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So you’re looking for a reborn or silicone doll and come across the perfect one.
It’s under your budget at only $79.99 for silicone vinyl and the pictures of this baby are TO DIE FOR.
AND… if you buy two, you can save 10%. WOW.
STOP RIGHT THERE
Everything you just read points straight to SCAM.
A scam is a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation and unfortunately is very prevalent in the reborn community.
Why is this?
When people new to this community begin their search for a reborn, they have not yet figured out all that goes into creating these one-of-a-kind silicone or vinyl dolls and are attracted to the low price and beautiful images.
Unfortunately, many of these sites and sellers send dolls that look NOTHING like the pictures or send nothing at all.
Here’s a perfect example. This person ordered thinking they would get a baby looking like the one on the left… and got the baby pictured on the right.
So how do you prevent being scammed when searching for a reborn doll?
I’m about to let you in on the many tips that will keep you far away from doll scammers, so keep reading.
Factors that Impact the Price of a Reborn or Silicone Doll
In order to understand the realistic price point of these dolls, I want to give you a brief overview of why they cost what they cost.
Every doll begins as a blank, unpainted kit that was hand sculpted by a sculptor.
It may take a sculptor years to create this new kit.
After it was completed and then produced as a kit for sale, it is then purchased by an artist who spends countless hours putting beautiful details into creating the perfect doll.
It’s important to keep in mind that each and every doll an artist makes is unique. No two reborn dolls are the same (more on this later).
A blank kit alone can be priced anywhere between $50 to $200.
The artist then may have to add eyes if that’s what the buyer requested.
These can run anywhere from $5 to $60 depending on the material the eyes were made from.
Then the hair.
Not only does this take hours of hand rooting, but the hair alone may cost somewhere between $20 and $200.
On top of this, many artists will offer what’s called a box opening to the buyers of their dolls.
Between blankets, pacifiers, and clothes this can get quite pricey but adds a sweet, personal touch.
$30 to $100 depending on the amount of “surprises” provided.
WOW. We’re already at nearly $110 at the cheaper end of this doll we just created.
And we didn’t even account for the artist’s paint, other special supplies, and time yet.
Now do we see how a completed doll priced at $50 to $80 just cannot make sense?
Rule of thumb: If it seems too good to be true, IT IS.
If you’re looking for more detailed reasons to justify the prices, check out my article on the cost of reborn dolls where I discuss specific qualities that raise or lower the price of a reborn or silicone doll.
Red Flags That Point Towards a Scam Listing or Website
There are a few things that really stand out to me and scream that a doll isn’t a legitimate reborn or silicone doll.
I think looking at the price of the doll is the biggest red flag pointing towards a scam.
Any genuine, brand new, hand-painted vinyl reborn will never be below $200.
And finding one for $200 is pretty rare.
This would likely come from a new artist or be for a doll with some artistic flaws in the paint, hair, or body stuffing.
Any genuine artist-created silicone doll will be anywhere from $800 to $5,000.
If you find a very cheap doll marked silicone we can almost guarantee you’re on the brink of being scammed and will likely get a cheap vinyl doll (if you get anything at all).
If we see a listing for a reborn doll at $35.99 or even $129.99 we may need to raise an eyebrow and dig deeper.
These scam sites will also advertise a “price drop” or “buy 2, get 15% off”.
You will never see this from a true reborn seller.
If you’re seeing a doll priced under $100, we can also suspect that this was a stolen or copied sculpt from a sculptor.
This is an insult to the sculptor and takes away from the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into reborning dolls.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
And these scam sites scream STOLEN.
Often times the photos used to advertise these scam dolls are stolen from artists or sculptor prototype images.
There are a couple of different ways to spot this.
Sometimes we can see altered images either cropping out or blurring artist watermarks.
They will also use photos of actual babies or children to advertise the doll.
If using Google Chrome, “control + click” on the image and select “search google for image”.
If this same image is coming up for multiple different websites selling the same doll, we can bet that this is not a true reborn doll.
Each artist painted kit will be unique.
These are hand painted works of art and no two kits, even if painted by the same artist will ever be the same.
Use your best judgment. If you’re scrolling through the home page of their dolls for sale and something seems off with the image quality, it probably is.
If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a listing what we recommend doing is contacting the seller and requesting a safety photo.
A safety photo should include a new picture of the doll listed for sale with a piece of paper with handwritten details per your request.
You can request them to write your name, their name, the doll’s name, the date and time, or even any random phrase such as “My best friend is better than yours!”.
In order to honor your request, they would have to have the doll pictured present.
This adds an extra layer of protection to your purchase.
Let me preface by saying this: quality reborn dolls are created, bought, and sold all over the world.
It is possible for a true reborn or silicone doll to come from anywhere.
But we see a trend with these scam websites.
Many of the dolls are shipped from and produced in Asian countries.
How can we find out where the doll is coming from?
On the very bottom of the website, look for “about us”, “shipping & delivery”, “contact us”, or “FAQs”.
Here you will find where they are located.
If you see an address listed from an Asian country, I personally would steer away.
If you cannot find a location, you can often tell where the baby is shipping from based on the shipping/delivery time.
Anything shipping within the U.S., for example, shouldn’t take longer than 10 days.
In an “about us” section of a well-known scam site, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
They made up a fake story about their best friend losing a baby and wanted to help others like her and stole an image from a news outlet to further their agenda.
Please don’t support these sites.
Here’s where we do a little detective work.
For starters, if we did our research on location already and know this is coming from a foreign country, this is oftentimes reflected in the command of the language and grammar of the listing.
Here’s an example:
We will try to send you the same clothes with picture shows, but if the clothes are not in stock, we will sent random clothes.
First of all, they’re saying straight out they CANNOT guarantee you will get what you believe you’re paying for.
Leave now, please. 😂
Another red flag we’ll find in a listing is the term “silicone vinyl”.
Silicone vinyl DOES NOT EXIST and these scam sites will use this term to target people looking for silicone dolls.
Something we will find missing from these listings is a certificate of authenticity or COA.
Here’s the certificate from one of my reborns, Avery.
When an artist purchases a blank doll kit to reborn, the COA will come with it.
It is then provided by the artist to the buyer to prevent doll knock offs or scams.
Now we know why these scam sites won’t have a COA. They’re not legitimate and are selling stolen sculpts or fake reborn dolls.
Another thing I’ve found when tearing apart these scam sites are the reviews.
There are either no reviews for any of the dolls listed or there are what seems like fake reviews left for the dolls.
I say it seems fake because I cannot guarantee this, but when I read robotic-like, very similar short sentences on multiple doll listings I can only go, hmmmm.
These reviews also are not accompanied by any photos.
As an owner of the website, they have complete control over what reviews are posted.
So take a review on one of these sites with a grain of salt (remember…salt is bad!).
When you begin searching for reborn or silicone dolls on a search engine website, you will likely be bombarded with sponsored ads at the very top of your search.
These ads will follow you everywhere you go. Facebook, Instagram, Google search pages…
In my experience and throughout my hours of research while writing this article, almost all of the sponsored ads for reborns came from sites I would not trust.
Important: I’m not saying that the fact that a company advertises should make you suspicious. What I AM saying though is that it costs them a lot to advertise. Pair that with the drastically low price they are selling reborns at and this is just another piece of the scam artist’s puzzle.
Name of the Doll
If you’re a newbie to the reborn community, this one will be a little bit tougher for you.
Seasoned reborn collectors can see a photo of a reborn or silicone doll and know exactly what sculptor produced it as well as the name of the kit.
Courtesy and respect in this community are huge.
Artists give credit to the amazing artistry and detail of the doll kits by selling them listed as “name” by “sculptor” or even just the “name”.
A few examples:
- Twin A by Bonnie Brown
- Saskia by Bonnie Brown
- Margot by Cassie Brace
- Romy by Gudrun Legler
Scam sites will use photos of these dolls with a different name such as Diana or Journey.
This is very disrespectful to the sculptor and a BIG clue you should pick up on.
Finding Cheap Reborn Dolls
So your budget is limited…here’s what I recommend.
If you’re just starting out and have a limited budget, there are still options for you.
You will find factory-made reborn dolls for usually $150 or under.
They are not stolen and you’ll receive what you are expecting.
How To Protect Yourself from Reborn Scams
So you’ve done your research and nothing seems off.
You’ve asked for a safety photo and all checks out and you are ready to adopt a sweet, cuddly reborn.
Is there something you can do to protect yourself?
First, if purchasing through a website, you can look into other customers’ experiences through Trust Pilot.
Here is an example of somewhere you should not shop based on the reviews on Trust Pilot.
Next, use your credit card or PayPal if possible.
Most major credit cards and PayPal carry a fraud protection that will allow you to dispute the charge if you did not receive the product at all or received something completely different than promised.
Lastly, most artists sell their work through their own website or on Facebook or Instagram.
Buy direct from these artists to ensure a safe sale.
Another great and safe marketplace is Reborns.com.
You can use Etsy or eBay as well to find legitimate reborns or silicone dolls.
Unfortunately, there are scammers on Etsy or eBay too.
But now that you are armed with all this new knowledge, please use your best judgment when buying from sellers on these sites.
Check reviews, ask for a safety photo, and use a credit card or PayPal with fraud protection.
That’s A Wrap
With the power of the internet, scammers are very prevalent in the reborn doll community.
Many people invested in reborns and silicone dolls spend lots of their time working tirelessly at getting these sites taken down and notifying others of potential scammers.
Check out this group on Facebook dedicated to reborn & silicone doll scams for daily updates on scam sites and individuals.
If you buy from an illegitimate site, know that you will not receive the doll shown in the picture or receive nothing at all.
Even if you feel that buying from these cheap scam sites is the only way you can afford a reborn there are other great options to get you started.
After a little research, you can find an artist who may provide cheaper alternatives for great quality.
It is better to save up at least $200 to purchase an average doll than to receive a dollar store knock off.