Fair Go investigates the company selling blackhead masks with a very dodgy sales trap

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Blackhead masks are all over the place right now. Fashion vloggers reviewing them have had huge hits; traders selling them are probably doing good business.

Garth Bray hears from people who had products turn up that they didn’t order.
Source: Fair Go

Fair Go is peeling off the mask to inspect one of the companies promoting these products and it's a beauty. They also offer other cosmetic hot sellers - like charcoal foot pads that supposedly remove toxins.

Lux Style is the company. We got wind of their unusual and frankly quite dodgy sales trap when a couple of Fair Go viewers told us they'd had product turn up that they hadn't ordered.

Jessema Ong says she was browsing her Facebook feed, watched an ad for the Blackhead Killer mask, clicked through and found a website like this.

You should resist the urge to go further. Jessema didn't and she regrets it.

Lux Style won't reveal the prices of its products until you give them your name, email and physical address. Once you've done that, it seems they will then claim you have "ordered" the product and they'll invoice you for it, even if you close out of the screen that shows you the prices. 

Jessema says the demands from Lux Style came fast.

"They were very pushy, they were harassing me in the emails, saying that I need to pay it cause I ordered it - but I didn't order it in the first place because in their link there was no order button! So I said no, I'm not going pay it, even a cent."

The European Consumer Centre in Finland says it has tested Lux Style's ordering process and found it "highly defective", comparing it to a traditional "subscription trap" where a free product or trial is used as bait for signing customers up to a fixed term subscription that can be hard to cancel.

The ECC says if Lux Style sends you something you didn't order, you don't need to pay or return the product.

Australia's watchdog says it's had 127 complaints about Lux Style. 

It's issued a public warning along the same lines as the ECC, adding that some customers had reported Lux Style hired debt collectors. The ACCC has said that customers have no legal obligation to pay for goods they did not order and did not want.

Fair Go contacted Lux Style, which is run from Denmark. Lux Style is crying unfair because it says those consumer authorities haven't presented any examples to them with any details relating to the hundreds of complaints received.

However, Denmark's consumer ombudsman has reportedly filed a complaint with police there, so we’ll see how that goes.

Jessema will certainly think twice before sharing any of her details online and she says that’s a shame.

"It's ruining the people's trust, especially now with the technology that we're are buying nearly everything online."

Whether you should use this, or any other blackhead ripping mask, is another matter entirely.

Fair Go put that question to Associate Professor Amanda Oakley, a dermatologist attached to the Auckland School of Medicine and editor of this website

Just to be clear and fair we didn’t send her any of the masks available online, we just asked about the masks in general.

Here's what we learned - they're more marketing than medicine. 

The charcoal has no therapeutic properties of which Dr Oakley is aware and is basically there to make the mask black so that anything it pulls will stand out and may you go "OMG! Look at all that gunk!".

When you pull it off, some of that gunk you're removing is actually the top layer of skin.

Really not good if you already have a skin condition - Dr Oakley recommends that if you do have an acne problem, seek some medical advice, rather than a blackhead mask.

As satisfying as all those mask peel vids look on YouTube - Dr Oakley advises caution, especially if you have sensitive skin.

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