This article was submitted by “Tiffany” who wanted to share her experience as someone who was never in Mary Kay but began buying products from consultants and reselling it on eBay and Amazon. After helping many consultants who had products they couldn’t unload anywhere else, Mary Kay tried to stop her.
This is not to be taken as legal advice. We are just sharing our story hoping it well help others. Oh and we also want to tell you why we are begging for Mary Kay to sue us.
We always knew of the Avon Ladies and the obnoxious Mary Kay Ladies but we never had a reason to know of the actual structure and how it worked until we got a cease and desist (C&D) letter from the Mary Kay legal team threatening legal action and accusing us of hurting their sales force, violating their trademarks and the products weren’t backed up by MK guarantee etc.
The Day the Cease and Desist Came via Certified Mail…
Of course we panicked but we knew in the back our my minds we were okay because we sold other products online such as Amazon and eBay and always got permission from eBay or Amazon before selling it on their platform. Both companies replied telling us it was fine as long products are not counterfeit and we legally obtained the products.
You see, the lady we purchased product from was a former Mary Kay lady who had literally over $10,000 + inventory that she could not send back to the company because a year had passed so we paid rock bottom prices. We actually gave her more than what she requested thinking we would make 10x. Ha. Little did we know Mary Kay makeup is not comparable to high end makeup. That’s okay. We still made out.
Luckily the first attorney we called eagerly took our case. We paid a small retainer because he was so sure we were with in our legal rights (we are) and would even have taken our case pro bono but it was better we pay a retainer so we did.
The back and forth went on for about 2 months. The fun part was learning through eBay and Amazon legal team — Mary Kay was able to send us a C&D to our address we had on file with Amazon and eBay because Mary Kay placed an order with us vs demanding the companies take our listings down because it is in fact legal to sell their products on line (see below on how to) and they won in court by not having to give out our contact info. That always bothered us why Mary Kay didn’t contact the two companies.
Mary Kay’s Legal was trying to bully us. Go ahead on Amazon and eBay and count how many listings there are of Mary Kay products. Our attorney practically begged Mary Kay’s legal team to file a lawsuit against us in court, you would be surprised to know how the threats turned to “we are trying to avoid litigation” as we proved:
- We did not have an agreement with Mary Kay so their argument not permitting their sales force to sell on line at places like Amazon and eBay did not apply to us.
- We are not bound by Texas law but Mary Kay is (see why that’s good below)
- Our customers were backed up by eBay’s and Amazon’s customer satisfaction guarantee: if a customer isn’t happy they can get a 100% refund. We also went above MK guarantee by offering a refund and new product if need be. We had 0 complaints, 100% feedback.
- Once an item is uploaded on eBay or Amazon it technically becomes their property (read the terms and conditions). Why isn’t MK going against them instead?
- As far as the copyright infringement— it’s called trade. You are permitted by law to sell products you obtained legally. Plus we made it clear on our listings we were not affiliated with Mary Kay. We had to show photos of what we were was selling —we weren’t using their stock photos. There is no copyright infringement.
- We made sure to specify on listings if the products were expired. Mary Kay products do have a longer shelf life than their actual expiration date for a reason, ya know.
- We proved we were not hurting the sales force—we were actually helping the sales force since Mary Kay Cosmetics has a tight window when consultants can sell back their products. (Sadly consultants sell their old inventory at rock bottom prices so they can keep buying new inventory to get to the next level)
- Most of the Mary Kay products we sold were no longer sold by MK since their packaging was changed all the time (aka limited edition) so again we were not hurting the sales force
- MK doesn’t permit their sales force to sell on line anyhow.. consultants can just sell through their website. We also scrutinized their online marketing.
- Mary Kay still encourages consultants to sell face to face (parties) therefore online customers are not MK’s target customer. We demanded to know how many customers shop on MK vs buy face to face (you know how that went “we don’t track sales” aka face to face)
- We demanded to know how many customers actually went through the MK website and purchased off the consultant by using their “find a consultant” feature so we could see how we were “hurting” their sales force. Nevertheless, MK wasn’t willing to supply that info and only would if ordered too. They called it “trade secrets” we called it bull sh*t.
- We actually scrutinized their “find a consultant” feature they pointed out on how customers find consultants to buy their product. We actually proved Mary Kay’s feature hurts their own sales force since we are able to enter zip codes of actual consults we found on Facebook and through other ways and noted when we entered their zip code their names did not show up — other consultants names showed up. That was fun.
- We gathered many testimonials from former consultants via Internet the burden they had by having so much left over useless inventory that ended up in the trash and money lost (we also contacted some of them who agreed to supply affidavits if needed)
- We proved MK products were over priced just by pointing out their own commission they pay if a consultant placed an order — not if a consultant sold their products.
- After all Mary Kay loves to say they don’t keep track of consultant sales so we needed to know how our tiny store was hurting this company that boasts of $4 billion in sales they get off consultants every year.
- We even used Sale Directors own websites telling their consultants to not worry about eBay and Amazon sellers who sell Mary Kay products because the prices were so below retail — the Sales Directors said “them customers who buy off eBay and Amazon were never gonna be “our customer” anyhow because they are looking for deals.” Basically branding buyers “cheap” (mysteriously those posts were taken down shortly after)
- We provided many notes on our sales record and from our own feedback from customers saying they always wanted to try MK or liked a product but weren’t willing to pay retail prices.
- We proved if a customer ever had a complaint we always offered above what Mary Kay would ever dream of offering. We guarantee a fast refund—no questions asked plus offered replacement in addition to a refund.
- We also proved Mary Kay’s attorneys who filed the C&D and threat of lawsuit knew they were wrong and were in violation Texas Law & Texas Bar via ethics etc and mentioned the Texas Supreme Court 91a rule for baseless lawsuits and pointed out how Texas is cracking down on frivolous lawsuits like this. We promised to send bar complaints.
We spent so much time learning about Mary Kay since this happened and it makes us angry how unethical this company is. If you obtain merchandise legally you are permitted to sell it. Plain and simple. Although Mary Kay didn’t end up taking us to court (bummer) and paid us an undisclosed amount of money for attorney fees under our confidential agreement — we ended closing down for a while because we felt dirty for selling their products after learning the culture and horror stories from current and former consultants.
Then something kept happening: we kept getting desperate calls from former consults begging us to buy their inventory who could not sell their product back so we ended up opening up shop again. We just made sure to never buy off a consultant who is trying to climb the ladder.
Ha. Don’t you know you Mary Kay is trying this again by ordering off us under our new store? Like we didn’t have the address saved from last time. Lucky for us, since the USPS can get our return address by scanning the tracking number — we black out the return address because you never know when a stalker will just show up at your door. We know the USPS would not turn this info over to them with out notifying us.
We are READY for round 2. Is it worth it? You bet. We are helping former Mary Kay reps out by buying their inventory they can’t return for whatever reason. Plus it feels good to use Mary Kay’s own words against them. We are not the only ones who Mary Kay has tried to bully and successfully argued on the above merits. 😀
We are hoping Mary Kay will take us to court so we can set case law for future victims.
By the way MK legal- we know you read this website everyday, this was sent via Tor. Oh yes, Pink Truth is known as former disgruntled consultants. I thank you disgruntled consultants because you all helped us and we want to pay it forward.