There is a huge market for secondhand luxury handbags, which tend to retain much of their value and exclusivity. Yet, according to Chanel, the resale market is full of counterfeit and inferior goods.
This year, Chanel has filed two lawsuits against resale companies. In March, the company filed a case against What Goes Around Comes Around (WGACA) stating that WGACA’s strategy is “designed to suggest that [it has] an affiliation or relationship with Chanel by making repeated and unnecessary use of Chanel’s famous trademarks.” Furthermore, Chanel says the site has sold counterfeit Chanel products, despite claiming to sell only authentic ones. The lawsuit is ongoing and WGACA continues to sell Chanel on its site.
According to the Fashion Law, Chanel filed a similar case on November 14 against The RealReal charging false authorization and authentication, and the selling of counterfeit items. Chanel is seeking monetary damages and wants The RealReal “to notify potential consumers that the purported authenticity of the products for sale by The RealReal is not verified or authenticated by Chanel and that Chanel does not guarantee items sold by The RealReal are genuine. Must be prominently displayed with large and legible text placed upon the materials, as well as in all of The RealReal’s advertising, marketing and promotional materials.”
A representative of The RealReal told The Fashion Law, “The RealReal unequivocally rejects Chanel’s claims. Chanel’s lawsuit is nothing more than a thinly-veiled effort to stop consumers from reselling their authentic used goods, and to prevent customers from buying those goods at discounted prices. They are trying to stop the circular economy. The RealReal stands behind its authenticity guarantee and will continue to provide a safe and reliable platform for consumers to resell luxury items.”
Other than beauty products, Chanel exclusively sells its clothing and accessories through their own boutiques and website, with only a small selection available online. It remains to be seen if WGACA and The RealReal will be able to continue selling vintage Chanel products, but this serves as an important reminder to be wary of the secondhand products you are buying and to make sure they are indeed authentic.