Cheap clothing sites are everywhere — in our inboxes, pop-up ads, and on social media, so it’s no wonder you’ve been tempted to order from them. Although the prices on brands like Shein and Romwe are very affordable, you might be wary of ordering from a discount site. Despite the allure of these cheap clothing stores, many shoppers have shared less than glowing reviews.
You’ve probably read through customer reviews, wondering if they REALLY got that cute dress for $9.99, or if it’s a fake review. (Check out how to avoid scam shopping sites here.) While some internet reviews might be fabricated, we’ve dug into the data on Sitejabber and researched patterns from real reviewers.
We’re here to give you the inside scoop on what these customers shared about how they got cheap clothes online without being scammed or disappointed by discount stores. If you’re considering shopping at a cheap clothing site, use this guide for tried-and-true tips from Sitejabber community members to avoid disappointing purchases.
You might have the perfect date night outfit in your shopping cart right now, or you finally found that swimsuit you saw on social media (or close to it) for a great price. But let’s face it, we or someone we know has ordered something online that arrived in less-than-acceptable condition. Whether the quality, customer service, or sizing wasn’t up to par, it’s a disappointing experience. So, before clicking the “order” button, read this guide and compare these tips with the items you can in your cart. We’ll go over what to look for before ordering from a company, how to research product quality, and some common red flags to avoid.
Before we begin sifting through all the tips and tricks about discount fashion shopping, we’d like to introduce you to the real online shoppers who provide some great advice. We’re featuring a variety of stories to show an overview of typical shopping experiences.
Christina’s story is one that you might be familiar with if you’ve read lots of discount stores’ online reviews, or already had bad luck with them. Christina’s review of Romwe goes as follows:
“Got my product a week later, not bad because they said 6-8 business days anyways, but it wasn't even the same color. I ordered the RSWE160823112 which as you will see says Burgundy and gives the size, etc. The thing is BRIGHT RED, a different material, and smaller than the size lists on the site. This was a gamble, so I'm gonna just keep the product because I knew it would probably be messed up, but stay away.”
A few very common issues with online shopping (unfortunately) happened to Christina. Incorrect color and fabric, a shapeless fit, and poor quality were all problems that she faced. Keep reading to avoid shopping fails like this.
Camryn is a successful, avid online shopper from our Sitejabber community. Camryn bought a plaid faux fur sweater from an internationally based store and raves about her frequent shopping experiences on discount sites. She shares that great prices can be found with careful research.
Like most other online shoppers, Camryn has found that not every order she receives is perfect, and she would say that about 80% of her online purchases are successful. Read on to learn more about Camryn’s shopping tips and how to avoid being let down by your purchase.
Nwabisa’s experience with online discount fashion is similar to Camryn’s, having success with prices, quality, and shipping times. Nwabisa is part of our Sitejabber community and raves about her success with ZAFUL in particular. Not only do her items arrive as expected, but ZAFUL’s customer service is impressive to Nwabisa. They actually called her to follow-up about an item delivery because she needed it by a specific date.
As you might know, weddings can be costly. To save money, people get creative. Geralyn decided to save money on dresses for her wedding by using discount fashion websites. While she did run into a few problems, Geralyn improvised and made her purchases work for her events. The first dress she ordered was from Metisu for her civil ceremony. There were some shipping delays, and when it arrived the dress was a blush color instead of cream. She wore it to her bridal shower instead and received many compliments.
Next, Geralyn decided to check out ROMWE. Is ROMWE legit? Geralyn, now an experienced discount shopper, says yes. She dug into the research, and after reviewing thousands of ratings and reviews, she decided to order dresses from ROMWE for her and her bridesmaids to get ready on the morning of her destination wedding. Although she experienced stressful shipping delays too, she contacted customer service and received her items on time. Check out the photos above to see her items from ROMWE.
What does Geralyn want you to know about her experience? Stay flexible when using discount fashion stores. She used the incorrect colored dress for a different event, and she made sure to order her items ahead of time so that the arrival date was flexible. She notes that taking a risk can be worth the reward, and preparing for problems ahead of time will help you avoid disappointment if an order doesn’t arrive as expected.
Now, to address one of the most commonly asked questions from discount shoppers – is Shein legit? Jasmine, an online shopping savvy influencer, says yes. Along with Jasmine, thousands of reviewers advise that you get what you pay for. Since the prices are so cheap, the Shein sizing and quality may not always be consistent. “It definitely pays to read the reviews of each item you are thinking of getting before you purchase,” Jasmine says, “because that is where people let you know if the sizes are true to size or how good the quality the material is.”
Are you still thinking of shopping discount fashion? Read on for the full guidelines created from reviewers’ advice.
The quality of clothing from discount stores can be disappointing. Use the following tips from real customers to find the best quality discount products.
If you don’t know what a certain material is, be sure to look it up. Just because it looks high-quality in the picture doesn’t mean it is. A common complaint in reviews is that the fabric is thinner or more translucent than the customer expected. Knowing what type of fabric it is can help you avoid this problem.
Some discounted fashion sites like SHEIN allow shoppers to filter or search by material type. This can be especially important when searching for items that commonly shrink, such as sweaters and knit, or if you want a certain fabric for your clothing item. It’s even more useful if the item description lists the percentages of material types. For example, a shirt that is made of 97% cotton is way more likely to shrink than a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester. This can help you decide which size to purchase.
A common complaint is loose or unraveling stitching and zipper/button issues. Look through customer reviews on that specific item to see if anyone has complained about the quality. Also, check to see if there are high-quality images of the item’s seams. The first time you wash the item, do so on a gentle cycle to make sure it isn’t going to fall apart. Don’t expect a discount item to be perfect. In order for prices to be so low, the quality cannot be luxurious.
Other quality issues that you can’t see right away in a product image happen all the time. Camryn, whose success story we read earlier in our guide, has had some negative experiences with product quality. In one instance, the hem and stitching on an item were uneven. After getting into contact with the company, she was given a full refund and told to keep the item.
To avoid this from happening again, Camryn spends about 5 to 8 minutes reading product reviews before ordering. That might sound like a lot of time, but it’s worth it to get such a good deal. If there are no reviews, she doesn’t purchase the product.
Geralyn shared that she went into the purchase expecting a lower quality of fabric — not luxury. When the orders arrived, she was satisfied with the quality she received for the price. In her interview, she shared that customers who are disappointed in the quality of their purchases are usually expecting too much from discount sites. She expects that lower prices would equate to a lower quality (when being compared to more expensive brands). Geralyn avoids disappointment by keeping this mindset when shopping at discount fashion sites.
Always check for user images in the comments/reviews. These can give you a good indication of its quality and how the item actually looks on a person.
For a better insight into the quality of clothing you can expect from online discount stores, read Annalese A.’s realistic review of her order from a popular store.
“I bought a windbreaker from Romwe because I loved the way it looked, and it was super cheap. But then I started to get a little nervous that it would take a long time to arrive, or maybe never arrive, and would be bad quality based on disheartening reviews I read. But, my jacket came 6 days later...You are sort of getting what you're paying for. Not the greatest quality item, but if you aren't too picky like me, then it's fine because it again, is very decent, and getting very decent clothes for this cheap is always a good thing.”
Sizing is a common complaint among discount fashion sites. Most companies have their own sizing charts that vary from the typical measurements, causing confusion when ordering. Read on to learn more.
These fashion sites have their own sizing chart for you to use, and typically it’s a little different than what you’re used to. Some sites list individual product dimensions as well, so use both when ordering. It’s common for clothing from discount fashion stores to run a little small.
Check to see if reviewers say the sizing is consistent across the site or different for the specific product you’re ordering. If everyone is saying that something ran small, maybe you should order a size up.
Sitejabber users Camryn and Nwabisa said that one of the easiest ways to determine correct sizing is by looking for customer reviews that include images. One issue that Camryn has run into is that products arrive cropped when she wasn’t expecting them to. By seeing how they fit other customers and what size they ordered, it allows her to choose the best fit for her, and if it looks cropped, she can then order one size larger. This is helpful for different body types, too. Search through reviews for someone with a similar body type to yours to ensure a good fit.
Successful sizing for online orders comes with a little bit of research. Sitejabber user Kristine Y. explains in her review (below) how she always finds the perfect size when shopping online.
“Being plus sized, it's hard to find cute clothes at an affordable price. Between the awesome reviews from other shoppers, the sizing chart and measurements to help choose the right size, and the model photos, it's super easy to find something that will flatter my shape and fit perfectly. I am so happy with all my purchases from Rosegal, and everything got to me within 14 days of ordering.”
Have you ever ordered from an international company and the package took weeks or months to arrive? The same issue happens a lot in discount fashion. While shipping issues are generally unpredictable, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your package will arrive in a timely matter.
Typically, discount fashion items are produced in and shipped from China, even if the company has a US website and address. Some shoppers report that their product shipped from a different location than what was listed on the website — this is common. In fact, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India are the four largest garment exporters in the world. Your clothing item will most likely be shipping from one of these countries. Keep in mind that international shipping takes much longer than domestic.
Some companies, like YesStyle, offer free shipping to the US with a minimum purchase, along with refunding customs related fees for international orders. Check the company’s website to see what kind of extra fees you might incur with ordering from a foreign site.
Compare the standard shipping time to what customers are actually experiencing. A common complaint by shoppers on these websites is that their item took a month or two to arrive (far past the expected date). Remember that shipping time does not include a processing period, which can be up to 7 days on these types of websites. Make sure you look into processing times and add that time to your delivery date if you need it for a specific event. Expect your order to arrive in under one month. If it doesn’t, consider contacting customer service.
Reviewers say this can also play a role in how much time it takes for you to get your package. Mail providers could also be an indicator of whether the package is coming from overseas. Some sites use different providers depending on how much is ordered or where it is shipping to. This can also lead to extra shipping fees.
Keep in mind that some shipping methods might be more reliable or less expensive than others. If you know that a specific mail carrier has a bad reputation in your area, make sure your clothes aren’t shipping through that carrier before you purchase.
Unfortunately, shipping still seems to be an issue with a lot of these sites, as we learned with Sitejabber community member Sarah when her package never arrived. It’s hard to predict when a shipping issue will occur because you can’t research it as you can a product review, material, or size.
Geralyn also experienced shipping problems before her wedding. She found that the shipping times were inconsistent even if the products were from the same store. One store shipped her items separately, and she was worried about not receiving the second half before her wedding day (they did arrive in time). However, not all users have experienced delays. Nwabisa’s product from ZAFUL arrived on time, even though it was a last-minute purchase.
Based on customer responses and reviews, shipping seems to be the aspect of discount shopping that is the hardest to control and predict. Even stores with good reputations have reviews of packages not arriving or arriving weeks late. Each website seems to have different shipping outcomes, so do a few minutes of research on their website and on Sitejabber to see if customers get their items on time. Choose a company with good customer service reviews. That way, if your package doesn’t arrive, at least you can get a refund.
Overall, users say that the risk is worth the reward when it comes to shipping issues.
Sitejabber user Kate P. had some issues with shipping at a major online store. She was able to solve the problem by directly contacting the company through Facebook messenger. Read her review for more details.
“Ever since I've tried Zaful swimwear products I just fell in love everything about it. Personally I like the size, designs and the quality of every item...never fails me!
Shipping matter? Most of the time I got all my orders on time. But I had at least two delayed experiences. Although it was a holiday season. I can't complain that much. But when I had experienced that, I automatically contacted the Zaful team through Facebook Messenger and it was very convenient and you'll get replies quickly from the Zaful Team.”
Returns to discount fashion sites can be tricky. Extra fees and penalties can occur, along with difficulty communicating with customer service. Luckily, experienced users have offered some tips on making the return process easier.
Larger companies have warehouses within the US (or your home country) even if their main warehouses are overseas. Be sure to look at their website before purchasing to check for the return address or policy. Your return will likely need to be shipped internationally, which can be costly.
If we’ve learned anything about discount fashion sites, it’s that their products can be unpredictable, and you might have to return something. Most likely, you’ll have to return the product to the original warehouse, which will have an international shipping fee (unless they waive it). Free returns are a huge bonus from discount sites. The risk of your package being lost while shipping it internationally is also something to consider.
Some companies will charge a small restocking fee for returned items. Keep in mind, your restocking fee might be as much as the item you paid for (if your item was inexpensive).
As with shipping, customer reviews on returns with discount fashion sites are mixed, too. Sitejabber user Camryn mentioned that she received a less than satisfactory product from ZAFUL, and rather than the company paying for her return shipping, they gave her a refund and told her to keep the item. Return policies vary greatly among discount fashion sites. Some offer no refunds, some offer refunds after a restocking fee, and some offer full refunds. It’s very important to check this before buying, don’t just assume you can return your item for free.
Sitejabber user Lizzy W. had issues with returning items from a popular online store. Read her review to learn more about a common problem with discount stores, and to learn why it’s so important to research items first so that you can avoid having to return them.
“I recently ordered some clothing from ROMWE (which I was already sceptical about) and when the clothing came two out the three items I ordered were perfect and exactly what they said they were on the website. However one item I ordered which was a yellow jumper was very poorly made and when I tried to return it, I struggled with the websites advice and then in the end spoke to a woman from customer service who told me that in order to return the items I had to pay money to have the items shipped and had to find my own courier. I thought this was ridiculous because I already wasn't going to get refunded for the shipping cost I had paid when ordering the item.”
This usually isn’t considered before ordering, but customer service is an integral part of ordering from discount sites. Due to the nature of these sites, customers are more likely to have issues when ordering, so refunds and returns are especially important.
If the customer service for a site is bad, you’ll have an even worse experience. For example, some customers have claimed to get no response at all about a missing package or poor quality product. By reading reviews first, you’ll be able to avoid companies with the worst customer service reputations.
Typically, discount sites outside of the US will offer a 24/7 live chat feature to resolve issues. There, they can easily offer you a refund for a bad experience. If there is no chat feature, it’s harder to get in touch with these types of companies. If there is a customer support phone number, that is your next best option. Try out the phone number before you buy. If you’re connected to a legitimate office, that’s a good sign. An email address is typically the worst option, and if they only offer email for support, you may want to shop elsewhere.
We read Nwabisa’s review of ZAFUL earlier, proving that awesome customer service can be found at discount fashion sites. She needed an item for a specific event, ordered it last minute, and when it arrived, they called to make sure she received her item. However, not all customers have success stories with customer support. We also heard from Sarah D., who ordered from a different international discount site. She had to pay an unexpected shipping fee, did not receive her package, and customer service could not help her track her package.
While there are a lot of negative reviews of customer service at online discount stores, there are some success stories. If you’re feeling hesitant to order from one of these stores, read about Hira T.’s positive experience below.
“The last time I ordered from here there was a huge problem with my order being shipped to the wrong address, etc. They shipped out another package at their own expense. Really easy to get in touch with the customer service. I've already got some of my friends hooked on buying products from here. The products are super cute and variety changes often. 10/10 would recommend. Another plus is having their warehouse located within Canada, so I don’t have to worry about extra shipping fees.”
Just as we did in this guide, you can use reviews to find real customer experiences to answer all of the above issues and more. Many customer reviews mention reading MORE reviews to make sure you’re buying the right product from the right site. Don’t only read the company reviews, remember to check for reviews on the specific product, too.
Get authentic answers from real customers by using Q&A and Forum features including those found on Sitejabber.
If you’re looking for an answer about a specific store, simply go to that store’s profile on Sitejabber and click on the Q&A section to ask the community a question, or browse through other questions and answers to see if yours has already been answered. Some stores respond directly to customers’ questions on Sitejabber through customer service agents.
A typical example of a consumer Q&A goes as follows:
Lily A. about YesStyle:
Q: “Hi if the item states that it was in stock and it will ship within 24 hours is that true?”
Quality A. (YesStyle Rep)
A: “Hi Lily,
Yes, if the item is stated "in-stock" it will usually be ready to ship in 24 hours! so the delivery time will be processing time + shipping time to destination.
Please note that the above is only true is all items in the order are in-stock, as we only provide 1 shipment per order. So if some items have longer processing times, we will wait for everything to arrive to ship out.
Multiple users can respond to a Q&A. Tiffany T. also responded to Lily A. because she had a different experience than what the YesStyle rep told Lily. By comparing all of your responses, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
A: No it is probably not true. The shipping is usually longer. I selected express shipping which is 3-5 business days but the expected shipping date was 22 days away…”
If you can’t find a specific answer in the Q&A section on Sitejabber, or if you’d like to browse through consumer advice, check out the Forum section. There you can browse, filter, and search through tips, advice, and real consumer experiences. Popular categories on Sitejabber’s Forum section include Shopping Advice, Daily Deals, Refunds, and Best and Worst Shopping Experiences.
If the review seems unspecific, unnatural, or impersonal, the review might be fake. This can also be identified with an anonymous username, no profile picture, or an overly eager 5-star review. For more information on other problems with online reviews, check out “4 Things Everyone Should Know Before Reading Reviews.”
Reviewers advise that some products are better to order than other items on a discount shopping site. However, some of these sites may be scams, too. Some of the most common red flags mentioned in consumer reviews:
If a product has no reviews, don’t purchase it, especially if it’s expensive.
If the product image is only a flat lay without any photos of the clothing on a model, reconsider. Having both types of images, however, is a plus.
If the website says “no returns,” reconsider your purchase.
If the company doesn’t seem to offer a lot of customer support (no chat or phone number) choose a different one.
For more information on scams, check out our resource on How to Identify Fake Shopping Sites.
Sitejabber user Maddie T. has great shopping insights that can be applied to most discount fashion companies. Read her advice below.
“I've read a lot of reviews of people complaining but I've ordered about 8 times and never had a problem. Here are my tips:
1. Don't order something over $25 — order simple things like tops and shorts not fancy jackets because the quality will just not be there
2. If something is really bad quality such as stitching send them a pic and they usually say don't worry about the return and just refund the money
3. Read other customers reviews of the products first, other people usually let you know whether to order up or down a size.
4. Google discount codes, there is always one for free shipping... usually over $50 which is only 3 items or so.
Don't expect perfection for $5 you're setting yourself up for disappointment. P.s. They have great earrings which are in fashion for about $2-5”
Compare the items in your cart to the criteria Sitejabber reviewers shared in this guide. Are you looking at items that don’t have any reviews? Or maybe the cute sweater in your cart has only one image without enough details. Keep these red flags in mind before ordering. Use the guidelines to filter out bad products and bad sites to save yourself some time and serious fashion grief.
The biggest takeaway from reviewers using discount fashion sites might be this: don’t expect luxury for $5. For picky shoppers, these sites might not be the right choice for you. You get what you pay for, but great deals can be found with some research.