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I have finally gotten around to writing a review of Everything £5 Pounds, AKA Everything5Pounds.com, the online fashion discount shop. Here’s a proper no-punches-pulled account of my shopping experience, and an appraisal of whether the pros outweigh the cons.
About the company
If you don’t know anything about them, Everything £5 Pounds sell a huge range of reduced-price fashion clothing on their website. Some of it is de-branded ex-high-street stock, and the labels have been removed to prevent identification of the brands. The rest of it is mainly non-branded clothes, shoes and accessories that you’d perhaps find in a catalogue or on a market stall.
The clothes from the high street shops tend to include mid-priced brands such as River Island, ASOS, Zara, Next, Topshop, Vero Moda, Benetton, Marks & Spencer, and maybe even the occasional garment from Karen Millen. They’re generally past season stock, but you sometimes find current season overstocks as well. They’re mostly well made and the £5-ish price tag usually represents good value for money.
In more recent years, their prices have been creeping up. It’s more common for things to cost £5.50, £5.75, or £5.95 now, so the original brand name is slightly misleading.
The non-branded clothes and shoes are a lot more variable in their sizing and quality, but the nature of the way Everything £5 Pounds works means that you can’t be told that it’s a non-branded item either. The shop isn’t allowed to tell you which is which, and it doesn’t say what the original price would have been. Some of them are still good value for money, but there are others that you could get for £3 at Primark that would be better quality, pound for pound.
It’s a mixed bag, and you have to take a little extra time when you shop.
How do you find an Everything £5 bargain?
As you can imagine, you have to shop carefully to get the good stuff. Some of the items on the site have multiple clear pictures, making it easy to get a good idea of the size, fit, colour and general quality – but others don’t, making it more tricky.
One thing that can help is that many of the listings have reviews underneath them, so it’s worth taking time to read those, and quite a few of them say things like ‘much nicer than the picture’ or spill the beans on the brand name.
The contents of the individual listings can be fairly sparse, and the search function doesn’t always pick up what you’re looking for as it doesn’t seem all that flexible. I found I got the best results by being patient and trawling some of the sections after selecting the size.
Listings seem to be made quickly and not always carefully. They often don’t include important full descriptions about the fabric, fit or the shape, or the type of print. Information is sometimes missing, and occasionally it’s not correct.
The ordering & delivery process
So I filled my online basket and placed an order, which was very straightforward and simple. The thing that really got me though was the postage prices. There’s a minimum of £3.95 per order (Royal Mail 1st Class Standard), going up to a total of £20.00 according to weight, which is easy to hit if you’re buying a few pairs of shoes.
Yes, £20! More than most of us would like to spend, I’m sure.
I got an email two days later saying my order had been picked, and another the following day to say it was ready to dispatch. However, from the time of ordering it took a full fortnight for the parcel to be delivered. As I’d paid over £10 for my postage and it was supposed to be First Class, I was not impressed – I would definitely not order from this site if I was in a hurry to get something.
However, when it arrived it was well packaged and hadn’t split or been damaged in transit.
What was my order like?
In general, I was very pleased with the contents of the parcel even though I’d taken a risk with a couple of the items. Most of the things I’d ordered were exactly as described, looked like their website photos and were of average high street quality or above.
One top was too baggy so I sent it back for a refund. Two pairs of shoes were excellent quality but too tight, so I sent them back to exchange for the next size up. More about this return and exchange experience later.
The biggest problem I had with my first shop
There was one serious issue: some knitwear I’d ordered had eleven different rips in it, and was smudged with dirt all over. I was shocked that it had been sent out in that condition as the problems were clearly visible and the garment was ruined. Well, accidents can and do happen, so I emailed their customer service politely and gave them a fair chance to put it right. They came up trumps with a quick apology, and sent me a free returns label for it which arrived through the letter box within 48 hours. E5P put the faulty item through the system very quickly and refunded me with hardly any delay and no quibbles. They also refunded a proportional part of the original parcel’s postage, which made me happy.
Returns and exchanges are a slightly different matter. There’s no returns form anywhere and you actually have to make your own and put in in with the parcel – there’s definite room for improvement here, and they could easily redesign their packing slips to allow for this. There’s also no returns label in the parcel or printable from their website, a more minor issue, but still room for improvement.
Oh, and you have to pay for posting your returns yourself (on top of the pricey original postage). This is a level of outlay that some shoppers might not feel comfortable with.
They processed my non-faulty item return fairly quickly, and the money was back in my account in under a week, although the return postage wiped out some of my refund.
E5P exchanged my shoes and sent the replacements to me within eight days from handing them to a courier. Everything £5 Pounds don’t charge you for the second set of outward postage for exchanged goods, which is a relief.
What are the best uses of Everything 5 Pounds?
I would say that there are a few different types of people who’d benefit from using this site to buy their discounted clothing and accessories, for example:
- Anyone who wants to buy a cheap summer holiday wardrobe
- Someone who’s just started a new job who urgently needs work clothes before their first pay packet arrives
- Fashionistas who want to add more variety to their looks without overspending (hello new orange shoes and green jacket)
- Teenagers who are experimenting with different styles
- Someone who needs an affordable special occasion outfit for a wedding, graduation, prom, or party that they might never wear again (wash & re-sell, you could get more than you paid for it)
- Outfits for doing DIY, housework, gardening and decorating in
If you chose wisely, you could also put together an 18-piece Golightly-style capsule wardrobe for under £100 all in. I‘d love to give that a go, if someone wants to spot me the £100.00 – I will do you proud 🙂
If you’re a label snob, this shop probably isn’t for you – there’s no way to tell what the brands even are. Also, there’s an element of risk with high postage prices and having to pay for your returns and I completely understand that not everyone’s going to want to take that risk.
Pros of shopping with Everything £5 Pounds
- Cheap clothes & accessories, mostly great value
- The chance to get moderately expensive brands for a lot less – big discounts
- Constantly changing stock
- Company dealt with problems politely and efficiently, no quibbling
- An ultra-affordable way to refresh your wardrobe or add variety
- Exchanged items sent back to me quickly, and that postage was free
- Reviews on product pages are helpful for decision making
- Refunds process is speedy
- Amazing range of cheap shoes and all kinds of dresses
Cons of shopping with Everything £5 Pounds
- My initial order took two weeks to arrive, although it was allegedly first class post
- A few things on the site are worth less than £5
- Sometimes hard to judge the quality of items on the site
- The sizing is hard to guess and sometimes unreliable
- Listings could have more detail in them, and search function is not intuitive enough
- Outward postage can be quite expensive
- You have to make your own returns form from scratch
- You have to pay for your own returns too, unless it was a faulty item
- E5P stock can be limited or sell out very fast due to popularity
- You can’t guarantee that specific simple everyday items you’re looking for, such as a plain white t-shirt etc, will be in stock
Would I buy from this company again? Yes, I probably would if I had enough free time to trawl the site and pick out the best bargains. Although I had a mixed experience to begin with, I’m really happy with my final purchases – especially the shoes – and the company rectified any issues quickly and smoothly, no messing about.
Alternatives to Everything 5 Pounds
There is nothing currently out there that is a large-scale direct competitor to E5P. However, you may find better prices or other advantages at the following shops:
- George at Asda – this season fashion, relatively low prices
- TU at Sainsbury’s – this season, relatively cheap also
- Matalan – similar to George and TU, plus homewares
- Primark – this season, trend-led, may be cheaper than E5P
- eBay – search de-branded M&S lingerie & clothes
- eBay Brand Outlet shop – discounted famous names for every occasion
- M and M Direct – named brands, plenty of excellent big brand footwear
- ASOS Outlet – a potential treasure trove of interesting bargains
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Have you tried shopping with E£5P recently? Do you agree with this review of Everything 5 Pounds?
Full disclosure: All bought and paid for with my own money. Genuine personal thoughts and opinions.