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Thread: Killer Heels: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo knock-offs rip off buyers

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Default Killer Heels: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo knock-offs rip off buyers

    Many of my fellow shoe lovers here have probably seen these websites that offer Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and other designer shoes for deep discounts. Sites like these are likely selling fakes:
    Christian Louboutin Sale:Christian Louboutin Shoes,Pumps ,Sandals And Boots At ChristianLouboutinonsale
    Christian Louboutin Shoes - Save up to 80% off retail

    Killer heels: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo knock-offs rip off buyers, prey on child workers
    By Jane Ridley
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Thursday, July 16th 2009
    Which ones are real and which ones are fake? Designer shoe knock-offs come with their own price.


    Killer Louboutin heels with that signature red sole for just $177, delivered to your door at 80% less than the $860 retail price.

    Strappy Jimmy Choo sandals at $143.99, 64% less than the $395.99 value at the label's Fifth Ave. store.

    Such are the boasts of flashy Web sites featuring red-carpet shots of J.Lo, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cameron Diaz in the wildly glamorous shoes.

    One includes a photograph of Christian Louboutin proudly inspecting the craftsmanship at his Paris workshop.

    It seems too good to be true - and it is.

    Tens of thousands of online shoppers are falling for the latest variety of fakes flooding the Internet.


    Despite ultra-convincing pictures and claims that the Web sites are run directly by the designers and the footwear is individually crafted in Europe, it's a scam.

    The goods are neither handmade nor exclusive. They are mass-produced in China.

    The "leather" often smells of toxic chemicals, the "hand-stitching" is replicated by sewing machine, and the sizing is inaccurate.


    Return the purchase and, on top of the cost of shipping, customers are subject to a "restocking" fee of up to 20%. Little wonder most swallow the disappointment and don't bother to send them back.

    If disappointment were the only result of the fraud, it wouldn't make headlines. Who really cares about image-obsessed fashionistas being ripped off?

    On closer examination, however, this international con has a devastating and far-reaching effect.

    Child labor, money laundering, prostitution and terrorist activity go hand in hand with the counterfeit trade managed by criminal gangs.

    In a recent sweatshop raid in Thailand a group of children, all under 10 years old, was found assembling leather purses. Horrifyingly, their limbs had been deliberately broken to keep them from escaping. The owners had tied their lower legs to their thighs so the bones wouldn't mend.


    Closer to home, fakes are believed to be responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs, many in Manhattan's famed Garment District. They cost New York City an estimated $1 billion each year in tax revenue.

    Copyright and trademark violations by cleverly named Web sites such as ChristianLouboutinLondon.com and LouboutinOnly.com rob the fashion industry of millions more.

    "People assume it's a victimless crime, but that couldn't be further from the truth," says magazine publisher Valerie Salembier, who heads Harper's Bazaar's anticounterfeiting program FakesAreNeverInFashion.com.

    "If the end user knew that their $50 knock-off handbag funds terrifying practices by organized criminals, they would think again about that supposed bargain. In France, customers risk imprisonment or heavy fines for purchasing or carrying fake goods."

    Salembier and her team are campaigning for similar laws in the U.S. under which both the buyer and seller would be prosecuted.

    Meanwhile, outraged designers have employed undercover agents to work with customs authorities.

    "In the last six months, the growth of these Web sites keeps increasing," Louboutin's chief operating officer, Alexis Mourot, told the Daily News from the Paris head office.

    "It is all coming out of China. These are not small workshops but large underground operations. The money is going to criminals.


    "Some people think it's cool to be able to buy cheap copies, but, if you look at the consequences, it is a very serious matter."

    Meanwhile, in a statement, a spokesman for Manolo Blahnik said: "Manolo Blahnik/Manolo Blahnik International Limited is well aware of the counterfeiting situation and is actively addressing this through their attorneys."

    Some experts claim the problem has been fueled by the popularity of respected sites such as BlueFly.com and Gilt.com.

    Luxury-brand items were previously only available from designer stores or authorized high-end retailers such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.

    "In the recession, more people are surfing the Web for deals and finding designer goods at reduced prices on legitimate sites," explains Fordham Law School professor Susan Scafidi, a fashion specialist who writes the watchdog blog CounterfeitChic.com.

    "They see the illegal sites and think they've found the Holy Grail. They want to believe the products and the reductions are genuine, even at 70% and 80% off."


    Scafidi maintains that traditional destinations for knockoff goods - like Canal St. - are falling out of favor.

    "Counterfeiters - like cockroaches - will always be part of the New York cityscape, come police raids or nuclear winter," she says.

    "But people are nervous about following shady-looking sellers down corridors and into apartments. They don't want to take the risk."

    Instead, the relative safety and anonymity of the Web wins out.

    "The Internet allows copyists to reach a wider audience. It's easier for consumers to try on shoes that arrive by mail than balance on one foot on a dirty sidewalk."

    Policing the problem is a nightmare. Although some illegal Web sites have been shut down, they are swiftly replaced by similar-sounding domain names. They are often registered in tax havens like the Cayman Islands with few intellectual-property laws.

    As for Customs seizing the products, only an estimated 10% of imports are inspected at U.S. ports. A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) told the Daily News: "Importers can and do misrepresent the contents of their shipments, but CBP is actively engaged in trying to uncover this type of fraud."

    But it's an uphill struggle. "The officers can't possibly check every container," concludes Scafidi.

    "Criminals smuggle in these type of goods by mislabeling them as 'toys' or 'ramen noodles.' Often there is a front panel with the labeled contents, but the rest will be contraband."

    Perhaps the solution lies with the consumer.

    "It's an old-fashioned case of buyer beware," says Stephen Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. "If you find a designer item on the Internet that's priced ridiculously low, no matter how authentic it looks, it's probably fake."

    Buyer Beware - How to avoid Internet fakes



    1. The domain name of the bogus Web site will often be a variation on the designer's name. For example, christianlouboutin.com is legitimate; christianlouboutinlondon.com is not.

    2. Be suspicious if there is no telephone number - or a Chinese number with the country code 86 - on the Web site and customer service is by e-mail only. We called a Chinese number on a fake Web site and were kept on hold listening to tinny music. After 10 minutes, we gave up.

    3. The bogus sites reassure customers with money-back guarantees, currency converters and a multitude of payment options, but the copy will usually contain grammatical and language errors.

    4. If you want an absolute guarantee that a product is genuine, buy from Portero.com - Authenticated Luxury Market | Portero.com. Unlike eBay, this online auction site vouches for the authenticity of all the merchandise it sells. If an item sold by Portero is determined to be inauthentic, it will refund the purchase price as well as any shipping and insurance charges.

    5. For more information, check out Harper's Bazaar's crusading Web site FAKES ARE NEVER IN FASHION | Fakes Are Never In Fashion and legal eagle Susan Scafidi's Web site Counterfeit Chic
    Killer heels: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo knock-offs rip off buyers, prey on child workers

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i don't like fakes. they don't satisfy in the same way as the real thing does. i don't think i'll ever buy a pair of real louboutins but i'd rather do without than buy some cheapo knock-offs.
    and i think it's hilarious when people swear up and down that their knock-off looks as good as the real thing. uh, no it doesn't. i've seen one knock-off purse in my life that actually looked almost like the real thing and where the quality was comparable, and that was only because it was an upscale knock-off and cost over half of what the original did. but it was still at least 500 dollars.

    i also don't buy brand names for the name. when i do splurge, i do it because it's something that is beautifully made and of exceptional quality.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Even if no one else knows it's a fake, you do, and that makes all the difference. Just buy the best quality you can, forget the knock offs.
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    i don't like fakes. they don't satisfy in the same way as the real thing does. i don't think i'll ever buy a pair of real louboutins but i'd rather do without than buy some cheapo knock-offs.
    and i think it's hilarious when people swear up and down that their knock-off looks as good as the real thing. uh, no it doesn't. i've seen one knock-off purse in my life that actually looked almost like the real thing and where the quality was comparable, and that was only because it was an upscale knock-off and cost over half of what the original did. but it was still at least 500 dollars.

    i also don't buy brand names for the name. when i do splurge, i do it because it's something that is beautifully made and of exceptional quality.
    I agree. The name alone doesn't mean anything to me, and I just can't see ever spending money on a fake just to get the name. Especially when, like the bolded part in Sput's post, I could buy a lower-end designer label, like Coach, for less than a pricey knock-off.

    For me, part of the draw to designer labels is the feeling that I have something special - that feeling wouldn't kick in, I don't think, if it wasn't even the real thing. I'd rather have something cute from the thrift store. As it stands, I probably own about a dozen pairs of shoes from Value Village that were cute and cost 6 dollars, and one or two higher-end pairs that I bought for my wedding or on sale, and my purse collection is similarly constructed, lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tati View Post
    I agree. The name alone doesn't mean anything to me, and I just can't see ever spending money on a fake just to get the name. Especially when, like the bolded part in Sput's post, I could buy a lower-end designer label, like Coach, for less than a pricey knock-off.

    For me, part of the draw to designer labels is the feeling that I have something special - that feeling wouldn't kick in, I don't think, if it wasn't even the real thing. I'd rather have something cute from the thrift store. As it stands, I probably own about a dozen pairs of shoes from Value Village that were cute and cost 6 dollars, and one or two higher-end pairs that I bought for my wedding or on sale, and my purse collection is similarly constructed, lol.
    i agree, especially with what you wrote in the 2nd paragraph. there are some really expensive bags that i think are beautiful but i can't see paying $1500 for one. but i would rather do without than buy a knock off. or wait a season or two and get it on sale. and i've found great things at thrift stores for pretty cheap. for example, bought a chanel skirt that i love. and there is no way a knock off would've been as well made, with real silk linking and hand-tacked hem.

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    Elite Member Jezi's Avatar
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    I wouldn't pay more than $20 for the shoes in the picture above...

    Although I think the Jimmy Choos and Louboutins are still way too expensive, I would never buy the knockoffs becayse you're still paying way too much for them

    I like quality shoes too, I live in Dr Martens and have my eyes set on a pair of New Rocks that cost like $300...

    I need to be comfortable in shoes I'm going to wear and walk around in all day.
    Last edited by Jezi; September 16th, 2009 at 03:45 PM. Reason: type-lexic

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    I think I agree with everything already said in this thread.
    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

    Fuck you all, I'm going viral.

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