Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BEWARE of Uncle Bench!!!

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.


  1. Thank you Sarah. I must say it was MY idea to change to a Chanel GST because I was just desperate to get a bag and a Chanel GST with authentic leather was in stock (according to his site) and the same price. I certainly wouldn't mind having one either. At first he didn't want to do that (said he was backordered) and tried to steering me from " imported" to "authentic" in a Birkin which would have been much more money. I can't send him that kind of additional money without my husband divorcing me on grounds of stupidity.

    The Chanel "authentic" leather GST was about the same price at 600 versus 500 for the Birkin but I did send him a little more money. He did give me a 50 dollar discount on the extra 100 for waiting. He is very friendly and nice but it is difficult to maintain any kind of confidence after all this time. As it is, I am afraid that the bag won't be authentic leather (his Chinese leather version is 1/2 the price) or that no bag will come at all. The delay has been very long and upsetting. My husband begged me not to send the money Western Union.

    I paid 500 for the "imported" leather Birkin 35(who knew that was code for Chinese leather) and I picked a color he said was in stock. In his defense he has since put up a larger disclaimer about "imported" leather versus "authentic" and versus yet a third. I wanted any color Blue. I also said offered to take another color but he only colors he has now are a bright green and fuchsia and I couldn't figure out a way I could live with either. I think getting the Chanel in authentic leather will be better. Someday I will get my Birkin- maybe authentic.

    The second I saw Sarah's face, I knew I could trust her. She has that kind of demeanor. I wanted to wait till I was bored and on my way home stuck in afternoon traffic to look at the bag. I have enjoyed that little bag so much too. It is so cute. I wanted to do a number of reviews for her site and so I picked a seller with a good reputation. Sarah has been great holding my hand through this whole ordeal. I was surprised when she wrote this but she has 2 other readers with delays so she had to send out a warning.

    I will let you know as soon as I get my bag. I still have hope! I will even bring it out and show it to you over lunch. I am excited at the idea of a Chanel now. Hopefully this will end well for everyone.

    1. Hi Kathy, thanks for clearing some of the details up for me. Please keep me posted on the outcome. I'm really hoping he'll make this right for you and the other 2 ladies. He's going to lose a lot of customers if he doesn't.

    2. Hey Sarah, I wrote to Uncle Bench when I saw he picked up the extra money on Western Union, and he answered me immediately and even sent me a working tracking number. He said he sent the bag out on the 13th to another city in China and from there it was sent to me. I have huge hope that he will indeed come through for me. I know you really know your Chanel so I want you to see the bag. Hopefully the quality will jump out at me the way it does with the real deal. The bag was very expensive and is supposed to be made of leather imported from France to China. It is supposed to be the exact caviar leather Chanel uses. If I get a high quality bag all this waiting and worrying will be worth it. Thank you for everything! I will let you know the moment it comes! I am hoping and praying the other women get their bags as well. :))

      P.S. Oh, if you happen to know is caviar leather made from cowhide or lambskin? I have googled and can't find an answer.

    3. Kathy, that's great news! If you have time let me know once you get the bag and we can get together somewhere or you can drop by my work again and I'll bring my Authentic Chanel Caviar tote so you can compare your bag side by side with mine to see what the difference is. Caviar is a thick durable pebbled leather. I'm not exactly sure what type of leather it is myself but it's definitely not lambskin :).

    4. Sarah, I would love to do that! We could do a side by side comparison video review for your readers if you like. I would love to compare it to another replica in the 200-300 dollar price range to see how it measures up. I worry that I paid 550 for a 200 bag. He even had the exact bag for 350 in Chinese leather(also known as "imported leather" on his site). I will let you know as soon as it comes! Thank you too about the cowhide versus lambskin question. Lambskin is extremely soft. Now I know more what to expect as well. When I put the tracking number in not much happens from day to day. I guess that is normal. The bag has been in Beijing for a few days now! I wish it would move along. :))

    5. Just a quick update for people considering UB. The bag arrived and it is gorgeous to my untrained eye. When Sarah looks at it side by side with the authentic we will know if I actually got the authentic leather imported from France. If I didn't I would not pay extra for imported leather. It is a huge up charge. I am extremely concerned that I got the 300 dollar version. I just don't know enough to make that judgment. I do worry that the caviar leather isn't matte enough from what I have seen. It is a huge concern because it is a dead giveaway. The caviar leather does reflect back some glimmer of light. I think but I could be wrong that authentic caviar leather is completely matte and almost like black velvet does not reflect light back. We will know for sure when Sarah looks at the bag.

    6. Hi Kathy, will email you later today with amt. Got tied up last night till very late. I just want to say that the Caviar leather not being matt is actually not a sign of a fake. My authentic Medallion Tote actually does have some shine to it and it's beautiful :).

      I'm in training still for that new software and just taking a break for a breather :). Will talk with you soon!

    7. Hi Sarah,

      Looking forward for your review of Kaththee's Chanel bag from UB :-)
      I was about to purchase a Balenciaga City and a Chanel from Uncle Bench, but having second thoughts when reading this article :/

      Would you recommend another site with good quality Balenciaga? Besides N.B.F. and UB :-)
      Many thanks!


  2. Hi Sarah
    I live in Atlanta as well. Would you recommend and
    Seems great just wondering !

    1. Hi Tierra, I'm not familiar with those websites so I really can't say if they are trustworthy. I've gotten a few bad bags from new sellers so I'm now at the point where I don't want to try any new sellers for awhile. I think for now I'll just stick to the sellers I've purchased from and those on my list. Sorry I can't help but perhaps you can ask some of the members of the forum. We have a lot of members now so you'll have a better chance of finding someone that may know something about them.

  3. Hi

    Will u still recommend After reading your blog i was going to order the lv speedy 25 empreinte from her

    Thanks :)

  4. Dont buy from uncle bench!!!
    I bought a birkin and never receivec!!
    Its been more than 2 moths and now they dont answer me back!
    I tried several times to contact them but they dont give me a reply!
    Dont buy, dont loose your money!!

  5. Hi Sarah,

    I hope your well? I was wondering if you ever got to review Kathleens chanel bag? I am considering buying one for UB as the quality does seem very good in comparison with other sites. Thanks!

  6. it's not UB fault, got great bag-at great expense from them, but they have been shut down-go to their site you will see. hopefully they will open somdewhere else, thdere bags can't be beat and never any problems with service.

  7. it's not the fault of uncle bench, they were shut down. go to their website, you'll see. sorry if you sent $$, that is the risk, that they will get raided. bought a beautiful, expensive but flawless birkin last year from them. hopefully they'll go into business somehere else.

  8. Hello :)
    Could you pease help me ? I want to order a chanel bag (coco mini caviar)
    Which site do you think is better Uncle Bench or chicreplicahandbags ?
    Thank you so much :)

  9. Can you please tell me how I can order a bag from smart smith.. I heard he has great bags!! Please

  10. Can u please tell me how I can go about ordering from smart Smith. . I heard he had great bags

  11. I want to report an issue with Uncle Bench as a follow up. I purchased a "best of the best" birkin through Rachel on Wechat for a whopping $2600. It was dicey communications, but I finally got the bag in a timely fashion and on first pass, it looked gorgeous. However the first time I tried to carry it the zipper mechanism inside the purse fell apart in a way that seems impossible to repair without removing the entire zipper. Metal just crumbled. On top of that, I noticed that one of the grommets that is attached to the metal plate on the exterior flap has fallen out leaving the metal plate unsecured. I have contacted Uncle Bench through emails (Rachel seems to have disappeared from Wechat) and gotten very little response. I got one half sentence email saying, don't worry we will send you new hardware. Well, I have asked what am I supposed to do with new hardware. Neither of these issues seem easily fixed by anyone other than a factory. Needless to say I am furious and UB has refused to acknowedge any of my follow up emails. This is a fortune for a bag that fell apart before I even got a chance to use it. I am wondering if anybody on this forum has a suggestion. Thanks