Bogus designer bags

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Seven On Your Side
March 4, 2010 3:22:07 PM PST
Louis Vuitton goods are handcrafted only in France and Spain. It takes 24 workers to make just 120 bags a day. Which is one of the reasons they are so expensive. The demand is so high for fake designer bags, it fuels mass production of knock offs. A bust last week on Canal Street closed 34 shops. But counterfeiters still find other ways to sell. Good luck finding a knock-off bag on the streets of Chinatown. But in cyberspace? counterfeit goods are just a click away.

"I was shopping online and I googled 'authentic Louis Vuitton Bags' and this website came up." That's how Long Island mom Diane Castellano says she found what she thought was authentic designer bags offered at a deep discount, online.

"So I emailed them and I said, 'Are these authentic Louis Vuitton bags?' And she said "Yes 100 percent authentic,' she said 'don't worry we have a refund guarantee where you can return it within thirty days."

Diane Castellano wound up paying $668 for 2 purses and a wallet, which arrived from China.

Louis Vuitton reps would not authenticate the bags for us. So we had a luxury goods expert at a major fashion magazine examine the purses. She couldn't tell for certain if they were real.

So we brought the bags to a Louis Vuitton store in midtown Manhattan.

But once the salesperson looked inside, she knew the Tivoli bag, which retails for $1,360, was a knock-off.

The knock-offs have subtle differences only well-trained eyes can pick up. Which makes easily duping even the saviest consumer a very lucrative business.

Vuitton collector Helen Shelton says real Louis Vuitton bags never come with a leather tag or model number. She also points out plastic protectors on real bags aren't blue they're clear. Also the bags are never on sale and aren't sold through any website except

Diane is trying to get her money back. A customer service rep offered her $400 and told her just keep all three items and give them as gifts. But she's pursuing a full reimbursement through her credit card company. The website won't even give her an address to send the fakes back to. There's no phone number listed on the website and the address listed is a mailbox in a UPS store in San Francisco. ----

Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone