There are a hundreds of traders selling fake North Face outdoor gear on E-bay. They will return the money if you send back the goods, as they want to keep trading. But the danger of buying bargain outdoor gear via the net is that you end up stranded in the dark up a mountain, shivering your arse off (note to UK readers – North Face is high fashion, high cost outdoor gear- much loved in the USA) .
One seller on E-Bay was auctioning multiple fake North Face items – yet according to one customer who managed to get a refund, he had dozens of positive feedbacks from other customers who did not realise they had been duped.
Many of the most experienced hikers and backpackers avoid North Face altogether these days because of the high number of fakes. Some experts go for a brand called Mountain Hardware because they spend less on advertising so do not get knocked off nearly as much, although there are still fakes out there. You can find advice on spotting fakes here: http://www.thenorthfaceguru.com . Also: http://www.beijingtraveltips.com/tips/shopping_2/fake_goods.htm
One user recommends Mongolia for genuine North Face at a discount. He got 5 windstopper softshells for $100 in Ulan Batar. They work just the same as ones which mates bought over here for £100. Apparently lots of stuff ‘goes missing’ from the actual factories where low-paid labour tries to increase their weekly take-home.
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Nepal, on the other hand is teeming with bad quality TNF, Mountain Hardware and the interesting Everest Hardware brand! About as warm as the Emperor’s new clothes when you are high up a Nepalese mountain.
There’s another E-Bay trader in Hong Kong selling outrageously obvious rip-offs – ’80s/ ’90s gear with Modern Summit Series logos. There’s also bootleg Marmot outdoor gear on E-bay.
One customer bought an XCR jacket, another respected brand, and found it consisted of “ Clingfilm sandwiched between rebranded Peter Storm cagoules”.
It’s possible to buy North Face gear very cheaply indeed in China, where much of the genuine stuff is manufactured (e.g. ski jacket for £18). Some of it is fake, but much more is knock-off—i.e. went missing from the factory. In Hong Kong you have old Chinese biddies wandering around in North Face puffers they bought in Kowloon for a buck.
One unhappy customer emailed the VF Corporation (owners of North Face) about the number of fakes, and the fact that it will in the long term undermine their brand image amongst serious users. They just wrote back saying that they ‘could not verify if the were fake so you must buy through a recognised retailer’. This was a bit lame, so if they can’t be bothered to do something they why should we worry for them?
IF you bought from someone in UK, then after making sure you have had your money returned you can go to: http://www.consumercomplaints.org.uk/index.asp