October 14, 2008

The Muse’s Honest Opinion About GMarket

I wanted to address G-Market today in a post since I get many, many, many e-mails asking me about it, have I ever used it, what’s it like, how do I use it, etc….

Instead of the hassle of going through 200 or more e-mails on the topic I thought a post would be appropriate in answering the questions I get daily about it.

I’ve been collecting Korean Cosmetics for about a two years, possibly a year and a half, unsure exactly when I started. I get asked daily where I get my Korean makeup and the answer is I have a friend who lives in Seoul (the largest city and capital of South Korean) who ships me over random items that I ask her to purchase for me.

I have not seen anyone else aside from E-bay and Gmarket who sell Korean Cosmetics. I haven’t really seen many stores in Manhattan either that carry Korean makeup but maybe I am looking in the wrong locations. If I do come across a shop that carry the lines they are normally very out of date items.

If you live within a heavily populated Asian community you my be lucky enough to have a few Japanese, Korean, Chinese specialty shops that carry cosmetics from abroad.

If you’re unfamiliar with Gmarket allow me to briefly explain.

Gmarket is much like E-bay however instead of bidding on items you are purchasing them out right for buy it now prices. All items are priced extremely low and as close to retail as anything I’ve seen on the Internet and many popular brands I’ve discussed at Musings such as Etude House, Banila Co, VOV, etc…can be located at retail prices on Gmarket.

Even though Gmarket prices are amazing I have some rants about the service which is why I do not recommend using it unless you have a ton of cash to spare.

I’ve tried Gmarket twice and have noticed a few problems with the service and they are as follows:

Virtually no Customer Service at all.

During my first order I had some confusion of whether the funds I sent over actually went through so I decided to shoot over an inquiry about my order. This was 3 months ago and still they have not replied. Lucky enough the order arrived safely but having my money hang out in limbo while no one replies stinks.

No English speaking reps or members.

I don’t believe anyone that works for Gmarket or anyone who is a registered member that is selling speaks in English. I’ve successfully contacted a seller when asking a question only to receive a reply in Korean. This wasn’t a problem as I had someone translate it for me however if you’re virtually clueless about the Korean language this can be frustrating. This leads me to believe that the reps that work at Gmarket, run Gmarket, Etc…do not speak English either. Although Gmarket has a English sub-site I don’t believe anyone technically speaks English.

Shipping Prices are obscene at first glance!

Now shipping via Gmarket is fairly reasonable however as you add items into your cart from other sellers or even one particular seller the price goes up and up and up and up! This figure is a set estimate and you’ll later receive a credit on the shipping amount however it’s ridiculous having to set out $40, $60, or more dollars when you have 8-10 items in your cart! As mentioned you do get a credit however that credit is not put back into your Paypal account it’s set as G-Cash for spending on Gmarket. If you so choose you can transfer it back to Paypal but it won’t be worth it as they deduct a considerable amount in fees to do this!

Shipping, Paypal, and Other Woes….

Gmarket ships fairly quickly however the interface on Gmarket has a huge learning curve and I don’t think, after using it twice so far for orders, I even understand how it works! Figuring out where my money is, where my order is, when it shipped, how to track it, etc…is like brain surgery! The site isn’t user friendly in my opinion! Now when paying via Paypal can be quite a bit of a nail biting experience as waiting for the funds to go through, etc…makes me slightly nervous as my Paypal sits in limbo for 2-3 days. On top of this waiting for your credit back, for shipping, takes a fair few days. I just get a tad bit nervous when my money is sitting around and not doing anything!

All in all I currently avoid Gmarket like the plague and do all my Korean Cosmetics via CP purchases from my friend. If I can’t get items from her I tend to look around E-bay and see what pops up cheap! I don’t recommend using Gmarket if you get antsy about your money the way I do. I also don’t recommend it because of the silly estimated shipping fee problem!

The Muse suggests asking around MUA or on Asian based Forums for a CP. Be friendly, make a friend, and I’m positive they’ll be happy to help you get what you need from Korea! Don’t forget to offer to return the favor!

Hope this answers all your questions about Gmarket!

If you have further questions, ask away in comment field!

An Intro to Korean Cosmetic Brands

What is a BB Cream?

A Guide to Shopping for Japanese Cosmetics

JPMon Ordering Tutorial

Indonesian Cosmetic Brands


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Carly

    Hey I know this is kinda off topic, sorry, but have you tried the Shiseido Hydro-Liquid Compact? Because I was thinking about getting it but I thought I should ask you what you think about it first. Thanks so much!

  • Anonymous

    Kayvid: Aaargh! I just placed my Gmarket order for the first ever time yesterday evening. Wish your post came a day before 🙂
    N worries though. I agree…it is tough to order from there…but I’d read on someone’s blog earlier that you just have o sit around and wait and then you will receive the order and zap you money is gone…so I prepared myself for it 🙂

  • ~raspy~

    I recently encountered some problems with Gmarket too and they sent me a long email in korean. Since I don’t understand the language, I sent them an email in english asking for a translation and in reply, they did email me back in english but this time, the email is much much shorter.

  • ???

    Oh gosh~ I can’t quite understand Gmarket either. and i thought it is cuz i hardly buy my own items other than joining sprees 😛

    i try my best to avoid it cuz it’s too much of a hassle!

    looks like we are the same 😀

  • rasilla

    I’m korean and it gives ME a headache trying to order from there!
    Which I tried once, until I realized that the shipping to Canada would have KILLED ME.
    Not to mention the duties that I would have had to pay on top of those killer shipping prices.

    But I think you covered all the bases on why we shouldn’t use Gmarket. Though it may be nice to have everything there, they just aren’t up to par when it comes to selling things abroad.

    Anyway thanks for sharing Muse! I enjoyed the review 🙂

  • Kathi

    Hi Izzy,
    I am really sorry you find Gmarket to be such a hassle.

    I am actually astonished that ppl seem to find it so hard to use. It was difficult to first set it all up and start it but once I’ve placed an order I had figured pretty much everything out.

    I read ranting about the CS very often but it’s really strange that each of my inquiries had been answered within a day max (except weekends). They don’t email (which sucks a bit) but just submit the answer in your Gmarket “inquiries” field so when you see status “answered” just click on your question and you’ll see the answer (and it’s in good English).

    The Estimated prices partly really suck in my opinion, you’re very right about that. However I just swallow them as I think if I buy the eyeshadow I want from Sweet Violet on Ebay for 5x the price I get it on Gmarket the shipping is worth it. Especially as I get a good part refunded anyway which I can use towards another order.
    Some seller are really good about the Estimated shipping though. Like I purchased a 7piece Enprani BB kit and the shipping is about US$12 as the estimated shipping is just half kilo.

    I also have to say that following the status of payment and order is fine for me. Whenever I paid through paypal the payment got confirmed within 1 business day so the status in my Gmarket got updated to “Shipping preparation” (from “awaiting payment”) very quickly. Now as I am using cc mainly or Gcash it shows the status right away and each item shows where it is right now (it shows “Being shipped” if the seller has shipped it locally or “Shipped” if it arrived at the Gmarket warehouse. And then the international EMS tracking allows me to see when my package has been dispatched from Gmarket, left Korea, entered Austria, left customs etc. so I feel very well informed where my order is.
    The international tracking can be found when you click on your order and scroll down to the “International Shipping” field. You’ll see the status (“pending” “being shipped”). As soon as it shows “Being shipped” you’ll also get the shipping cost refund as it means your package has been assembled and packed so they know the actual weight.

    I know Gmarket can be PITA but for me it’s the perfect solution =D I wish there was a site like this for Japanese makeup!
    Cheers and *hugs*

  • the Muse

    hey kayvid!!!

    I hope it turns out great and arrives fast 🙂

    When the process finally starts up it goes fairly quickly but I’m just a nervous nelly 😉

    What did you haul!?

    Deets! 🙂

  • the Muse

    hi plue!

    It’s a bit puzzling to say the least plue 😛 Sometimes sprees are way easier!!!! I wish we were able to do so more often here but not many people spree for us across the line 🙁

  • the Muse

    hi there rasilla!

    Lol well that’s good news!!!!

    The shipping, even to the US, is a killer. Having to shell out so much, so far in advance is a bit ridiculous. If I got it back to my bank account I’d be happy but it ends up as gcash..so you really need to take that into consideration..it’s kinda like making an investment 😛

    I agree 100%! If anything it’s best to just kindly ask a friend or family member if you have any in Korea..the hassle of gmarket..no likey 😛

    You’re most welcome, thanks for taking time out to comment!

  • the Muse

    hi kathi!

    How are you love? Hugs!

    The interface is a bit of a puzzle to me as of yet even after using it twice….I really find it difficult to figure out what is happening on it.

    You’re very lucky with CS. Sadly my one question is still unanswered after months!

    The inquiry I have it still saying “Unanswered”

    The estimate shipping prices are obscene considering it’s like a big lump sum investment I’m making to purchase an item 🙁 If they credit it back to my account I’d be happy but ending up as gcash kinda stinks!

    It has ome major raves but for me many of the rants just outshine the good parts 🙁 Sounds like you have had great success with the service. Maybe I should start using my CC could be better 🙂

    Thanks the tips and for telling us your experience!

    Big hugs!
    Been ages since we talked last =-)

  • Mookxi

    I’m thinking twice now about ordering from them — thanks for the heads up ! Accountability to me is very important.

    • the Muse

      hey mookxi.

      It’s way too much trouble 🙁 I’d try out various online shops or ebay or some makeup forum where you can ask a fellow e-friend for a cp!

      This is just too much trouble!

  • pinkhana

    (sorry this entry is really old but I wanted to post anyways!)
    I really want to order from gmarket,(TONS of GWPs!) but I was wondering how much of the shipping usually gets refunded to you?

    50% or maybe more?

    I’m about to order and the shipping costs more than the 4 things I’m ordering. If I got most of it refunded it wouldnt be so bad but if not….that would suck.
    The sad thing?:
    Even with thier sky-high shipping costs, its still cheaper than ebay sellers!

    • the Muse

      hi pinkhaha I dunno it really depends on the seller hun. When I ordered it was more like 20% of the shipping was returned. It is cheaper than ebay but I still don’t like it sadly 😛

      good luck!

  • pinkbox

    oh gosh, I ordered around 12 stuffs from gmarket, made payment of 150bucks, then it brought me to a gmarket site that says error -7, order is cancelled.. When I checked my bank account, 150bucks gone.. sending money is damn fast.. and my gmarket shopping cart has zero orders.. now 150bucks is in limbo… *cries*…….. i really need advise pls

    • the Muse

      hi pinkbox.

      I really haven’t a clue. contact gmarket directly maybe? Hope this helps.

  • pinkbox

    hi there, thanks for ur reply:) have emailed them, gosh.. have to wait till weekdays… might be calling them up too, will update on the status over here.. hope their services are alright… and hope to receive a refund….

    • rache

      Hi pinkbox,

      Me and my frens have encountered the same problem with gmarket.kr recently and our orders clocked up to $500+! We have sent gmarket countless emails and inquiries but they seem to be ignoring our calls for help. I’m just wondering if you have managed to resolve your issue and get a full refund of your money? Would really appreciate your help and advise on this.

      Thanks a million!

      • the Muse

        rache I got my items so not sure hun. keep trying to contact them or dispute with paypal/credit card you used.

  • Chic.Lush

    Hi Muse

    Can you help me get your friend who is staying in Seoul to help me buy korean cosmetics/skincare liked Etude house & Skinfood?

    im a avid supporter of skinfood & everything cost 3 times more in Singapore!!!

    • the Muse

      hi chic I can’t really help sorry. I am shy and timid I’m about asking for my own cps never mind asking her to do a cp for someone she doesn’t even know. Sorry.

  • laadeedaah

    Hello there! I stumbled on this when trying to do some research about Gmarket before ordering there.
    I was able to navigate and find what I want immediatly, for an incredible price. ( A pair of brown boots for only $17~)
    I went all through the process of even seeinthe shipg how much the total would be. It came out to a whopping $43.00. It’s not too bad, considering that it’s an international shipment. I haven’t confirmed the order because ther are some things i wanted to know first.
    1) How long did it take for you to recieve your order?
    2) From what you were saying, the shipping fluctuates?
    3) Any other troubles?

    Thanks for any responses!

  • kirk

    Also, Gmarket HAS NO WAREHOUSE. Although on their website everything comes from their website. They are really just a korean ebay.

    So after they take your money, it is impossible to get it back even if you receive a DOA item or the wrong item.