You get what you pay for in perfumes at Chemist Warehouse.

This week I bought a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew Eau de Parfum in David Jones. I sprayed it on and smiled. This perfume was exactly as I remembered Youth Dew to be.

Quite a different result from the one a fortnight earlier when I bought a bottle of Youth Dew in Chemist Warehouse, a discount pharmacy with many stores. They are especially noted for selling perfumes at incredibly discounted prices of up to 85% off big brand fragrances.

The perfume I bought from them had little fragrance and was nothing like the Youth Dew that I had always loved.

This was not the first time that I had been disappointed with a perfume from Chemist Warehouse and thought it was about time that I questioned the quality of their product. So I decided to return the perfume to the Chemist Warehouse store which had sold it to me.

Little did I expect to have so much trouble returning a product! The salesgirl told me she had no authority to refund my money and so the manager was called. He assured me that the perfume was genuine; that his company was the biggest perfume retailer in Australia and that it sources its supplies directly from Estee Lauder.

I asked him if it could be old stock etc. and he said “definitely not” and that he would phone Estee Lauder directly for some confirmation if I was prepared to wait.

I told him to go ahead.

He returned after a while and repeated the mantra. By now, I remained unconvinced and so he finally agreed that he would refund the money.

It was quite an uncomfortable experience which left a bad taste in my mouth and a niggling suspicion.

Following my subsequent purchase of Youth Dew from David Jones my suspicions became stronger.

My next step was to phone the Head Office of Estee Lauder in Sydney and ask them if they supplied Chemist Warehouse.

Unsurprisingly, they said “No” and that Chemist Warehouses’ suppliers are resellers of recycled stock or remainder. This means that the stock could be old or fake, or, if you are very lucky, still good.

But according to Estee Lauder, Chemist Warehouse are not an authorised retailer for them and therefore the perfumes sold there cannot be guaranteed to be genuine.

In my opinion, it is not only the customer who may become a victim of such unethical practice but Estee Lauder and other reputable perfume manufacturers who would be unfairly blamed for producing inferior products.

So if you shop at Chemist Warehouse for your perfumes it’s a lottery. You may get a bargain or you may get a dud. Good luck but caveat emptor!


31 thoughts on “You get what you pay for in perfumes at Chemist Warehouse.

  1. Lili thank you so much for confirming my thoughts about cosmetic products from Chemist Warehouse Perhaps it is the old story of you get what you pay for?
    Lets pray we have some success this time. Cheers and happy days.


    • I have lived in Thailand for 20 years and all these perfume are made in China and sold as counterfeit products in Thailand where they can get away with this. They are all fake and now obviously distributed here in Australia. In Thailand you can purchase the same products for a fraction of the price thats being sold at chemist warehouses. I tried the cool water by Davidoff for $19 at chemist warehouse and the fragrance was gone in 30 mins. I can’t believe they are allowed to sell these products and deliberately deceiving people.


  2. I have been dealing in perfumes and fragrances for 10 years now. I can confirm 100% that chemist warehouse has been selling fake/counterfeit copies that are packed and bottled exactly like the originals! They are highly toxic for the skin, for your nose and health. Its simply not worth playing with your health like that. Not for a discount cheap perfume, an off the shelf deo from woollies will surely smell better!

    Poor customer service and checking bags at the exit confirms my claim! I am waiting for the day when the owner is put behind the bars and sued by the actual brands! The store in Parramatta is one hell of a rip off!

    they most cheapest source are the duty frees and aqua di gio will cost around 80 $, and factory price for distributors is around 70$. Kindly explain selling this for 40$ even if you sell a million copies?? Explain with mathematical proof?? I am sure people with accounting and supply chain backgrounds may be able to explain this poor sale logic! and Why are you so generously giving it away for half the price? when infact it is the best selling perfume in the world. People will buy it if you sell it for double the price!! demand / supply

    Think twice before falling for such catches!


  3. I have dealt in the perfumes industry for over 6 years and I can tell if its fake or genuine by the look of the bottle.!!! Chemist Warehouse and other shops sell fake perfumes! i repeat, all perfumes sold outside MYER and DAVID JONES are all fake. Pick any random clear glass bottle like CK Eternity or CK Free or Tommy Men, look through the glass by holding it against your Mobile Torch light and you will notice small particles floating around, original perfume doesnt have precipitates. Original perfumes contain the correct mixture of essence and alcohol with guaranteed top mid and base notes. It will never irritate your skin and the bottle will have a nice finish with a traceable trackable batch and item number. The fake ones are filled with counterfeit essence/ oil and mixed with T20 liquid. They are 20-30% similar to the original ones but may contain harmful chemicals. Stay away, not worth it.


  4. Hmm, much agitation about “suspicions” being bandied around. With the anonymity of the internet, anyone can allege anything and say they know for a fact. If doing so, yur credentials and your proof may be caled upon to be proven – you have made suspicious allegations in the worldwide public arena – please be careful lest you are sued with a writ for defamation – if you can prove what you say to the letter of the law you may not have to pay compensation for libel to the company you remarked upon.
    Your nose may be perfect. However any retail store that sells any label or product does not have to be “endorsed” as an “official supplier”….stores purchase from various agents and suppliers for products to put on their shelves, the middle-man company might be the “official” stockist.
    I am not defending the company you have all alleged against – your disappointments and suspicious are personally your own, alone or in common with other peoples who may or may not have had like experiences – but it is not proof, and turnover of sales is the key to success with that company. There are genuine first-quality fragrances for sale at that company from my and others’ personal buying and wearing experience. Perhaps you got an old item, but that’s bad luck of course, and they are not obliged to refund due to customer change of mind, due to whatever reason. If the product can be proven to be faulty, there’s your challenge. Until then, buy elsewhere, simple as that: a retail experience can be positive or negative.
    If you want to continue the allegations on this blog, lawyers may be noting the conversations.
    Not my lookout, it’s yours. Just thought I’d be one of those helpful persons who contribute, who you don’t want to hear from. Goodbye and Good Luck.


    • Good grief you are a twit Jen..I worked for Estee Lauder for 10 years..They only sell their product through reputale stores like Myer and David Jones..Chemist Warehouse sells fake and inferior perfumes…You couldn’t sell or ship any Estee Lauder products with even a scratch on the box… Youth Dew is dark brown, not like the fake see through lighter brown..I have a warehouse card and can hook you up with a card if i nominate you Liligans…Jen can keep buying the fake stuff…Let me know if you want a card..Can only nominate one person.


      • Jen stop dropping conflicting statements. And stop defending them with Proof by contradiction. Their sale has dropped considerably and people are now more aware. Just peek a boo into their store room as see how they dump their testers or half empty bottles. also prove me how it’s sold almost half the price when even the price variance is hardly 5% on duty free. The smel isn’t strong, our noses are old but we can smell your bullshit really hard


  5. There is an old saying, where there is smoke there is definitely fire. So Aristotle said you can not make everyone fool forever.


  6. Was it : You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
    Shakespeare also?
    Politicians love to try fooling all of the people all of the time ha ha .
    Now about liligans hoping to buy perfume with a guaranteed provenance, department stores buy through agencies and middle-persons, not necessarily direct from the Brand company.
    And perhaps “noses” may change over time and memory certainly changes, what we think we experienced years ago often transposes into an imagined olfactory visual or memory experience….unless a person’s senses are programmed to be infallible.
    A lot of fuss over someone who was disappointed about a retail item? I’ve enjoyed the e-chat and putting up “devil’s advocate” alternatives. There is always more than a one-dimensional viewpoint.
    See you !


  7. Their Angel perfumes, seem always guenuine to me! I have just brought a Christian Dior. There is no CD inside the packaging. I am a little suspicious!


  8. Hi, I have been purchasing a Rihanna perfume for quite some time. I first found it in Myer however they no longer stock this perfume. I have purchased from a perfume shop in the shopping centre and from priceline and have had no problems. I have purchased 2 from Chemist Warehouse. The first one i thought maybe it had been sitting around for to long as i could not smell it on me and neither could anyone else. The 2nd bottle was the same, so i am not sure about the chemist warehouse perfume. I did use cosmetic calculator and checked the batch number and it came up. I have now purchased the same bottle from an authorised reseller online and am awaiting for it to be delivered. The only bottles i have had an issue with so far are chemist warehouse.


  9. Same thing happened to me but no refund from chemist warehouse. Fake perfume compared to Myer, definitely not shopping in chemist warehouse for fragrances no more.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am thoroughly disappointed I am on a disabled pension and had saved for quite a while and added birthday money that my family had gifted to me all to buy my favorite perfume. It cost me $150 from chemist warehouse it is called addict by Christian Dior ,I took it home and excitingly opened it ,sprayed it on and couldn’t smell anything on me nor could anyone else it was nothing like what my recently deceased husband used to buy for me in Myers. I thought maybe it was because I was menopausal and that was affecting the perfume about a month later I was at a friends house and told her the story she returned from her bedroom with a bottle she had purchased from Myers she sprayed it on me and there it was the fragrance that my husband and I had loved. I could not return it as I had thrown the packaging away and couldn’t find the receipt $150 down the drain ,ask a pensioner how many luxury items they get to purchase I could have put that $150 to use on many things and now think maybe it was karma for spending so much money on myself but shame on you Chemist Warehouse for selling inferior products and at such a high price. The bottle is still sitting there I have only used it 3 times with same result I will probably keep as a reminder of a lesson learned.


    • Dearest Terri, can I buy one for you in memory of the late gentleman? I live in Sydney and I’d be glad to have one delivered at your doorstep madam. I know it might sound weird but I’d like to gift you one. Consider me your Pakistani nephew



  11. Oh dear. I can’t believe this site. I am sooo upset about my favourite perfume. Estee Lauder youth dew from chemist warehouse and I can NEVER smell it. No one else can either. I used to get comments from people EVERY time I wore it with my bottle from Myer. My sister has just bought Poem from chemist warehouse too. $100 And she has said the same that it’s fake. She also is so upset with her purchase.


    • Hi Joanne, sorry that you experienced the same disappointment as the rest of us. I suspect that most of the perfumes sold at C Warehouse are presents and so the gift giver never finds out how bad the perfume was, because that would be bad manners. If that goes on there will be a lot of stale perfumes ending up in sewers and people will just go on wasting their money.


  12. I bought a Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit for the summer as I can remember the one I used to wear while I was in Sri Lanka was very strong and lasts till I have a shower. What a disappointment… it smells like Nizoral anti dandruff tar shampoo…does not last for even an hour. Same with the Gucci guilty bought around the same time. The one from Myer lingers throughout the day…
    Does anyone know if Priceline stuff is original?


    • Hi Azmi, I’m going to ask the owning company of Priceline about the way it purchases perfumes for sale at a discount. Will let you know the reply as soon as I receive it.
      Kind regards,


      • As promised I asked Priceline whether they source their perfumes from the traditonal perfumers as do David Jones and Myer or whether they make use of the grey market. After several transfers from Customer Service at Head office and back again, I was informed that Priceline does not reveal the source of their perfumes.

        Sorry I can’t help you any further, Azi, since Priceline’s reply is disappointing.


  13. Thanks Lili Gans for checking up Priceline. I was thinking of getting YVES SAINT LAURENT Black Opium from Priceline which is only $129 compares to $218 from Myers! I reckon I should get it from the duty-free YSL counter while I’m traveling.


    • You’re welcome, Connie. I must stress that the lady at the Priceline office refused to answer my question. She didn’t actually say that the perfumes were grey stock (meaning “out of date etc.” I wish that she could have assured me that the perfumes were fine. Sadly, the lesson I have learned is that there are very few bargains in this world.


  14. I just purchased Estee Lauder Modern Muse in Chemist WH last Sunday. This is the 2nd time I purchased from them. I initially thought the first perfume (unknown) brand I bought was not a good brand. So I chose a popular brand like E.L. However, I haven’t even left the house , the scent is gone. 😦

    I thought it was good I got it $30 less than in David Jones, but turns out I wasted $90. 😦


    • Hi JP.
      This sort of thing has happened to other shoppers at Chemist WH. It is very disappointing but perhaps we should learn that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.


  15. Same experience at Chenist warehouse with one of my favourite perfumes, Paloma Picasso. Three years ago about this time of year, the Christmas shopping period,, it appeared in their catalogue (much to my surprise as have only been able to find it at Myer). So I purched 2 gift sets for myself. It is nothing like the genuine perfume. When I asked them this year they denied ever having it in their store! This does smack of opportunistic buying up defunct or fake stock. I now get mine from Myer as my daughter has never seen it in duty free stores – she travels overseas about twice a year. So, pay the price and enjoy that wonderful feeling that comes with being “fully dressed” :).


  16. I can’t see how these are not legit. The laws in Australia are easily strong enough for any major brand to get fakes off the market. There are also hefty penalties for selling counterfeit materials that nearly any major retailor would want to avoid.
    I would suggest that to chemist warehouse believe that these are all legit but it is clear that the “same” item is usually inferior at chemist warehouse based on the feedback here and elsewhere. This suggests that one or more below could be the reason
    1. Some items are counterfeit but Chemist warehouse believes it is real. EG the first few batches are real and the rest fake.
    2. It is old stock and out of date
    3. It is a grey market product. Different markets may have the same branding but can have different ingredients/Strength etc.
    Personally, I believe it would be 2 or more likely 3 above as at least one brand owner would sue the living daylights out of chemist warehouse if they were selling fakes. These companies do not take lightly to others damaging their brand.


    • Simon, you make some cogent points but even if CW believes it is selling the real thing the customers have noticed that their perfumes etc are weaker and so are unsatisfactory. Perhaps it is better to pay a little more and be happier with the purchases from accredited providers. if one is not so fussy then the CW product may be good enough. Perfume, however, is a luxury purchase which should make one feel happy and pampered. If the perfume quality is not up to par then what’s the point of using it?


  17. Checking Myer and David Jones website they are selling Estee Lauder Youth Dew $80 & Beautiful $90. Chemist Warehouse is selling both perfumes for the same price. Why would you buy them at C/W if they were inferior ??


    • Rupert, at the time that I wrote this post Chemist Warehouse prices for Youth Dew were cheaper than they are now. I tried the product, found it wanting and will not use CW for perfumes again. As a matter of fact, I was intrigued by the price difference and that is why I phoned the actual perfume companies for an explanation. They are the ones who informed me. One should also keep in mind that perfumes are a frequent gift choice and most recipients would not complain about the quality of a gift, would they? Cheers.


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