QLD Reselling Makeup and Cosmetics - Legal in Australia?

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21 December 2014
Hi, I am want to start my own small online business selling makeup and cosmetics. Before I start, I want to make sure it is legal in Australia to resell makeup under Commercial Law or Australian Consumer Law as long as it is authentic, is this correct?


Well-Known Member
11 July 2014
Hi Tamara

Unfortunately it's not as simple as "she'll be right", there are very real risks, mainly because incumbent distributors and manufacturers have an interest to prevent parallel imports

Are the goods already being sold in Australia by an official distributor or distributors? Because those guys may have registered trademarks in Australia related to the goods, or have been granted an exclusive license to use those trademarks by the Australian trademark holder. And they might not be too happy and might actually want to slug it out with you (perhaps starting at the very least with a letter insisting that you stop immediately) if they find out what you're doing, see here one of the more recent and high profile cases (admittedly the case does not concern a small business parallel importer)

Also, how sure are you that all the goods are authentic? It's sometimes difficult to know for sure if you buy from a source other than the genuine one

There's a start with a couple of risks that immediately come to mind, it'd be good to see what the other contributors say too, as I expect there'd be other hurdles. Cosmetics are generally expensive in Australia, so no doubt you'd have a few customers if you get past the legals. But yeah, legitimate parallel importation is not that simple unfortunately, especially in the last few years!!
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Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
I agree with Hugh, there are risks involved as with any business. You will need to have a system to ensure that your distribution line is authentic, as well as a refund policy for any fake products and a fund or strategy for dealing with legal claims from the actual brands.

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
A few years ago, I was involved with the entry into Australia of a well known multi-national retailer.
Among their product ranges was cosmetics.
Which leads me to say that I agree with both @Hugh and @Sophea.

Trademark holders (or licensees) and entities with exclusive distribution deals
can be vigourous and energetic in defence of those interests - as is their right.
And yes, they can, and do "go after the little guy".
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
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