Buying Cigs Online - Is it Safe? Jul 28, 2015 15:21:30 GMT
Post by Dan on Jul 28, 2015 15:21:30 GMT
Buying Cigs Online - is it Safe?
(Last Update: 10 Jan 2018)
Having been ripped off recently, I asked this question. (List updated regularly) The answer is yes and no, depending on the vendor you use. Some are legit, others are FAKE. Websites selling illegal cigarettes don’t take credit/debit cards. They prefer anonymous, unregulated payment methods e.g.:
- Western union
- Pre-paid virtual cards
- Cash in an envelope
If the web site offered instant payment from Credit Card, then you can call your card company and reclaim the money back at any point without hassle. Otherwise you have nothing to stand on.
|Important Message to buyers and dealers|
When importing from other countries, you often DO have to pay import duty. This means your package is scanned and confiscated. The main rule is... if you buy cigs and get them delivered from within the same country as you live, there should be no tax issues.
Its safer to trade in Single Packs! Trading in cartons/sleeves from outside of your country is now often not allowed. At best, the buyer received a few sleeves, at worst the buyer gets a tax bill, or the delivery doesnt arrive at all. Dont trust a vendor who insists they will only deliver sleeves, as not only is this risky to deliver, the dealer may also then insist on a minimum sleeve order or you loose your cash; which has happened to me.
If you buy/deal in up to three packs each time, these are Samples, and are often allowed by law. Single packs are the safest, and are for collectors who want to save them, and are generally not for consumption.
Safe!, 100% Legit
This is another specialist vendor from Leeds UK, offering unique and luxury items. I ordered several products from here and they all were delivered no problem.
For residents of the UK, this handy web site will compare all cigs in all supermarkets. I ordered mine via Tesco and they arrived no issues.
A Dutch company founded in 2000 as AmsterdamCigars.nl, Hartman Cigars counts itself among the most widely known and appreciated names in the Dutch cigar-smoking culture. With 2 unique stores located in the centre of Amsterdam. Their online store offers single packs and cartons, and you can pay by credit card, a number of Dutch and German cards, and by secure bank transfer. Or you can walk into one of their high street stores and buy directly. Here is a video tour from 2009. Shipping is usually 2-3 days, so a customer should get their order within a week. Seized or lost shipments will be 100% refunded, or shipped again, with instant tracking and informed customer service options. Shipping to the UK is expensive at 25 euros, making a shipment of these more exotic cigs about the same price as you would pay at home for your usual brand. Shipping to other countries varies.
For residents of N.E USA, New Hampshire and Maine. This site will show prices based on a store locator.
For residents of California, especially Burbank and Glendale, USA. Single packs available to buy online.
Based of course in Vietnam. I ordered 200 Kiss cigs from here and they arrived no problem. No cold calling or hassle, just a one time smooth order, but of course they could be copies? They have since stopped offering Kiss.
179cmAndUp.com (single packs only)
I think these are from Japan. I ordered a single pack of LaRose 520 pink from this store, and its the only cig item they sell. Easy payment via paypal, the total shipment was $13.99, and arrived in a very pretty letterbox sized package. Quite expensive for single packs so mainly for collectors only.
JTExpress.tokyo - One poster recommended this Japanese company; and their web site seems to be in English. The FAQ is actually quite helpful. They promise to ship within 30 days but can only estimate delivery, and this also depends on the imports customs, and post office dispatch times per country. They offer a very nice range of cigs, from well known American blends to very unique special finds, with 4 cartons as their maximum order. You pay double the listed price, with an average carton costing ¥ 4,500, Shipping is ¥ 3,700, and a Transaction Charge Rate (6%) ¥ 492 is added, bringing the total to ¥ 8,692 (£57.58/ or 76.46 USD, €65.50 equivalent). They offer Paypal as a payment option - so these guys should be secure, as Paypal always gives the full payment back to the sender if anything should go wrong, 30 days after the order date.
Ebay is 100% secure as all claims for fraud automatically get approved in the customers favour, and Paypal will always refund. You can also use a credit/debit card. There are various different types of ebay sellers, and some are better than others.
- Dealers - There are very few tobacco dealers on ebay, and I havent found any.
- Broken Lots / Estate Sales - Some collections are broken down into individual lots. Make sure they will post to your location, many US sellers also charge high postage. Many of these lots are antique cigs and are unsmokable due to age, and are for collections only.
- Single Packs - All the private sellers who sell single packs have come through ok for me. These sales are often recent packs from people who recently gave up, or not needed anymore.
- Part-Time Dealers - There are a few of these, who regularly sell classic or modern packs individually. One such person specialises in Chinese packs and is based in Hong Kong. The packs are very cheap at $4 to $6, and all orders have arrived no problem.
Collectors Packs Ebay Search Links: UK, UK 2,FRANCE, ITALY, SPAIN, USA 1, USA 2, AUSTRALIA, HONG KONG (Vintage), HONG KONG (Modern), GLOBAL
Cigs4Girls.Net - This vendor offers lots of flavoured and unique brands mainly aimed at Ladies.
A Japanese company which delivers cartons AND single packs. Some rare items. They keep a list of customers confiscations, Europe seems ok, Uk possible, they do not ship to most American States. The postage is insured but expensive at $27 per shipment, plus they add a $6.69 handling fee. Tried to order from them, but they only accept Wire Transfers, which are costly and NOT SAFE.
A Chinese dealer who buys directly from Chinese Airport Duty Free stores, and only sells in Cartons. You pay by card, and they can ship express, or economy from $7.99, but cant guarantee you wont pay taxes if shipped to Canada, Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom, New Zealand, etc.
This site only sells to American customers only. You pay by card, and postage is good value Airmail at $9.49. They will split large shipments into smaller packages, but you'll most likely have to pick them up from your local Post Office, which can be 2-10 days after ordering.
cigarettes-mart.com - A HUGE range but only sell cartons in pack of 3 minimum, but you can pay by card. Ships worldwide.
cigarela.com - One poster suggested this company. Cigarela has a registered company location of East Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas - which is presumably to get around US trade laws, and is also the address of their bank and lawyers. The website states "Cigarettes sold at Cigarela.com correspond to European specification and quality", which means these are European produced copies. The About page is vague, but their shipping info seems ok. As a 2017 company, there are no reviews online, and only a limited range of products to buy.
mydiscountcigarette.net - This company sells products manufactured by European subsidiaries, and sells mainly to Eastern Europe and Russia. Card payments are secure and they offer cheap prices. On their web site it says they will ship to the USA, but will not ship to Italy, Finland, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland or Sweden.
Smokes-spirits.com - Proudly owned and operated by an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. Smokes-Spirits is a Native American business located on the Seneca Nation (a Sovereign Nation) in Western New York. As such, they can deliver products Americans Only, hopefully without paying taxes. The brands are almost always Native American; such as Real, and Native American Spirits. They will accept EChecks, Cashiers Checks, Personal Checks and Money Orders, and delivery by UPS Express - so orders are insured and guaranteed to arrive within 5 days (requires adult signature on arrival).
CigsSpot.com - Many people have used this service and had good results so far, and with issue claimants getting their money back, although on the web site it says only 70% can be claimed as a refund. CigsSpot buys cheap European quality cigs from poor European countries warehouses, and ships them to a limited number of destinations. They use BitCoin, which can be expensive to purchase online, and offer delivery to the UK, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia, the US and Canada, but requires expensive Express Delivery, with a 4 carton minimum order.
Thecheaponlinestore.com - This site appeared in December 2016, and offers very cheap items, and you can pay by credit or debit card - so in theory it should be safe (they accept VISA and Mastercard). Although they claim they will not refund items or re-sent items, and are not responsible for Customs and seizures. The FAQ didnt seem to have any topics listed, and they give no info on where the products are shipped from, only that they are from low tax wholesale distributors in 'other countries' and 'the more you spend, the more you save'. The company will ship to Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, France, UK, Ireland, although NOT to Israel and U.S.A due to restrictions on cigarettes. The web site domain is registered in the USA, but the web servers are based in Hong Kong. They are part of the DutyFreeCigsDepot network,or SkyDepot as it is also known. One poster on here (page 7) said their order arrived but "the cigs aren't exactly the same as I've ordered". You can read more testimonials for this company Here.
CiggiesWorld.com - This company registered in 2010, and are based in Canberra, Australia, although they ship from Indonesia, and you pay in U.S Dollars using your credit card. They offer a large range of Regular, Menthol, and Flavoured cigs, cigars and accessories, specialising in clove cigs. They sell single packs only! and you pay between $5-$10 per pack, and $7 postage for up to two packs - although this decreases with scale; so 10 Packs postage is $15. For example x10 '555' brand cigs will cost $55 + $15 postage = $70, which isnt much of a saving on your usual high street brands, but they have a range of something different. Reports say they can be slow to deliver, and some say between 15 and 45 days. The quality of the cigs is also 'Far Eastern', which may be a different blend to the ones you are used to, and while some say the service is always excellent and friendly, others say the cigs quality is cheap.
NEW Az-smokes.com - DNC Holdings, Inc. founded this web shop in the summer of 2012. Although registered in the US, they are another Bonded Warehouse dealer, who buy in bulk from European and global non-duty affected warehouses, and ship to your door. For this reason they have a minimum order of at least 2 cartons. The range is very good; with all the most popular French, British and American brands. Prices are also cheap: e.g. 2 cartons at $30 each, plus $10 delivery per carton, is $80 complete. The bad news is they only take E-Checks (Visa Payment is advertised everywhere on the site, but they DONT TAKE IT.). Az-smokes are also selective on where they can deliver, but no info about this is on their site. Arizona and parts of the USA, Portugal, and certain brands going to certain countries like Australia cant be shipped. For this reason, this best to contact them directly before you make a purchase, either toll free: 1-855-957-0777, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also on Facebook.
www.kkare.com - Supposedly they ship worldwide, you pay by card, and they offer cartons and individual packs. But their location address leads to dead end, and their facebook links dont work. I sent them an email but they havent replied.
cigardd.com - This site if for people of Thailand only, and ships 2 packs at once for around ฿650. Express postage (Thailand only) is ฿60. Buyers pay by bank transfer from a selection of national banks, and can order by telephone or via the web site. The seller has no physical shop, and although they say they will not refund lost packs, they will refund damaged ones.
CheapCigarettes.net.au - This company has been operating since December 2004 in Melbourne, and caters to Australian residents only. They have no physical shop, and accept Net Banking Transfer or Direct Deposit to their CBA business account. The cigarettes are reduced in Tax with no extra costs, they are 100% genuine, and they deliver cartons for FREE via Australia Post Express service. However, one poster here said they have a minimum order of 4 cartons.
Cheap-cig.com - This company seems to be a clone of others on the suspicious list, and you pay be e-check - which as as bad as a money order when it comes to security. The offer good prices, with no minimum order, and the more you buy, the more you save. FREE Express U.S Shipping, and discounts for regular customers. Two reviews online but nothing from users of this forum.
Unitedstatescigarettes.com - One poster here has reported an issue, and the site looks very much like a fake clone to me.
buy-cheap-cigarettes.com - Looks very generic like most fake sites, one customer noted a delay.
cigs-depot.com - Anything with 'depot' in the title sounds 'cheap', looks like most fake sites.
best-tobacco.biz - Not much contact info if things go wrong!
topcigarettes.biz - A clone of Best-Tobacco.
cigarettestime.com - The same one-liner contact info as above.
hot-cigs.biz - Hot Cigs? sounds like knockoffs to me.
cigarettesPub.biz - "We works directly with the manufacturers and with European quality standards" - Euro Copies then.
ukcigaretteshop.co.uk - Their site says "All orders are processed and dispatched from abroad", not UK.
The site looks like a bulk dealer, or someone who can take a holiday on your $500, and supply cheap cigs from a duty-free shop inside the airport on the way back. Shipping from 'various locations worldwide'. You cannot cancel an e-cheque payment but your seller can. Ask the seller to cancel the e-cheque and you will probably never hear from them again. If by some miracle you manage to get 3-12 cartons of cigs sent to your country, it will be unlikely customs officers will just ignore it when the shipment lands, meaning you pay the same for the cigs as you would have done at home anyway. I'd say its not safe.
NEW CiggieCity.us - The company is based in Kansas but ships American Brands worldwide. They began in 2010 and the web site has been known as CigsCity and CigaretteCity, and keeps popping up each year under a new name. Customers pay by MoneyPak - which is non-refundable in cases of lost deliveries, or BitCoin - which is again not safe, and you will NOT get any money back. Cartons are $50-$60, and shipping depends on where it is delivered. The web site only provides shipping once they have your details, with no info about shipping or countries which can be shipped to on the site.
Moving Down - DiscountCigarettesMall.com
For residents of the USA only, this online shop has been trading European copy cartons to Americans since 2005. You save on the tax, and they taste almost the same. You also pay by credit card. There have been a few reports on the internet, here (2010) is one, and I found others. One poster on this thread also posted a recent complaint of non-delivery and non-answered emails. The web site is owned by Alexander Carter as you can see here.
Other sites in the Alexander Carter network:
USA-cigarettes.com - I ordered 200 Misty 120's, and after they took my money via Western Union (£30), they said they needed a minimum order of 4 or 5 cartons, and then refused to send my order, or give a refund, even after promising to do so in back and forth emails.
They will ship cigs to anywhere Worldwide, with a no-quibble seizure refund (upon receipt of the custom's document), and ship from Saint Maarten (Sint Maarten) - which is a small tax haven island in the Caribbean next to Anguilla; which is part of The Netherlands. They sell Premium cigs made in the USA, France, UK, and Germany, and many lower quality cigs made in Poland or the Ukraine (to European specifications). You pay by credit card, and any size of order is shipped FREE worldwide, and should arrive within 12 days. The bad news is they have a minimum order of 10 cartons/sleeves on all items! One poster here says they ordered but the items never arrived, and no refund was given, and whole threads have been posted warning about this company.
dutyfree.io - Quite long established. I have read many negative reports online about this company, so I moved them down to Not Safe.
These web sites operate under the same umbrella as each other, so some orders could be received but may be fake copies, with a high risk of Customs seizures.
Some of these sites state in the small print "[We] do not claim to be affiliated with the manufactures or tobacco companies" - so who are they buying their goods from?
Ukcigs.co - Ten carton minimum order!
www.dotcigarettes.com and cigarette-store.biz
Duty Free Depot:
dfreeshop.com - This is just a postal to clubcigarette.com, and doesnt directly sell cigs.
www.clubcigarette.com - This is just a portal to DutyFreeDepot (see DutyFreeDepot). One poster has reported a failed order after 30 days with no refund.
CigsMall.com- A Portal for DutyFreeDepot
www.onlinecigarettestoreus.com - Another offshoot of DutyFreeDepot.
Websites supposedly no longer selling cigarettes
Dutyfreedepot.com, - I ordered several times and many cartons from these guys. They often were seized by Customs and I had to ask them to resend them. They always did, but when the last carton took 6 months to arrive, with backwards and forwards emails, my loyalty collapsed. Dutyfreedepot.com is based in Israel and they use cheap copies. They also have an aggressive sales team, who will offer up to 15% discount on listed prices, only for the packs to be seized - and then long delays ensue. They use American sales people to drive hard bargains but mostly dont deliver. As one user wrote "Dutyfreedepot.com - This is the worst! Often they're crapping knock-offs full of sh*t and illegal as hell".
Websites taken down!!
TobaccoRow.us- This seller has no physical shop, and delivers to US Customers Only, apparently with a cast iron credit card 100% money back guarantee if anything should go wrong. Minimum order is $20, maximum $800, and they ship via UPS for 7-14 day delivery times. They give no indication of the quality of the cigarettes, or where they buy them from, or even the city where they are shipped from; although the telephone number on their web site leads to a place in North Carolina. Two posters on here have been charged but no cigs arrived, with money taken but still no delivery. Their web site is currently down, and I suspect for good.
This company has been around for a while now, but so far not a single poster has mentioned them. 123-cigs.com are based in a bonded warehouse in Europe, but have their main call centre in New York City, and ship to American Customers only. They sell EU standard of tobacco (i.e. medium quality) and Philippines made (low quality) tobacco. Insured economy airmail is $4.5 per carton, and they will split large deliveries to lessen the risk of being taxed. Orders shipped via economy airmail can take 14 up to 28 days to arrive. They only accept E-Check for payment on orders, but they will sell single cartons, up to 12 cartons per order.
Based in Panama, they pool global port collection tax evasion cigarettes of various countries, in three large warehouses in New York, Hong Kong, and London, and will ship directly to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They offer a huge range of cartons at the lowest prices, and fast air freight delivery (just £9 or equivalent) and the price you pay is per carton (thats x10 packs). The packs they sell are ex-duty confiscations, and some of them have been lying around for some time. Many brands they appear to have in stock went off sale many years ago, and most dont even show health notices on the pack, so this gives you some idea of the 'freshness' of some of these. The other bad news is they only accept Wire Transfers, so this is a no-way-back in cases of lost or non arrival of goods, and because they only carry one sleeve of these items, they are unlikely to replace it. The web site has changed names a few times over the years, and so the current 'down' is perhaps another pause?
mycigaretteshop.net - Another fly-by-night package deal with ultra low prices and fast smooth delivery. The site is down.
CigEmpire.us - Several commenters suggested this company, established in 2003, and apparently they are based in the U.S.A. I couldnt find any genuine info on the site, or a FAQ. They use Google Wallet to purchase items; which is protected under Google Purchase Protection. But the web site states that issuing even one claim (a Charge Back) means you'll be banned forever. The web site is down last time I checked.
SmokeIsland.us - SmokeIsland has its share of controversy, but many Americans claim they have been able to buy cartons from this company, and paying by card. I tried to order items for UK delivery, and it said "We are unable to calculate shipping rates for the selected items" even though the web site claims to ship worldwide. They offer no refund in cases of items are seized by customs. Web site is down last time I checked.
A Netherlands vendor with no tax paid, apparently they sell cheap copies from Israel? I bought from here and they arrived. Two posters on here reported they were ripped off, so the company is now moved to 'Not Safe' status. Please note, I bought single packs only, not cartons/sleeves.
CigaretteOnline.us - There have been four (4) posts on this forum reporting this as a fake online store, and they don't deliver your goods. Beware!
CigarettesCity.net - Taken down. Started in 2010, now called CiggiesCity.Us
From the ASH report:
Lowpricecigarettes.com, 16.50, Cigarettes received 19March. Price charged £24.50
Tobaccofromspain.com 17.76 Credit card details taken & £22 debited from ASH credit card, but no cigarettes received
Cigaretteclubspain.com 19.00 Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received.
Way2netshop.com 10.26 (Marlboro lights) Cigarettes intercepted by customs. Charged a further £27.65 duty. Total cost £36.91. Wrong brand received.
Smokeplanet.com 15.84 Cigarettes arrived 21/3. Price charged £16.77.
Cheapcigarettes.com, 25.00, Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received
Cigaretteseller.com 19.00, Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received.
Cigarettesfromspain.com 25.00, Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received
Cigarettesinternational.com, 23.00, Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received.
Easysmoking.com, 18.94, Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received
e-tobacco.com 27.33 Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received.
Tobacco-online.net, $22.29 (£15.27) Credit card details taken but no cigarettes received
Tobaccoking.com - "They have siezed the tobacco 500g in total which is equal to 10 packs. Something to do with VAT and UK tax not being paid on it "
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