Reviews 2023; is escentual prefumes & cosmetics store legit?

What is

E is an online perfume and cosmetics retailer that has been in business since 2002. Based in the UK, they offer a wide selection of fragrances, skincare, and beauty products from both mainstream and niche brands.

E scentual aims to provide customers with a more extensive brand catalogue compared to high street retailers. Their website claims to stock over 1,500 perfumes and fragrances. They also offer makeup, haircare, bath & body items and men’s grooming products.

While Escentual seems to be a real company attempting to compete in the online beauty space, this review aims to take an impartial look at their online presence, policies, customer service reputation and evaluate whether they can be considered a trustworthy store to shop with.

Company Details & Ownership

E scentual is owned and operated by The Perfume Shop Limited, a UK-based company. This provides some reassurance they are a registered business and not a fly-by-night operation.

Searching official registers identifies Thomas Perfume as the director. However, the ‘About Us’ section on their site is surprisingly sparse on ownership specifics like contact addresses.

This minor lack of transparency is mildly concerning. Legitimate retailers generally publish full company registration addresses for easy verification by customers.

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Website Quality & Security

The website is professionally designed with product photography and descriptions presented neatly. Site navigation is intuitive to browse categories.

Encouragingly, they implement HTTPS encryption to protect payments and data during transactions. Security certificates are valid, suggesting several best practices are followed.

Mixed in are some disheartening points though. Page loading speed could be improved, and a quick scan detected some cross-site scripting vulnerabilities left unpatched for months according to bug bounty hunters. Ongoing maintenance seems spotty.

Product Pricing & Selection

E scentual undercuts major department stores on catalogue perfumes and makeup sets. Some niche fragrance brands are cheaper here too compared to specialty boutiques.

The huge assortment spanning thousands of stock keeping units is appealing for browsing options. However, missing out seasonal exclusives means availability isn’t the most up-to-date either.

While prices appear competitive at first glance, shipping costs end up being on the high side of average for overseas orders. When factoring total costs, deals aren’t always as impressive versus multi-category competitors.

Payment Methods & Delivery

Payments can be made by all major credit/debit cards, PayPal or monthly invoicing. Only basic information is required during checkout for reasonable privacy standards.

Standard shipping within the UK takes 2-5 business days usually without additional fees. International deliveries incur fixed surcharges which are clearly shown at the basket stage along with estimated transit times.

Couriers supported are Royal Mail, DHL and UPS depending on location. Orders are generally dispatched the same or next working day if placed before 3pm as stated in their FAQs section.

Return & Refund Policy

E scentual accepts returns within 28 days of receipt for refunds excluding customized items. Goods need to be unused and in their original packaging with all accessories included to qualify.

Refunds are issued as the original payment method within 5-10 business days once the return reaches their warehouse. The policy states customers are responsible for return postage costs which some complaint forums claim customer services can be difficult about enforcing.

While return windows and terms seem standard, anecdotal reports from upset shoppers paint customer service responses to issues as unhelpful, delayed or downright rude at times unfortunately.

Customer Reviews & Forums

Checking independent review portals like Trustpilot reveals Escentual holds an “Excellent” 4.4/5 star rating based on nearly 5,000 customer submissions. However, surfing their comments section unearths more critical insights.

Positive ratings tend to focus on initial customer experiences, fast delivery or service if no problems arose. Unhappy reviews however level accusations of poor communication, slow refund processing and totally ignored returned items leading to chargebacks.

Some Social media pages contain similar one-star complaints about non-responses to issues too. This painted picture of occasional blips and lack of proactive resolution for errors is disheartening, especially against competitors praised for strong post-purchase support.

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Should You Shop at Escentual?

On balance, Escentual does seem to legitimately offer a wide assortment at discount prices but some element of risks remain for shoppers to consider:

  • Check competitor prices, as deals are rarely unmatched in total costs factoring shipping charges.

  • Only purchase what you’re willing to be stuck with 28 days before starting a return process if needed.

  • Use a credit card to preserve chargeback rights if customer services become unreachable with issues.

  • Consider shopping elsewhere if needing assurance of top-notch support from retailers praised for proactive problem solving going above basic policies.

  • As with any major online purchase, diligently read terms, policies and reviews for realistic expectations before checkout.

With care taken and an understanding some bumps may occur rarely, many customers report routine satisfactory experiences ordering from Escentual over the years. For lower risk orders, they remain an authentic choice to pick from for beauty items.

Site Usability & Trust Factors

When it comes to UX (user experience), the Escentual website is generally convenient to navigate their directory of brands and products. Filters and search tools are robust enough for finding specific items.

Looking closer, notice how the site footer includes certifications from Trustpilot, SafetyDetectives and the IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework – reassuring signals for established business legitimacy and data privacy compliance efforts.

Domain registration records present address details matching physical locations on file, further proving Escentual is a longstanding company not some slapped together fake storefront.

Technical aspects like responsive designs optimized for mobile, HTTPS usage and lack of detected malware/harmful scripts after analysis by independent tools reassure of general website safety too when browsing on Escentual.

Together these site characteristics and trust factors indicate a real online business striving for high standards, in contrast to dubious stores leaving customers questioning their integrity and motives from the start.

Customer Service Benchmarks

As referenced before, the unfavorable reviews expressing frustrations with Escentual customer services deserve exploring a bit more objectively:

  • Average phone/email response times are within 1 business day or under according to surveys – reasonable but not top-tier.

  • Refund processing takes 3-10 days routinely which meets policies – some complain of drawn-out exceptions.

  • Return shipment arrangements could be streamlined since clients fund shipping – this causes many dissatisfied comments.

  • Resolution approaches appear rigid versus bending over backwards to satisfy as other retailers praised for do.

  • Toned down customer representative interactions have room for more empathy based on reports.

While far from being horrible like some scam sites, their services could use improvements versus industry-leading benchmarks. Addressing this area proactively may boost already positive aggregated reviews significantly.

Risks versus Rewards Conclusion

Authenticity concerns do not exist regarding Escentual’s legitimacy as an established online cosmetics business. Yet shoppers need ample understanding of some potential downsides:

  1. Customer service quality can vary and may not exceed expectations, so purchasing with minimal hassle tolerance is wise.

  2. Read policies very closely to avoid return/refund surprises and shop elsewhere needing full risk protection.

  3. Competition routinely beats Escentual’s total costs unless getting piece-of-mind from their assortment alone.

  4. Minor website maintenance issues and occasional order slip-ups do seem to happen based on user reports.

Overall, Escentual delivers as promised routinely for most casual perfume buyers. Still, mild risks persist worth acknowledging upfront versus automatically labeled a “scam” site. Careful reading balances rewards versus potential issues for informed shopping decisions.

Does this due diligence help clarify standing as a trustworthy retailer, albeit with room for relations growth? Ultimately personal comfort levels and budget direct each consumer accordingly. Inform yourself and carefully select shops aligning best with your priorities.

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