Friday, 6 February 2015

Would Price Maintenance Keep it Real?

Closet Analysis: Real or fake?

I know it sounds downright undemocratic and perhaps by some, even immoral; but sometimes I think, especially with high-end luxury items, that there should be stricter control for price maintenance. That essentially means that all retailers must sell at a producer-determined minimum resale price so that a "designer name item" would be the same price no matter where you bought it - in Paris or in Vancouver or in Singapore or in Las Vegas. This already holds true with most registered/authorized retailers. In fact, many luxury manufacturers will tell you that their products are only available at authorized dealers and at their "name brand" boutiques. The only way you would get a better deal would be determined by the value of the Canadian dollar, the Euro, the American dollar and whatever other currency value. Presently, if a Canadian thinks there are better deals in Europe for designer products, you are wrong, since to buy a Euro will cost you more in exchange.

With price maintenance, there would be no discount vendors selling designer products. Never mind, I lost my head for a moment . . . however, this brings us to a discussion of knock-offs. Do you know exactly what you are buying? If you bought your Louis Vuitton bag online at a discount price, can you be sure it is a Louis Vuitton bag? Deborah L. Jacobs, lawyer and journalist, has written some great articles for Forbes to help you out.

Fake Gucci Handbag purchased in China. Photo by JoyD.
 A friend recently came from China with two Gucci purses, both with trademark markings. They appeared well made with full lining and real leather. 

Two features on this bag tell me it is fake, albeit a well-made fake. Both deal with the finishing. Wayward threads on the handles would never be found on a genuine bag and very often, zippers would have trademarked hardware whereas this one has leather end straps.

Wayward threads on fake Gucci handbag handles. Photo by JoyD.

Leather zipper ends and pulls on fake Gucci handbag. Photo by JoyD.

When I asked where exactly he bought them, he was evasive - "from a reputable dealer", he said. If you don't buy luxury products in registered/authorized retail outlets, whether online or storefront, you are probably not getting what you think you are getting. Know this: even the fakes differ in quality and higher end fakes will cost you dearly, maybe not what a designer controlled bag would cost but still more than a leather and canvas bag is worth. It is one thing to buy a knock-off from a street vendor for 20 Euros, knowing full well it is a knock-off, and quite another, buying what you believe is a true luxury product from a reputable vendor. The vendor may be "reputable" but not "registered/authorized". I believe the old adage, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Another Forbes article tells you How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag. I don't know if price maintenance would make a difference in the whole knock-off industry. It might just give the scammers more of a profit margin. 

Тhe business of luxury goods, short of registered/authorized retailers, is open for questionable tactics. This is definitely a case of buyer beware.

I've written about luxury brand products before .  .  . take a look . . . 
Unsatisfied with Luxury Brand Merchandise?
Fashion Design Copies
Designer Trademarks

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