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French Box Expired Product Update

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Thanks Erin for letting us know that French Box just posted this on their Facebook page:FrenchBox Update Do Not UseHopefully they will be emailing all subscribers asap as well – I’m sure not all subscribers read their Facebook page! (UPDATE – I just received an email from FrenchBox as well).

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

76 Comments

  1. I send an e-mail to Pierre Auge and I ask about the batch number.
    For the Lanvin body cream…I couldn’t find any information…seems they sell only this product via other website in USA not in France…Suspicious…On my bottle it’s written : 122011, does it mean dec 2011 ?? What’s written on yours ? I think, I am not going to use it anymore…
    If I get an answer from Pierre Auge. I let you know !

    • So I had a response from Pier auge. they said that the mask is fresh ! Made in sept 2014 good until march 2017 if not open. After opening : good for 9 month !
      For Lanvin, still can’t find where I can send an e-mail.
      Did someone contact Sothys ?

      • I emailed and heard from them, too, and they immediately knew I was asking about French Box even though I never told them. So either they have been bombarded by questions or they made special lots for FB.

  2. I’ve been charged but have not received the box or any of the emails. I wonder what that means.

  3. I am taking this as a wake-up call for checking the content of sub boxes and my daily routine… like grocery/drug store shopping… many things have shelf lives. And now I have to take a look at stash of my cosmetics… I am not familiar a lot of the ingredient that goes in the products, so I need to learn.

    I received my box over the weekend and immediately checked the manufactured dates. Nov. 2014 for L’Oreal lipstick and Jun.2012 for the nail sticker and both have the icon that they expire after 24 months from opening. I have used below links that were posted on review thread. Thank you for the ladies who posted them.
    http://checkcosmetic.net/
    http://www.checkfresh.com/

    It is hard for me to believe that FrenchBox didn’t know about the freshness of the products when sourced and also hard to believe that the customers will overlook it.

    Also, I wonder if sub boxes are required to disclose the manufacturer of all the products they send out. As far as I see the reviews of boxes here, we know which company makes what. But in this particular box, we don’t know who makes the bath beads and nail file. Because they don’t tell us, I am assuming that they are not made in France or from French company.

    I would like to see a refund or replacement box to justify Feb. box. Depends on what they do in the next few days, I have to decide my own action for my yearly subscription.

    • I, too, am a yearly subscriber. I don’t see that we have as many options as monthly subscribers. Can’t really cancel since we’ve paid for a year and it’s past the 90 days dispute for credit card.

      What else is there?

      • Hi Cindy, do we usually have 90 days to dispute the charges with credit card companies? It has been years since I had to do it. I started my yearly this month after going month to month. If the company to go out of business, I feel that the company should give you the partial refund based on monthly price. One sub box called Googaro (baby/toddler box) went out of business a little while ago (you can search here and it is under the last box review) that they were issuing refund for the remaining month. They were charging me and sending boxes to me AFTER I canceled and received confirmation.

        But what if they still stay in business and refuses to refund and it is past credit card company’s guarantee? Anyone had situation like this before?

        It concerns me that past FrenchBox’s items need to be checked for freshness. But how do I do that if I don’t have enough info on the product to search? Contact the manufacturer?

        • I looked it up last night and under federal law you have 2 years to dispute charges. Each bank may have a different policy of how long they’ll give you to initiate a charge-back, but if you insist they should let you do it.

          The problem that French Box has is that if too many people dispute the charges on their credit cards, their bank will shut them down and put them out of business.

          Indeed, I don’t see how they can recover from this one.

          • Nana, thank you very much for looking that up! I haven’t contacted them yet and I am giving them a little time to respond. In the meantime, I am reading everyone’s responses here. I will communicate with the company first before disputing the charges.

  4. I find it interesting that their Facebook likes have increased

    • By hundreds in the past two days, right? It’s over 9,000 now.

      They just published an apology on their facebook page. They are holding off the March box for now (goodness knows what they had planned for March) and are deciding what to do about February.

      Still no comments on what to do about annual subscribers and they haven’t addressed sourcing for previous boxes to assure us they are safe.

      • I requested info regarding sourcing of all past products on Facebook. I hope enough people do that so that they feel compelled to comply.

        • That must have been your comment I saw! Hopefully they will respond. Your question was more than fair.

    • Good sleuthing! It is a good lesson to me- I hesitated to sign up for Oui Box because it was so pricey, yet signed right up for the $24 box and gave them my credit card number ! Crazy!

    • Woah! Still scamming in 2015

    • The person mentionned in this article is not a FrenchBox Founder.

      Mickael Cohen has NOTHING to do with the article you have linked, it’s a different person with the same name.

      We’re dealing with our product situation in an honest and open way but we won’t stay silent on smearing.

      • I find it hard to believe this is a different Mickael Cohen – given the companies are established the same way as LLCs, have the same spelling (that is not the norm), are in the same location, are both from France, have the same BIRTHDATE… In my opinion, anyone would find it hard to believe that these are not the same person.

      • FrenchBox, the address listed on your website relates you to the FrenchDistrict, is that correct?
        Cette entreprise (FrenchBox) a-t-elle été créée par un (des) français? Ou le côté français est simplement marketing, si je puis dire? Enfin, étant moi-même française, je dois avouer avoir été tentée par cette “subscription box”… MAIS… les marques ne sont pas celles que j’espérais 🙁
        I might expect too much as I do not know if you guys are French native, or fluent in French. Oh well, I’ll wait and see.
        Do you plan on anything like Guinot? or other French renowned brands not available in the US?

    • This article is… professional? Well, anyway. I was not able to find a single information on this person on any French media, of in any French court judgment. Is he really French?

  5. I cancelled my subscription when the February box arrived. I was really excited with the box at first but it went down hill from there. So disappointed. Guess I will have to find another box to take it’s place!

  6. I find it interestin that everyone is upset and demanding refunds from FB dues to them sending out expired items.

    Yet Beauty Box 5 has sent out expired items 3 months in a row and barely anyone is demanding they refund everyone.

    I for one think any company that sends out expired stuff fully knows it, and should refund every customer. It is shady, and I refuse to do business with shady companies.

    • I think a lot of it has to do with the relatively price of the box/products. The January beautybox5 box had one expired product worth $3, and 4 non-expired ones which together came out to $16. The box was $12.

      The FF box has 2 expired products. The remaining 3 are worth perhaps $2 together. The box was $24.

      Lots of people complained about beautyboxfive’s expired mascara and unsubscribed – me included.

    • Agree 100%

  7. I cancelled my subscription the same day I received the February box. Not only were the products questionable with regard to the age but it all seemed rather cheap. I subscribed to this box to get unique products from France. Not to be inundated with products I can buy in the locally. Every month has had some issue with the box; delayed product, missing product, replacement. I’m done. It’s not worth it when there are much better options in the market. As for the expired items, already in the trash.

  8. I’ve sent them 3 emails with no response. I know they probably have a lot of angry people sending them lots of messages, but they need to make a statement, and fast. This is not acceptable.

    I will be disputing the charges on my credit card, on the grounds that I was sent products that I was then told by the company not to use with no replacements or reimbursements of any kind. I would advise everyone else to do the same. We deserve refunds for this and nothing less.

  9. Speaking as an attorney, I would advise a client in this situation to immediately and without need for individual requests, to refund all subscribers in full immediately. This was not an oversight. There is evidence of deliberate attempts to obscure product age/origin. When it comes to products you put on your skin and especially those for the eyes and lips, it is indeed a matter of safety. Will you die if you used old lipstick, highly unlikely. Do you want to roll the dice and hope for the best? Probably not. But subscribers here weren’t even given the option to choose since the product age was very likely deliberately withheld by removing the packaging before shipment to subscribers. Oil-based products have a significantly shorter shelf life than most other skin and makeup items so I find this scenario particularly egregious under the circumstances. Old lipstick isn’t as much of an issue from a safety standpoint but sending what they did in the manner some received it (sans packaging of any kind) is equally dishonest.

    Sourcing from third party resellers is unfortunately common among beauty sub start ups. Few are able to recover when caught though some do manage to make a comeback. The key to survival is transparency and immediate response with refunds. No credits – refunds. I had this experience with another sub and their response was like a manual for how to ensure you don’t live to see another business day. Denials, excuses, online shilling, and in general minimizing will only make things worse, in the “here’s a shovel, keep digging” kind of way.

    Those among us who are diehard beauty sub customers generally want only a few things from a new sub: good quality products, decent value, and interesting/thoughtful curation. I don’t think any of us want a startup to fail. On the contrary – we tend to root for the little guy and support them as they grow, even if it means the value ratio isn’t as high as with a corporate competitor. But as is the case in any kind of relationship, personal or business, once trust is broken it’s a difficult thing to redevelop. Whether this company can rebuild that trust is almost exclusively up to them now.

    • Well, I’m also an attorney, and I certainly agree that if they want to keep business they should refund quickly, I think the legalities of this are not so clear, however. They haven’t offered us one thing and we’ve gotten another, as it would be if they were selling Revlon lipstick and we bought it thinking it was fresh. I don’t think it’s illegal to sell expired cosmetics- they just aren’t regulated that way. They probably aren’t going to make anyone sick, but they are certainly less desirable. So this gives me thought about what we are purchasing as sub box consumers. We are trying to get a bargain, and truly buying “a pig in a poke” as my grandma would say. When you buy a mystery box, you haven’t bargained for anything specific. I don’t think French Box advertises any value, either- just French stuff. We got French stuff- it just wasn’t anything anyone would want.

      Let the buyer beware, I guess. I could buy old cosmetics at the flea market, but I don’t want them. These guys are trying to get us value for our small investment, and obviously buying product wherever they can. A big, media-driven organization like Popsugar can get drastically discounted merchandise for product placement value. Organizations like Little Lace Box partner with companies to get deals on their merchandise, and then they sell them independently. I think I am going to be very careful about who I subscribe to, and evaluate how they can possibly keep their boxes going.

      • Oh, I love legal discussions! They bring me back to my law school years. The problem with law is that it is very broad and it’s easy to get caught up in one branch (e.g. FDA regulations) and forget about the others. But this is basically a very basic contracts law question with a very basic contracts law answer: FrenchBox sold products that are not able to do what they are intended to do because they are expired, and therefore broke its obligations under the contract and must do a refund.

        Here is what the UCC says about this (2-315):

        “Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyeris relying on the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified under the next section an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.”

        Frenchbox knows that you will use a lipstick to paint your lips and that you will use a serum on your skin, so when they sell you that, those products must be suitable for those purposes. They weren’t, because they were expired. While the other 3 products might have been OK, Frenchbox guarantees 5 products in their boxes.

        And French Box does make representations of what will be in the box. It says the box will contain the “latest fashions, beauty secrets and gourmet recipes from France” and “the latest products from France”. Obviously expired products are not “the latest”. What they do is false advertisement, but also a breach of contract law.

        • I am so glad to find out I am not the only lawyer obsessed with sub boxes!

          • Me too. 🙂

  10. This is disappointing. I emailed them the other day about how bad the box was and they emailed back yesterday to say they were going to update Facebook soon about it. This was the final box for the 3 month gift subscription I got my Mom, so I emailed her this post today since they never sent me any further information. I hope they’re going to do something to make up for this. The December box was pretty nice!

  11. I think this is a bigger problem. I’ve been a little suspicious about the Sothy items and never used them because I couldn’t find them on the internet and thought they were bought in lots from elsewhere. I pulled the nail polish I received in the September box and there is mold. I sent a picture of it to Liz. Maybe it is a one off. How long does it take for mold to grow in nail polish?

    • Hi Anna,

      Did you email me the picture today or a while ago? Trying to find it in my inbox.

      • I emailed it today at 8:58. My computer locked up when I was sending it so I had to reboot. I sent it to Liz@mysubscriptionaddiction.com.

        I don’t know what it is, but it should not be in my nail polish!

        • My reply is in moderation LOL. My computer locked up when I went to send it so it should be there now.

          • Boy, do I feel stupid! They are agitator balls. I never saw that before in a nail polish. Liz, please feel free to delete so as not to compound the problem.

  12. I got the email. My box arrived today and I had to email them about the issues. It was a long, contemplated email. In it, I asked them where did they get the Alexis serum since the company didn’t sell it. And where, in general, do they source their items. And I asked them to be sure to specifically address these questions when they respond to me.

    I have a year’s subscription so I hope they can rectify and recover from this.

    • Cindy, I have the one-year sub, so I share the pain…

  13. i can’t believe they don’t know that before sending the box….it’s not possible or they are not paying attention at all about what they are sending…

    • I just looked their website and either L’oreal Paris and Alexis cosmetique appear as frenchbox sponsor…

  14. I still think they bought the cosmetics off of Alibaba. Alexis Cosmetics is available through them along with the bath beads. Thank you for keeping us informed. I’m not sure how they are going to recover from this.

  15. I received the email as well, unfortunately I did try the lipstick. It was the perfect color too. :-(. Hope i don’t get the cooties. What I personally thought was both timely and shameful for the FB fiasco… Pop Sugar had a slideshow on France/French based beauty products. Some were not too expensive and I thought it would have been nice to receive some of those items. Oh well, another one bites the dust.

  16. I sent you an email with links. Thank you!

  17. Thank you Liz for letting us know this. I too just received my email. I was very disappointed in this box overall and now to hear this. But I thought the same thing that you put in your review about the packaging of the lipstick. I just hope they are not going downhill.
    I hope they either replace the items or offer a credit.

    • I agree, I think either a replacement box with good items or a refund is in order. :/

  18. Is anyone else receiving strange emails that appear to be from MSA? I received three. They were titled ‘hello world’ ‘staging test’ and ‘second staging test’

    These are not from Liz. Please be cautious and do not open them. It may be hackers sending viruses.

    Liz, I forwarded these emails to you so you could see what is happening.

    • Sorry about that! It’s not hackers, just us testing some forum stuff, we didn’t know wordpress sends notifications from our staging environment!

      • Lol I’m so relieved! With all of the hacking going on in the news, I guess I’ve become paranoid! Haha, sorry Liz! Thank you for letting me know 🙂

  19. I just do not see a scenario where they didn’t know about this. We are talking about products that expired two plus years ago. They clearly didn’t buy them from the companies that make them. So whatever buyer they are purchasing from isn’t reputable and they have to have known this. To me, apologizing now is just trying to cover up the giant mess they have made. I don’t buy it.

    • I think they knew the serum was expired and that’s why they took it out of the boxes and sent it out – because the boxes probably included the expiration date.

      I had subscribed but not in time to get this box. I unsubscribed any way. A company that produces that box is in serious trouble.

      • Same here, except I subbed only hours before MSA posted the review. Now I unsubbed yesterday, but we already paid money. Due to the circumstances we should get refunds. But they haven’t gotten back to me yet. What about you?

        • Haven’t heard back from them. I figure this one I’ll have to fight with my credit card company.

    • I posted at length in the original review thread about my musings as to why it was idiotic for them to think this would not be revealed.

      If they were duped via a third party purchase, I hope this will be a lesson to only purchase from the original source. Heck, whether or not they were duped, I hope they revert to only purchasing from the original source companies in the future.

  20. Liz, there should really be an expiration date field in the listing in general. I see a lot of swap items from 2 years ago and have to wonder….

    • I mean, an expiration date field in swap listings.

      • It shouldn’t be required though, because not everything has an expiration date listed.

  21. I don’t know, guys. I dropped for this month’s box, but a lot of the comments and reviews I’m reading mention that there was an overpowering musty smell as soon as folks opened the package.

    My understanding is that they do their own fulfillment. It seems so unlikely to me that the FB people truly had no idea these products were old stock.

    It’s looking more and more like an act of desperation.

  22. Why don’t cosmetics, skin and haircare items have expiry dates like food? Surely, it would be in their best interest to post one, as people would buy more of their product if it was past its prime.

  23. Liz, is there anything you can do about these products on your swap page? I would hope no one would swap a product they know to be expired, but I’m concerned about anyone unwittingly swapping an expired product.

    • Thanks so much for thinking of that. I’m going to delete those product listings. It looks like a few users listed them before we knew about the situation.

      • Thank YOU for looking out for your community.

        • Thanks Erin 🙂

  24. Seriously what were they thinking ? They had to know those products were not good but yet they sent them out. I wonder if they just didn’t have any other products to send, and thought perhaps not too msmt people would notice. Its just terrible when companies do shady stuff like this

  25. I truly think if it had not been for customers expressing their anger that FB would not have done anything about this and instead continued to buy expired products from discount sites. In the review you did, someone posted links to many of the products including products from past boxes. This to me makes it obvious that FB is only apologizing for damage control. It also makes me rethink using some of the other past products that were sent.

    There is nothing they could do at this point to get me to resubscribe. They have damaged themselves permanently in my eyes.

  26. I just received an email from them with the same info as the facebook posting quoted above.

  27. Thanks for keeping us posted, I am so disappointed by this box last night I went through and looked at all of the items I had received in previous boxes and checked expiration dates, some items did not have dates on them at all and now I am unsure if I should even use those products. Maybe I am over reacting but I guess I would rather be safe than sorry. As soon as I received this box I unsubscribed… I think that this may have been the point of no return… at least for me. I was really hopeful after last months awesome box that this was such a let down, well it was more than a let down I fell ripped off 🙁

    Thanks for all you do to keep us informed

  28. Have a feeling their lawyer told them to post that…..

    Can’t figure how a company could send out a box like this and not even think that there was anything wrong with it. I think they need to also explain themselves and how this mess happened in the first place.

  29. Frenchbox is already off my list. Thanks for another unpromising update to the value and turn out of the quality and standards the box has or well hasn’t been addressing lately. I’m glad somebody is watching out. I’m sure this will cause a loss in more subscribers

  30. Did this come as the result of your looking into the serum ingredients and/or expiration date of the lipstick, Liz? If so, thanks for looking out for us!

    • I don’t think I can take credit – I know a lot of readers commented about the expired date of the products, and contacted French Box on their Facebook page and also contacted the serum company directly. Thank you to everyone who brought this to French Box’s attention! Hopefully they make it right.

      • My question has nothing to do with this but I need an answer as to have my photo show up on the newsest swaps page instead of just my name in blue. Most people have a photo.

          • I uploaded a picture a week ago (shows on my account page) but it still just shows my name in blue on the swaps page.

          • Hm, can you email me the link to your swap profile? I’ll try to figure out what’s going on. (liz @ mysubscriptionaddiction . com)

            Thanks!

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