If you know anything about my work, then you know that I never recommend buying sex toys on Amazon, eBay, or similar sites. They are absolutely notorious for counterfeit products, mislabeled and dangerous materials, and sometimes even sending out used sex toys.
I check to see if it’s dirty or clean when I get it it — sometimes they’ll come all destroyed, or they’ll be dirty like someone’s used them already.
Third-party resellers on Amazon are often unauthorized by the manufacturers, selling products below MAP (the minimum advertised price allowed by the manufacturer) and undercutting the brands as well as actual licensed retailers. Some manufacturers, such as Fun Factory, even state up-front that they will not honor warranty for products purchased through Amazon.
Furthermore, sex shops are doing some fantastic work in education, philanthropy, accessibility, and generally making the world a better place, and they deserve your love and support! (Plus, if you catch a good sale you can get often toys for comparably low prices.)
However, I know that no matter what I say, there are still people who are going to buy their sex toys on Amazon. It’s inevitable — sometimes the promise of a low price or Prime shipping can be too tempting to pass up. I get that. So for those people, here is my guide to Amazon sex toy shopping, including a brief explanation of how Amazon fulfillment services work and my tips for making sure what you pay for is actually what you get.
Warehouse Bin Roulette
This is the name I’ve given to the phenomenon where you order a sex toy from one seller on Amazon but have no idea what seller’s stock you’re actually going to receive. Due to Amazon’s “commingling” system, much of their warehouses are organized by product, but not by seller. All njoy Pure Wands go into one bin, all We-Vibe Tangos go into another bin, and it’s the luck of the draw that determines whether you get a genuine item or a sketchy counterfeit from an unscrupulous seller.
Now, sellers can opt out of this commingling system, but it is more expensive for them to do so, as they then either need to print and stick their own Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) labels to each item or pay a fee for Amazon to do it for them. From the consumer side, there is no way to tell which FBA sellers commingle their goods and which ones do not. So I encourage you to ask questions.
- “Hey manufacturer, is this seller authorized to carry your product?”
- “Hey seller, where do you source your stock?”
- “Do you commingle your goods at Amazon?”
I frequently see Amazon seller Shag Supply cited around the net as a place to get VixSkin toys at a lower than average price. Vixen Creations seemed to confirm that Shag Supply is an authorized seller with genuine product, but the fact that their shipping is FBA still made me wary, so I reached out to the company to clarify whether their products are commingled. Here was their response:
No, we do not allow Amazon to commingle our inventory. That choice costs us a bit more in Amazon prep services, but as we found out commingled inventory is also great way for someone else’s junk to be sent out to our customers.We also source all of our inventory directly from our manufacturers. We don’t buy from resellers, distributors, etc. Our inventory is also almost always sent directly from the manufacturer to Amazon’s warehouses. In nearly all cases, the only people that touch a given item, before the customer, is the Amazon employee that handles the FBA prep (which is required for most adult products).
Excellent. This is one Amazon seller I now feel comfortable supporting and referring others to.
Identifying Fake Toys
If you’re going to get toys on Amazon, I would strongly urge you to only buy name brand products by body-safe manufacturers. Generic white label toys are more likely to be mislabeled and made from who-knows-what materials.
Most sellers just use stock photos from the manufacturer of the toys they claim to be selling, so the images on the product page are rarely helpful at determining if something is real or fake. Reviews can be useful, but again, with FBA commingling they aren’t always an indication of what you will actually receive — see the questions above, and do some deeper investigating. That is the only advice I can really give for trying to avoid counterfeit toys while Amazon shopping.
If you’ve already purchased a toy and are concerned about its authenticity, I do have some advice. Some oft-faked toys like the Hitachi Magic Wand have detailed guides to identifying fakes, but here is my general advice for all kinds of sex toys.
Name brand sex toys are generally shipped in branded packaging, while counterfeit toys are often (but not always!) sent out in generic boxes and bubble mailers. If you can find pictures of the brand’s usual packaging (tip: Google image searching “[brand name] packaging” tends to get results), compare it to what your toy arrived in and look for discrepancies.
Bought a toy that claims to be silicone but seems suspicious? I’ve got a mini guide in my Toxic Sex Toys post to sussing out porous/toxic materials from silicone. Got a glass toy you’re concerned about the quality of? DangerousLilly’s got a great post on glass toys and an at-home test to determine if something is cheaply made or properly annealed. Wondering if you’ve got pure stainless steel or not? Scratch the surface of the toy and see if it reveals another metal underneath.
If you’ve got questions about a toy you’ve bought, you can always e-mail the manufacturer. Most sex toy brands are pretty responsive to customer questions and would be happy to help you out.
The Amazon Sex Toy Cleanup Project
If you do get a counterfeit or mislabeled toy from Amazon, Lilly has a guide to filing a report and other various steps you can take to try and get the product listing removed and the seller investigated.
I hope this post was useful in helping you navigate Amazon sex toy shopping. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or contact me on social media.
Do you have any experience buying sex toys on Amazon? Share your stories in the comments below!