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The Body Shop India responds...

The Body Shop India sent me a response to this post I wrote a few days ago. They say,


Dear Blogger

This mail is in reference to your blog update titled- “Is The Body Shop India selling expired products?

There appears to be some confusion, we ensure all our products are of high quality. The Body Shop International trades in over 60 countries worldwide. We treat each country we trade in with equal respect, ensuring that our products meet the most stringent international quality standards. Our products can be sold for 3 years which is the requirement of all international cosmetic brands.  To meet European requirements we also have to label PAO.  This means Period After Opening. This means once a consumer opens a product it should be used within a  12 month period  This could be on the first day of the three years or the last day of the three years.  Please stay rest assured in the quality standards we apply to all our products. 

The Body Shop prides itself on its social and environmental work, always trying to be a responsible business which makes a positive, sustainable difference

First of all, thank you The Body Shop India for responding to my post.


Okay, I know about the two different dates thing. The dates on the label give the manufacturing date & the expiry date which generally have a gap of 3 years. There also is a mark on the product which generally shows a sign of an open container with a symbol like 6M or 12M which means the product needs to be discarded 6 or 12 months, as indicated after opening - this is PAO. I knew about that even before I wrote that post. 

But I really didn't understand how a PAO could be valid if you open a product on the last day of the three years of the expiry date. If I open a product that is past its expiry date, just because it has a PAO of 12M doesn't mean I can use it for another one year after it has expired. 

Further their mail does not address the allegations raised in the TOI article I read. To quote, the article says: 

Recently, the FDA raided several BodyShop stores, a premier luxury cosmetics brand chain, and seized products worth Rs 72 lakh for tampering with the expiry dates of their products.
"We realized that they used to tamper with the best-before tags and paste new ones on top of the old ones. Customers are not able to see that."
I'm gonna be waiting to see what the FDA finally concludes. It could be that TBS might be totally innocent, but there is also a chance they are guilty of tampering with their old tags. It could also be that only stores in a particular city were doing this, and not the rest. But I really have no information to prove or disprove either. 
As for you readers, I leave it up to you to take a call on what you would like to do. It is at the end of the day, your skin and your money. Do what feels right. 

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Tanveer..am a TBS addict and now am very afraid to purchase esp during the sale

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    Replies
    1. I guess we all have our fav TBS prdts & now are feeling anxious :)

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  2. thanks for the info. The post is an eye opener. I sure do hope that they are not guilty as I love so many of their products!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, let's hope it all works out well :)

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  3. @TBS: would you care to elaborate why 2 diff labels are found on products with the manufacturing date altered? and the TOI article states TBS was fined. Could you elaborate on that if TBS is not guilty?

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  4. Thanks Tanveer for highlighting this issue and getting a response from them :)

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  5. tanveer i went to the palladium shop yesterday n discovered the same thing going on. i even tweeted n i got a reply asking me the details n my contact no with the assurance that i wud receive a call very soon. im still to get a call from body shop india. its apalling to see that they say they still have a social conscience.

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    Replies
    1. I'm beginning to think this entire "free-trade, green, social, organic" movement by some companies is a racket to justify higher prices for products & increase profitability.

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  6. Hi Tanveer

    I found the post on TBS article very interesting. I shop often at TBS and simply love their products esp body butters and shower gels. Once I bought a lot of skincare products during a sale and 2 of the products had new labels stuck on a older label. When I tried to peel off the first label the bottom one tore unfortunately and I could read the expiry date etc. These 2 items with 2 labels were Vit E mask and a Vit C face scrub. And I am pretty sure that both the products were a little old if not totally past their expiration date. The Vit C scrub didnt have tht fresh orangy smell which most reviews online said it has. I did use it though and it didn't cause any bad reaction. The Vit E mask is still lying barely used as I was too scared to put a possibly expired face mask.

    Thanks for such an informative and honest post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Aakansha! I'm glad you found it useful. I think the fact that no has reacted very badly to these so-called "expired" products is why they have gone under the radar for so long.. but even then, what one gets is a product that may or may not perform to its promised efficacy. It is just wrong!

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  7. Allegation issue aside, am just miffed they addressed the mail to "Dear Blogger" instead of Tanveer. Your name is all over your blog! And this was not even a mass mailer.. How wud they like to be addressed as "Dear Body Butter Maker"?

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    Replies
    1. LOL Anks :D :D You're so right! Hahaha!

      ♥xx♥

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    2. hahahhahahaha anks, that was so funny...dear Body Butter maker....lol

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    3. ha ha So true, how small that maybe but surely indicates their sense of responsibility towards the consumers :(

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    4. Anks! I actually noticed it & tbh I didn't like it.. Dear Faux Natural Body Butter Makers, Blogger is owned by Google and it is not my name.. :)...

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    5. LOL Anks and Tanveer !! I sure as hell dont appreciate this TBS!!
      TBS: u need better PR or little smarter people to handle ur media asap!!

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    6. Lol! I seriously think they should take an IQ test before hiring people for a PR job

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  8. Rightly said, Tanveer. It's not one person that has made these allegations, many people all over India who are spending good, hard-earned money during sales which are not like how they hold internationally, I have been to the sales abroad where they sell almost everything at 50% off compared to here in India. I do not understand why the discrepancy there too. Anyway back to what I was saying, so many girls have experienced the same problem, it's time for them to pull up their socks, apologize for the expired products and tidy up their act.

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    1. I have heard about their sales abroad from friends - most products are sold at rock bottom prices. The same friend once told me that her experience in TBS India was not even close to how nicely they are treated abroad..

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  9. Yes, they may be of high quality, but they're still being sold past their expiry dates- that's the bottom line. I don't think FDA's favorite past time is to raid The Body Shop for no valid reason.

    You try to make money by duping people, you always get caught.

    ♥xx♥

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    Replies
    1. I agree! Well expressed CZ! You must tell us about how the sales in UK at TBS are.. I'm sure they are much better than here.

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  10. Its just not the case with beauty products, its the same in Indian industries I suppose.
    I found out in last week Zara sale, someone had forgot to remove extra labels and both the labels said different date of import for the same item code.

    I think Indian market is still not considered at par and considered as a dumping zone by many :(

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the teething troubles of being a consumer in a third world country with first world country aspirations :)

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  11. heard that its happening across many cities in India so can't blame the shops for that!!! still waiting for the final verdict...btw, read the article about Anita Roddick!!! I had known the tiff of Lush and TBS because the Lush guys had mentioned it when I went to their shop for the first time!!!

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  12. I have decided to stop using bodyshop products..i dont want to spend my money on products that I am not sure is expired or not.There are many brands out there so this will not be a problem for me.

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  13. thank you so much for sharing this Tanz :D .... i was never a TBS person .. like not crazily after Sales but recently purchased so much stuff and after all this issue i was feeling helpless :( ...
    am so glad you shared this with us and even happy that they responded to your post

    :D ....

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  14. No guys the brand has been with us for so long! I still trust it and am going to continue to use it. It works wonders for me and my family! My kids just love it, especially the tea tree collection. I still trust their brand..

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    1. It is your money, your skin & your health dear. Do what feels right. If you think it is okay to buy *possibly* expired prdts & use them on your kids, please go ahead.

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    2. @malvka94: Jus coz a brand has been around long enough doesnt mean u can trust them! I am sure u dont think its fun to trust johnson and johnson products on ur kids when they were found not following regular protocols!! hmmm..Maybe since they are "around since so long"..maybe u do!!

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  15. As surprised as I was to read this, I would never doubt the quality of the Body Shops products. The media has icnreasingly been inclined to expose major International brands for corrupt acts. Victoria Secret and The Gap have both been exposed for using child labour. Toy companies using lead in their products to reduce cost. The media is constantly searching for anything to call news. However, a brand as international, widespread and environmentally friendly products shouldnt be called to blame. After all, it is a consumers choice to buy an expired product and has the perfect legitimacy to reject one for another. Secondly, this is cosmetics using natural resources to manufacture their goods- nutrients do not expire rather they are just best used at a certain point. Therefore, it seems illegitimate to presume that using a product which is not at its "best" hardly seems harmful. After all, they are not supplying expired drugs or food. This is a cosmetics company. Using natural ingrediants as opposed to chemicals. Essentially, I will continue to use this companies products regardless of this comment. If a consumer is so concerned, she should look at the best before date before she buys it. it is equally their responsibility as a consumer as it is the producers.

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    1. Consumers cannot be held responsible for buying products whose labels are tampered with by the company. If the company itself tampers the labels to fudge the dates, how will a customer know the real date?

      As for media, honestly, the justification that they just want to blow things up actually doesn't apply at all in this situation, because I have not seen any other major news paper or TV channel carry this bit of news. On the contarary this has been hushed up.

      But like I said to the earlier commentator - it is your money & your skin. Responsibility lies with you.

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    2. @Londer in Delhi: Media wouldnt be able to "make news" if there was no news for them to make. You probably think it is ok to exploit children but I dont! Again it would be my choice to buy expired products but I need to know that I am buying expired products. Sticking a label over another is not really called as giving me choice..its called cheating. However now that this issue is highlighted we know what we are dealing with.
      Also I would like you to eat a rotten apple and tell me that the nutirents have not expired, they are just past their best date.

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    3. @1994Newdelhi: read same comment I replied to the other 2! oh wait were they ur psuedo ids anyway? :p

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    4. My Near Londoner in Delhi AND 1994NewDelhi(could have bin a bit more creative with the psuedo names btw) let me tell u that there are soooo many ppl out there who trust this brand so much that they don't even check the expiry dates...Especially the elder generation...I know this for sure since my Mom-in-Law loves TBS and gets so excited that she just takes things off the shelf and buys it..all the time FULYY TRUSTING the company to ensure that atlst such basic things like expiry r taken care of.

      If TBS doesn't find any harm in seeing expired products and feel it shud not mk a difference to its sales and customers, y don't they just have a separate counter shelf marked 'Expired Products'...Then pls chk out how many ppl would still risk it. Selling expired products under the illusion of fresh products is clear cut cheating....

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  16. I have been using the body shop products for many years now and they have never disappointed me and I've always looked towards them when to gift an item either to my family or friend. They have never given me problems and i trust they will resolve this situation.

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    Replies
    1. Great Shaurya.. pls continue to do so if you want to.

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  17. I think that this whole issue with labeling is being blown out of proportion. I have used this brand for years and will continue to use it in the future. I agree with the fact that it is equally our responsibility as the producers when it comes to the product. No one is forcing us to buy the product. But notice how they stick to their values. Yes everyone says that by being sold to loreal the whole brand seems to be made of lies- but that is not the case. There are a numerous things going on behind the scenes that the public does not know about. We cannot jump to conclusions! Yes I notice that this issue is concerning to you all, but look at all the positives this brand has given us over the years. As technology advances and other beauty brands use more and more chemicals- the Body Shop is still sticking to it's values for which I applaud it. Their are good and bad things about every brand but something like this shouldn't completely stop people from purchasing Body Shop products. I know that this brand will always be very close to me!

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    1. Okay... Please go ahead and continue to indulge in TBS. I'm not stopping you and neither are any of the commentators above. But just like you have the right to shop there, we also have the right to not shop there.

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    2. I would just like to say one thing...if you are taking the trouble of making multiple ids to write comments here, please stop obsessing over '94, 1994, 94 and Delhi-New Delhi. It gives the game away, you know!

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    3. lying about the expiry date is "blown out of proportion"?
      What is TBS? Manna from Heaven?????
      What values.. adding more SLS and parabens?
      What freedom of speech? its Tanveers blog and she will decide what to put here or not! Please start a "I love TBS blog".
      "The Body Shop prides itself on its social and environmental work" What... Can you speak loudly please... whatchawork?????

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    4. Tanveer and the sweet and bitter blog,
      Three cheers for you for ruffling Loreal's feathers... :)

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  18. I'd like to see unbiased posts here. There should be some sort of freedom of speech. I feel like only posts with negative comments about this brand are allowed!

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    Replies
    1. It works both ways you know :)

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    2. @1994NewDelhi: That your comment is visible here many times over negates your argument!

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  19. I've been following this debate for some time now and I am inclined to believe that TBS really is just trying to cover up now for something that they should have never done in the first place. I am so glad that I did not get a chance to go to their sale this time. Don't think I'd be buying from them anymore. I already used to find their standards falling all the time. They use all those chemical preservatives and what not and then claim to be totally natural. If I am spending truckloads of money, I'd rather spend it on something like Lush or some other horribly expensive but genuinely natural brand.

    Also, have you noticed how they didn't use your name? So lame! They claim to value their consumers and they could not even address you to make this letter a little more personalised.

    And is it just me or do all these pro-TBS comments that you've recently received seem to be from the same source? Similar user names and all you know -focus on Delhi and 1994 and what not. Is this how TBS is planning to defend itself now? Through fake Blogger IDs?

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  20. Doesn't TBS know the power of bloggers????? It's really good to reply but such an impersonal, vague mail is not going to help them. And that too commenting under fake ids.
    I do own a few TBS products but definitely gonna think b4 buying there any more. Not that they are the only available pdts in market. There are so many to choose from.

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  21. I agree with Kejal. They need better PR. This has become a kind of joke here.And it is sad because TBS was dearly loved.

    When you screw up, taking the blame is the best step. I wish someone from TBS would just come out and say- Sorry we made a mistake we will fix this up.

    And Anks LOL. A very valid point- dear body butter maker.LOL. Maybe TBS should be called EPS (expired product seller).

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  22. Hi Tanveer..

    I have seen this in one of the products I bought from TBS sale, but luckily for me, the date of Mfr under the 'top-most' one was just one month apart, not that it was excusable. But that was enough to convince me that TBS is not all that great and philanthropic and blah blah. And I also read a story about the origins of TBS about Lady Anita Roddick and how she took/bought the name from a handmade soap selling shop called "the body shop". Not sure about the verity of these things. All in all, I just wish to add that TBS is not the only high end brand that does this probably, so I am already looking at real natural and organic alternatives. We might be getting lower quality and less fancy products in India, but definitely it is better than upping revenues of a foreign brand that charges a bomb for sale of dumped goods.

    Btw, may I tag this post in my FB acccount?

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    1. Please, be my guest & spread the word. :)

      Delete
  23. Oh... That is sooo horrible. I too am a die-hard fan of TBS and love them because of their "free-trade, green, social, organic" movement. But this post is making me think. I live in Pakistan.. if such things are happening in India, how different the situation can be in Pakistan. I bought an Eye cream,which had a weird expired smell,it's still with me,UNUSED.I don't know, like everyone's saying here, I should check the Best Before from now on.

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  24. thanks so much for this post. I'm having similar situation. The difference is the powder that I bought will expired in March. Time is to short to used the powder that is not cheap.
    I asked the vendor when in the shop about expired date but she told me that "it is new". I believed but when a friend told me go a website and check expired date by code in the product. I can not believe it ....

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