Monday, June 21, 2010


The title, Real vs Fake? It's Your Call, written by Aspiring Socialite, who usually writes with a touch of whimsy (link here), grabbed my attention of course. I've blogged about my own uncomfortable experience buying an "authentic, gently worn" Chanel Baby Cabas on eBay. I presumed that eBay and a seller in good standing, paying through Paypal with a credit card and a few emails I'd sent the seller asking about details pretty much guaranteed an actual Chanel bag. It arrived promptly and there was nothing yelling FAKE!!! - it was extremely well made and an absolute mirror (I've since discovered that there are plenty of mirror image bags out there, some even produced at night in the same factory that manufactures the authorized bag in the daytime) image. It was only discounted about 20% from the full retail price and I thought that was fine. I discovered that my bag was FAKE!!! when I listed it on eBay about a year later. A few questions and details and my auction was taken down because the bag was FAKE!!! eBay essentially said "sorry, lady" because I hadn't discovered that the bag was FAKE!!! within the first ninety days.

The Aspiring Socialite had attended an event put on by Sassy City Chicks (link here) and wrote about it very eloquently. Lindsey Lohan tweeted yesterday that she had just ordered a fabulous Balenciaga bag from Beyond The Rack. The site (link here) looked rather FAKE!!! but I wanted to be sure. I emailed Balenciaga and this morning I received their reply ... 

 to me
show details 9:33 AM (7 hours ago)

Dear Madeleine,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately, Beyond the Rack is not an official Balenciaga retailer.  In order to guarantee an authentic Balenciaga product purchase, we recommend that you purchase from an official Balenciaga store or retailer.

Thank you for your interest in Balenciaga.

We wish to welcome you back soon on Balenciaga Online Shop.

Balenciaga Customer Service

I "poodled" FAKE BALENCIAGA and there are over 17,500,000 entries.

Beyond The Rack tweeted the following message to me today:

Barney's carries Balenciaga.


  1. Dear Madeleine,

    We don’t claim to be an official Balenciaga retailer. However, we guarantee the authenticity of all the products that we sell. All Balenciaga products come from a supplier in Italy that provides a control card that is issued in branch stores to prove its authenticity. We never sell anything on our site unless we purchase it from an official licensor. Feel free to contact me for any further information or questions.

    Beyond the Rack Customer Support

  2. ???????????? I can't believe this, and yet.. I can... it's quite sad!

    It's a loose loose situation for designer and customer

  3. ✆
    to me

    show details 1:07 AM (7 hours ago)

    Thank you for your interest in Balenciaga.

    Following your email, we appreciate your taking the time to share this information with Balenciaga. We are taking this issue very seriously and your email has been forwarded to our legal team.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us for further inquiries.

    Best regards,


    ----- Réacheminé par BALENCIAGA INFO/France/Balenciaga/GucciGroup le 22/06/2010 10:06 -----

  4. Well done Madeleine... awareness of this fraud is so important is very serious!

  5. 22 Jun 2010 at 2:16 PM / NEWS, THE BUSINESS
    Could Balenciaga Sue For Selling Unauthorized Merchandise?

    It’s hard to keep track of the seemingly countless sample sale sites that promise designer labels and luxury brands at deep discounts. But can you trust them?

    After hearing that La Lohan (red flag!) had purchased a “beautiful” Balenciaga bag at, reader Madeleine asked Balenciaga if the site was authorized to sell the luxury brand’s merch.

    She got the following reply:

    “Unfortunately, Beyond the Rack is not an official Balenciaga retailer. In order to guarantee an authentic Balenciaga product purchase, we recommend that you purchase from an official Balenciaga store or retailer.” Click on the image below to see the response:

    Suspicious, no?

    Blogger Vicky Sullivan had a similar experience wrangling with site Sassy City Chicks for selling what what she believed to be fake Fendi bags. “I didn’t actually buy the Fendi because I knew that there was no way it was real…it was fake immediately because it was too shiny and rough to the touch,” says Sullivan. Luckily, Haute Life PR, the company who runs Sassy City Chicks, has been responsive. President Isela Blair emailed Sullivan to say that her vendors “have never been accused of having fake merchandise,” and that she “takes this information very seriously,” and is looking into the allegations.

    And as this morning’s settlement between Fendi and Filene’s illustrates, even established discount retailers like Filene’s Basement can’t always be trusted to sell authentic luxury brands–at least not directly from the retailer. Fendi settled with Filene’s Basement for $2.5 million over allegations that the retailer sold counterfeit Fendi, reports the AP.

    Earlier this year, the luxury brand was awarded $4.7 million from Burlington Coat Factory and co-defendant Cohoes Fashion Inc. for violating an injunction which prohibited Burlington from selling Fendi without permission, according to WWD.

    So what’s your take? Do you trust these lesser known sites?

    We’ve reached out to Balenciaga and Haute Life PR and will update with any responses throughout the day.

  6. You are AWESOME with a capital A (well, the entire word, in fact). You're my idol... I love that you emailed Balenciaga! I love that they emailed you BACK! And Beyond the Rack had the balls to leave a comment? This is just all so juicy. You make a valid point... Barney's carries Balenciaga. No, I don't trust lesser known sites and why would Chanel or Balenciaga or the like decide to cut them such fabulous deals anyway? A lot of people are willing to pay for their Chanel, so I don't see the point in Chanel trying to sell "off price." It's all too fishy. And I completely agree with silentstoryteller -- it's a lose lose for the customer and the design house.

  7. Great work! I'm really starting to get suspicious of the online sample sites and the "sales" and "authenticity" of some of the merch. I got a pair of gorgeous shoes that normally have a dustbag and there was none to be found. Needless to say, if I didn't love the shoes so much, I'd probably send them back *sigh*

  8. Beyond the Rack is horrid. They consistently jack up the supposed retail value and offer items at regular price, or perhaps a slight discount. I discovered this some time ago, blogged about it and emailed them. Their response "What do you want us to do about it?" Um be honest. No response to that one! You really have to know your brands, prices, and as you've found out, authorized dealers. Thanks so much for this post, its opened my eyes!

  9. For Christmas, I bought a Chanel scarf for my mom from beyond the rack and when I opened it, it was clearly a fake! The fabric felt cheap, I could see the basting stitches and the tag that was one it, was badly sewn on! I was so disappointed and quickly returned it. So far, I've been quite happy with my purchases from places like Bluefly, Gilt, and Hautelook. I'll stick to those.


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