Handbag shopper seeks damages

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am


A 32-year-old woman is seeking compensation from Lane Crawford after she said she was locked in a VIP room at the luxury department store while staff looked into her request to authenticate a HK$17,900 bag she had bought there.

Dion Leung Wai-yin says she now distrusts the upmarket retailer, which gave her a refund and apologised for its 'shortfalls' in the matter. She is seeking HK$50,000, along with two Chanel handbags, to compensate for the distress she says she suffered.

The store has also offered Leung a HK$10,000 gift voucher, which she has refused, saying she will not shop there again.

Leung said that on March 4 she bought what appeared to be a Chanel bag at Lane Crawford in Tsim Sha Tsui but found it had defects. A Chanel shop in Causeway Bay refused to repair the bag, so she returned to Lane Crawford two days later to ask why Chanel would not fix it.

'I was locked in a VIP room, [an employee] served me hot chocolate and he started to chit-chat with me,' Leung said. 'When I asked him when were we going to discuss the bag, he tried to [talk] about his divorce, the size of his feet, and where he came from.'

Leung did not tell staff at the time, but she said she suffered from depression and anxiety that was aggravated by being in the room. She also said shop staff denied her request to have her sister present in the room.

During a wait of more than 90 minutes, Leung was offered a full refund for the damaged bag, which she later accepted because she felt she had no choice at the time.

The South China Morning Post has established that the handbag is a refurbished Chanel bag sourced by Lane Crawford from the New York vintage store What Goes Around Comes Around. The store reworks vintage designer items and sells them in high-end department stores.

The bag is a Chanel, but not an original design. However, Leung said she was told it was genuine when she bought it. The bag even came with a certificate of authenticity.

'They never told me it was another brand,' she said.

Franz Kraatz, Lane Crawford's senior vice-president of sales and operations, wrote in an e-mail to Leung: 'I am ... concerned that the matter was not handled in a more professional manner nor proper attention was provided. Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused by the service shortfalls.'

Kraatz said Lane Crawford had been assured by What Goes Around Comes Around the bag is authentic.