The Great 'Members-only shopping' Hunt

Former_MSE_Archna Posts: 1,903 Forumite
edited 27 April 2010 at 7:31PM in Shop but don't drop
There's a growth in sites touting knockout sales, but you need to become a member to join in. We want your experiences of the good or the bad ones to share with other MoneySavers.

Which are the best ones?
What bargains have you picked up?
What to watch out for?

Click reply to add your ideas



  • Well, I've trialled on 2 such websites, and found you can do as well or better by following MSE tricks and tips, or general searching across the internet!
    Let me Google that for you...
  • lauraland
    lauraland Posts: 1,677 Forumite
    edited 30 April 2010 at 11:02AM
    I've used both brandalley and secret sales and have not been overly impressed with either of their services. Delivery of items is not fixed, expect to wait up to 6 weeks to recieve your purchase, which is off-putting if you want something quickly.

    It is important to do your research. I find they mark the rrp up a lot of the time, and many of their brands are just unknown rather than designer. For instance, i purchased a pair of Krystal earrings from secret sales which they stated had an rrp of £45, when i recieved them they were obviously cheap, nasty and tarnished tat, not even worth the £16 i had paid. However i sent them back and recieved a full refund with no issues plus was reimbursed the cost of returning the item, so i was impressed with their customer service.

    Though there are also bargains to be had. Recently purchased a max c bag, currently on sale in dorothy perkins @ £45, from brandalley for £15. It really pays to do your research, become aware of the brands you are buying and compare prices with other retailers.

    Also, i have found tk maxx stock alot of the same brands that these sales clubs tend to sell, so it may be worth having a rummage in there before purchasing anything from these online retailers.

    I got ham but i'm not a hamster.....
  • I've used and thought they were excellent. I got a Vera Wang dress for £90 redeuced from £170! Delivery's not cheap at £6, but my items have always arrived within 3 days!

    Only problem with Cocosa is that you have to have an invite code before you can register.
  • weebegbie
    weebegbie Posts: 17 Forumite
    I've been registered for both Brand Alley and Secrete Sales for a couple of years now. I’ve never bought anything from Brand Alley but have from Secrete Sales. The first item was not in stock and it took them too long for my liking to refund my money. The second thing I bought was a piece of jewellery for my friend’s birthday but after I ordered it I found out that they don’t actually post it till the sale finished which was in about a week after I had ordered it, it may be said somewhere on the website that this is policy but it’s really not that clear. It took about a month to eventually get to me (too late for the present) with complications about stock availability and such from their side!

    So I’ve reverted to other ways of finding a bargain! It’s not worth the hassle!
  • jenniewb
    jenniewb Posts: 12,835
    Photogenic First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I have tried a few of these sites, not much I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere though.

    BrandAlley is OK but you must remember that every item you can get cheaper elsewhere- atleast that has been the case for the vast majority of things I have seen there. Jeans which are stocked in TKMaxx for half the price (same design, same size) bras you can get in the sale at John Lewis for cheaper (seen them, my mum bought herself some and showed me the prices) but if your not prepared to search then its about 20 to 30% more to buy from Brand Alley I have found.

    Cocosa seems OK but I think you really need to be farily wealthy or happend to have a very big birthday present to shop there! Seems similar to the Outnet to me.

    Secret Sales...never seen anything I wanted or that was not cheaper from the stores own sales direct. Eg they have had Nike clothing I have seen in both Sports Direct and in the sale in the Nike online store some months earlier, both cheaper then Secret Sales.

    I think TKMaxx is cheaper then either- and thats including their rising prices (which have even been more expensive then JD Sports in the sale! <<exclamation mark there as the two stores are very close to each other in atleast 3 TKMaxx stores I have visited).

    Not seen any other members site I'd battle over the odds to join tbh. I guess it depends on what your after though, very few even seem to stock what I like or want let alone at prices I can see as being the lowest.
  • deb1969
    deb1969 Posts: 2 Newbie
    edited 30 April 2010 at 11:52AM
    I have also used Brand Alley and like other postees have found delivery particularly slow. As long as you are not desperate for items you can get some good bargains. i also am a member of a site called a French company along the same lines as Brand Alley. Again delivery is really slow although communication on delivery good once it has been despatched via DHL. I agree with other members though and do plenty of research before you think you have a bargain!!
  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,713
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    I've used Secret Sales and on the two occassions I ordered, both times I had 'delayed delivery' emails talking about a problem with the 'brand' which were evidently their own problems.

    I placed a huge order homeware order the first time and I did get some fabulous, quality bargains and found an extra 15% discount code but some things were out of stock and one large thing was sent but never arrived. I think it took two months between ordering, finally getting a delivery and then a couple weeks waiting for a refund for the required time to pass for the missing box to become officially 'missing'. They did refund me quickly when they said they would but using Royal Mail recorded delivery probably isn't a secure enough method.

    The packaging wasn't great - they'd shoved too much into boxes and a couple of bits got bent.

    Second order went more smoothly. I had cufflinks which I saw exactly the same in Selfridges for three times the price after mine had been delivered. I've been told that TK Maxx do a lot the same as well.

    The people that work there are really sweet - evidently a small team trying their best.

    So I would order again but no way if I was in a rush!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • sotter
    sotter Posts: 9 Forumite
    has been pretty good on value, though long on delivery (I once queried them on this and they said it was due to the 'business model'). Beats me how Bodyshop or T-mobile can deliver next day but others take weeks!
    Anyway, so far have gotten quite a few clothes (CK, Lee, Triumph, various lingerie, D&G skirt, and other designer dresses) at good prices.
    They seem to genuine 'sales' too; limited stock and time, so if you want the bargains in your size you need to hop in quick smart.
    you can join at vente-privee dot com
    if I referrals get a bonus but I am not allowed to post links
  • ThinkingOfLinking
    ThinkingOfLinking Posts: 11,828
    Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    I'm a member of these sites but haven't made any purchases, despite browsing certain sales of potential interest to me. I have had some more exciting bargains from TK Maxx to be honest.
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