A local college student is calling items she bought at a Quad Cities business counterfeit.
“I can tell you that I have never spent more than $50 on a purse because I work two jobs, I am a full-time student,” says Jean Clark.
But last week, Clark and her friend decided to treat themselves.
“Three Gucci items and clothes. And she bought sunglasses and two Gucci bags,” she says.
The two spent more than $100 dollars each and thought they found a bargain at Selective Seconds in Moline.
“They all say Gucci on them, they all have the tags exactly how Gucci would look if it were on a real bag,” Clark says.
We found clark’s glasses on Gucci’s website, but they’re missing an ‘S’ in the model number.
“We didn’t verify that they were Gucci before we bought them, which we should have,” Clark admits.
She says she has friends who go thrift shopping and have found mink coats worth hundreds of dollars for $20, and thought she’d stumbled upon a second-hand deal, too.
The store owner didn’t want to go on camera, but told Local 4 News that they were Gucci-inspired bags and that she offered Clark the real version, too.
“I was like, ‘No, why would you even ask me if I’m interested now? I’m just telling you I want my money back. You should’ve told me in the first place that they were fake and that there are real ones but those are not it,'” Clark says.
“It’s a he said, she said. She can’t prove that the store told her that and the store, they can just say, ‘You know, I tell people to buy as is,” says Sandra Bowden, a Better Business Bureau spokesperson.
She says there are ways to protect your purchases: Usually, authentic items won’t be in open-air displays, but behind the counter or in glass cases.
Bowden also says to ask for authentification.
“If you buy a Michael Kors purse there, for example, and you ask them, ‘Is this a real Michael Kors purse?’ and they say, ‘Yes, it is,’ ‘Would you mind putting that in writing?'” Bowden says.
But if you find yourself with questionable goods, there are resources.
“I might be calling the attorney general’s office and reporting it and writing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau,” Bowden says.
Clark has done both and says since posting her story to Facebook, others have reached out, too.
“Saying that the same exact thing had happened to them; they said the purses were real when they were actually fake.”
Local 4 News found two Google reviews with similar claims dating back six months and one year.
Now, Clark says she wants to make sure no one else ends up in the same situation.
“It’s really hurtful and deceiving to me to know that a business owner would do that to young people,” says Clark.
Selective Seconds owner Lisa Broer emailed this response to Local 4 News:
“It’s very unfortunate that this situation has completely got out a hand and out of content. Small local business owners are already struggling!! I put my heart and my pride into my business in the past 12 years for it to be destroyed from one entitled customer. I have over 3500. My customers and my consignees and those that know me personally know how much time and pride I put in my business. I would never miss lead or be un truthful to my customers. As a business owner I stood behind my store policy by offering her store credit. I went over and beyond to try to make her satisfied.” – Lisa Broer, Selective Seconds owner.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says, “If it seems like a steal, it is.”
You can learn more and file a report with them by clicking here.
Finally, Bowden recommends filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau here.