Won’t Get Fooled Again: Counterfeit Melissa Shoes

I’m not sure if I posted about it or not, but a while back in August, I won a pair of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes off eBay. I was pretty psyched because I got them quite a bit lower than retail & at the time, there weren’t really any US based retailers that had the VWxMelissa shoes. I was so terribly excited for them to arrive, and when they did I was disappointed. I had definitely expected the quality to be better, but I had never seen a Melissa pair of shoes in person, so I just thought it had been another brand that was overhyped.

I wore them for the first time on Saturday and ended up taking them off after about ten minutes because of my foot slipping out so often & it being so uncomfortable. Later that day, I clicked on a different pair on eBay (I don’t remember why) and the seller mentioned that counterfeit VWxMelissa shoes were sold in great abundance on eBay. This is when I got that nasty sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one. Not surprisingly, it turns out that my shoes are counterfeit; I’m fighting the battle to get my money back now (more on that later), but in the meantime, I wanted to get the word out about these shoes and how to tell the difference between the fakes and the real deal.

FYI – in the photos the black and red shoes are counterfeit, the blue shoes are Princess Poochie’s authentic ones (thank you for the photos, dear!), and the salmon/black ones are from the Zappo’s website.

Box & Hangtag

These photos are from the lovely Nicole of I like things. When I searched for information about counterfeit Melissa shoes, her site was one of the only ones that came up with helpful information. After I left a comment, she emailed me saying she had posted more information and photos – so I asked her if I could use the photos and information in this post. Here’s what she has to say:

The authentic box is pull out, with a hole and metal ring to open it, and the sticker on the side gives a full description of the shoe and a drawn image (this is the box of the same style of shoe but the ‘Orb’ version). The tags are written in whatever it is that Brazilian people speak, and then English, is in two parts, and attached to the shoe via the gold ball-chain.

On the back of the tags is (I think) the style code, and what month and year it’s from.

Overall Appearance

On the counterfeits, the strap appears to be at a different angle & the heels are slightly thicker than the authentic shoes. Note the finish of the plastic also – from the photos I’ve seen of authentic Melissa shoes, the plastic is shiny, like a very high sheen patent. The plastic on the counterfeits is duller (and also appears to show every single fingerprint and smudge). The counterfeit shoes also have glue showing in several spots around the edge of the lining & at the tips of the toes, as well as mold seams visible in more places than the original.

Note the different angle of the orb logo and the thick band at the bottom of the orb on the counterfeit.

Princess Poochie also spotted another difference between the fakes & authentic shoes: on the authentic shoes, the orbs on the lining both face the same way (see this photo for reference). On the fakes, the orbs are mirror images of each other.

Colors

Melissa originally released these shoes in salmon (a pinkish color, with a black heart), blue (with a red heart), pearlescent white (with a red heart), and yellow (with a black heart). In November, four new colors will be released: gray, gold, fuchsia, and lilac. Any colorway other than these eight is definitely counterfeit. And that is straight from the horse’s mouth (a Melissa rep via email). There are of course counterfeits in the ‘official’ colors as well, though.

Details

The studs on the authentic shoes are gold-tone flat disc type studs. The counterfeit shoes have a cone shaped stud with a flattened top, in a silver tone.

Authentic Melissa shose will have American, European, and Brazilian sizes on the sole, as the shoes are made in Brazil. They’re placed closer to the arch of the shoe, and there’s also a Melissa logo in the middle of the arch. They also say “Made in Brazil/Hecho En Brasil” on the outer corner of the treaded part of the sole. Counterfeit shoes only have European and American sizes on treaded part of the sole (my photo is blurry as the camera wasn’t cooperating, but you get the idea).

Seller(s) to avoid & places to buy from

The seller I bought from is glamoramadesigns on eBay. I wouldn’t normally post the seller’s user ID, but after emailing with her and looking at her feedback (it is vastly positive, but there are one or two comments about the item being a good fake/counterfeit), I think she probably knows she’s selling counterfeits. Not to mention, over the course of 3-4 weeks, she must have sold at least 30 (and I think more than that) pairs at $60-100 each – so she’s made well over $1000 selling these counterfeit items. I emailed her about getting a refund and gave her the benefit of the doubt about her knowledge of the dubious nature of these items. She told me that she would need to converse with her “supplier” who “never sells fakes”, since I had worn the shoes (once, for ten minutes, indoors – which is a moot point anyways as they shouldn’t be resold!), and that there was no guarantee of a refund. After providing detailed comparison photos and a screencap of the email from Melissa that stated these were definitely counterfeit because of the colorway, she suddenly stopped responding to my emails, after replying to every other email within two to three hours. Not exactly innocent behavior.

Melissa’s online US (and I think several other countries) shop is still in the works, unfortunately. It is probably safe to buy from eBay – just examine the details very closely! Ask for more photos if you need to, and I would personally be suspicious of private auctions or auctions with absolutely no refund policy. Nicole’s blog post says that brick and mortar shops are selling them too – so be careful.

List of authorized resellers:

  • Epaulet
  • Zappos.com
  • La Rousse
  • Members only shoping sites like Gilt, Rue La La, ideeli.
  • And of course, if you live in Indonesia, Australia, or New Zealand, you can purchase at Melissa’s site.

What to do if you’ve been sold counterfeits

This eBay guide has a pretty extensive list of resources to look at. Short version: you can report to eBay, Paypal, the USPS (mailing counterfeit items that the mailer received money is mail fraud & thus very illegal), the Internet Fraud Complaint Center for the FBI, and the Better Business Bureau. I’ve spoken with the people at Melissa and they would also appreciate an email with the seller’s information (eBay ID, website, or name of business/address/phone number) when you find counterfeits.

If it’s within 45 days, you can file a dispute with Paypal and chances are you’ll get your money back. After 45 days, a dispute can still be filed – when I spoke with a Paypal representative on Monday, she said that they keep the disputes on file for 180 days and if there’s enough complaints about a certain seller, chances are the dispute will be revisited whether they were filed past the cut-off date or not. Because of this (and the fact that, well, I wish someone had told me these were fakes sooner), I’ll be contacting the other eBayers who bought these shoes and letting them know there’s a good chance they’re counterfeit, even if it borders on crazy internet lady behavior.

As of writing this (Monday night), I haven’t gone through the other channels yet. I’m planning on calling eBay today, and I’ll file a complaint with USPS/IFCC/BBB after that. I’ll update the post when I hear anything back from these avenues.

**update** I just got off the phone with eBay. This is what the rep that I spoke to said as far as reporting her to eBay:

Go to your Paypal account and sign in. Find the transaction where you bought the counterfeit item and click on it, it’ll have the eBay item number and it should have a link to the auction under “Item Title”. Click on the auction link, under “other item info” there’s share, print, and report item. Click “report item” . Reason for report = Counterfeits and Copy Violations, Detailed reason = potential trademark infringement, additional information = counterfeit clothing/shoes/etc. You then have 100 characters to explain. It may help to have shortened links. Here’s a shortened link to the screencap of the email from Melissa saying they don’t do black/red (and explicitly stating the colors they do use): http://bit.ly/4b4zvZ And here’s the shortened link verson to this post: http://bit.ly/38qCoY

If you have time, you might take photos of your’s and do a collage of comparison photos like I did (I used Picasa, it was pretty fast/easy), linking to that as well. And of course – file a dispute with Paypal ASAP.

I’ve filed a complaint with the USPS and IC3, I’ll be filing with the BBB and FTC later today. All of those agencies seem to look into complaints only when they’re en masse, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyways. I also got an email back from one of the eBay members I contacted saying that she didn’t buy a pair of these shoes, but got a pair of knock-off Juicy Couture shoes instead. It’s looking less and less likely that this seller DIDN’T know she was selling counterfeits.

If you’re reading this because I emailed you, and you bought counterfeit shoes from this seller, leave a comment! If you want to file for mail fraud and etc., I’ve found the seller’s address and will email it to you (along with her full name and email address) to make filing more effective. And when you file at IC3, be sure to mention that there have been multiple victims.

I hope this is helpful to someone else! I would hate for another person to get duped. I just remember how disappointed I was with the quality of the shoes, but for some reason the thought of them being counterfeit never crossed my mind. If you have any more eBay sellers to report, or authorized resellers to suggest, leave a comment, I’ll edit the post and add them. Thank you for reading and again, I hope this helped!

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14 Responses to “Won’t Get Fooled Again: Counterfeit Melissa Shoes”

  • I’m so sorry this happened to you, dear. :/ I really hope that you’re able to get your money back (I wouldn’t have even told her you wore them, since 10 minutes in your house is like trying them on).

    Another safer alternative is the members only shopping sites. Gilt has a guarantee of authenticity, and mine are authentic. Ideeli had them as well. I’m sure that shops like Revolve are okay as well, but there are still very limited shops that sell them in the U.S.
    Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..The Art of Wearing Wigs My ComLuv Profile

  • Betsey J says:

    oh no!
    that’s so terrible!!
    ughhhh….
    I’ve bought fake designer bags but I was aware of their fakeness.
    I just don’t know how people can sell someone something fake and know about it.
    Betsey J´s last blog ..Daily Outfit 10.27: The Mod Squad My ComLuv Profile

  • I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you, but I think that you’re going to be able to help so many people with this.

    Thanks for taking the time to write about it. :)

    Love,
    Jaime
    Jaime @ Denim Debutante´s last blog ..Miner49er (and Denim Design Lab) Expansion… to Hong Kong! My ComLuv Profile

  • Poochie says:

    I linked to you – http://tinyurl.com/yz77tcq. I bought mine through Epulet. I can’t believe the seller is risking her online rep to not work with you on an obvious counterfeit case.
    Poochie´s last blog ..Buyer Beware: Vivienne Westwood Melissas My ComLuv Profile

  • Ginger says:

    Ohhh man, that is BALLS!

    I hate deceptive people like that, and I hate the feeling of being taken advantage of. I am so angry at that woman for you!

    The shoes are still cute, but you paid money for the REAL THING and you should get it. I hope everything works out in your favour, please keep us posted!
    Ginger´s last blog ..Me-ow! My ComLuv Profile

  • That is really unfortunate and it’s even worse because she’s trying to sweep it under the rug! I say take her to the cleaners! Thanks for educating us on how to handle this situation should ever happen to anyone else!

  • hanna says:

    ugh, how terrible that this happened to you — and how horrible of the seller to not want to work with you to resolve it! i hope both of you get the outcomes you deserve (positive for you, negative for her, obvi).
    hanna´s last blog ..the n00b’s guide to colorifying your wardrobe. My ComLuv Profile

  • Sheena says:

    I’m really sorry that this happened to you. I’m happy that you are being diligent about the situation and going through the channels to make sure that the seller doesn’t get away with this so easily. This is very helpful information as I’m sure there are so many people that might unknowingly buy fakes on Ebay and feel duped, but are unsure what to do about it or where to go.
    Sheena´s last blog ..Perfumania: Leslie Blodgett’s Bare Skin My ComLuv Profile

  • Amelia M says:

    I’ve been reading your twitter updates about this with great interest, and I must say that whilst I feel sorry for you being put in this situation, I think you’ve dealt with it in the best possible way. I’ve been ripped off on Ebay before, with no repercussions for the seller, despite my best efforts, so I think that taking it out into the blogosphere is a good way to get a proper result. I’m very much behind you with this one, and wish you the best of luck!
    Amelia M´s last blog ..Witerary Wednesdays: The Alchemist My ComLuv Profile

  • Mary P. says:

    I hope it all works out for the best in the end – already you’ve provided a very detailed account of how to go about reporting this.

    What goes around comes around and I am sure that seller will get his/her comeuppance!
    Mary P.´s last blog ..Inspiration: Teal hair accessories and hats My ComLuv Profile

  • Poochie says:

    Michelle I wanted to add one thing for your readers.

    I had an issue a few years ago where I won an antique glass jar on eBay. I think the cost was around $100 or so. It was shipping from the UK and pretty heavy and protected shipping was almost $40 with the exchange rate.

    When I finally recieved the box it was the wrong piece. A piece the seller had listed for a fraction of the cost of the one I had purchased. I contacted them and let them know they had sent me the wrong piece by mistake. I asked them to refund me an amount to ship this back so I would not have to shell out an additional $40 on top of the $140 I’d already given them while also not even having the piece as “collateral”. I thought that seemed fair.

    They refused.

    I tried to go through eBay and PayPal but they would not begin the disput process until I had shipped back and had proof of shipping of the wrong piece. While all these discussions were going on, the seller took down the cheap piece and blocked my efforts at communication. Ebay and PayPal wouldn’t help me at all.

    The only thing that saved me was that I had used a credit card to make the payment via PayPal. I finally had to get my credit card company involved to investigate and they refunded me. The seller never claimed their cheap piece and I ended up donating it.

    My advice is – always pay with a credit card even if you are using PayPal(especially AmEx if you have one – they are the best) because they give you an additional protection and are there to serve you not the seller.

    Just a word of advice from someone who’s been through this before as well.

    - Poochie
    Poochie´s last blog ..Buyer Beware: Vivienne Westwood Melissas My ComLuv Profile

  • Joan says:

    OMG. That totally sucks. Hope you got your money back! A bunch of new Melissa shoes just arrived (including some Vivienne Westwoods) at Shoplarousse.com. Definitely worth checking out. If you enter INDUSTRY20 at check out you can save an additional 20% too. It’s some new coupon code for fashion bloggers.

  • Retro Chick says:

    That’s such helpful information.

    It always amazes me the things that get counterfeited.

    I managed to buy a counterfeit iPod shuffle! Like I wouldn’t notice the minute I tried to synch it with iTunes! I got my money back quite easily on that though. Good luck with your fight.
    Retro Chick´s last blog ..Tim Burton and some Halloween Fashion Inspiration My ComLuv Profile

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for the support everyone! I’ve been speaking with the people from Melissa & I think there’s a chance I’ll get my money back.

    Joan, I’ll add La Rousse to the list of authorized resellers. Thanks for the heads up (& the coupon code!). :)

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