I’m not one to shy away from purchases online (I blame it on the introvert in me whereby I like to avoid crowds and hence malls and would rather buy things online).  Purchases online from another continent however, is a different story.  Light in the Box is an online company that is indeed based on a different continent.

I purchased my wedding dress online from Light in the Box.  I checked out the reviews, and felt that you really can’t go wrong for a wedding dress that costs less than $100 USD.  I told myself that if it didn’t fit I could alter it or if I really didn’t like it, I could always just buy a different dress.

What is Light In the Box?

Light in the Box is an online retail company founded in China in 2007.  To me, it is kind of similar to a ‘Chinese Amazon.com’.  It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LITB.  They have all sorts of things, including wedding dresses, gardening tools, clothing.. everything you can think of.  I believe everything is made in and is shipped from China though so the shipping and duty can be much more than you bargained for.

There have been lots of negative reviews of Light in the Box in the past with complaints of poor customer service, additional duties and taxes, inability to get your money back for refunds, and having to pay for the shipping for your refund yourself.

Here’s What I think of Light in the Box

I have only purchased from Light in the Box once.  Their low prices tempts me to use Light in the Box again, but the headache and anxiety with regards to following up to see whether I could get my duty refunded was a bit too much.  Not too keen on going through that again.

Nonetheless, I ordered my wedding dress from Light in the Box.  It cost $90 USD and after shipping costs and the $10 duty and tax insurance, it came out to around $130 USD.  It arrived promptly and the item was as described (reading reviews is really helpful).  On the website it states that if it doesn’t fit you, you can ask for their tailor to correct it, but I would rather see someone in real life and pay for it than deal with waiting for Light in the Box.  Also, there have been mixed reviews about that promise, apparently returns are very difficult to do.

Personally it worked out fine for me and I love my dress.  I did have to alter it but I don’t mind doing it in person and paying for it rather than playing Russian roulette with my wedding dress and paying for shipping to go back to them only to tell me that they don’t want to do parking.

Does the Taxes and Duty Insurance Work?

If you pay for duty and tax insurance, Light in the Box will refund the amount that you paid (usually through the shipping company DHL) onto your credit card.  I was wary about this because I had never heard of duty and tax insurance and given their iffy track record, I thought perhaps this was just a scam.  For a $100 USD purchase, I paid about an additional $10 for the duty and tax insurance, in addition to about $20 of shipping cost.  The duty charged was $60 which I had to pay for.  I then created a ticket within Light in the Box and was able to eventually get my $60 refunded onto the credit card that I paid for the item with- this was only because I paid for the $10 duty and tax insurance.

So yes, the duty and tax insurance works!  It takes a bit of time (I think for me about 4-6 weeks) for you to get the money back, but it is indeed credited back to your credit card.

Customer Service

Personally I think the customer service for Light in the Box is a little sketchy, though they did reply to my tickets very promptly.  I never spoke to anyone in person though.  Because the company is based in China, I’m not too sure whether they have someone that helps you from China or from North America.

Readers, have you tried purchasing from Light in the Box?  What did you think?

Article comments

Steven says:

This company is absolutely dishonest.
This company is absolutely dishonest. I would not recommend buying anything from them. If you have having trouble with them, I would urge you to do what I did: Contest the charges with your bank or credit card provider and file a complaint with the police.

Here is the story:
I purchased a lamp, which was delivered in a damaged state. The company systematically put up road blocks to my returning the item and receiving a refund. Finally after a month, they said that I could send the item back to China for a refund. However, to do so I would need to state on the customs declaration that the package was a gift. The reason for this is that they do not want to pay customs taxes. In essence, they were requiring me to commit fraud in order to receive a refund. That is clearly illegal.

Here is what I did:
I contested the charge with my bank and credit card provider so that the money would be refunded. I also reported the company’s demand that I commit fraud to the German police and the European tax authorities. I am still awaiting the results, but the bank assured me that I would receive a refund for the charges.

Phyllis J Wrightwest says:

Yes, and I had a terrible terrible experience. I am in the process of trying to get my refund. The boots, dress and jewelry I ordered were of poor quality, late shipping, even though I ordered and paid for expiditited shipping. They had the audacity to tell me to sell the things I ordered it give it to friends. I am still trying to get my refund. I will never order from lightinthe box again. I also ordered jewelry and I just received I bracrlet from dec 16 after promising 3 to 5 day delivery time. Customer service is a fraud. Dont order from this company.

Vicky Lynn Brame says:

I ordered 40$ worth of t-shirts on Dec 11 2019.. the money was taken out of my account! But I still have not received the shirts!! I have emailed them 3 times!!! Ridiculous!!!!

Jan sutheeland says:

OMG, I orderedtheir 3D shirts for presents….they came,in all the wrong sizes. I ordered large got XL, 2xl , 3xl and 1 large. The print on the shirt was NOT,3d…im not gonna even try foe a refund. Buyer beware

Sam says:

Well I just ordered a coat last night. I hope and pray it arrives correct and with no problems. I was hesitant to order and after reading these post I’m very worried.

Mike says:

My purchases were made on the 3rd of Dec thinking plenty of time for x-mas well as it turned out 2 days before x-mas it arrived and everything was the wrong size and as was stated customer service was next to none, they offered a $10 credit. Wasn’t impressed with them at all I guess it’s all a gamble anyhow

Susan Harringtonhoward says:

Ordered shoes with expedited shipping – 5-7 days – ordered July 3 – not received till July 15th. Their response was the order was processed on July 8th – so it met the shipping criteria. What happened between July 3 and July 8th? Not received in time for event, too small, and not as appeared in picture – EXTREMELY poor quality. To return I have to pay to ship them back to china – overall cost for what amounts to $5.00 quality shoes – would be over $60. Not certain they are even fit for a charitable donation!
Don’t order from there – BUY US!

Bruce Preston says:

June 2019 we order 2 shower faucet sets for our ensuite reno. We are having oil rubbed bronze light fixtures and door knobs in the master siute.
The “light in a box” shower fixtures were described as oil rubbed bronze, butvthe picture looked like black. But we trusted the wording more that the photo. when it came to Canada weeks later the color was not oil rubbed bronze but black. with amazon we could have returned it since it was not he color that was stated. Light in the box will refund the cost but not he shipping. Canada post told us it would be about $200 shipping and take a few months to get there. That would probably put us past the possible refund time. So we are reselling the shower parts. The quality seems good but the color is not as stated. They claim its oil rubbed bronze in a black color.???? to me and from all the looking i have done oil rubbed bronze is not black.


Nick says:

Nothing fit. I would have had to order a XXXL to fit me. In what universe is a guy who buys large shirts in Canada a XXXL. This place is a rip off. DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM

Leonard G. Flett says:

BUYER BEWARE! I ordered a pair of shoes from this company for which I paid almost $50 on December 6, 2017. I was advised it would arrive by January 3, 2018 at the latest. When I did not receive my order by that date, I sent a note to their “customer service”. They replied for me to be patient. By the end of January, I began demanding a refund. They stopped responding to my enquiries. This business is a total SCAM. I wish I had found this comment site before ordering from them.

Candy P says:

I ordered an outfit for my sons wedding, it showed up however the size of the shirt was totally incorrect, it was way to small, now they want me to pay to ship it back, when it is their error.. I can wear the pants, and jacket, however the whole set is incomplete….terrible..and I paid a fair dollar for the outfit. terrible customer service, the responses seem to be automated, and that they don’t really read them…I am very frustrated….plus I had to pay 71.07 for extra duty at the door, in which they did refund me that, but the top will be on a ongoing issue.

Jane says:

I have ordered and rec’d two ‘Mother of the Bride” type dresses from LITB. I was very pleased with both. (For the price I paid) These are NOT $5K designer gowns, I am not a size 0 model.
I would order again. Both were well made and of a color I expected. I am tall and these gowns were plenty long. There was one hitch. I asked customer service to recommend a shawl which would match one of the dresses, and I ordered exactly what they said……not even close. They offered to refund the $8 item if I would ship it back ($15 – um no). I believe I rec’d fair value, and would order again. My sister also pleased with her purchase……her friend, upon her recommendation……train-wreck I’m told.

Kim McAnuff says:

Ordered several items on October 15, 2017, I paid via PayPal which left my account on October 17, 2017 Shipping time frame said 10-20 days. Apparently, it shipped October 23, 2017. As of today, I have yet to receive these items! This is now 49 days from order date & 42 days from apparent shipping date. I submitted a “ticket” to customer service for explanation (which said someone would get back to me within 48 hours) no one has responded to me yet! I am extremely disappointed, I will never order from this company in the future & most certainly would not recommend ordering from them!

Manolis Georgatsos says:

Very good variety of MADE-IN-CHINA products at discounted prices, BUT there are so many issues.The first (and obviously last) item I ordered arrived after 4 WEEKS and LightInTheBox charged me 35 EUR FOR CUSTOMS CHARGES which is ridiculous. A serious company listed on a stock exchange should know and cover all delivery-tax-customs expenses. I definitely do not recommend this website. Stay away

Jennifer Frederiksen says:

My order was processed, payment taken and said shipped to my PO Box. A week later to find out that they “Tried to ship but there was issues with the PO Box, so my order was sent back to them. So my only options are reorder and pay for 3 times the shipping or cancel my order and only pay for the first shipping attempt and the second shipping back to them. So that is $54 paid for an order i will never see! TERRIBLE COMPANY!! DO NOT ORDER FROM LIGHT IN THE BOX!!!!!

Muhammad says:

I placed an order two play station 4 hand-free and never received it, after several email back and forth with customer services no solution, very unprofessional in practical. I told them I no more need item and refund me but they still told me to wait another 30 days 🙁

Ravi says:

Yes , this is not at all fair company .I ordered fitness band and payed for expidated shipping, but I item did not turn up , when complaint raised, their response is , item shipped by postal srvice and will take month time,I will never order

Patricia Lopez says:

I found this article which describes step by step my experience. I wish I had seen it before but when I looked for reviews to decide whether I should order from this site I never found any bad review till now. To say I feel 100% identified it’s an understatement. It all makes sense now- Light in the Box pays to hide all these reviews because now that I am looking I’ve found thousands of bad experiences. Read this article, it is worth a look: it is called ….thebalance/review-of-light-in-the-box-online-store-3515587.

*NOTE: the system does not allow me to add the above page but if you add 3w at the start and after ‘thebalance’ you add .com you will be able to read the article .

I have not received my parcel (60 days have passed)
They want to force the cost of returning items on me even though I cancelled the order before shipping in multiple emails for unjustified delay (20 days)
the returning will cost 4 times more than what I spent ($88 USD)
They respond in 24 hrs but nothing that is useful (they try to delay they process so the time frame to dispute the transaction is over and you end up stuck with something that you do not need)

Malko Linge says:

Terrible experience overall. They claimed the 2 spinners for my son where shipped 2 months ago and of course nothing appeared in the mail but credit card was debited within 12h. Customer service is just an automated reply whenever you ask a question. Bottom line: 100% scam

Teresa A. D'Agostino says:

My preliminary belief was that my original order would be shipped from Canada as the info on the website was not clear. I paid for expedited shipping 3-4 days and still after three weeks have not received my order. Got a call that said I would have to pay an additional $35 for duties and taxes. When the order gets here, I’m not accepting it. I have entered several tickets in an attempt to have customer service contact me, but their response is always the same old script, like it has been generated from a manual. There is no phone number or online chat where you can call or speak to a person in real time. Their information about shipping and delivery is a scam. The costs are exorbitant and the effort required to “recover” the duties and additional taxes are all BS. I will never use this site again and will do everything I can to dissuade others from using it.

Charlotte says:

I will never oder from this company again worse company ever. Orded 3 iteams and my package showed up and ups said i had to pay an extra 35 dollars after i already payed shipping and insurance. Like really so i sent the items back. Waiting on money back. But pretty sure i got ripped off. Like what company has no phone number to contact them.. I should of read reviews. Never again..

im trying to purchase shoes that I like. I put it in the cart, but then decided to delete one. I could not so I tried to call customer service. Also to understand the shipping. No phone numbers. I’m a little skeptical when you cannot speak to someone. Also shipping is $14.00. I thought the shoes were nice but I can’t deal with this terrible service. Nothing seems to work on the site. Im trying to edit or delete. They look like they have a nice selection, but not worth the aggrivation.

Mike says:

Ordered 6 pairs of shoes from them for groomsmen. Order went through fine. 2 days later received an email stating 1 of the shoe sizes was out of stock. Changed the shoe size and they then proceeded to inform us it would not be included in the original order and would have to pay separate shipping. We paid extra for expedited (3-4 day) shipping already and are going on 2 weeks now and still have not received any product or have received any answers to any messages we have sent them. Their customer service is an absolute joke. Will never order product from them again

CV says:

Ordered 2 shirts from this site…one was a fit..the other not so much. Tried contacting their customer service..no respsonse yet after 25 days. After 3 wash, the other shirt also shrank. Poor quality …low prices. Not worth it overall.