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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Beware Pretty Little Bottles of Polish With Ugly Little Strings Attached

Hello gentle readers.

Have you heard of the latest thing to come down the pike? Lacquerous. It is being touted as Netflix for Nails. A polish sharing service designed to let anyone have access to the latest in mid tier and luxury brand nail polishes without the high price tag or the commitment of ownership. For a mere eighteen dollars a month you can have up to three bottles of high quality nail polish delivered to your door, use each up to three times in a month then send them back in their snug little prepaid mailer and receive three new bottles of the polishes on your list to play with.

Sounds great, huh?

I mean, what could be more fun than opening a package and being greeted by shiny, sparkly bottles of Tom Ford, CHANEL, Butter London, OPI, Dior and more? What can give greater pleasure than smoothing those beautiful lacquers in stunning colours and sparkling glitters onto your nails? What can be more satisfying than knowing that you are wearing the latest, the best, the most beautiful polishes that can be found on your very own hands?

What could be more fun than receiving used nail polish in the mail? Polishes used by total strangers. Total strangers about whom you know absolutely nothing? Who are these people? What kind of hygiene do they practice? Do they keep a clean home? I know that there is not a germ, virus, bacterium, fungus or other living nasty that could possibly survive in the hostile, chemical atmosphere of a bottle of nail polish. However, just knowing that a total stranger has used that polish makes me unhappy. Look, I don't even like to buy polish in a store if there is evidence on the bottle that some random shopper has opened and swatched it, either on themselves or on a shelf, display, the handle of a stroller, the yappy little dog they drag around in their purse... I just don't like it. I don't mind polish sharing with family and friends and I have done a polish swap. But these are circumstances under my control and I am sharing with people I know, trust and with whom I want to share.

I won't be joining Lacquerous. Not now. Not anytime in the future. The issue of sharing nail polish with total strangers aside, this service has what I feel to be a very dark side to it. Their Terms of Use. Their rules of the game. All of which are rigged heavily in their own favor and some of which, in my own opinion are suspicious if not downright sneaky and underhanded.

Let us examine one of the rules of the game, shall we? Polish usage. According to the website's FAQ page you may use each bottle "up to approximately three applications in a month". Uh... What? Up to approximately three applications in a month? What exactly does up to approximately three applications constitute? Is it a set amount of polish averaged out across a wide cross section of the polish wearing population as the normal and customary amount of polish used three times? Is there a mark on the bottle when you receive it that shows the fill line and another to tell you that you may not use past that point?

Lacquerous says that they "monitor the amount of nail lacquer in each bottle" to keep track of usage. How? How exactly do they monitor the amount of lacquer in each bottle and how do they prove that they sent an exact quantity to Customer X and that Customer X returned the bottle having used an appropriate amount of the polish. But what is an appropriate amount? Some people have very long nails and use a lot of polish every time they polish their nails. Others have very short nails and use less. I have what I consider long active length nails. However, I probably use more polish than another person with similar length nails because while they may paint thinner coats, I paint thicker coats. Do you see how this nebulous rule can quickly dissolve into utter chaos? I sure can.

According to the Lacquerous Terms of Use page they can and will charge your credit card an extra amount if they feel that you used too much of their polish. How much extra would they charge and how would they determine that you used too much polish? According to their terms, you can't argue the point with them. If they feel that you used too much, damaged their property (they don't spell out damage) or otherwise used it inappropriately, according to them, they will slap additional charges on your credit card. Charges that again, they do not spell out clearly as to amounts. Five dollars? Ten? Fifty? I don't know about you but there is no way on God's green Earth I am going to give my credit card number to a company who lays down terms like these. I might as well just hand it over and tell them to use it as they want as that is what you are doing, if you agree to their Terms of Use, as I have read them.

So, tell me gentle reader, when was the last time you had a credit check run? None of my business, you say? You are entirely correct. It is none of my business. But it is Lacquerous's business. That's right. Read that Terms of Use page very, very carefully, my friend. They reserve the right, at their discretion to run a credit check on you. Nice, huh? The thought of a credit check, one that will, by the way count against you and your FICO score makes those shiny, pretty bottles of polish look a little less shiny? A bit less pretty?

Uh-oh! You forgot that you had to send that package of rented polish back. Unless you promptly notify Lacquerous that there will be a little delay in returning them, you will be charged for the polish (s) and return shipping. So, lets get this straight, you pay the return shipping if you are late, pay for the replacement value of the polishes then return the polishes anyway. If I read that right, you just bought (used) polish at new polish replacement prices that you don't get to keep. Wow. Just... Wow.

Here's some more really cute shenanigans for you. When they send the package of polish to you, they insure it and put tracking and delivery confirmation on the package. Fair and square, so far. I would do the same. But, say that the package goes missing, which packages can and do. Guess what? You get to investigate and track and try to find that package and if you fail, they not only get paid by the insurance that they took out on the package for the replacement value of the polishes but they will charge you for the replacement value of the polishes, as well. In my neck of the woods, we call that double dipping. And while it might not be illegal, it is underhanded. And it is not something with which I am willing to get tangled up. And, from a lot of the reading I am doing and tweets I am seeing, neither are many of my fellow bloggers.

If you still think that Lacquerous is a good thing, if you want to try it, by all means do so. I am not your mama, I am not going to tell you what to do. But I strongly encourage you to thoroughly read their Terms of Use page before you sign up. Read it a couple of times. Because let me assure you, it makes for interesting reading. While the language of the page is in Legalese, it isn't too complicated. I am no walking brain trust and I understood it just fine. And I still don't like it. And I won't be going anywhere near it.

Have you heard of Lacquerous? Have you done your reading on the service? What do you think? Like the idea? Maybe not so much? I'd really like to hear your opinion and thoughts on this new service. And yes, I even want to hear them if you completely disagree with me and think I am full of horse feathers.

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