Avon LogoAbout Avon

Avon is a cosmetics company with a focus on direct sales through representatives that act as independent contractors, selling the product through their local social networks. While there is some history of attempts at retail sales, the bulk of Avon’s income throughout its 130 year history has been earned through a multi-level marketing strategy similar to those used by Mary Kay and Amway.

How Does It Work?

Avon makes a variety of salon and cosmetic products available at relatively low price points through their catalog and representatives. Customers typically purchase items through a local representative, and those contractors are responsible for both customer service and return processing in the event of a problem with the order. Reviews about the quality of products are varied, as is common for large corporations with multiple niche brands and diverse product lines. Generally, their core cosmetics, salon, and bath products receive positive reviews.

Avon maintains communication channels for feedback about its representatives, but it primarily acts as the manufacturer and supplier for the network. There are leadership incentives and bonuses, however, for representatives with successful sales records and for those who recruit.

Cost/Price Plans

Avon products cover a wide range of price points, both because of the diverse offerings from the company and also because of their tendency to offer multiple sizes of some products. Generally, side-by-side price comparisons have them competitive with mainstream national retail brands. Representatives looking to sell through Avon must frontload their stock, like with other direct sales programs, but Avon provides support for ecommerce, as well as specials available only through its representatives’ online stores.

Refund Policy

Avon makes refunds and returns the responsibility of its individual representatives. Customers needing a return must consult with the representative they purchased their product from, and individuals looking to sell Avon will need to become familiar with the company’s return processing procedures to receive reimbursement on returns. Representatives also pay return shipping on items they return, but they do have the option of reselling unopened and undamaged returns.

Customer Service Contact Info

Avon makes contacting representatives easy by facilitating their access to contact cards and offering an online platform that allows for social media support, for better promotion. They also maintain toll-free contact lines for customer service queries, including 1-800-FOR-AVON, and they take email queries through dearavon@avon.com.


On the balance, Avon’s reputation is positive, but there are strong criticisms out there, specifically pertaining to its customer service and returns policies. Representatives report that returns are misprocessed or delayed, and customers seeking to lodge a complaint about representatives often find themselves without much direct support, since Avon resellers are independent contractors.

Avon scam warnings, on the other hand, contain a few general arguments against multi-level marketing, but mostly cautionary tales from representatives who have dealt with large orders and bad checks. Few of the top complaints and reviews about the brand are about its products, which end to review well overall. In the end, reviews of the company tend to be reviews of individual representatives, which does lead to a wide range of experiences.

Common Complaints

The most common complaints about Avon are:

• Complaints about individual representatives
• Customers attesting that the company does nothing to rein in representatives who misbehave
• Representative complaints about errors and processing time for returns to the company
• Representative complaints about paying return shipping
• Concerns about frontloading inventory as an economic burden on representatives
• Quality complaints specific to the necklaces in the jewelry line

Editor’s Opinion

Avon’s history and the quality of their product both point to their brand as trustworthy, but like all direct sales brands, individual sales representatives make the difference. Avon scam warnings that highlight the ways individual representatives and customers game the system should be taken seriously, though. While the company is reliable overall, its reliance on a network of independent contractors does pose some potential problems.

Final Verdict: One of the better MLMs out there – be sure to find a good and trustworthy rep.