The RealReal Gets Called Out Again For Selling Fakes

Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images.
Earlier this summer, the RealReal misclassified several designer collaborations as authentic. Now, thanks to CNBC report, it looks like that may just be the tip of the counterfeit iceberg. On Tuesday, published findings showed that not everything sold on the luxury consignment retailer is authenticated by an expert and since employees are under so much stress, the website often lists and sells fakes.
“Of nearly 1,400 reviews of the company found online, the top complaints are fakes, damage and poor customer service,” the CNBC notes. “The complaints include wrong sizes and that the photos online were misleading because they did not match the appearance of the item.”
CNBC obtained internal documents stipulating the quotas that copywriters at the RealReal have to meet. According to their findings, those staffers are expected to evaluate between 105 and 160 items per day. CNBC also spoke to employees who said they were not as thorough as necessary to meet their quotas.
“Authentication is extremely complex. It’s both an art and science. We stand by our authentication process and will always work with our customers to make things right,” the company said in a statement to CNBC.
In June, Refinery29 spoke with a former employee who confirmed what the CNBC is now reporting: Employees are not adequately trained to spot the fakes. On top of that, the fakes are getting more convincing, the former authenticator told Refinery29.
As far as the items found that were mislabeled earlier this year, the former employee said they went through the copywriting team and not the authenticity team. “They know some of the stuff but they are not really trained, and they have to do a certain number of copy per item every day," the source explained. "So its really numbers-based and they are going really quickly.”
The RealReal is denying any wrongdoing. In a statement to Refinery29, the retailer says:
CNBC's report does not accurately represent the depth of our team's expertise and the thoroughness of our authentication process.

The RealReal has a rigorous authentication process, it is core to what we do and central to our brand. We make every effort to accurately authenticate the items we receive. If there is a question about the authenticity of an item purchased from The RealReal, we will always work with our customers to make things right. 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.
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