Next to Moo’s in Sliema an expensive looking cosmetic store called Oro Gold has recently opened up. Ladies, you’ll likely know what I’m talking about as young, pushy Israeli men stand outside handing out samples and flattery like there is no tomorrow.
Please DO NOT BE DRAWN IN.
I just had this experience- I only let him draw me in as he’d given me one free sample and promised another inside and I’m a sucker for a freebie. He was immediate and overwhelming with his flattery- you are beautiful, so cute, I just love you, gorgeous skin, are you single– and his conversation jumped about, no time for me to digest his words or ask questions or even think at all. He buffed my nail throwing around words like ’24 carat gold’ and ‘real diamond dust’ and ‘made from silk’ and yes, afterwards my nail was very shiny but then came the rest- the buffer comes in a kit with a moisturiser, file and cuticle cream, its usually €90 but as we’re new its discounted to €59 and I think you are amazing, so cute, so beautiful, for you only I can give a 50% discount.
I am easily drawn in by sales people and have never once been able to walk away without buying so I thank every star in the sky that I didn’t have any cash or my bank card on me at that time. I promised to be back tomorrow and finally managed to get free from that store. On my walk back to work I got thinking about how intense that little experience was and googled the brand name. What I found has honestly chilled me to the bone. These people are scammers.
The products themselves are not great quality- you’ll be told they’re organic, free from parabens and other nasties, but they are not. A lot of cosmetics have these bad ingredients and it doesn’t really worry me but it means you’re paying a lot for ‘clean’ items and not getting what you are paying for. And you will be paying a LOT, this stuff is expensive in the stores. But look online and you can find the real, much lower prices.
People have had issues with their cards being charged more than once (some even up to 7 times!) for a purchase (read complaints here), or have faced actual aggression from these sales people when they refused to buy (one girls experience here). It seems they use young Israeli men, fresh out of the military. They put them up for a few months in different countries and pay them on a commission basis (hence why they are so persistent). As per this article there are possible links with the Dead Sea Cosmetics business (there is a store in Valletta) which I can believe as they use the same young Israeli men and the same brutal selling tactics. The Dead Sea Cosmetics company is currently being investigated and has strong links to organised crime such as drug trafficking and money laundering. You do not want to be funding these people. Even if the links are not true, even if the money is simply lining some cosmetic companies pocket, as with all beauty products, do not buy from these people. They are ruthless and they are bullies.
If you are still not convinced, read some more reviews here. This post on their own facebook page shows that they have an issue with ‘pirate stores’ that are not authorised/licensed to sell their products.
I don’t even feel able to walk past the store any longer, I’ll be walking on the other side of the road and if I find myself accosted again I will just avoid that street altogether.