Chanel up in arms against two US second-hand luxury sites

Chanel is on the warpath against second-hand luxury e-tail sites. In quick succession, in the course of a few months, the French luxury label pressed charges before a federal court in New York against two US e-tail sites specialised in high-end second-hand products, What Goes Around Comes Around and The RealReal, for “misleading advertising and counterfeiting.”


A selection of Chanel handbags on sale on The RealReal - therealreal.com

What Goes Around Comes Around is the online extension of a New York store founded in 1993, famous for its range of second-hand luxury goods, while The RealReal is one of the USA’s most popular sites in the field. In both cases, Chanel is accusing the sites of lack of transparency, notably for having sold Chanel handbags both sites claimed were authentic. Chanel accused them of misleading customers, inducing them to believe that such products were sold with some sort of authorisation on the part of Chanel.

“What Goes Around Comes Around and The RealReal are neither authorised distributors nor retailers of Chanel products, and have gone out of their way to convey the impression they are associated with our brand, and that they can certify Chanel products as authentic,” stated the label in press release.

“When such retailers make their customers believe that their so-called experts are able to identify [Chanel] products as authentic, they are misleading customers. We found several counterfeit handbags on The RealReal,” denounced Chanel, emphasising that only Chanel itself has the training and the know-how necessary to certify the label's products as authentic, and urging consumers to buy Chanel products at authorised retailers.

According to US website thefashionlaw.com, Chanel discovered that The RealReal sold “at least seven” counterfeit handbags. Chanel specifically contested the declaration made by The RealReal that it employs duly trained experts to certify the products it sells as authentic, and wants the site to state very clearly that the same products have not been certified by Chanel.

Considering the astronomical sums that consumers shell out for some luxury products, even for second-hand ones, it is understandable that the labels themselves are worried. Chanel is one of the most coveted names by second-hand luxury sites, and isn’t necessarily pleased when sales of its products line the competition’s pockets.

In the last few years, specialist sites like The RealReal have strongly focused on luxury labels, which are much more attractive and profitable. The manager of New York store What Goes Around Comes Around confirmed this in an interview to Grazia magazine, saying that “our revenue chiefly comes from three labels: Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.”

Seeing the potential, some luxury labels are beginning to adopt the opposite strategy to Chanel, and are gearing up for collaboration, like Kering. “For second-hand products, we work especially with The RealReal, above all for Saint Laurent,” was the off-the-cuff remark made by Kering’s CEO François-Henri Pinault last February, at the presentation of the group’s 2017 results. “We are testing something,” he added.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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