NEW YORK – Luxury US apparel retailer, the RealReal, has been forced to issue an apology to consignors and customers after fakes were found on its website during investigations by CNBC. It was alleged that not everything on the site has been reviewed by authentication experts which meant some customers spent hundreds of dollars on mislabeled or counterfeit goods. RealReal shares sank 7.4 per cent on Wednesday and are down 22 per cent in the past week.
“Of nearly 1,400 reviews of the company found online, the top complaints are fakes, damage and poor customer service,” the CNBC notes. “The complaints include wrong sizes and that the photos online were misleading because they did not match the appearance of the item.”
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“Authentication is extremely complex. It’s both an art and science. We stand by our authentication process and will always work with our customers to make things right,” the company said in a statement to CNBC.
RealReal CEO Julie Wainwright has emailed customers, saying: “… the entire team at The RealReal works diligently seven days a week to ensure the highest standards in our authentication practices. We employ certified experts such as gemologists and horologists, luxury experts who have worked at companies like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and brand experts who have worked directly for luxury brands. We are constantly and consistently training our teams, and evolving our technologies to ensure your items are the real thing. There is no resale company doing more to remove fakes, and put counterfeiters out of business, than The RealReal.”
The RealReal has also been criticised for selling designer collaborations for Target and other mass-market stores as luxury goods. In addition, Chanel has a lawsuit pending against the company for selling counterfeit Chanel goods, although, according to a former employee, all Chanel goods are sent to be authenticated by the official authentication team.