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Bad Sex Toy Shopping Experience

I recently purchased a sex toy for myself and my partner. It has never been used and is in its original packaging.

When I asked a friend about it, he told me that the plastic bag in the box it came in must be sealed tightly, otherwise it is highly illegal for health and hygiene, etc. reasons.

A piece of tape was used to completely seal the middle of the box. I went to the store today with the intention of returning it, but they refused to accept it. I pointed out that anyone could have used it and he couldn’t guarantee it was safe. . He refused to acknowledge it in response to that as well.

Can you give me any advice on how to proceed legally on this matter, or do you know if I can go to the Trade Inspectorate to get my money back?

This is a common experience that customers have in sex stores, and it highlights the fact that there is still so much wrong with most retailers that sell sex toys.  There’s not much you can do about this situation, but there are things you can do to avoid being disappointed in the future.

sex toy shopping

First, I want to clear up some of the common misconceptions about the legal obligations of sex businesses before suggesting preventative measures. Take, for example, the bag that was taped shut. Your friend is mistaken if he believes that sex toy sellers are required to package the products they sell in an airtight manner. That’s a reasonable assumption, and I really wish it were true, but you need to keep in mind a few key details about this business:

  • Toys that encourage sexual activity are not considered medical devices, food, health or fitness products, or medications.
  • There are no real standards in the adult sex toy industry, nor does the government have any specific standards that relate to this industry.
  • Because sex toys are considered “novelties,” they often escape the scrutiny of government regulators.

The unfortunate truth is that sex toys can be (and often are) manufactured in unclean factories, and it is possible for them to be handled dozens of times before they reach your home. That’s why it’s important to clean your toy thoroughly before using it for the first time.

This is also why I recommend always using condoms for penetration of a toy unless it is a toy that can be sterilized by boiling it in water. However, most sex toys use batteries in order to vibrate, which makes them harder to sterilize. You can’t boil battery-powered devices in water, nor can you soak them in alcohol, as it could damage the material they are made of (usually silicone).

The fact that the retailer sells you this item in a bag with only tape on it does not constitute an illegal act on his part.

However, if the retailer does not explain to you why the product is packaged this way and what components the toy does or does not contain, then they are definitely providing you with poor customer service.

In this unfortunate situation, I do not think you have any legal options available to you.

There is not much you can do unless this product came with any therapeutic promises, or the retailer made specific health claims for this product that aren’t true. You could contact your local consumer protection organization and see if they can help you, and you should definitely spread the word about this bad customer service experience. Until either of those things happen, however, there’s not much you can do.

What you can do is make sure that the next time you buy sex toys, you go to a reputable sex shop that stands behind its products and provides you with clear information so that you can make your own decisions. You can do this by making sure that the sex shop you buy them from has a good reputation.

There are a few things that you can do to find a good sex shop, and it can be worth your while to find one that you can always approach if you have any questions, concerns, or complaints.

Check out our reviews of the latest adult sex toys tested by real users:

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie is your go-to gal for all things related to sex and sexual well-being.

A certified sex educator and award-winning sex toy reviewer, Amie has spent her career empowering individuals and couples to embrace their sexuality.

With a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and an ever-growing collection of over 200 vibrators, she's got the knowledge and experience to guide you on your pleasure-seeking journey.

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