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Caught Red Handed: Selling Fakes at Original Prices

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It is easy to be fooled; it is easier to take precautions!

That Saturday evening was special because I was meeting old school friends. It turned out to be nothing less than a disaster, when I discovered that I was conned by a popular store located in a five-star hotel in Mumbai.

Only the previous week, I celebrated my graduation by gifting myself a Louis Vuitton bag. That moment was like a dream come true for me. Having always dreamt of owning this luxury, that evening felt like the purpose of my life had been fulfilled.

That Saturday, as I sat among my friends flaunting my prized possession, a girl commented, “that surely is a fake right?” This was enough to anger me; I barged onto her and explained as to how I got it as a graduation present from the store, ‘On Earth’, at The Leela, a five star hotel in Mumbai, paying an exorbitant Rs. 85,000 for it. On hearing that, immediately another friend commented, “well, in that case, it surely is a fake!” I stared in disbelief. On hearing what she had to say to support her claim, my heart sank.

The shocking reality

That store was nothing but a scam. Its owner, Naseer Niyaz, had been manufacturing counterfeit bags, clutches, wallets and bags, in the loft of the store, and branding those products with logos of expensive luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry. He would sell these phony products as original to innocent customers who would never have an iota of doubt on the authenticity of the products, since they were being sold at such a reputed store. On a raid conducted by police officials, these artificial raw materials were seized and the owner arrested.

What should you do?

It is important to look past the repute, age and location of any store, and take additional steps to ensure that you are not conned, and that you get original products. Most of these brands have stringent policies regarding their outlets, and it is only a matter of few seconds of checking where they are present in your city. For example, Louis Vuitton only sells via its own stores, anywhere else that its products are sold, including multi-brand stores, is illegal. Also, normally, these products are accompanied with a serial number, a logo and a certificate stating their authenticity. Checking them thoroughly before purchasing is nothing less than an absolute necessity.

AS A CUSTOMER – Have you ever faced such a situation too? Comment below so no one buys from them again!

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