The RealReal is a go-to seller of pre-owned luxury and streetwear items. The company boasts that each product is 100 percent authenticated by an expert, however, recent claims suggest that these so-called experts may be anything but, as customers have begun to complain about receiving fake items.
CNBC reported earlier this month that The RealReal sometimes uses copywriters with little training to authenticate products, allowing counterfeit goods to make their way onto the online marketplace. The story stemmed from interviews with roughly three dozen former employees and internal company documents.
Prior to CNBC's findings, Fashionista published a story on a Washington D.C.-based news and legal analysis firm, The Capitol Forum, who made similar claims revolving around undertrained copywriters authenticating a large portion of items for The RealReal. One former copywriter told them, “They give you a quick 5-minute presentation on what things should look like and then have you go.”
“This company’s actions and misrepresentations are clearly calculated to sell their subscriptions and improperly manipulate the market for the benefit of short-sellers on behalf of their subscribers. These people are not journalists and they are not credible,” The RealReal told Fashionista in light of The Capitol Forum report.
Since then, The RealReal has responded to the recent CNBC story, insisting the report “does not accurately represent the depth of our team’s expertise and the thoroughness of our authentication process."
"We stand behind both our process and authenticity guarantee, and will continue to provide a safe and reliable platform for buying and consigning luxury items,” The RealReal added.
During a call with investors earlier this week, The RealReal founder and CEO Julie Wainwright addressed the company's utilization of copywriters to authenticate products. She informed that receivers at the processing centers first review the items and separate ones considered "high risk." From there, the goods are scanned by a dedicated group of authenticators, as “other items are authenticated by our copywriters,” she said.
Still, customers have been complaining about receiving fake items from The RealReal. The company admits, however, that while striving for perfection, some counterfeit products may make their way onto the platform.
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