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Reputable seller, not so reputable after all

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by MoreWine, Jul 23, 2011.

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  1. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    Hi everyone,

    I am not going to mention any names or anything that would harm anyone, I just would like to hear your thoughts about this matter (I am sorry if I am not in a correct place in this forum, or this is inappropriate in the first place.)
    I am shocked... Just shocked. Maybe it´s because of my tender age of 24 that I haven´t yet learned the ways of the world; but I think morality has no age and to me this is quite serious.

    There is one seller on the internet, that carries fine labels such as Chapman, Dior, Courreges etc. I have used her as my agent to fill my vintage shop with goodies, and sometimes I have bought couture items for myself from her.
    Which, I have found out, are not so couture after all.

    I got my bells ringing when I bought a couture coat from her, and the label seemed to be much older than the coat itself. Anyway, I let it pass, I thought it was the lack of my knowledge more than anything suspicious going on, and I continued working with her.

    A week ago I was searching for a mod coat, and as she seemed to have an extensive collection I contacted her first. She was unable to drop me a line for a week, so I spent the week on different online shops searching. Within that week I think I saw almost every single 60s coat on the internet for sale, literally, hundreds of them. So when she replied, I was shocked to see that she offered me the same non-couture coats I had seen on some different site - with a couture label on it.

    If this makes any sense; for example she tried to sell me a simple non-labeled 60s coat (that retailed 145 dollars in the site I saw it first) as Cardin; and this happened at least 10 or more times with different coats, and the images were stolen from the other sites.

    If my customer has a specific need for example a black 50s suit with 31 inch waist, and I have none in stock, I do contact my suppliers and obviously take a little cut for myself. I think that´s fine; but changing labels... That´s something different.

    Then I checked our previous conversations; earlier this year I was organizing a huge party in my shop, where I needed a full skirt 50s dress in larger size. She sent me images of three dresses, which I bought two; the one I didn´t purchase seemed kinda suspicious to be Paul Parnes (not sure if she claimed it to be Parnes, could have been some other designer as well). Yesterday I was going through eBay and voila, there was the same dress, and the same pictures. The item description specified that the dress is HOMEMADE, without ANY label.

    So I started thinking. What should I do? Currently she has over 200 "couture" items for sale, and they ALL carry some big, or semi-big name on it. And they retail... a lot. I started thinking, what if, just if, she changes labels on THOSE items as well, and fools her devoted customers?
    I think that´s bullsh*t. Obviously, yes; if a customer is happy with her purchase, it doesn´t matter what label it carries; BUT. Without the grand labels the items would be less valuable, which makes this in my eyes at least, some kind of a fraud.

    Somehow this broke my world. Not only have I spent several thousand dollars on items which I have bought in good faith from her, but I may not be alone... I saw almost 15K Chanel dress in her website, and I think it was sold... I had this delusion about the whole vintage thing, that this is one of the few non-corrupted areas in this crazy world, but she proved that I was wrong.

    I didn´t share this because I may have been fooled, and out of anger. Obviously I AM angry, but I love my items bought from her just as much no matter which label they carry; but with over 600 positive feedbacks I think there might be some other people who may not be as easy about this as I am.

    What should I do? Leave it like this? I think this is the best place to ask, as most of the people here can relate to this. Please advice.

    And I must stress, that she is kinda big deal in the site where she is a 100% feedback seller.
  2. MoreWine, you're right - this is serious and what you're talking about is fraud.

    Unfortunately, there are unethical sellers in the world of vintage. There are some that misrepresent the date, the designer, the fabric and the condition and I generally like to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they are not deliberately misleading people, but just don't know any better.

    Putting a label on a dress is an easy thing to do and usually hard to detect. There are many cases of this in the vintage world and it's very unfortunate if the seller you've been buying from is engaging in this behaviour. Now you will doubt everything you've bought from her, whether it is fraudulent or not.

    My general advice to people is to buy from those you know to be knowledgeable and ethical sellers - and buy from the members of the Vintage Fashion Guild. You don't say whether your seller is a member here, please let the board know if she is as we have a responsibility to ensure that members follow our code of practice.

    I recommend that you compile as much evidence as you can, and speak to the police.

  3. yumyumvintage

    yumyumvintage VFG Member

    You are buying for resale so I see why you are upset. If you are buying for,yourself it does not matter as long as it fits and you like it.

    I would not do business with her and leave a neg feback.
  4. MyVintageCocktail

    MyVintageCocktail VFG Member

    I am SO sorry this has happened to you... Unfortunately there are several "big-name" sellers out there who pull this kind of stuff and continue to get away with it. Just recently there was a dress that sold on eBay, with no mention of a famous designer label in it, and it has shown up on Etsy with a very famous designer label in it. So, one wonders--did the dress have the label in it to begin with and the first seller simply didn't realize what he/she had? Or, did the label "magically" appear in the dress just now?

    Nobody can answer as to what you specifically should do, but I personally would immediately stop buying from this person, and if she asks why, do not be afraid to say why! If you still have outstanding transactions with her and haven't left feedback yet, be honest in your feedback. Too many buyers are so "afraid" of retaliatory feedback, they won't leave honest comments. This only allows sellers continue to get away with it and bilk other buyers. If you have recently bought a dress that's been misrepresented, return it. You shouldn't keep merchandise for which you paid "too much" because the seller blatantly misrepresented it.

    Look, you can source dresses just as nice as what this person is selling you from other sellers--without changed labels in them, and for a lot less money. There are buyers who believe an item is "worth" more because they buy it from a seller with supposed "cachet" and pay a lot more for it than they would elsewhere. (Obviously, with vintage you're not buying exactly the "same" dress....) But you realize that is not so.

    If this is one of several sellers whose business practices are similar, they get 100% FB by coercion and/or by offering discounts after the sale. These people also sell items that are "perfect" even though the original sellers noted flaws in their listings. But buyers are afraid to leave negative FB or to admit they paid $300 or $400 for a dress that has noticeable flaws. Or they want the "cachet" of having bought from these people. "Oh, look what I got from so-and-so." Which I do not understand at all.

    Bottom line is that buyers and sellers alike who say or do nothing about this, or who continue on doing business with dishonest and unethical sellers, simply perpetuate the problem. Somebody who has personal experiences with such sellers and who has been burned has to take a stand at some point--that may mean risking bad feedback or being badmouthed. But I believe that sellers with otherwise stellar reputations and sincerely happy customers will be the ones who are known to be truthful. And that maybe once one or two people tell it like it is, vis a vis honest & appropriate feedback, others will not be so intimidated that they will also step up and do the right thing.
  5. Coutureallure

    Coutureallure Alumni

    I am sorry this has happened to you. Unfortunately, this type of fraud is out there and it reflects very poorly on those of us who are legitimate sellers. Is the person you are buying from on eBay, Etsy, or her own website?

    Here is a blog post I did about this issue last year.

    Beware of Fraudulent Label Switching

    Perhaps this will help you to recognize this type of fraud before you purchase again. And I agree that I would never buy from that seller again. But I would write to her and tell her what you have found out and demand some sort of compensation.

    If you feel that an item you have purchased from her is not as described and you paid via PayPal, you can file a claim if the purchase was made within the last 45 days. If you paid via credit card, you may have some recourse through the cc company too. In both instances, you will be required to return the items to the seller, but you will get a refund.
  6. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    Hi and thanks for your support.
    I knew this would be a better venue to get feedback than my sociologist boyfriend, who immediately started talking about corruption etc. and didn´t get the point.
    The point was, as you probably understood, that these items she sells have collectable value. Based on the magical label. I spend my humble little income on my personal collection, because I am (quote from my shop´s neighbor) "not right in the head". Obviously I am willing to spend more money on a designer item because I collect couture pieces, than something more "common". And we are not talking about a 50 dollar dress; we are talking about 1000 dollar pieces I have bought several from her. These things are sacred to me; some people believe in Louboutins or Birkins or whatever, I believe in early French designers.

    She is not a VFG verified seller, which should have made my bells ringing a long time ago.
    I am sure we are talking about the same seller, she sells in her website as well as Etsy pieces that are "priceless".

    You encouraged me to demand some compensation. Thanks, will do that. And I try and be more careful in the future.

  7. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    ps. Jody; several of the items she sent me pics of were stolen from your website.
  8. MoreWine, whilst I do not recommend that you reveal the name of the culprit, I would like to mention that it's likely that many of us know who you're talking about.

    This is a small world we live in, and unethical behaviour does not win you friends or a good reputation, even if, as Anne pointed out, there are ways to get undeserved good feedback.

    I'm always amazed that people think they can get away with bad behaviour.

  9. blacksheep

    blacksheep Registered Guest

    Could the etsy/ebay ID be sent privately?
  10. Coutureallure

    Coutureallure Alumni

    Thanks for letting me know Leena. I watermark all my photos. Did she edit the watermark out of my pictures before sending them to you?
  11. MyVintageCocktail

    MyVintageCocktail VFG Member

    This seller recently had a "1920s" dress listed for sale in one of her shops that was SO obviously reworked (actually, it was so badly done I would say it was bastardized) from something else (God knows what) it was sad to see. Yet, I'm sure somebody has bought, or will buy, it believing it authentic because they bought it from this "famous" seller. And, if they do not have the expertise that Leena has, will not realize it when they get it into their hands. And won't know they've been bilked big time. It is very disturbing.
  12. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    Yes, there are no watermarks in the photos she sent to me. Imagine the surprise when you see the exact same coat in exact same pictures in some website, and the price is ten (I am not kidding) times less that what she asked from me after claiming it to be something grand. Obviously, the coats she sent me pics of were lovely, she does know what sell; but something was really "off" with them and now I know what it is.

    Then again, some items she sent me pics of were the ones she claimed them to be; for example the lovely jade-green Dior suit (she asked me over 1200 dollars for it) I saw probably in Jody´s website didn´t need a label to be switched. But the measurements were also different that the ones provided by the original owners (in the case of this Dior for example, she claimed the waist to be 30 inches)

    I contacted her and told her what I think about her actions. I also told her I wanted to return every single piece I had bought from her (also the ones bought in a bulk; that would mean around 7000 dollar refund). And that the refund must be issued to me before sending the items, as obviously she would never transfer me the money and keep the items. Let´s see what she thinks of this...

    The Robin Hood inside of me is *this* close contacting Etsy about this. To some people this is business; strictly business, like any other job (in her case almost as honest as dealing drugs) and that´s it, but to many of her buyers I believe this is a lifestyle, something more than just old clothes.
  13. yumyumvintage

    yumyumvintage VFG Member

    I only buy from VFG sellers....If I am buying online.... I like to inspect items carefully before buying to I buy offline.

    Its hard to deal with fraud they change their IDs they come back like a bad virus.

    I would contact Etsy so at least you can feel you did something Inever contacted the better business ass. I think there're also site around that you lodge a complaint. They do this with cars....
  14. Coutureallure

    Coutureallure Alumni

    Best of luck, Leena, and please let us know how it goes.
  15. bycin

    bycin Guest

    Please contact etsy admin. This seller makes decent etsian sellers look bad. Many if not most vinties there (myself included) do backflips to make sure they are selling ethical, well-researched goods.
  16. TrickVintage

    TrickVintage Registered Guest

    some people have no ethics....karma works in mysterious ways !

    i don't know how she sleeps at night

    would SHE want the same thing done to her ? it's as simple as The Golden Rule..treat others as you'd like to be treated.
  17. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Administrator Staff Member

    I worked out who this seller is from a bit of etsy searching. I googled her trading name and "scam" and "complaint" and found a few angry people in forums, both buyers from her and sellers to her. She's also listed on a couple of consumer warning sites - Ripoff Report, Measured Up, Complaints Board

    Unbelieveable behaviour. I can't understand why people would do this. If you want to rip people off for a living there must be easier ways.
  18. TrickVintage

    TrickVintage Registered Guest

    she's doing it because greed is the root of all evil.

    the same reason this world is in the shape it's in.

    she has no shame
  19. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    Oh dear we are having a conversation about this with her, and it´s getting ridiculous. I didn´t expect her to accept my huge return but to show at least some kind of remorse would go a long way. Like "I am sorry".

    She casually for example informed me (after I had expressed my amaze of the fact that she tried to sell me 27 inch waist suit which would never have fitted my 30 inch waist) that she had contacted the Dior´s owner and the BUTTON COULD HAVE BEEN MOVED 4 INCHES!! Yes, I am sure you can do that and it would never show and it would be just fine for me. Right... I specifically asked her if she had something suitable for me; next time she probably will show me 24 inch waist dresses with 32 inch bust saying that "Well hey, you can also add a little fabric to the seams!"

    Let´s see where this will go. This is so out of this world-kind of conversations we are having right now.
  20. MoreWine

    MoreWine Guest

    Jody, email you.
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