Fake GHD hair straighteners on eBay

First published on July 25, 2009

Having bought and sold on eBay for over 10 years, I’ve learned some basics about being diligent about your purchases, and have never had a problem buying genuine products from honest sellers:

  • Ask the seller questions
  • Make sure the seller will ship to your area
  • Check the seller’s feedback
  • Find out as much background about the seller as possible
  • Use PayPal or a credit card to pay
  • Comparison shop with past listings

If you are looking to buy a GHD hair straightener on eBay, I would suggest that you be extra careful and that you consider whether the risk (of time spent researching beforehand and of time and money lost if you end up with a fake) is worth the potential savings. Also, if you end up with a fake, working product, you cannot be sure of the quality control done on it. And while I don’t use hair straighteners, I’m sure that the combination of hair and electricity in the bathroom is not something you want to mess with.

Recently, my friend wanted to purchase a GHD hair straightener on eBay. The price appeal is understandable — such a straightener retails for over $200, and there are many listings on eBay that have it for less than $150. And there are legitimate reasons for people to sell legitimate hair straighteners for less than retail: clearing of stock, closing out sales, and so on. Every day my friend would research the listings, sifting through the obviously fake and the somewhat sketchy listings. She found a couple of “how to spot a fake” guides (here and here) to help with the process. Eventually, she settled on a listing, which I thought looked fine:

  • The seller was Canadian
  • The seller claimed a genuine product
  • The seller said he/she had stock on hand
  • The seller had perfect feedback and had been on eBay for several years
  • The product pictures looked real

So I bought it and we ended up with a fake. But at first glance it looks real:

Fake GHD box

Fake GHD product

Everything is included, and the presentation is slick.

Upon closer inspection, we found that some aspects of the product were just not right.

The product was shipped from a factory in China called “Tian Jin”. First of all, why in the world did it ship from China? Also, if you do a Google search, you’ll see that factory name on a long list of known counterfeit producers.

The seller had given me a tracking number that he/she claimed was a Canada Post number. As it turns out, it was a USPS tracking number.

There were spelling mistakes on the box and in the product booklets. These mistakes aren’t rampant, and are probably due to human error in reproducing the material or from stealing unedited versions of the material. Some examples:

  • “… and the ghd styler gose to sleep”
  • “… style with heat and style without feat.”
  • “… it’s so easy to creat waves…”
  • “… to straightening ro plumping-up volume…”

The inner box made a reference to the “pink styler”. The actual straightener was not pink. The product booklets were intended for the United Kingdom; however, the actual styler shipped is the North American version with the North American plug.

The serial number 6uveg v5myc wk15s is not unique, if you do a Google search.

Fake GHD plug

Also, the serial number was attached to the straightener in two different places, and was different in both locations.

I was able to discover further disturbing evidence. In doing a Google search for the seller’s username (and full name and e-mail address), I found that he/she had been posting on a message board, where someone else was offering to sell their “get rich quick on eBay” scheme. That other person described this scheme as easy to do, where you don’t have to even touch the product, and it gets shipped directly to the customer. Based on that and a bit more of what was written, it was obvious as to what had happened.

I contacted the seller saying that I knew the product was a fake and I asked for a refund. I didn’t get a response. Since I paid via PayPal, I filed a claim under the category “Item significantly not as described” and included the evidence (and quite a bit more) listed above. After about two weeks and not a peep from the seller, the money was refunded. I think we got a bit lucky here, because if the seller had tried to argue the claim, it would have probably ended up with a long, drawn-out process.

eBay is a great marketplace for most products. But be vigilant about fake GHD hair straighteners! My friend’s fake styler sits in the box, unused, where it will probably remain. Undoubtedly, the counterfeit producers in China will get smarter, and correct some of the easy-to-fix errors while still churning out a product of questionable functional quality. Some tricks, like producing a randomized serial number, are hard to spot until you actually have the product; after all, even if you ask the seller for the serial number, a Google search would turn up empty, and you’re not likely to register it until you have it in your hands. Is it worth your effort to stay on top of that?


12 Responses to “Fake GHD hair straighteners on eBay”

  1. Edward’s Hair Solutions says:

    You’ve got some great tips here. I wasn’t familiar with your blog before but I’m looking forward to more stuff like this.

    Fake GHD hair straighteners are SO hard to detect these days. I’m actually a bit surprised that they’re still making basic spelling mistakes when they manage to get so much of the rest of the counterfeiting correct.

  2. Andrew says:

    I am an American student from Rhode Island, who is living in Beijing. While I know it may seem risky, many of the counterfeit products are fine. I wouldn’t feel worried using the straightener.

  3. Suzi says:

    I wish I had done some research prior to purchasing my supposed ghd styler. I suspected it to be fake when I noticed spelling errors in the product information and when it burnt my hair. Nothing serious but the smell and smoke was obvious. My suspicions were confirmed when the serial number was rejected by the official ghd website for product registration.

    I contacted the seller to ask for a refund and after a few emails back and forth they stopped responding.

    I don’t think the straightener I purchased is fine at all.

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for this useful crap. I recentley just purchaced a GHD Straightener from ebay…this is my story.

    After getting the ‘rush’ of winning the item after a long ‘bidding war’ I was soon depressed. I received an email from ebay stating the item (and item(s) I had been watching) was removed from ebay all together!

    The seller was from Korea…and even though I have been using ebay for years…red flags went undetected – as I was so determined to buy this brand of hair straighter. (which is the best of the best for people who don’t know) The seller has (0) stars, and 0% feedback. Yes I know…I should have never proceeded.

    But I did. And now the seller(s) is not responding to me (Zhiping Xiao <>) and (

    I filed a ‘dispute’ with PayPal regarding this member – then it automatically went to a ‘claim’…I knew it was bad. So, I filed a claim, and I have 10days to wait…if the seller does not respond – I get a full refund.

    Lessons Learned:
    Never buy from a seller with zero anything
    Research research research!
    Always use PayPal

    I hope if you are reading this…you think twice before buying on ebay. Unfortunately not everyone is honest in this world.

    Thanks for reading,

  5. john says:

    Most of the time, these ‘copies’ are pretty fine. I think people should learn, if you want a 100% good deal, go get it from an authorized dealer and prepare to pay full retail.

    If you are on ebay looking for a deal, bare in mind, that there will not be many people in the western world is that hungry to sell their $180 equipment for $60.

  6. Julia says:

    Wow buyer really has to be ‘ware huh?

    I’m suprised the real GHD isn’t trying to crack down on this more, sounds like there is a huge established GHD knock-off market going on.

  7. Amy says:

    im seriously dont want a ghd, i wanted it sooo bad b4
    1st thing: i dont wanna waste $200 on a fake straightener
    2nd:the real ghd website doesnt even sell there straighteners in Canada -.-
    so how the hell am i going to buy it :@
    When did buyers need 2 be SCARED of buying a Straightener, im really pissed :(

  8. V says:

    Amy, even though the real ghd website doesn’ t sell the straighteners in Canada but apparently Sephora stores in Canada sell it. That’s where my friend got hers.

  9. Deb says:

    I have recently purchased a ghd online. It arrived from China – which I was not expecting so I was instantly a bit concerned. When I tried to register the product it of course wouldn’t work on the official ghd website. I contacted ghd and they told me it was a fake and dangerous and to return it to them for disposal. It certainly is a very convincing fake. I also contacted the seller who stated that it was genuine but not authorised – whatever that means. They were happy to refund my money if I returned the product. The refund would be given once they received the product. So who knows if I would really get my money back or not. Meanwhile ghd are requesting I look to my credit card company insurance and make a claim if possible and return the straigtener to them. Since they are not offering to pay the postage then I am not likely to spend the money to return it am I.

  10. ana says:

    how did you get your money back from paypal?
    i bought two sets of the deluxe version and one of the straightners is not working (when i plug it, it doesnt turn on)
    the plugs are european and have an uk adaptor
    the dryers smell like burning plastic
    and it has two different serial numbers in different places
    i bought it on the 14th of november if im not wrong
    do you think im able to recover the money from paypal?

    Reply from Peter: Within PayPal, you can open a dispute within their “Resolution Center”. However, it looks like you only have 45 days from the date of purchase to do so. If you paid with a credit card, you could also ask your credit card company to initiate a chargeback.

  11. Fiona says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I bought a ghd straightener off ebay and when I plugged it in it make sparking noises so I unplugged it. The serial number on it is exactly the one you posted above. I’ve just put in a claim with ebay and paypal and will hopefully get a refund.

  12. Helen Stenson says:

    Firstly I love your business name/blog name it made me laugh!
    Important info about the GHD, I am about to search for a second hand one,Thankyou so much ,I will use your very useful tips!

    Kind Regards

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