COACH declares war on loyal customers (editorial article)

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  1. Forgive me if this was already posted.

    The (Scarlet) Letter; Coach Declares War On Their Most Loyal Customers

    October 23rd, 2007 · 11 Comments

    It’s really a sad day when I have to publicly wag a finger at a company I used to admire. I’ve kept my opinion to myself for the most part, but the situation has reached a boiling point and I’m furious. And I’m not alone.
    It wasn’t enough that Coach decided to move manufacturing abroad…they have to answer to their stockholders, after all, and things are made more cheaply in China. Well, we’re all about low prices, aren’t we? And it also wasn’t enough that they expanded their core leather line into a mostly-canvas product base and have strewn their brand-tastic logo across the globe with self-serving, self-advertising bags, wallets, scarves, key chains, hats and even fragrance.
    Now they’ve decided to play hardball with their customers. Specifically, the outlet shoppers. Seems Coach has decided that they don’t like their products being purchased at the outlet and resold on eBay. Shame on anyone who thinks they can purchase an item at a low price and sell it for a profit.
    It started with Coach limiting the number of bags any one shopper or group of shoppers could purchase. Fair enough, lots of stores do that. But, Coach has taken this a step after ugly step further.
    I’ve heard lots of stories recently about loyal outlet shoppers being unceremoniously, rudely and publicly handed what has come to be known as “The Letter.” I can’t even imagine the humiliation these customers went through for the horrendous crime of…buying Coach products. “The Letter” states, unequivocally, that the recipient is no longer welcome to shop in any Coach store anywhere. Ever again. The customer is banned for life. I have heard horror stories of women who learned that their picture had been taped to the staff room wall like some kind of bargain-hunter’s mug shot. Of others whose family members were banned for the crime of sharing a name or address. And still others who were handed a letter simply because they refused to give a name at the counter when paying cash for their purchases. Or mentioned the word…eBay. Ed. Note: If anyone wants to email me a scanned copy of their letter, (with personal info blacked out), I would love to post one here.
    But Coach didn’t stop there. Now comes the worst insult of all. A well-respected eBay reseller with positive feedback numbers in the 5-digit range tells me she has had some of her auctions pulled by VERO — the counterfeit fighting arm of eBay, in what must be the most egregious story of big-corporation-strong-arming-little-guy I’ve ever heard.
    A VERO takedown is no laughing matter. A seller can only have a certain number of these before they have all selling privileges suspended, under ALL ID’s. VERO exists to protect all of us from buying counterfeit merchandise (or, more acurately, to protect the rights-holders). For the most part, VERO is a good thing. But if one is on the wrong side of VERO, and doesn’t deserve to be, one is in a bit of a pickle. Once an item has been removed, the seller must prove authenticity and have the takedown lifted by VERO prior to re-listing. Should the seller try to re-list without this approval, they get suspended from selling on eBay. Permanently.
    Here’s the story as it was told to me: The authentic seller in question got on the bad side of a counterfeit reseller. (Bad seller was selling Hello Kitty Coach items…which Coach NEVER made, BTW…and mistakenly thought good seller was the one who reported her). Angry counterfeit seller reports good seller’s items to VERO, and good seller’s auctions get pulled. Ordinarily, this mistake would be a minor pain in the neck and resolved quickly. Unfortunately for good seller, it seems Coach is trying to make an example of her. Good seller tells of faxing receipts, pictures, etc. to Coach in her efforts to prove authenticity. She knows they are authentic…she purchased them herself from Coach. She tells me that Coach has been trying very hard to get her contact details with each request for new information–and stonewalling her–because she has been very clever in not releasing it (we all suspect they want her identity because they want to send her “The Letter”). For example, they want her mailing address “so they can mail her a copy of their decision,” even though everything so far has been conducted electronically. Yesterday, she says she received a message where Coach claims that the photos of the pulled items, items that she purchased from their outlet, items for which she has receipts, are counterfeit. So, are they saying they sold her counterfeit items? Or are they just flat-out lying? She’s currently considering her options, including filing in federal court for loss of earnings and illegal takedown. Of course, Coach would have her details then–and she will get The Letter and won’t be able to buy any more from Coach–though I doubt highly that she would ever give them another dime anyway. If I had any say in the matter, bad-counterfeit-seller might be on the lookout for that subpoena as co-defendant.
    But beyond this seller’s story, there’s a bigger picture. My question is this: why does Coach care what a person does with their merchandise once they own it? If Coach’s outlet prices are so good that a savvy shopper can make a profit, shouldn’t Coach be looking at their pricing structure? Or their marketing model? Or their return policy? If Coach hadn’t opened up so many “outlet” stores, they wouldn’t have cheapened their own brand in the first place. You can’t tell me that straight-to-outlet lines don’t bring down a brand name. If Coach sold past season and scratch-and-dent items online, as do many other retailers, all those eBay resellers would be out of business quickly and nobody would have to bear the shame of “The (scarlet) Letter.” Think of the overhead Coach would save if they closed most of the outlet stores and implemented an outlet website. I don’t believe it’s too much effort to sell outlet items online. The resellers are managing just fine doing it themselves - for now.
    I used to respect Coach for delivering American-made, quality leather goods. But I have recently lost all respect for them as a handbag manufacturer, as have MANY other handbag fanatics out there who have been following both the “Letter” story and what we perceive as a decline in overall quality standards.
    What can you do? Act with your feet. And your (non-Coach) wallets.
    Join the Anti-Coach Coalition.
    Just Say No To Coach.

    Tags: Editorial
  2. lol they are really taking this issue too far. This was over a few charms IIRC. These ladies really have nothing better to do. Most of them have never even stepped foot in a Coach store.
  3. Oh, ok, here is the supposed "Scarlet Letter"

    Gucci Girl // Nov 11, 2007 at 12:38 am

    This is my “Scarlet Letter”.

    Street Address
    State & zip

    March 15, 2007

    Dear Mrs XX XXXXXXXX:
    The volume of your purchases along with your habit of buying duplicate items suggests that you are purchasing Coach product for resale. While we appreciate your enthusiasm for the Coach brand and your entrepreneurial spirit, we must advise you that no one is authorized by Coach to resell product purchased from our stores, website or accounts.
    As you know, the Coach brand is synonymous with quality and excellence and Coach applies consistently high standards to its products, its consumer services and its distribution channels. To maintain these standards, Coach limits distribution beyond our own stores and our internet site to a select group who are carefully chosen for their capability and willingness to provide the resources to drive the sale of Coach product in an image-enhancing manner.
    As the manufacturer of Coach brand products, we are responsible for positioning our brand and supporting the attributes that Coach believes are important to maintaining and developing consumer relationships. We believe that unauthorized distributors and retailers lack commitment to the Coach product, lack the capital investment required and, possibly, lack other criteria that are very important to the Coach brand.
    Please be advised; we have notified our stores and distribution center of this matter. They have been advised that you are no longer authorized to purchase our products. I would also like to point out that we will not be able to sell to anyone who we believe is acting on your behalf.


    Cynthia Linke
    Regional Loss Prevention Manager

  4. What the heck??

    Is this true?

    I can't image being handed one of those letters I would die! But I don't see how it would really stop someone from shopping at Coach anyway. You could always to go a different botique or outlet and paycash or even give your money to a friend and send them in for you.

    This all just seems odd to me. What is the point of having an outlet if you don't want people buying a ton of stuff at it? I know many people will buy a lot NOT to sell it on ebay, but because the outlet is 4 hours from their house and they wanna make it worth the trip. With the economy as so, you would think they would take any sale.

    I have never purchase from an outlet, so I have never seen a "letter". Has anyone else?
  5. :wtf:

    ^^ How could they have nothing better to do, they write editorials for a living. Everyone has a right to voice an opinion and thats what they're doing.

    I for a fact witnessed this at the Sawgrass Mills oulet. There was a foreign man and his wife buying TONS of stuff, over like $1,000 worth, the wife said something about how if she didn't end up liking any of it she'd sell it on ebay and the SA immediately stopped ringing them up and ran in the back to get a manager, and they canceled their sale.
  6. Coach doesn't sell their items to TJM or anywhere else like that. The dept stores do when they can't sell what they have since they purchase their stuff to sell. Same thing happens to Dooney and Marc Jacobs.
  7. What. The. Hell.

    I'm gonna do some research into this...BF thinks it's a hoax but I really don't I see where they're coming from, getting aggravated with the huge amount of counterfeits and all, but this is a bit extreme. I'm gonna go ask my BF's mom today (who is an SA) and see if she's heard anything about it...

    EDIT: Just thought of something else when I was talking to the BF...basically WHY would they do this?? It seems that they don't realize how much revenue they could lose due to banning people who are getting punished for the mass amount of fakes out there....This is just like...wowwww. I don't even know what to say!
  8. nvm.
  9. no, please tell me, since you always have to pipe your negative 2 cents in everything.
  10. this story is TRUE. Ask on the ebay purse board. The seller who had her charms pulled is a highly respected ebay member. she did have proof of everything. It was the most insane thing I have ever seen. I still feel bad for that poor girl.
  11. Ok, this is an excellent point. If Coach is claiming that they don't want ebay sellers selling Coach because they aren't authorized dealers, then they should also be targeting TJMaxx/marshalls type stores. Honestly, when companies do things like this, I just cringe. How long will it be until we aren't allowed to resell even one bag on ebay?

    I don't know the story behind this at all but imho, Coach is acting foolishly. I feel the same way about record companies that sue teenagers for dowloading music illegally. Find a way to deal with your problem (reselling) and your customer base-your ENTIRE customer base-without attacking them. You are a huge multi-million dollar corporation and this is the best solution you can come up with? Sheesh!
  12. oh and about the "letter" thats also true. even if your not a reseller just a happy buyer who mabye buys too much at the outlet you will also get the "letter"
  13. when am I negative? lol everyone else is always negative by believing everything they read. I'm just always playing devils advocate to see the good in every situation. I followed this situation from the begining. It's been highly exaggerated and drawn out over nothing. She never got the letter. The old bitties kept telling her she would get it if she cooperated with Coach.
  14. That's so like...pathetic! It's stupid that they would punish people for having money and spending it on a product they love due to other corporations and a few other people's screw-ups. This whole situation is a big :tdown: for me. We'll see where this goes...
  15. This is absolutely true. A number of ladies who frequent the ebay forums have been banned. Some of them buy to resell, and some of them simply do a lot of shopping at Coach for themselves and for gifts.

    Supposedly Coach is trying to avoid the "cheapening" of their brand...but the author is correct...if that is their goal, then they should not have so many outlets! They are trying to stop a downward spiral of "cheapened" image by going after bargain hunters. I don't like it... It is their legal right to refuse sale to a customer, but I think they should rethink their strategy!
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