Louis Vuitton is the world’s most counterfeited brand. Go to any flea market anywhere on the plant and you’re likely to encounter more than a few fake Louis Vuitton bags being sold. But you’d hope that you’d be safe buying from an official LV store, right? Wrong, as it turns out.
The French luxury brand is currently in hot water as it faces allegations that one of its boutiques in China had sold a fake bag to a customer.
As WWD reports, the French luxury house was ordered earlier this year by a local court in Changsha to compensate a customer who bought what they thought was a genuine AU$3,500 Vaugirard handbag, but after taking it to a third party authenticator, discovered the bag was a fake.
LV reportedly settled with the customer but maintains that they have never sold anything but fully authentic goods through any of its point-of-sale channels.
It’s a bit of a bizarre situation. How did a fake LV bag end up on display in a real LV store? Well, there’s been plenty of speculation on Chinese social media as to what might have happened here.
Some reckon that shop staff were fooled by a ‘superfake’: a counterfeit bag made to such a high standard that it’s nearly identical to the real thing. Perhaps another customer bought a real Vaugirard handbag and returned a fake one to try and swindle the boutique, the boutique didn’t notice that it was a fake, and this customer was collateral damage. China is the home of superfakes, after all.
Others think it’s suspect that the aggrieved customer took the bag to an authenticator. It’s just as likely that they did the swap and are trying to extort LV. It’s an oddball situation for sure.
The other alternative being mooted is that the Changsha boutique was in on the scam – an outlandish claim, but there’s precedent for this sort of thing happening in China.
“A few years ago, a sales associate at the brand’s Guangzhou location was caught engaging in a counterfeiting scheme,” Pursebop relates.
“As the ‘middleman’, her role in the operation was to sell unreleased handbags to counterfeiters, who would then sell their versions at the same time the authentics hit the market. The benefit to her? Profiting off both instances – first by selling the bags to the counterfeiters at a higher price, and then by presumably making commission on sales of the actual bags to LV customers in-store.”
While it can be hard to distinguish a genuine Louis Vuitton bag from a fake one, there are a few key things you should look out for when shopping for one – especially if you’re not shopping at an LV boutique.
The biggest giveaway is the material. LV bags are typically made out of high-end materials such as top-quality leather, crocodile, lambskin or snakeskin. Fakes are typically made from cheap tumbled leather or vinyl and will feel rough and stiff.
Another big giveaway is tagging. While you might think a tag hanging from a bag would be a sign of authenticity, it’s quite the opposite: LV bags might come with tags, but LV never attach them to the bag itself – instead, they simply place them within the bag or in the bag’s accompanying dust bag (another giveaway sign of authenticity). Tags are never attached with plastic or pins.
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