Welcome to the 372nd Metamorphosis Monday!
My metamorphosis is a bit different today. Instead of a Before and After, it’s more like a Real vs Fake. Back in early February, I decided to add an iconic piece to my winter wardrobe, something I’ve been wanting for many years: a Burberry scarf in the classic heritage check. Since Burberry was still offering the free monogramming they had offered during the Christmas holidays, I decided to go ahead and have them monogram it.
After I placed my order, just for fun I decided to see if there were any Burberry scarves on eBay. Do you ever do that, purchase something online and then out of curiosity check eBay to see if the item is also available there?
When I visited eBay, I was surprised to see a “Buy Now” auction for a “New” Burberry scarf that looked identical to the one I had just purchased, only for much less. The seller had excellent feedback after many transactions and accepted returns if an item was returned within 14 days. Since the scarf was such a good deal, I decided to order it to give as a gift next Christmas.
I wasn’t worried about purchasing it on eBay because I paid via PayPal and I knew eBay would stand behind the purchase with their “eBay Money Back Guarantee.” I’ve been shopping on eBay for many years and so far I’ve never been left with defective merchandise. So between the seller’s excellent feedback and return policy, and eBay’s Money Back Guarantee, I decided to order it.
A few hours after buying it, I received the following email from eBay. Umm, this was new and different. I’ve never gotten an email like this from eBay. I didn’t know that it was even possible for a bad guy to take over someone else’s eBay account. If you have ever sold anything on eBay, make sure you have a really strong password!
Since I always pay immediately when purchasing something on eBay, I called my credit card company to make them aware of the situation. They told me that chances were the charge would never be submitted since it usually takes 24-48 hours for eBay purchases to be submitted for payment. I didn’t think anything else about it and decided to just wait until I received my statement to verify I hadn’t been charged or if I had, it had been credited back.
The following Monday my scarf arrived from Burberry.
It completely lived up to all the wonderful things I’ve always heard about Burberry scarves. Words can’t adequately describe how soft it is. I’ve had cashmere sweaters before and even cashmere scarves, but none have ever compared to the softness of this scarf.
I can see how Burberry scarves become heirloom pieces that get passed down to a son or daughter. I’m hoping when I’m gone one day, my son or dil will enjoy this scarf and that maybe the monogram will make it even more special to them, although I may have bought one for them by then. 🙂
So here’s where it gets really interesting. The exact same day my scarf arrived from Burberry, this scarf below arrived in the mail. What??? Yep, the scarf I had purchased on eBay, apparently via a hacked eBay account, actually arrived. I hadn’t expected to receive anything at all. I immediately called eBay and they assured me I had been credited for the scarf.
eBay said they would email me a prepaid return label and they asked that I mail the scarf to the address on the label. A couple of hours later the email arrived with a link to print out the prepaid mailing label. I printed it out and was surprised to see they were having me return it to an actual person at an address in Tennessee. Umm, I figured they would have me return it to some address where eBay collects fraudulent merchandise. So, I slapped the prepaid label on the package, took it to the post office and sent it on its way. And that was that…or was it?
About two weeks later that same package appeared back in my mailbox with this label on it. Weird, huh? I wondered why eBay had sent me a label with an address that apparently wasn’t valid. I could tell someone had torn open the package, but whoever opened it, didn’t keep the scarf. Like a bad penny, it was back again!
After some thought, I’ve decided I’m going to call Burberry and ask them if they would like it. I don’t want to donate it for fear it will end up back on eBay again. I thought Burberry might enjoy having it for purposes of educating their staff or just to see what the fraudsters are up to these days. But before I contact Burberry, I thought I’d let you take a look at how the two scarves differ, in case you run into a similar situation or in case you’re just curious exactly how a fake Burberry scarf looks.
Before we get started, I want to state one thing very clearly: If I didn’t have an actual Burberry scarf for comparison, I doubt I would have thought the second one I ordered on eBay was anything but the real thing. It definitely feels like cashmere, though not as soft as the scarf from Burberry.
There are some definite differences, but without a real Burberry scarf at hand, I probably would have thought the one from eBay was the real deal. In fact, a friend came over on Saturday and I put them to the test. They chose the fake scarf as the real one! Scary! Of course, as soon as I pointed out the differences between the two scarves, they immediately wanted to change their choice. Ha!
This first picture of the two scarves laying side-by-side best shows the most notable difference between the two scarves. Notice anything? You can’t miss the blurriness of the black stripe/check lines running through the fake scarf. That’s not dye that has bled downward on the scarf, it’s the fuzz of the cashmere (or whatever the scarf is made from) bleeding or hanging downward that causes it to have that blurred effect.
It’s not just the black design of the scarf that appears blurry or fuzzy on the fake Burberry scarf. The red stripe has the same issue.
Here’s another good example showing the difference in the red stripe on the fake scarf vs the real Burberry scarf. Also, notice how there’s very little color difference between the different sections of the fake scarf where you have a lot more color variation on the real scarf.
In this photo you can compare the fringe of the two scarves. There’s not a huge difference other than there seems to be more fraying or tearing along the edge where the fringe first starts on the fake scarf. Do you see it? It’s as if they frayed up further than they should have on the fake scarf, so it looks less finished and more fragile/torn along the edge.
I tried to get a close up so you could see the difference in the weave. Notice how the cashmere fabric of the real Burberry scarf looks more plush and bit fuzzier. The fake Burberry scarf does feel very soft, but not quite as soft as the real scarf on the right. If I had my eyes closed and someone placed one of my hands on each scarf, I could easily tell you which one was the real Burberry scarf. You don’t have to be looking at the scarves to tell, you can tell purely by feel. But again, if I didn’t have a real scarf to compare it against, I would never have known this one was a fake because it’s super soft and does feel like cashmere.
If I had to choose which scarf was real based on the tags that came on the scarves, I would have chosen wrong. The fake scarf had a much more authentic, impressive looking tag than the real scarf did.
The tag on the fake scarf is even held onto the scarf with a very authentic looking Burberry hanging string. The one on the top that is still attached to the scarf is fake and the one on the bottom is from the real scarf. One difference: I did notice that the “Burberry” letters on the fake hanging string have a slight purplish tint to them.
Here’s another tell-tale sign that gives away the fake Burberry scarf. The sewn-on Burberry tag looks pretty normal. In fact, I’ve seen quite a few older or vintage Burberry scarves on eBay with these skinny little Burberry tags.
But when you turn the scarf over, this is what you find on the other side, a very sloppily sewn mess. The thread where the tag is sewn on is very obvious and it doesn’t even look like they used matching thread to try to hide it.
Here’s how the tag looks on the real Burberry scarf. Again, the fact that the tag is larger and looks different doesn’t bother me since I know Burberry has used different sized tags on their scarves over the years.
But when you turn the scarf over and compare how nicely the tag is sewn on the real Burberry scarf to how the sewing looks on the fake scarf, it’s obvious which is the real scarf. Burberry would never use thread that didn’t blend in and would never leave loose thread sticking out.
If I had not ordered this scarf from Burberry, I’m not sure if I would have been able to tell the fake was a fake when it arrived. I’d like to think I would have noticed the terrible blurring of the lines and the poorly stitched label, but the fake scarf is sooo soft, it may have lulled me into thinking it was the real thing.
Professionals state that the only way to ever know that you have a real “anything” is to purchase it from the company itself or an authorized boutique/store. When buying on eBay, you could ask the seller for a receipt, but these days the bad guys probably know how to fake those, too.
I love this scarf and am glad I finally splurged and bought one. I wore it a few times in February before our weather turned warmer and it kept my neck toasty warm. I’m looking forward to wearing it for many years to come. If you would like one for yourself, you’ll find them here: Burberry Cashmere Scarf in Heritage Check. Pssst: If you order one, don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary monogramming since it appears they are still offering it.
I hope you found this comparison helpful. Will this stop me from purchasing on eBay? Definitely not! You can still find some amazing deals on eBay and as long as eBay continues to offer their money back guarantee and you pay with a credit card, (not a debit card) I think it can be a good deal. I especially love eBay for finding items that are no longer available in the store or have been discontinued. It has come in handy many times for that. There are so many great sellers on eBay and they definitely outnumber the bad ones.
To see how a Burberry scarf is made from start to finish, check out this 2 minute video: Making of a Burberry Scarf Loved the details in the video showing how the wool is washed in Scottish waters, the scarf is brushed with natural teasels, and the hand finishing process that takes place at the end. It helps to understand the cost when you watch that video. Really makes each scarf feel like a work of art.
Update: There’s been a tremendous amount in the news lately about the increase in counterfeit goods. Here’s a great article from Harpers Bazaar that explains the real dangers of buying knockoff or fake products: The Fight Against Fakes.
This article from share.america.gov is also excellent: What’s Wrong With Buying Counterfeit Goods? Way More Than You Think.
Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!
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