An honest review: My SHEIN experience

by | Oct 25, 2022

I’ve been so bored with my current wardrobe – I usually buy high-quality items and I look after them really well (so they last ages). That’s great, except that I feel like I’ve been wearing the same outfits for years now. Is it just me or are clothes super expensive? Especially corporate wear.

Like many of you, I saw the SHEIN adverts on Facebook and I was super skeptical. I asked if anyone had used them and what their experience was.

After speaking to a few trusted friends I placed an order and it went like this…

>>You might also enjoy: Shopping on Temu from South Africa

Timeline:

27 September:

I placed an order for 26 items. I paid R4115 in total. This is after SHEIN gave me free shipping, and a 20% off coupon, this price also included shipping insurance.

At first, they told me my order would only arrive on 10 November which was quite disappointing. However, it arrived much sooner than that (yay).

I tracked my order on the app, so I could see exactly where my order was at any point.

16 October – 19 days after I placed my SHEIN order:

My shipment arrived at customs in SA. Aramex called me to ask if I had an importer code and to confirm my email address.

20 October:

I received an invoice from Aramex for R1329

The breakdown was as follows:

  • R260 clearance
  • R29 disbursement fee
  • R355 Customs VAT
  • R685 Duties

Which I paid the same day

Shien packaging - how my Shien order was packaged

24 October – 4 weeks after my SHEIN order was placed:

My order arrived at my door!! My shipment literally took 4 weeks from order to delivery. I was super nervous about the quality of the clothing and if everything would be there.

The packaging

My order arrived in a flyer bag and each item was individually wrapped in a plastic, ziplocked bag. Most of the clothes had tissue paper in the package and an extra button.

SHEIN clothing quality

I was honestly really impressed with the sizing and the quality of the garments.

I found that their sizing chart was true to size and the quality was great. Just like what you would buy from Zara or any other clothing shop.

Some of the fabric was really soft and comfortable while others were a little stiffer, none of the shirts were sheer, and the silk blouses were made of a light fabric and looked more expensive than they were.

The cotton shirts are breathable, two of them were made of quite a thick cotton fabric and I loved that too. The cotton shirts with embroidery detail really were embroidered, the detail wasn’t printed on (which I was worried about).

The only thing that didn’t fit quite right was the bikini I bought. The bottoms fit, but the top was a little too small, and honestly – I’m ok with that…. Now to decide which family member gets a teeny, weeny, leopard print bikini this summer.

Image comparison:

My advice for your SHEIN order:

  • Take the shipping insurance
  • Track your parcel
  • Be prepared to pay a customs fee that’s about 30% of your total cost
  • Know your measurements and order accordingly. I ordered items between XS to L based on the measurements so don’t just order a small because that’s what you usually are – actually look at the measurements
  • Look at the image reviews and make a decision from there
  • Read the descriptions of what the fabrics are made of to manage your expectations
  • Be prepared to wait about 4 weeks for your order

Even with customs fees, my clothing items averaged out at around R220 per item which is great if you ask me. I bought a combination of work blouses, casual shirts, and 2 jumpsuits and I’m really happy with my purchases.

SHEIN offers you points for posting reviews of the clothes, which I like as you can use these points to get a discount on your next order. They also apologised for a delay in the shipping and gave me extra points which worked out to be about R200 off my next order. Truth be told, I wasn’t even affected by the delivery date as the items still came weeks before I was expecting them.

I’m not expecting these clothes to last years and years but I feel like I can buy a few, fashionable items every season now and it won’t bankrupt me.

I recommend mixing and matching higher-quality items with your SHEIN items to create a fashionable look. The description tells you what the fabric is made of too, so you know if you should expect a thicker/thinner fabric.

Good luck and happy shopping!

You might also enjoy:

>>Unboxing Joy: My Shein Haul for Mila’s First Birthday Extravaganza!

>>Shopping on Temu from South Africa

I’m just a girl who loves new beauty products, alternating between being a blonde and a brunette, travel tips, parenting hacks, eating out, and having fun!

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86 Comments

  1. I ordered clothes worth R2502 and I just got an email saying I must pay R600 for customs.. yho I’m shocked. I’ll never order from shein again
    Be warned guys this custom duties is killing us.

    Reply
    • That is exactly what happened to me in the past week. Never again

      Reply
      • Hi Lyn,

        Yip, I wasn’t aware of the customs fee, but now that I know I factor those costs in. It’s not always worth it to order from them. Better to support local where we can.

        Reply
    • I also ordered clothes worth R2000 something and the next week received an Message tax is R689 I was very disappointed this was my 10th time ordering from shein I WILL NOT ORDER AGAIN

      Reply
      • Hi Chante,

        Yip, I wasn’t aware of the customs fee, but now that I know I factor those costs in. It’s not always worth it to order from them. Better to support local where we can.

        Reply
      • I placed a order on the 6th of May and from tracking everything seems smooth so far. It says 10 to 16 days arrival time. I received my customs sms it was R82.61 and my package is on the way

        Reply
    • Hi,

      Yes, I also wasn’t aware of the customs fee, but now that I know I factor those costs in. It’s not always worth it to order from them. Better to support local where we can.

      Reply
    • I am complaining today at 6 I received an email saying I received my parcel I never received anything I am not good at all since I’ve been waiting for this parcel since last year I never received any call from the delivery guy. Please assist me for that .The tracking it say I received.

      Reply
  2. Hi I used SHEIN twice, first time I paid no customs tax parcel delivered quick these time around got a call waiting for Aramex to decide how much I must pay for customs are we being scammed here??

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I don’t think it’s a scam, I think the importers ahve caught on and are now charging EVERYONE customs duties now. Before smaller parcels seemed to just slide through, that’s what’s causing a lot of confusion

      Reply
  3. Ik denk dat shein klanten gaan verliezen door de te hoge douane kosten,ik kan me niet voorstellen dat ik douane kosten moet betalen die hoger zijn dan het geld dat ik heb betaald voor mijn pakket

    Reply
  4. After pay tax fee, do I still have to pay courier?

    Reply
    • No you don’t. They deliver it straight to your doorstep

      Reply
  5. After pay tax fee, do I still have to pay courier?

    Reply
  6. I’m scared to order at shein because i’m afraid i’ll have to pay more..and i only have money for shipping fee and the package not the customs fee😭😭

    Reply
    • I’m scarec for real and i feel like shein will lose customers because of the Customs tax saga..yoh i can’t imagine paying customs tax on top of the money i paid for my package and shipping fee

      Reply
  7. Consignee not available but I was never notified of the delivery

    Reply
  8. Hi I ordered on Shein Sunday when do I get an email to pay customs?

    Reply
    • I order from shein on the 28 of February 2023 they told me that the parcel will be deliver between 18 and 23 March 2023 still no order recieve what can I do to get the money back or to recieve my patcel

      Reply
  9. My parcel arrived to day 2of my dress is to small can you help me to send it back

    Reply
  10. Hi it’s been 3 days since I checked out en payed my order but still I didn’t get any sms or email up to so far

    I purchased without opening account en I can’t track . Please help 😥 13 items which was R4470.00

    I was not even asked for delivery address they automatically detected my address, is it now scam

    Reply
    • HI, If you have the order number just send them an email and enquire.

      Reply
  11. Hi it’s been 3 days since I checked out en payed my order but still I didn’t get any sms or email up to so far

    I purchased without opening account en I can’t track . Please help 😥 13 items which was R4470.00

    Reply
    • It takes about 4 days for Shein to process your order. Then they sent you a e mail, sms or make anohone call with a link where and how you can pay ur customs and how much. From there it can take up to 14 days to get your parcel.

      Reply
  12. Yesterday I bought 14 items but got confirmation of 6 items.I don’t know what to do or how to contact to them please help.

    Reply
    • Same😭

      Reply
      • Hey did u get all your orders??

        Reply
  13. What is 30% of 1100 they say I will pay tariff pls elaborate

    Reply
    • Hi my purchase was around 4991 and I paid customs clearance and not they sent me a tax invoice stating I have to pay 4623 what do I do can I refund it and get my money back ?

      Reply
  14. Hii Tamryn I paid my tax through the sms I got from shein it R121 .80. I even have proof of payment on. Me my delivery was supposed to 15-17 November 2022 when I check my status it’s say. Buffalo warehouse received please help

    Reply
    • Hi! I’m Hloniphile Makhaye , I ordered at SheIn i didn’t get tax sms! So Aramex can’t send me my parcel

      Reply
  15. Hey. I ordered and when I track my order they say I should pay custom fee. I’m told I should receive an email to know how much I should pay and how I should pay. But I didn’t any about that Instructs me to do that. If I don’t ok pay my order will be returned. What do I do

    Reply
  16. Hey I ordered on the 21October 2022 and I haven’t received any email or message and when I track my order it says clearance finished and it’s been saying that from the 1of November 2022 until can you plz assist

    Reply
  17. Good Day

    I recently purchased goods from Shein to the total amount of R1050.00 and offered free shipping .I was told to pay a customs fee of R500.00 .Is this correct .Could you please respond a.s.a.p to my enquiry

    Reply
    • Customs Is being is not shein charging you, it’s tax, duty and customs charged once the clothes get in SA because of your international purchase. I’m not sure but it seems like other international sellers pay for customs when buying from them, while others don’t. Hope this was helpful

      Reply
    • No it should be around R315

      Reply
    • We are being scammed for extra fees
      SA customs charging us high fees
      This is not reflected on the online store.
      For a 3000 rand order I’m getting a 961 customs fee, which I did not budget for. Too much. BE CAREFUL CUSTOMERS

      Reply
      • This happened to me as well. I purchased for R3300 and received a customs invoice for R800+. This has not happened to me before with a Shein order. I don’t believe I’ll order again.

        Reply
  18. I bought cloths for 2450 and now the Buffalo courier wants ne to pay 501..why is it like that because on shein they stated that delivery is for free

    Reply
    • It’s tax .from the delivery company not shipping

      Reply
  19. Hey.. My name is Olwethu I ordered clothes from shein on November still have got them they told me I should pay custom fee through an SMS but I did get any SMS so I just sent it through my bank account but still there is no movement why??

    Reply
    • Hey I ordered on the 25 October 2022 and I haven’t received any email about customs fees. And my clothes will be returned if I don’t pay it. How do I make sure that I receive it so that I pay the fee

      Reply
    • Hii,whatsapp me I’ll help you 0649154401

      Reply
  20. Hey ,I ordered something and it already arrived in South Africa but they send me an email to said that I have to wait 4 working days and they will send me a link which I will use to pay the customer clearance but now it’s been 6 days and I don’t understand what happened?what’s the problem?

    Reply
    • I also orded at Shein. Paid for the clothing. Paid the customs and tax. Parcel are at Buffalo Johannesburg, from the 10th. Why wait so long?? They are quick to ask money but delivery is terrible. When will I get my parcel. They are not answering phones, emails or WhatsApp. What is wring with that place?

      Reply
  21. Hi I want to know if it’s possible to change the courier company on Shein? cause the one which was chosen for me has so many bad reviews and I don’t want to lose my money

    Reply
    • Unfortunately you can’t change the courier company, Shein chooses it by themselves

      Reply
    • They luckily changed back to Aramex. And they’re A LOT better than Buffalo! If you send a request it actually gets answered

      Reply
  22. Hi, I ordered something on SHEIN and it is asking for a shipping fee, can I pay it through my banking app or do I need to go the bank?

    Reply
  23. How can one recieve their parcel if from the rural areas can it be recieved via post office ?

    Reply
  24. I placed an order for the first time . eatimated date was 21 to 27 of September on the 21 i called them as i was concenred about my progress on tracking app not moving.
    They yold me to wait but on the 27th i decided to call again because no movements were taking place that is whrn they told me i meed to pay . when i asked them why they told me i will recieve an email with an invoice but uo until today i haven’t recieved any .

    How do i go about paying or gwtt8this invoice

    Reply
  25. I was sent an sms to pay for the import tax ,but I did not use the link instead I went to my banking app and transferred them the tax to the cheque account they have sent.. will they receive it or I had to send it via the link?

    Reply
    • I got a call that said I must pay tax,I’m asking my self how could I pay a tax couse shein they didn’t tell me about tax and when I call Buffalo to ask their call are not available, my order is R2104

      Reply
  26. If you order 17 clothes items that cost 1760 and you get free shipping delivery are they things that I have to pay for and how much will they cost

    Reply
    • I ordered 17 items which came to R1850 and the customs fee i had to pay was R411.

      Reply
      • I ordered fir the 1st time and I am so not happy with the experience. My order was not delivered, instead it was taken back due to customs what what failure. I never received any communication during the processing of my order.I only got an email of order confirmation,two days after,I got another email stating that my order has been shipped. I have been waiting since then. People I ordered with same day,received communication as well as their parcel. And I only got an email last night,stating that my order was taken back blah blah blah … how does this happen? I am sooo sooooo pissed!! I am not even told on how they planning to handle things this time around,what if they keep quiet and return my parcel again? I am so fucken passed I don’t wanna lie

        Reply
        • Me too so passed. We being hoodwinked abt the cost. Aramex says that we must purchase from SA not Shein. Don’t buy

          Reply
  27. did you receive your Aramex custom charge link through email or sms?

    Reply
    • Hey
      My Percel arrived in South Africa, they called me saying that they will send an email to do Tax Payments but I can’t get that link there was an error to my email address…..
      Please help me I want to pay tax so that I can get my Parcel

      Reply
  28. Hey…..do we pay our import duties to Buffalo International or the Courier company being Aramex…..and did you receive a link to pay through?

    Reply
  29. Hi. Shein I’m Jacob Mafiri Mkhonza from south Africa.

    When purchasing shein products do I also pay tax or just a R150 shipping fee

    Reply
    • Hi Jacob,

      Some people’s packages get stopped at customs and they need to pay the customs fees and some don’t.

      Rather budget to spend about 20% of the value of your package on customs – just incase.

      Reply
  30. Hi i bought things from shein ,received an email that i have to pay r234 for customs i paid it today i was supposed to receive my parcel problem is that i have inserted wrong phone numbers and. On the tracking thing on the app i saw that it was unable to be delivered to me and probably due to the phone numbers what can i do ?

    Reply
    • Hey – I would call the courier company, give them your reference number and then correct your contact number on the system 🙂

      Reply
  31. If I have bought things for R1400 how much will

    Reply
    • I have no idea sorry – how much did you land up paying?

      Reply
  32. do you have to pay Customs on top of the shipping fee?

    Reply
      • Hii Tamryn I paid my tax through the sms I got from shein it R121 .80. I even have proof of payment on. Me my delivery was supposed to 15-17 November 2022 when I check my status it’s say. Buffalo warehouse received please help

        Reply
  33. so do you have to pay Customs on top of tue shipping few?

    Reply
  34. I ordered for the 1st time and shipping was free and my order just arrived.

    I’m now ordering for the 2nd time and received an sms as well as email from Buffalo to pay Vat/ customs fee why am I paying now and not the 1st time when I ordered.

    And what happens if I refuse to pay?

    Reply
    • Sometimes your packages get stopped at customs and sometimes they don’t. It’s a gamble.

      If you refuse to pay, they won’t hand over your package, then after 3 months they destroy it.

      Reply
      • Hi,after paying tax customs how long does the order take to be delivered?

        Reply
  35. Hello. I’m asked to pay Tax for intentional import. Will I be asked to also pay custom fee again. An I see its Baffaloex company not SHEIN. Please advise its first time I shop international.

    Reply
    • Nope, this is the only fee you should be paying – have you come right?

      Reply
  36. Hello, I would like to know how much did you pay for custom fee? This is the first time I’m hearing off it and I’m a bit confused.

    Reply
  37. Hey 🙂 When ordering on SHEIN do I need to sign up for Aramex Global Shopper? Did it come to your door? I’m a bit confused and nervous loll. Sorry for bothering you 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey, sorry for the late reply. If it doesn’t get stopped at customs, it comes straight to your door.

      If it gets stopped at customs then aramex calls you when it arrives, you pay a customs fee and then they deliver it to your door.

      You don’t need to sign up for aramex global shopper

      Reply
  38. Do you have to have an importers code?

    Reply
    • Babes, the answer is no. I didn’t have an importers code. I think they have to ask though – perhaps you get a discount with a code? They confirmed my email address and emailed me my invoice.

      Reply
  39. Thanks for all this information! Its very helpful and will definitely try it out 🙂

    Reply
  40. Yay! I ordered but only for R400 cuz I was nervous – and I cheated and sent it via a UK forwarding address cuz I was nervous 😂 but next time I’ll send straight to SA!

    Reply
    • I was also super nervous so I completely understand. I’m so happy it worked out well for me though.

      Reply
      • Hey I ordered on the 21October 2022 and I haven’t received any email or message and when I track my order it says clearance finished and it’s been saying that from the 1of November 2022 until can you plz assist

        Reply

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