I am brand new to the world of designer anything. I googled a few designer bags and found a few websites. I bought two bags online and as soon as I paid for it I felt sick. I just knew that I was ripped off and I bought a fake. I havent even received the bags yet but I trust my gut feeling. Too bad I paid for the bag before it kicked in. GRRRRRRR! I have since emailed them and told them that I want a refund and am waiting to hear back.
Is there a thread that talks about online stores and what to look for? I have already checked out the Authenticity threads. Is it ok for me to post the link to the website that I purchased the bags from?
Your input would be greatly appreciated.
When buyig bags online, always a good idea to google the website name and see what comments and reviews come up. Also do a SEARCH here on PF for the website.
If you bought a fake and paid w/ a credit card, you can often file a chargeback thru your credit card co if the store/website is cooperative in accepting a return and issuing a refund. If you do return a bag, make sure that you get confirmation of delivery - signature confirmation - in case you need to PROVE that the bag was returned.
Saw this on another board, thought it would be good here. Article is about shoes, but applies to purses as well. I've copied the entire article as it appears in the article. Please note, the 'buyer beware' section and all the links within it are NOT my own writing, but copied from the article.
Killer heels: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo knock-offs rip off buyers, prey on child workers
By Jane Ridley
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, July 16th 2009, 4:00 AM
Killer Louboutin heels with that signature red sole for just $177, delivered to your door at 80% less than the $860 retail price.
Strappy Jimmy Choo sandals at $143.99, 64% less than the $395.99 value at the label's Fifth Ave. store.
Such are the boasts of flashy Web sites featuring red-carpet shots of J.Lo, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cameron Diaz in the
wildly glamorous shoes.
One includes a photograph of Christian Louboutin proudly inspecting the craftsmanship at his Paris workshop.
It seems too good to be true - and it is.
Tens of thousands of online shoppers are falling for the latest variety of fakes flooding the Internet.
Despite ultra-convincing pictures and claims that the Web sites are run directly by the designers and the footwear is individually crafted in Europe, it's a scam.
The goods are neither handmade nor exclusive. They are mass-produced in China.
The "leather" often smells of toxic chemicals, the "hand-stitching" is replicated by sewing machine, and the sizing is inaccurate.
Return the purchase and, on top of the cost of shipping, customers are subject to a "restocking" fee of up to 20%. Little wonder most swallow the disappointment and don't bother to send them back.
If disappointment were the only result of the fraud, it wouldn't make headlines. Who really cares about image-obsessed fashionistas being ripped off?
On closer examination, however, this international con has a devastating and far-reaching effect.
Child labor, money laundering, prostitution and terrorist activity go hand in hand with the counterfeit trade managed by criminal gangs.
In a recent sweatshop raid in Thailand a group of children, all under 10 years old, was found assembling leather purses. Horrifyingly, their limbs had been deliberately broken to keep them from escaping. The owners had tied their lower legs to their thighs so the bones wouldn't mend.
Closer to home, fakes are believed to be responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs, many in Manhattan's famed Garment District. They cost New York City an estimated $1 billion each year in tax revenue.
Copyright and trademark violations by cleverly named Web sites such as ChristianLouboutinLondon.com and LouboutinOnly.com rob the fashion industry of millions more.
"People assume it's a victimless crime, but that couldn't be further from the truth," says magazine publisher Valerie Salembier, who heads Harper's Bazaar's anticounterfeiting program FakesAreNeverInFashion.com.
"If the end user knew that their $50 knock-off handbag funds terrifying practices by organized criminals, they would think again about that supposed bargain. In France, customers risk imprisonment or heavy fines for purchasing or carrying fake goods."
Salembier and her team are campaigning for similar laws in the U.S. under which both the buyer and seller would be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, outraged designers have employed undercover agents to work with customs authorities.
"In the last six months, the growth of these Web sites keeps increasing," Louboutin's chief operating officer, Alexis Mourot, told the Daily News from the Paris head office.
"It is all coming out of China. These are not small workshops but large underground operations. The money is going to criminals.
"Some people think it's cool to be able to buy cheap copies, but, if you look at the consequences, it is a very serious matter."
Meanwhile, in a statement, a spokesman for Manolo Blahnik said: "Manolo Blahnik/Manolo Blahnik International Limited is well aware of the counterfeiting situation and is actively addressing this through their attorneys."
Some experts claim the problem has been fueled by the popularity of respected sites such as Bluefly.com and Gilt.com.
Luxury-brand items were previously only available from designer stores or authorized high-end retailers such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
"In the recession, more people are surfing the Web for deals and finding designer goods at reduced prices on legitimate sites," explains Fordham Law School professor Susan Scafidi, a fashion specialist who writes the watchdog blog CounterfeitChic.com.
"They see the illegal sites and think they've found the Holy Grail. They want to believe the products and the reductions are genuine, even at 70% and 80% off."
Scafidi maintains that traditional destinations for knockoff goods - like Canal St. - are falling out of favor.
"Counterfeiters - like cockroaches - will always be part of the New York cityscape, come police raids or nuclear winter," she says.
"But people are nervous about following shady-looking sellers down corridors and into apartments. They don't want to take the risk."
Instead, the relative safety and anonymity of the Web wins out.
"The Internet allows copyists to reach a wider audience. It's easier for consumers to try on shoes that arrive by mail than balance on one foot on a dirty sidewalk."
Policing the problem is a nightmare. Although some illegal Web sites have been shut down, they are swiftly replaced by similar-sounding domain names. They are often registered in tax havens like the Cayman Islands with few intellectual-property laws.
As for Customs seizing the products, only an estimated 10% of imports are inspected at U.S. ports. A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) told the Daily News: "Importers can and do misrepresent the contents of their shipments, but CBP is actively engaged in trying to uncover this type of fraud."
But it's an uphill struggle. "The officers can't possibly check every container," concludes Scafidi.
"Criminals smuggle in these type of goods by mislabeling them as 'toys' or 'ramen noodles.' Often there is a front panel with the labeled contents, but the rest will be contraband."
Perhaps the solution lies with the consumer.
"It's an old-fashioned case of buyer beware," says Stephen Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. "If you find a designer item on the Internet that's priced ridiculously low, no matter how authentic it looks, it's probably fake."
Buyer Beware - How to avoid Internet fakes
The domain name of the bogus Web site will often be a variation on the designer's name. For example, christianlouboutin.com is legitimate; christianlouboutinlondon.com is not.
Be suspicious if there is no telephone number - or a Chinese number with the country code 86 - on the Web site and customer service is by e-mail only. We called a Chinese number on a fake Web site and were kept on hold listening to tinny music. After 10 minutes, we gave up.
The bogus sites reassure customers with money-back guarantees, currency converters and a multitude of payment options, but the copy will usually contain grammatical and language errors.
If you want an absolute guarantee that a product is genuine, buy from http://www.Portero.com. Unlike eBay, this online auction site vouches for the authenticity of all the merchandise it sells. If an item sold by Portero is determined to be inauthentic, it will refund the purchase price as well as any shipping and insurance charges.
For more information, check out Harper's Bazaar's crusading Web site http://www.fakesareneverinfashion.com and legal eagle Susan Scafidi's Web site http://www.counterfeitchic.com
Fashion's Fight Against Fakes: An Exercise in Hypocrisy
Let's be honest: The equation, Made In China + Prada Logo - Child Labor Laws = Designer Knockoffs, isn't all that shocking for anyone whose reading material extends beyond Vogue. We're vaguely aware of the counterfeit industry's use of sweatshop labor; we'd just rather not think about it. It kinda kills our shopping buzz.
Acknowledging the connection between retail and the rights compromised to produce what we buy is a rarity in the world of material goodies. Guilt of the socially conscious ilk is (and always has been) toxic for business. At least that's what the Fashion industry's banking on with its crusade against counterfeit goods. Welcome to the Fight Against Fakes.
The story goes that buying cheap replicas ($) of authentic luxury goods ($$$$) isn't a victimless crime; that child labor and human trafficking are intimately connected with faux Louis Vuitton bags and Chanel "inspired" shades. According to editorial authorities (Harper's Bazaar, in this case) Fakes Are Never In Fashion. Seeing as what's In Fashion is obvs more important than what's in our checking accounts, we're to boycott the Fake in favor of the Real. We're decent, law-abiding, compassionate fashionistas, after all; anything that's So Cheap, It's Criminal isn't for us.
2009-07-20-95237Fakebag.jpg That knockoffs come with a side of sweatshop labor isn't just a valid argument against the counterfeit industry. It's a brilliant marketing strategy, one that paints Fashion -- an industry notorious for its elitism and exclusivity -- as a beacon of altruism, a sartorial crusader all-too-eager to right the wrongdoings of its evil spawn.
Boycott counterfeit goods, and Fashion will save the "sad, tired and dirty children" in Thailand from slave-like working conditions in which they suffer continual abuse; boycott counterfeit goods, and Fashion will provide the 750,000 American jobs outsourced by the industry of Fakes.
The message so artfully implied by the propaganda surrounding Fashion's crusade is clear: Authentic luxury goods don't damage the world, knockoffs do, and if we care about the world at all, we'll embrace the former in lieu of the latter. It's a classic case of Good vs. Evil where the evidence against designer replicas is simply too damning to make us question its source. And that's no coincidence.
Unfortunately for Fashion, the notion that expensive and real is any less criminal than cheap and fake is a massive crock of ****.
Activism might be like-so-hot-right-now. But it wasn't in vogue last summer, when Turkish leather factory DESA harassed and fired any worker foolish enough to protest "extensive and mandatory overtime" and ask for benefits and minimum wage. DESA management even sanctioned kidnap attempts on the children of its workers. Since this sounds like the same kind of morally questionable crap embraced by the counterfeit industry, it's logical to assume that DESA-produced leather is used to make fake designer bags... Right?
Wrong. So effing wrong. The main buyer of DESA-manufactured leather isn't Pvada. It's the real thing. When Prada learned of these offenses via labor rights activist group Clean Clothes Campaign, the coveted brand elegantly distanced itself and refused to take action in support of the workers' case.
There it is -- that placid, self-contained sigh breathed by the luxury goods industry whenever the world outside of its privileged target market asks to be heard. It's time to lay the smackdown on snobbery. Get excited.
Activism was also Out in 2002, when luxury goods conglomerate PPR took some heat for contracting supplier factories engaged in similarly subpar treatment of their workers. What family in India can't live on 10 cents an hour? Workers in the Philippines want to be paid minimum wage? The nerve!
Guess who PPR's all-star player is? Gucci. And we can't talk about Gucci without double airkissing all the labels it owns -- I wouldn't want anyone's feelings to get hurt. So, if you've ever wondered about the origins of those bags we covet, dream on and drool over -- the Yves Saint Laurent Bowler, the Balenciaga Satchel, the Alexander McQueen Messenger, the Stella McCartney Clutch, the Bottega Veneta Tote -- wonder no more.
They're all owned by Gucci, who's owned by PPR, who once got their goods from factories where workers were denied basic human rights. I'm using past tense here because PPR canceled contracts with its sweatshop abuse-riddled supplier factories shortly after reports of violations surfaced.
Crisis of conscience? Hardly -- try damage control. PPR didn't attempt to rectify the abuse suffered by the hands behind its bags. Tres drag. Instead, it pulled the money plug, and it put those hands out of work.
Prada, Gucci. Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta. All high-end heavyweights frequently ripped off by the counterfeit industry; all entities poised to benefit from the mockery of a cause that is Fashion's Fight Against Fakes; all labels happy to expose and condemn their counterfeit competition for crimes that they, in all their brandtastic glory, too have committed. Hypocrisy must be the next big thing.
Ultimately, this isn't a judgment on anyone who's ever bought anything Real, Fake or otherwise. Shopping in a fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible way is no easy task, and few brands are as free and clear of offenses as Fashion would have you believe. The best way to shop sustainably is to recycle what's already out there, but the argument for thrift and re-sale is another post for another day.
Buying an authentic designer goody in lieu its counterfeit alternative isn't a step toward ending sweatshop labor: It's playing into Fashion's latest and greatest, activism-focused marketing initiative. If the industry really wants to educate consumers about what they buy, perhaps it should start by doing what it regularly encourages us to do: Take a good, hard look in the mirror.
There are a lot of threads that pop up about fakes. On tPF, we often think of counterfeiting only when it applies to luxury goods. Paris' new Museum of Counterfeiting examines fake luxury goods, but it includes things like household products and pharmaceuticals as well. Check it out:
Tourists who buy fake designer sunglasses, handbags and watches on their summer holidays could be fined thousands of pounds, lawyers have warned.
Authorities in countries like France and Italy are stepping up a campaign against sales of counterfeit goods.
Fines in France can rise up to 300,000 euro (£260,000),
The French Customs service said: "Cracking down on counterfeits is a major priority for the French General Customs and Excise Directorate, which is more determined than ever to stop the scourge of counterfeiting.
"As part of this action, it has stepped up its controls to combat 'counterfeiting tourism', particularly active in the summer season."
The Italian tourist board warns that tourists caught buying fakes could be handed a 10,000-euro (£8,700) penalty as part of a "national crackdown".
It advises caution to those tempted to buy "purses, sunglasses, watches, belts, etc bearing luxury labels such as Prada, Gucci, Fendi only to name a few".
Meanwhile, the European Commission has raised fears about the growing involvement of organised international criminal gangs in the market for fake goods.
It said recently: "Without doubt, one of the principal methods of dispersing counterfeits is the 'ant-like' traffic of tourists returning home from holiday, bringing back souvenirs.
"Each year, tens of millions of articles are transported by passengers worldwide, often unaware of their involvement in the trafficking, but enabling criminal organisations to profit nonetheless."
Susie Winter, director general of the Alliance Against Intellectual Property Theft, which represents creative industry, said: "We would urge people to think about where their money is going.
"These are not cheeky chappies making an honest living on a Sunday morning, these are hardened criminals." Consumer Direct advises buyers to avoid counterfeit goods by checking labels and packaging for misspellings and poor logos and taking extra care at street markets.
Since LV has a staff dedicated to putting counterfeiters out of business, I am sure they will find the replicawell site.
Note the NG special ran about 18 months ago on cable and is available for sale at their web site (DVD). It is pretty good, especially the connections with child labor, slavery and organized crime. Who do you think is hand-stitching the $600 LV knock-offs? Kids with their legs broken so they can't "wander off" after training.
The definitive proof of authenticity is coming (for consumers). Check any product in a minute. More soon.
Originally Posted by LVreplica
Not sure if it counts as research/links, but National Geographic Channel has made a documentary called "Global Underground" and it's about the counterfeiting industry and the illegal industries it spawns from. Not sure when it airs in the US though.
To me it's simple. If you buy a fake you won't enjoy it because it is a fake. When you show it off to a friend they will ask where you got it and you will have to tell them that it is a fake or lie to your friend. You can lie to yourself and your friends but there is just no way to enjoy a fake.