7/7/13 UPDATE: Uncle Bench finally comes through. Read Part 2 HERE.
About 2 months ago I met Kathy, one of my readers, in person. Like many others, she found my blog while researching replicas. She was thrilled to discover we both live in Atlanta. We chatted over emails getting to know each other and I've really enjoyed our conversations.
She fell in love with an Authentic Marc Jacobs Denim bag I had listed for sale and decided to buy the bag in person. It was during the work week so I gave her directions to my job.
Since I was at work, I only had a few minutes to chat with her. She was only there for maybe 10 minutes. She paid in cash and never even looked at the bag before leaving. I told her she was entirely too trusting!
I purchased this bag from Yoogis Closet which is a well known consignment shop for Authentic Luxury Goods. I sold her the bag in the Yoogis Closet box it came with and she literally handed over cash and walked out the door without opening the box to check the contents!
I have to say that was a first for me. I've never sold anything to a stranger where they paid cash and trusted me to be honest. Since then I have been in contact with her through email.
A few days after she purchased my bag she also purchased a Birkin from Uncle Bench, a seller that I recommended on my Seller List. I don't remember what she paid for it but if you're familiar with Uncle Bench their prices are very high averaging $300 and up to over $1,000!
She paid via Western Union and as of today, over 7 weeks later, she still has not received her bag.
I feel terrible for her because she's such a sweetheart and she trusted my recommendation of Uncle Bench. She has been patiently awaiting her bag and they keep jerking her around with false promises.
They are now trying to get her to replace her Birkin with a Chanel bag and she's at the point where she'll almost agree to anything just so long as she gets SOMETHING! But she's starting to feel she may not get anything at all and now they're trying to squeeze her for more $ on a supposedly better quality bag.
I'm really upset on her behalf. Uncle Bench's prices are outrageous, especially considering they are replicas. You would think at their prices they would be a more considerate of their customers.
It is unfortunate that most replica sellers, especially sellers in China, have such poor customer service and a lack of consistency. I've been in her shoes several times, even with sellers whom I've purchased from frequently. This is why I cannot recommend a seller and make any Guarantees on their behalf.
I've asked Kathy to write a review of her experience so I can share it here and alert other potential buyers. I've also suggested that she demand a full refund. At those prices she should not have to settle for something she didn't want.
If they refuse to issue a refund, I'm going to put them in the Black List. No buyer should have to spend that kind of $ and have to go through what she is experiencing!
And she is not the only buyer I've had complaints on. There are 2 other ladies who are also waiting on their purchase for over a month now.
I wish there was something I could do for them but when you pay via Western Union or Money Gram it's the same thing as handing over Cash. There is NO Recourse unless the seller hasn't picked up the funds.
I'm posting this so those of you who have never purchased replicas understand that when you buy a replica you are taking a risk every time, regardless of who the seller is. You are risking getting a poor replica, customs seizure or in this case getting nothing at all.
If you cannot accept these risks you should only purchase from a seller who accepts credit cards or from another buyer selling their pre-owned but gently used items and only if they can accept PayPal or some other credit card processing service.
This brings me to another issue. I honestly don't think sellers will be able to accept credit cards much longer. Credit card rules and regulations have become very strict making it nearly impossible for a seller to accept payment in any length of time. It only takes one buyer complaint for them to investigate a seller and realize they are selling illegal goods. So even if you do find a seller who accepts CC, they won't be able to do it for any length of time.
I cannot recommend a seller and make any guarantees on their behalf. Even my favorite seller, Joy of FabAAA, sometimes sells a dud. It happens with every seller. I don't think there is any seller out there that has a 100% Positive Buyer rating. The more reputable ones will have a higher customer satisfaction rating but none of them is completely a SURE thing.
There are only 3 sellers whom I feel I can completely trust right now: Joy of FabAAA, Mindy of LuxeforLess and Jess of Fallin2Fashions.
But be aware that your experience may vary so it's a choice you have to make yourself based on reviews: mine and those submitted to me by other buyers. Also check out the reviews on the forum. There are much more reviews there.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that Uncle Bench will eventually come through for Kathy and the other 2 ladies that emailed me.
As of right now I have moved Uncle Bench down to the bottom of the Seller List as a "Buy At Your Own Risk" seller. If they do not make things right for these ladies I will no longer recommend them.