Saturday, July 21, 2012

Faux Fab: Scammers Exposed

I have been thinking recently about the FAKE, FAUX and COUNTERFEIT. I recently was lured by false advertising to an "auction" in Central California claiming to have CHANEL, LOUIS VUITTON and HERMES bags for auction among other designer items, fine jewels, and art. I was astonished and sickened by the amount of counterfeit designer handbags that were present. This "auction" moves around like a travelling counterfeit caravan from town to town using the SAME advertisement that suckered me into driving 25 minutes to attend a sale of a "prominent physician's divorce forces sale of fine art and jewellery collection" It sounded legit to me with the current divorce rate in California at 75% it could stand to reason that a "prominent physician" could require a dissolution liquidation. I stopped to think about what kind of divorce would force someone to part with her handbags? How sad. divorcing your husband is one thing but to be forced to let go of your coveted quilted CHANEL or Hermes Birkin was truly awful. So naturally I had to go and observe said hand bags in the hopes of giving the CHANEL a new home. 

Much to my utter horror and disgust it was a FAUX FAB situation. Mounds of "designer" luxury hand bags shoved into a glass case, on top of one another, squashed. No CHANEL in site and the one "Birkin" was sitting out in the open being manhandled by hoards of cold cut eating auction goers hoping to snag the bag. They even put a big florescent green sticker on the bag so it would go to that days "auction". The bags without the sticker would stay stuffed inside the glass case. In what universe would ANYONE put a sticker on the outside of a Hermes purse? or stuff designer hand bags in a case?  I did not even have to look at any of the bags to know they were ALL FAUX FAB. They were trying to sell/auction off counterfeit GUCCI, Hermes, DIOR & Prada purses. I inspected a few and confirmed by suspicions. When questioned the woman had an awful answer about the ad and condition of the bags. She told me to ask the auctioneer questions about the items when "They passed the item around" during bidding.  Imagine an item a Christy's auction house being passed around? she even said it to me with a straight face. I was surprised I was not immediately removed as I was the only one with my jaw on the casino carpet.  I watched in disbelief as women stood in line for their bidder number and registered to be taken for a ride.

I wish I would have taken photos of the bags as it was obvious to me from a distance and when I inspected the "Gucci", "Dior" and the "Birkin" that they were fake!

I immediately gathered my 2 fabulous pals and headed for the nearest exit. Not before I  was compelled to warn a women about the faux fabulousness that await her and her auction number in hopes of saving her money to put toward 'the real thing'. I even stubbed my newly pedicured toe on the alleged "Signed Norman Rockwell Lithograph" from the ad that happened to be sitting on the floor - The RED FLAGS were everywhere!  Turns out they even conduct "on-line" auctions too. Only one of the Chanel bag's had an image of an authenticity code, but I am personally still skeptical after what I saw.

As women we have all  faked our hair colour, our age, our weight, orgasms and some compassionate folks fake fur but I have always wondered who would knowingly want to fake a bag? is our lust for luxury so profound that we would, holding head high, carry a knock-off and lie to the world? if so - WHY?

The cost of counterfeit goods are not just to the brands themselves but to others who are effected by it, like the children who are labouring to make the faux bags and other luxury goods. Luxury goods represent only 4% of the total counterfeit items sold globally but even then the numbers are outrageous.

SEVEN Reasons You Should Never Fake It (6 via IACC & the 7th from moi):
  • Counterfeiting is illegal and purchasing counterfeit products supports illegal activity.
  • Counterfeiters do not pay taxes meaning less money for your city's schools, hospitals, parks and other social programs.
  • Counterfeiters do not pay their employees fair wages or benefits, have poor working conditions, and often use forced child labor.
  • Counterfeit goods are often made using cheap, substandard, and dangerous components that put the health and safety of consumers at risk.
  • The profits from counterfeiting have been linked to funding organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorist activity.
  • When you purchase a fake, you become part of the cycle of counterfeiting and your money directly support these things you would never want to support.
  • It is TACKY and now the chic, coveted item has now been reduced to a cheap, poorly made 'knock-off'  that you KNOW it is FAUX FAB.

Lesson learned. But I have to say that there are legitimate auction houses out there who are  committed to quality and NOT to misleading people into spending their hard earned money and precious time on 3rd world knock off junk. 

The consolation to me was a beautiful brunch with my gal pal's so all was right with the world after all. Where over champagne and the hummus sampler plate I discussed my plan to save my pennies so  I can waltz into CHANEL and buy myself a fabulous bag! 

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