuxe site says, depending on color, they may contain Orange 5, Polyester-3, Red 28, yellow 7, Red 22, yellow 11. Many of these are not approved for eye use.

I have screenshots of both the ingredient list and the product. I used this list from the FDA for research. At this point I am only uploading the shot of the ingredient list as this seller has a history of threatened litigiousness in terms of photos of PL products being used when they are not portrayed in a flattering light.


I have used the contact form on the site to request immediate removal of the products. I also informed them that I would be notifying the FDA if they were not removed. I was so shocked to find these I wasn't thinking it through and forgot to request that they contact everyone they sold to in order to inform them of their unsafe nature. I will accompany that with a followup.


My cropping skills could use some work.


I know, I know-Who died and made me guardian of the Mineral Makeup Gate? Well, if there is one thing I've learned from this GlitterSniffer debacle it's that I cannot look the other way. I refuse, as a person who cares about other people, to allow something as widespread, destructive, and pervasive as what happened with GS to happen again.

1/1/11 ETA: Please see the followup for the resolution here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Etsy Followup

I got curious today as to how Etsy would be informing it's users about GlitterSniffers unsafe products. I responded to my previous complaint and received an email that stated that they could not tell me any specific action that would be taken, but that they would abide by their Terms of Use.

I checked and this is what it has to say (emphasis mine):
Etsy acts as a venue to allow users who comply with Etsy's policies to offer, sell and buy certain handmade goods within a fixed-price format. Etsy is not directly involved in the transaction between buyers and sellers. As a result, Etsy has no control over the quality, safety, morality or legality of any aspect of the items listed, the truth or accuracy of the listings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to pay for items. Etsy does not pre-screen users or the content or information provided by users. Etsy cannot ensure that a buyer or seller will actually complete a transaction.
Consequently, Etsy does not transfer legal ownership of items from the seller to the buyer.
Etsy cannot guarantee the true identity, age, and nationality of a user. Etsy encourages you to communicate directly with potential transaction partners through the tools available on the Site. You may also wish to consider using a third-party escrow service or services that provide additional user verification.
You agree that Etsy is a venue and as such is not responsible or liable for any content, for example, data, text, information, usernames, graphics, images, photographs, profiles, audio, video, items, and links posted by you, other users, or outside parties on Etsy. You use the Etsy service at your own risk.
I infer from this document that Etsy has no intention of telling anyone about GlitterSniffer.

Additionally, there was a comment on one of the posts that suggested that GS was banned from Etsy due to linking to their outside website, GlitterSniffer.com. I'm inclined to believe it, as I also found this in Etsy's Do's and Don'ts:


  • You may not use Etsy to direct shoppers to another online selling venue to purchase the same items as listed in your Etsy shop, as this may constitute fee avoidance. This includes posting links/URLs or providing information sufficient to locate the other online venue(s).




  • An Etsy account may not be used for the purpose of redirecting traffic to another web location. This includes shops in Vacation Mode. Please contact Support to have your account closed if you are no longer using it.



  • Etsy's terms make interesting reading, actually.

    Consumerist.com

    I sent a tip into Consumerist.

    Consumerist is a consumer protections site that is associated with Consumer Reports.

    I emailed them with a brief overview of the issue and a link to this blog.

    I'm unsure as to whether they would feature something like this, but as the number of people possibly affected grows, and the true scope of the possible damage GlitterSniffer has caused becomes known I hold out hope that they will help publicize the recall in order to protect people's health.

    Artfire Followup

    An interesting development.

    So, about once a day I go through and I check links to various web presences GlitterSniffer has. Today when I Googled Artfie and GlitterSniffer I was directed to this page. I clicked on the username link and was directed back to the main page. So I searched by seller for GlitterSniffer. Nada.

    I know that GS was planning on closing all other web presences besides their own .com domain, but last I checked the store products were simply removed, and GS was still a registered "Pro" member of the site.

    The optimist in me wants to think that GS has reevaluated their viability as a business and voluntarily removed their store on Artfire. One can hope, right?

    Anyway, the storefront is still accessible (just like pages of GlitterSniffer.com) via various Google links, but I believe that may be just cached data.

    12/40/10 ETA: For some reason the search link is locating GS again. Odd.

    Better Business Bureau Followup

    I received an email from the Better Business Bureau today. It contained a special link to my complaint, and I had to provide my email address at that link to access their response. Here is the BBB response to my complaint in full (changed only to remove my identifying information:


    BBB of Detroit & Eastern Michigan

    26777 Central Park Blvd, Ste. 100

    Southfield, MI 48076-4163

    Phone: (248)223-9400 | Fax: (248)356-5156

    www.easternmichiganbbb.org
    12/29/2010

    Dear redacted:
    This message is in regard to your complaint submitted on redacted against Glittersniffer Cosmetics.  Your complaint was assigned ID redacted.
    Your complaint has been reviewed by the BBB and added to our files regarding consumer experience of a business, consider contacting the Attorney General / Health Department.  If applicable, your complaint will be passed to the business for information purposes only.  BBB will not take any further steps with regard to this complaint.

    Regards,
    Rebecca Gohlke

    The Better Business Bureau

    Fax: 248-356-5156

    I have mixed feelings about this response. On the one hand I am pleased that the complaint was added to the database so that others may review it prior to purchase, but I am a bit disappointed that the BBB will not be acting on my behalf to help me obtain resolution.

    At the link, under the Actions tab, it states the BBB closed the complaint as it was beyond their purview. I do find it very telling that they referred me to the Attorney General/Health Department. It would seem that they deem the complaint sound enough that it should be investigated by state agencies.

    I had not thought to contact the Wayne County Health Department. I am breaking my moratorium on filing complaints to research and file if necessary.

    Break...ing

    I am going to take a break from sending complaints for a few days. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.

    When I started this blog I thought it would be easy to chronicle my request for a refund. It's become something much more than that. With every Google search the web of people who may have been exposed to adulterated products by GlitterSniffer grows. It's truly overwhelming. I literally lost my breath when I found The Spotted Box and read the description of what, and whom, they provide to.

    I have a heaviness in my chest now, one that was not there previously. I just want someone, anyone, to shout this recall from the rooftops so that the health of women, men and children is no longer in danger. I am not sure that's my place. And, to be perfectly honest, even if it is, I'm not sure I can bear that weight.

    I have remained impartial in all my posts, presenting facts without comment. And now I find myself fighting my own Purpose statement-wanting to comment, wanting to be emotional.

    So, I am taking a break. I will only update if I receive feedback from any of my complaints, or if I receive a refund. I will be back with my dogged pursuit of this issue when I can go back to being objective.

    It's going to be a long night.

    Craftzine.com

    I contacted Craftzine.com. They run the Maker City Faire, a craft fair that holds sales across the country. GlitterSniffer was a seller at the 2010 Detroit Faire.

    I sent an email to the Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, and Associate Managing Editor. I included a brief outline of the recall and a link to this site.

    It is my sincere hope that they can make as public as possible this recall so that anyone who purchased from GS can be made aware. I did not check to see if GS exhibited in any other year or in any other cities.

    The Spotted Box

    This has been the hardest post to write.

    The Spotted Box featured GlitterSniffer in March 2010. From their site:
    What is it?
    The Spotted Box is a box of family-oriented, eco-friendly samples from independent crafters, all packaged together and sent directly to you! Designed with the young family in mind, these handmade samples are focused on children and their mothers.
    I contacted The Spotted Box on their site and advised them of the recall. I checked the box to send a copy of the email to myself to ensure it went through. It did.

    United States Postal Service

    After much research I filed a complaint with the United States Postal Service. I put a lot of time into this one as I was unsure if what happened constituted mail fraud.  I submitted the complaint as a misrepresentation of  Product/Service, but included information about the charitable donations as well.

    I had to provide my personal information, GS information, and a brief summary of the issue. I included my experience, the charity info, and the recall.

    I received no confirmation number or email.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    News

    I have notified consumer protections news reporters in Detroit at Local 4 Ruth to the Rescue, WJBK Fox 4, and Action News 7 Call for Action to inform them of my issue.

    These news stations have consumer protections investigators. My thought process on this was both recovery of my funds, and a warning to local residents. Not all of the people that have bought from GS have been from the internet. Some bought at local craft shows, and never 'liked' GS on Facebook, so they may be unaware that they are using unsafe products. This is especially pressing when you consider that GS sold a line specifically targeted for children's use.

    I will update should either of these outlets decide to pursue this matter.

    12/29/10 ETA: Link to Action News 7 Call for Action.

    Screenshots

    Some of the screenshots I have linked to in previous posts have been removed by Photobucket. I am unsure if someone flagged them or if Photobucket has a group of people that looks for objectionable material.

    I am currently researching other ways to host these photos as I believe thay are important documentation in regards to my complaints against GlitterSniffer.If I am able to find a suitable host I will repost them.

    Regardless, they are being sent to me and I will have them in my possesion to send to the various agencies to aid in their investigations.

    Web for GlittersnifferCosmetics.com/Glittersniffer.net

    I sent a complaint mail to the web service hosting Glittersniffer.com and Glittersniffer.net. I also contacted the domain sellers for both.

    I included a brief overview of the complaints lodged against GS, a copy of Lela's statement admitting wrongdoing, and outlining her intent to reopen for business. I simply suggested they review the information and do with it as they wished.

    I am unsure about the outcome of the contact for the hosts of Glittersniffer.com as the servers are located in the U.K. I am not versed in the consumer protections in the U.K., so I am curious to see the outcome.

    The Glittersniffer.net domain is in the US and is hosted by MSN.

    I've not received any confirmation emails as yet, but, again, will update when I do.

    3/2/11 ETA: Correct the title and link to glittersniffercosmetics.com.

    Others Experiences

    Well, I guess I'm not alone. I will be updating my complaints with this supporting information.

    Krissi has a Facebook post regarding her experience. Reading this, and the numerous comments after, I am glad I never placed a second order.

    More reports to the BBB and Artfire, and a refusal from GS to refund for all pigments purchased due to false advertising.

    I have also decided to simply amend my complaints to the AG and the FTC regarding the possible charity fraud. Too be honest, it would take much more time to file again, and since it'd about the same company I figure that will all get to the right place eventually.

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Artfire Followup

    I received a response from Artfire regarding my complaint.

    Unfortunately, this email contained a confidentiality disclaimer so I am not able to summarize it here.

    I will be updating several of my complaints to various agencies with the information provided in the email. As for the other suggestions put forth from Artfire regarding the severity of my claims I choose not to pursue those avenues at this time.

    I am VERY satisfied with Artfire's response.

    And so it goes...

    I have not received any further responses from any of the complaints I filed. I understand that it will take some time for them to process them as I'm sure they get hundreds per day.

    There's a ton of incoming traffic from various links. If you've shared this link, whether it be that you agree with my actions, disagree, or are just sharing out of morbid curiosity as to why someone would be so singleminded about something, thanks.

    I did not start this blog to get attention (as an email I've received suggests) nor to"kill" anyone's business (same email). I did it so I can keep straight everything I've done in my efforts to recover a refund. If other people find value in it, so be it.

    As for trying to harm GS business, well, I don't think I can do anything worse than what they did to themselves when they made the choice to use unsafe pigments.

    And, to answer another question from that same email, no, I am not worried about any legal repercussions regarding anything I've posted here. Everything here is factual and true as far as I know. If it's not, I'll edit it and retract it, as stated in my Purpose post.

    Oh, and no, I've not received a response as yet from either my Paypal money request, or my email to GS. I'm starting to feel a bit like that newspaper deliverer in Better Off Dead, asking for his $2.00 that no one has any intention of paying.

    And so it goes...

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Etsy Followup

    I am unsure if this development is related to my complaint, but all the products have been removed from sale at Working Girl Cosmetics.

    When you do a search by seller on Etsy for WorkingGirlCosmetics it brings up the seller results that state the shop was last updated 12/23/10. However, when I visited the shop earlier today to gather the link to post on my previous Etsy post it was full of products for sale.



    I am inferring from this that the products were not removed by the shop owners themselves, but by Etsy. If so, kudos to Etsy for protecting their users safety.

    Etsy Followup

    I have just received a response from Etsy regarding my complaint about Glittersniffer and the possibility that WorkingGirlCosmetics is also operated by GS/Lela.

    The email contains a disclaimer that all communications are confidential, so I will not publish it or summarize it here. I am, however, satisfied with the response.

    Artfire

    I have sent an email detailing my complaint to Artfire.

    I did not purchase my pigments through Artfire, but it is my understanding that they are gathering all complaints to see if they want to stop GlitterSniffer from selling on their site.

    I sent the email to service@artfire.com. I used the subject line GlitterSniffer Attn Vanessa to ensure it was received by the right person. I explained that I also had a compliant in regards to GlitterSniffer and included a link to this blog for detailed information.

    I have not received a response, nor a confirmation email at this time. That's not surprising as it is a Sunday on a holiday weekend. I will update if I receive a response.

    Refund-Sometimes I overlook the simplest things

    As an insomniac, sometimes, after a long time without sleep, I overlook the simplest things.

    I just sent a money request to glittersniffercosmetics@gmail.com through Paypal. While not a dispute, it's much better than the last unanswered email I sent requesting a refund.

    I plan on sending a reminder via Paypal in a week if my request is not processed. My hope is that if my refund cannot be processed anytime soon that I will at least receive a communication regarding the intent to refund.

    I know it seems like a small amount compared to others who have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to GlitterSniffer,  but in my mind it's more the principle of the thing. I did not receive the goods I was promised, as they are either unsafe or have possibly been adulterated due to safety precautions not being taken in their formulation.

    I do not have a clear timeline as yet as to when I feel it's been too long and my refund has not been issued. I am ballparking it at about 30 days, which is the general timeline given to me in the numerous complaints I have filed. I will reevaluate at that point as to whether I want to explore other options.

    Charity Followup

    After some research online regarding soliciting for charity then using those funds for personal use, I ended up back on both the FTC and Michigan Attorney General sites.

    I never bought any pigments or donated any money to GlitterSniffer for charitable purposes, so I am a bit torn. I received reference numbers from both agencies so I am able to amend my complaints to include the information regarding GS using funds they raised in the names of various charities to issue refunds to their customers, but I was not personally involved in this portion of the disputes.

    I am unsure at this point if I should amend my complaints or file another complaint with this new information as I was not personally affected. I am going to take some time and think about which avenue to pursue. One thing is for sure, a report of some sort will be filed by me for this issue.

    Etsy

    GlitterSniffer is no longer a registered user on Etsy and has not been for some time. I refuse to speculate as to the reasons. Since they are no longer registered I had to contact Etsy through their Help Center. They will let me know the status of my complaint as soon as possible.

    I sent a message with a summary of  my complaint as an FYI in the event GS attempts to reopen. Additionally, it has been speculated that Working Girl Cosmetics, also on Etsy, is also run by Lela, or those associated with GlitterSniffer. It lists itself as a 'sister shop' to GlitterSniffer and directs people to the GS Facebook page for updates/contests/etc. As such I reported my suspicions via the 'report this shop' link via WGC's shop page.

    It should be noted that WGC may, in fact, not be run by GS/Lela, or may not be using unsafe pigments, and may be following all safety precautions when creating product. I reported the shop as a precaution, and if it is found that it is not doing anything wrong no negative repercussions will be felt by the shop. I would like to point out that the shop has 99% positive feedback, save for one negative for nondelivery on 12/18/10.

    Michigan Department of Agriculture

    After reading Lela's statement that she had applied for a license to continue selling cosmetics in Michigan I contacted The Michigan Department of Agriculture to inquire about informing them of the numerous complaints about the company prior to their licensing of the company.

    It looks as if GS should have been licensed all along.

    I was unable to find information on reports for pending licenses, so I emailed the MDA regarding my concerns and asked that I be directed to a form or to the proper agency if I had reached them in error.

    I will update when I hear back from them.

    12/28/10 ETA: Here is a screencap where Lela talks about applying for a business license.

    Internet Crime Complaint Center

    I filed a complaint with Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3 is associated with the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. I filed here as I feel I was defrauded by a company selling adulterated products with specious claims as to their use. As this transaction occurred over the internet, as well as across state lines, I felt it was appropriate to alert the FBI.

    I was asked to provide the following (text from the IC3 site):
    # Your name
    #  Your mailing address
    #  Your telephone number
    #  Name of the individual or business that defrauded you
    #  Address of the individual or business that defrauded you
    #  Telephone number of the individual or business that defrauded you
    #  Website and email address of the individual or business that defrauded you
    #  Specific details on how you were defrauded
    #  Any other relevant information necessary to support your complaint
    I received a confirmation email with a Complaint ID and password to access my complaint and update it as needed. The IC3 does not investigate claims, but does refer the claim to any and all appropriate agencies for followup.

    Federal Trade Commision/FTC

    I filed a report with the Federal Trade Commision/FTC. The FTC has a Bureau of Consumer Protection which maintains a database for civil and criminal law enforcement worldwide to access. Filing this report helps to detect patterns of wrongdoing which could possibly lead to investigations and prosecution. It states implicitly that it does not resolve complaints.

    Easily the easiest site to navigate, it asked for my personal information, a summary of my complaint, and details about the company. I received a confirmation email with a reference number.

    Charity

    Another concern that has been raised has been whether or not GlitterSniffer is contributing money they raised for ASPCA, TWLOHA, GLAAD and several other charities.


    GS Cosmetics Scam Reports has information regarding money not sent for various charities.


    These screenshots show that someone representing GS states they will be using the charity funds to refund customers, then reraise the money for the charities. It also has the statement regarding already being reported to the FDA.


    I am presently researching ways to report this as it could be construed as charity fraud.

    MedWatch/FDA

    I filed a report with MedWatch, an arm of the FDA that handles reports of unsafe cosmetics as well as any adverse reactions. This was easily the most confusing of all the complaints I filed, as the form also covers drugs, biologics, nutritional products, and medical devices. It was hard not to get overwhelmed with all the requests for information, but luckily I have worked in a doctors office before so I am versed in HIPPA so this did not discourage me. I simply provided as much information as possible. I figure that if I skipped a step that they will contact me for further information.

    In filling out the form I was asked if I had any of the product available for testing. I did let them know I have some, but this may affect my refund from GS as they are requesting return of pigments in order to recover funds. I did find this a bit of an odd request as Lela has stated on GS Facebook page that she has already been contacted by the FDA and as such should have known that they were requesting that we keep the pigments for testing.

    I did not receive a confirmation number from the FDA, but I did receive a confirmation email.

    Refund

    Unfortunately, I am unable to file a dispute with Paypal.com to receive a refund as it is past their 45 day dispute window.

    I have instead emailed GlitterSniffer and requested a refund as per the suggestions of Paypal.
    How do I request a refund?
    Answer :
    Here's how to request a refund:

    1. Log in to your PayPal account.
    2. Click History near the top of the page.
    3. Find the transaction for which you want a refund.
    4. Click Details next to the transaction to find your recipient's contact informaiton.
    5. Send your recipient an email asking for your money back.

    Note:

    * Remind your recipient to use the Issue Refund link on the Transaction Details page to issue your refund. The Issue Refund link is available for 60 days after the date of the transaction.
    * After 60 days, your recipient can only use Send Money to issue your refund.
    * When the recipient uses the Issue Refund link, you get back the full amount that you paid. When they use Send Money, a small transaction fee is deducted from the refund amount.
    * Your refund will be credited to your PayPal balance or the card you used to make your original payment. (Remember that, depending on the card issuer, it can take up to 30 days for a refund to appear on your statement).


    I am currently researching other ways to recover my funds, short of legal action, which I prefer not to pursue at this time.

    Better Business Bureau

    I filed a complaint with The Better Business Bureau of Michigan. I accessed the site and searched for GlitterSniffer. I was able to review their accreditation (none) and complaint history (also none).  I had to provide my personal information, transaction information, and a summary of my complaint.

    Before I started my complaint I was advised that the BBB would contact GS within 2 business days and be asked to respond within 14 business days. If no response is received they will attempt to contact GS again. It stated I would be notified of the company's response, or lack thereof, and the timeline for that is usually 30 days. I received a confirmation email with information regarding which BBB office would be handling my complaint.

    Is It Safe?

    Below is the GlitterSniffer official recall list. As I stated previously pigments I purchased are not on this list.

    Glittersniffer Cosmetics!
    As requested, we are providing a list of all the pigments that are not eye safe which have been made between the years of 2006 and 2010. These are all included in our recall unless otherwise indicated. We are refunding at the price of $6.50 per pot with proof of purchase, and asking that these be sent back to GS Cosmetics. We are also offering free replacement of any of the below pigments when we re-open if you are not choosing to be refunded. We are going to be re-doing our entire stock with 100% safe pigments along with ingredients listed.



    The following pigments are not FDA approved for use around the eyes, however are cosmetically approved for lips, cheeks, nailpolish, ect.

    * · ADD
    * · All Star Pink
    * · Aurora
    * · Breast Cancer Collection
    * · Brenda
    * · Brenda’s Lemonade
    * · Candy Collection Pink
    * · Cotton Candy
    * · Cupcake
    * · Finger Food
    * · Flight Club
    * · Fran
    * · GLADD Collection Light Pink/Salmon
    * · Gold Digger
    * · Glenda
    * · House of Horrors
    * · Jack
    * · Jenn
    * · Jennifer Nazi
    * · Kimberly
    * · Kiss This
    * · Little Girls Collection
    * · Mad Hatter
    * · Mallory
    * · Mattes Collection Light Pink
    * · Mattes Collection Dark Pink
    * · Michigan Avenue
    * · Oyster Shell
    * · Pink Pistol
    * · Poodle Skirt
    * · Profanity
    * · Roxie
    * · Sarah
    * · Seuss Pink
    * · Shannon
    * · Tattoo Collection Pink
    * · Tragic Glamour
    * · True Blood Pink
    * · Yalena Collection Pinks
    * · Any other Pink that was made in any collection since 2006 is being recalled. While many of them are likely eye approved, we are recalling all of them to ensure certainty.



    Pigments that contain soap dyes and/or are not FDA approved for use around the eyes:

    * · 80’s Red
    * · 80’s Pink
    * · 80’s Orange
    * · 80’s Yellow
    * · 80’s Green
    * · 80’s Blue
    * · 80’s Purple
    * · Altered States
    * · GLADD Collection Orange
    * · GLADD Collection Pink
    * · Glow in the Dark Collection (Not being accepted in the re-call, as these were advertised as not eye approved)
    * · Mo Love
    * · Oh Kristine!
    * · Oompa Loompa
    * · Scream-O
    on Thursday
    One of the pigments I purchased was listed here. I do not know where this list originated, but it states that although there was no scientific testing done on the pigments themselves the list contains both official recall products as well as those that flouresced under blacklight, which may indicate use of unsafe ingredients. The list is very comprehensive, so I will not reproduce it here.

    Neither list can be called complete, as it was GS practice to send out unlabeled "randoms" as well, none of which are listed.

    Statement

    Below is the statement released by Lela Warren on the GlitterSniffer Facebook Fan Page. The statement was previously published and then subsequently removed from the Facebook page, so I am recopying it here in the event it is removed again.


    Glittersniffer Cosmetics!
    GS Customers Past and Present,
    I am coming forth to you with a heavy heart and an explanation you have all been looking for. Let me start at the beginning. My career making pigments began as a hobby in 2006 when my makeup addiction began to affect my pocket book. I wanted more than anything to develop a product that was affordable and could be used interchangeably to form the various cosmetics I spent all of my money on. I was working at a hotel chain and every paycheck went toward my makeup addiction; this is when Glittersniffer Cosmetics was born.
    I started a shop on Etsy to sell the pigments I mastered, and I did so strictly as a hobby. I had no business experience, and I was lacking in knowledge when it came to cosmetic guidelines. I did some research and learned that many pinks and bright colors were made with ingredients that were either not FDA approved, or that were cosmetically approved but not eye approved. I made many pink colors with the idea in mind that these pigments could be turned into other cosmetic items such as blush, lipstick, or nail polish. I researched other cosmetic companies and learned that they used neon colors even though they were not FDA approved for use around the eyes, and I took a chance and made some for myself. The neon colors contain soap dyes, which is why they are not eye approved. I began posting pictures of these neon looks and people were insisting that they be given the opportunity to try them. I in fact did warn my customers about the 80’s collection and why it was not eye approved, but every time I took it out of my stock I received multiple e-mails demanding its return. I then made a poor decision and made other colors out of soap dyes, and not all of these colors were advertised as they should have been.
    I began to realize that Glittersniffer Cosmetics was too big for the site that we were selling off of, and the fee’s surrounding my sales were really hindering my profit, so I hired a Vice President, ditched my old sales route, and opened a big new website. I was not ready for any of that. I failed to realize during this expansion, that the standard my loyal customers had previously held me to was increasing, and that I needed to re-evaluate my business practices. I believed that I could continue treating a business that had over five thousand customers, as a hobby to make extra money. GS was growing, but I was not. My mind continued to stay focused on my personal issues, and I let my business fall behind. I put e-mails off, I allowed orders to pile up, and then I found myself in a situation I saw no way out of. Most small businesses start out with some sort of small business loan, grant, or other monetary infusion, but because I had never considered a need for such a thing for something I considered to be a hobby; I didn’t have the funds to pay a staff to assist me with the ordering, packaging, and shipping process. Here is where my down hill slide began.
    I have long advertised my company as an all vegan company, and I became so caught up in offering every customer something that they would love for a fair price, that I began losing sight of why I implemented my company values in the first place. It started with making reds that included carmine. I tried to always include a note letting the buyer know that the pigment was non-vegan, but when a consumer is buying from an all vegan company, they shouldn’t have to look for notes indicating otherwise. I then noticed a fan commenting that they wanted really nice brushes for a relatively reasonable price, and I found some badger fur brushes and placed them for sale. Selling those brushes was one of the worst moves I could have made as a company, and I put the feelings of my loyal, vegan customers aside to make money. For that, I will forever be sorry.
    I have heard the voices of my customers, past and present, and I would like to come to you and tell you what I am changing to bring this company back to what it was meant to be. From this point forward, we will only be selling merchandise through our official Glittersniffer Cosmetics website. Selling from multiple places became too confusing. GS Cosmetics will be pre-making a set number of collections and products, and we will only be selling until we run out of them. At the point in which the stock is depleted, we will not be offering it ever again. There will be no re-making of collections or trying to duplicate collection colors. We are discarding all of our old stock and re-doing each and every pigment to be 100% vegan, FDA, and eye approved with recipes for the colors that we will always keep in stock. Never again will we sell a pigment or a collection that does not fit the above categories. Any staff member of GS Cosmetics who will be touching any merchandise will wear gloves. All ingredients that could be found in any of our products will be listed on the GS website. We have hired a new, more efficient staff, including a new vice president who will assist in all business related decisions, an accountant, a bookkeeper, and we have applied for a business license in the state of Michigan.
    I want to personally, and publically apologize to my customers both new and old for my actions over the last six months. I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about what has happened and realizing that there are some things I won’t be able to fix. I have not only lost customers and nearly lost my company, but I have lost friendships with the women who helped create my company, and that is what hurts the most. With every beat of my heart…I am so sorry I have let you down.

    XOXO
    Lela Warren
    President of Glittersniffer Cosmetics
    313 303 4780
    on Thursday

    Attorney General

    I filed a complaint with the Attorney General of Michigan. I had to provide a summary of my complaint, my personal information, information about the transaction, product, and company.

    I received a Complaint Identification Number which I am to include in all correspondence with the AG. The AG will also use this number to identify my complaint, and will followup with GlitterSniffer. Filing this complaint does not constitute a legal action. It is a means of dispute resolution between a consumer and proprietor. The AG site advised that I contact an attorney or file a small claims complaint if I wished to pursue legal action. It did state, however, that they may pursue legal action after an investigation when the general public interest is involved or in certain cases involving a large number of consumers. They did not send me an email confirming that they received my complaint, but after submitting the form I was instructed to print or save that page as confirmation.

    I am not pursuing legal action at this time and will await GS response to the AG inquiry.

    Others Experiences

    I have been aware for some months that there have been issues with GlitterSniffer. I read a lot of blogs (please don't tell my boss!) and would like to consider myself a savvy consumer. It was the posts below that convinced me to no longer use the products I had purchased from GS.

    Phyrra had concerns about repackaging. While not an issue of safety, it is still a bad business practice to resell products that you state are handblended.

    Aijuswhanakno was sold pigments that were not approved for cosmetic use. The listing stated they were not eye safe, which is not the same as cosmetically safe.

    Nikhedonia was sold a collection that was not cosmetically safe. This was not stated in the listing at the time of purchase.

    These pictures surfaced of unsafe packing and product creation:
    No gloves or mask used to cut soap, and edibles on the same table as the product

     No gloves used while packing product.
     Suspected  non-use of gloves while packing product. Since GS is not actually packing product in this photo I say it is suspected as there are telltale stains on the hand.

    Contact Information

    Many agencies I contacted requested contact information for GlitterSniffer. Due to internet searches I was able to provide the following:

    Website: GlitterSnifferCosmetics.com

    Address (obtained through the Better Business Bureau website):
    4467 Vassar St
    Dearborn Heights, MI 48125

    Phone number (provided by proprietor in statement regarding unsafe products):
     3133034780

    1/3/11 ETA: Tag for Contact to make it easier for me to access.

    Third Email

    Here is the third email I sent to GlitterSniffer requesting a refund. It is complete besides any identifying information being removed. A summary of their response is below the email.
    At no point have I threatened legal action. It is my right as a consumer to file any complaint with any office I choose. If you are referring to my complaint to the Attorney General please be advised, as per the AG website:

    "Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's office helps consumers each year by mediating complaints that fall within our jurisdiction. (Please refer to the Complaint Directory before submitting a complaint to avoid unnecessary delays in processing.) In many cases our assistance will help you obtain an acceptable resolution to your problem. However, if our mediation is not successful, the Attorney General cannot act as a private attorney on your behalf."

    As I have not threatened or filed any type of legal action we may continue our open dialogue regarding resolution of this matter. Again, I ask that you remit a refund of $21.50 to this email address in a timely manner. This refund will not be contingent on my not pursuing any complaints with any consumer protection agency, both independent or federal. I also assert my right to a reasonable expectation of privacy and ask that should you choose to disseminate the contents of this email that any and all identifying information be removed prior to publication.

    I do look forward to a speedy resolution to this issue, and a continuation of our working together to get to a mutually agreed upon solution.


    Thank you for your time,
    Redacted
    GS has not yet responded at this time. I will update this post when I receive a response.

    Second Email

    Here is the second email I sent to GlitterSniffer requesting a refund. It is complete besides any identifying information being removed. A summary of their response is below the email.

    I appreciate your response. It is nice to know you are reaching out in order to get these issues resolved. Unfortunately, your instructions to obtain a refund do not apply in my case. A Paypal dispute can only be filed for 45 days. Since it is past that time I have followed the Paypal process to request a refund:
    How do I request a refund?

    Question :
    Answer :
    Here's how to request a refund:

    1. Log in to your PayPal account.
    2. Click History near the top of the page.
    3. Find the transaction for which you want a refund.
    4. Click Details next to the transaction to find your recipient's contact informaiton.
    5. Send your recipient an email asking for your money back.

    Note:

    * Remind your recipient to use the Issue Refund link on the Transaction Details page to issue your refund. The Issue Refund link is available for 60 days after the date of the transaction.
    * After 60 days, your recipient can only use Send Money to issue your refund.
    * When the recipient uses the Issue Refund link, you get back the full amount that you paid. When they use Send Money, a small transaction fee is deducted from the refund amount.
    * Your refund will be credited to your PayPal balance or the card you used to make your original payment. (Remember that, depending on the card issuer, it can take up to 30 days for a refund to appear on your statement).

    Despite the dispute process having an end date this in no way absolves you from responsibility for the refund as you sold suspected unsafe products. Again, I ask that you remit a refund of $21.50 to this email address in a timely manner.

    Additionally, I am filing a report with the Michigan Attorney General Consumer Protection office. I will also be exploring other avenues for reporting and investigation. Again, a refund will not stop this process, and I expect that any identifying information will be redacted from this communication, should you choose to disseminate it.

    Thank you for your time,
    Redacted

    GS response was to tell me that upon advice of legal council they would not respond as I had threatened legal action. They stated they would not respond to anyone who threatened any type of legal action.

    First Email

    Here is the first email I sent to GlitterSniffer requesting a refund. It is complete besides any identifying information being removed. A summary of their response is below the email.




    To Whom It May Concern at GlitterSniffer Cosmetics:,

    I purchased several pigments from you on redacted via Etsy. I have looked at your list of unsafe pigments and this list as well:https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AmHQNrWJXwC8dDlYTW1fclNGaldNbjdVWkV2aGZJa0E&hl=en&authkey=CN6HltkD#

    Although not on your list of unsafe products, a pigment I purchased, Sammy Jo, appears as unsafe at the link. I am writing to you today to give you a chance to make this right. I would like my full purchase price of $21.50 refunded immediately. Although only one of the lot you sold me may be unsafe cosmetically, I have also seen pictures of you packaging pigments unhygienically, without use of gloves or common safety measures. This calls into question the unadulterated state of your products, and makes them all useless, regardless of their cosmetic safety.

    I have filed complaints with the BBB, FDA, FTC, MedWatch, and the Internet Complaint Center. I am holding my products per the FDA in the event they need to be tested, so I am unable to send them back for refund. It is my expectation that you will refund my full purchase price. Please understand a withdrawal of my complaints is not contingent upon this refund as I intend to pursue every avenue of reporting and investigation to ensure that no other harmful products made by you, your company, or its subsidieries/sister companies ever makes it to the marketplace again.

    For your reference I am including the listing here: redacted

    I want to make it clear that I am in no way defaming you. I simply want you to understand the gravity of the situation and the immeasurable cost in terms of my time: investigating these claims, worrying about them, and having to pursue this when it should have been over and done with once our transaction was complete, which it would have been had you sold safe, unadulterated items.

    Additionally, I want to make it clear that I have a reasonable expectation of personal privacy in this matter. While I cannot stop you from publishing the contents of this email as it relates to our dispute I expect that any and all information in regards to my name, email address, Etsy identity, and any other identifying information not listed previously will be redacted and held in the strictest confidence. Failure to do so will result in my pursuing an additional claim with the FTC under the Identity Theft Assumption and Deterrence Act of 1998

    Please respond with your promise to refund and a reasonable timeline in which you will do so. Payment can be remitted via Paypal to this email address.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.


    GS response was a simple one line missive referring me back to Paypal.

    It begins...

    My story begins back in 2008. I was looking into the new (at least to me) phenomenon of mineral makeup. I have long been a supporter of independent businesses as I come from a family that has its own small business. After a careful review of numerous indie shops on Etsy I was most impressed with the pigments from GlitterSniffer. I fell in love with their colors and the fact that they were both indie and vegan were a plus.

    I ordered and received my pigments in a timely manner. I used them sporadically as I was not happy with the formula and the way it set on my eyes. I did not place another order due to not enjoying the products. I did not have any issues regarding delivery of products, and all communication with Lela was friendly.

    Flash forward 2 years and I became aware through numerous blogs that what I had purchased may not be what was promised.  I still had my pigments, but was not actively using them due to issues reported by others. I had used them throughout that 2 year period, however. I do currently have an inflamed tear duct on my right eye, which began about a year ago, and which despite treatment has not yet healed. I cannot say with utmost certainty it was due to use of GS products.

    In December of this year the proprietor of GS, Lela Warren, released a statement stating that she had used dyes not approved for eye use in some her cosmetics. She also released a list of unsafe pigments. Nothing I purchased was on her list. A separate list compiled by an unknown source listed several pigments as potentially unsafe and a product I had purchased appeared on that list. I immediately disposed of all my GS pigments as I could not be assured of their safety.

    I did some research and decided to file complaints with several state, federal, and independent reporting agencies. I actually had to fish my pigments out of the trash as the FDA requested that any products be saved in the event they needed to be tested as part of any investigation. As it was past the 45 day dispute period I was unable to try to recover my funds via Paypal. I contacted GS and advised of the complaints filed and requesting a refund. I was referred back to Paypal. I again contacted GS, advising that I was unable to file a dispute and again requesting a refund. I was then told that no further communication would be forthcoming as I had threatened legal action. I had not, in fact, threatened legal action regarding my refund. I did advise that if my personal identifying information was released I would pursue that matter with the appropriate authorities. I can only assume (and this is just an assumption on my part as GS has not responded to my 3rd email) that GS is referring to the complaint I filed with the Michigan Attorney General Consumer Protection Office. I informed GS that the AG is not about a legal action, but a mediation service to resolve disputes.

    And that is where we currently stand. Complaints have been filed, I have informed GS of my request for refund, and I am patiently awaiting resolution of the matter.

    1/11/11 ETA: Changed the date that my story began. It was 2008, not 1998. Thanks to the emailer who pointed this out.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my attempts to recover a refund from GlitterSniffer. This should not be construed as any type of legal advice, nor should it be used as a guide for handling your specific issues with GlitterSniffer, or its proprietor, Lela Warren. Should you choose to pursue any of the complaints or avenues listed in this blog and are unhappy with the outcome I will not be held personally liable.


    • I will be linking to various reporting and government agencies and letting you know my experiences with them. 
    • I will be summarizing any correspondence I have with GlitterSniffer. As I have asked them to remove any identifying information from my emails prior to dissemination I will hold myself to that same standard and will not post any complete correspondence, including screenshots, of any responses I may receive. I do reserve the right to publish any correspondence I send to them. I am, however, not responsible for any content placed on any site I may link to and any identifying information for the company or the proprietor Lela Warren that is published is available freely at other places on the internet.
    • All information provided here is complete and factual as far as I know at the time of publication. Should further information be provided that casts any doubt on any post that post will be edited to add the additional information and a retraction posted if necessary.
    • This blog is not meant to defame in any way, shape, or form GlitterSniffer, or its proprietor, Lela Warren. All posts will have a basis in fact, free of personal comment from me.
    • Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments. I ask that you refrain from  posting from an emotional standpoint and stick to facts, providing any additional supporting information you may have.
    • All are welcome here, including supporters of GlitterSniffer. The comments are not automatically moderated in an attempt to create an open dialogue and mutual support and understanding for all GlitterSniffer consumers, both past and present. That being said, any comments posted to this blog that may be considered defamatory, inflammatory, or threatening to anyone will be removed.
    • In regards to anonymity please understand that I value my privacy and have created a separate blog and email address for the purposes of relaying this information. I do not foresee a time when I will publicly identify myself, aside from this online identity.  I do feel that I have a right to a forum where I can air my grievance without fear of any type of retribution, providing that all information I provide is true and factual. To ensure everyones safety I have decided to remain anonymous, that way should someone react in a retaliatory way I am at no risk of it invading or disrupting my personal life.
    • Your privacy is also of utmost importance to me. Please make sure that any identifying information is removed from anything you choose to post. I am not responsible for any personal information you choose to share that may result in any negative repercussions. In an effort to combat spam anonymous commenting is not allowed. However, should you want to post something anonymously please feel free to email me at glittersniffercomplaints@gmail.com. Should the information you provide meet the above purpose statement it will be published, in full, with identifying information redacted.

    Please feel free to contact me at glittersniffercomplaints@gmail.com with any suggestions, complaints, etc.

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