Former Employee Says The RealReal Sells Fake Luxury Goods Online And Knowingly Authenticates Them

The RealReal buys and sells luxury fashion clothing and accessories online, but the brand has been accused many times of authenticating and selling fake items that are pawned off as the real thing.

By Gina Florio2 min read
the realreal

Many women shop at The RealReal because of the lower prices that just aren't available when you purchase luxury fashion items straight from the brand. The website describes itself as an "authenticated luxury consignment," and you can buy anything from Christian Dior handbags to Gucci sneakers to designer jewelry. But an interview from a few years ago featured a former employee who says there are many fake items that get authenticated on the site. This claim has only gotten bigger and bigger over the last couple years.

Former Employee Says The RealReal Sells Fake Luxury Goods Online and Knowingly Authenticates Them

In 2019, CNBC reported on the matter and interviewed a former employee who used to work at a warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey. Shanice Parchment was a copywriter for The RealReal for 3.5 years; she told CNBC there were many fake items that were authenticated by her coworkers. "I don't think anyone had enough training to authenticate anything," she said.

Parchment isn't the only one who has shared accounts of fake items being sold by The RealReal. A news release showed that the brand's authentication team processed nearly 490,000 items and 4,000 fakes were found—in the month of October 2019 alone. There were also 139 products that were rejected by The RealReal's quality control team after they were posted on the site.

Some reports showed that fake Ugg Australia boots were sold as the real thing, but you could see by the bow on the back of the shoe and the bottom of the shoe were inconsistent with the original item. Things like a Valentino scarf and Jimmy Choo shoes had the wrong labels on them, whether it was "made in China" or "Jimmy Choo London."

A clip from the CNBC interview with Parchment was shared on TikTok, and the comment section is full of even more claims that the company is a terrible place to work. "Ive had friends who worked as copywriters at the RealReal... confirmed and one of the most toxic work environments I hear [sic]," someone wrote. "Worked there for 2 months it's ghetto there [sic]," someone else commented. "Lol I had a friend who was able to sell their high quality fakes on therealreal," another woman added.

Many other users said they've struggled with The RealReal's customer service in the past and the company doesn't give any proof of authenticity. Many people speculate that there is so much inventory that they don't even have the time (or make the time) to authenticate everything because of the volume. Just a couple days after the story originally aired, CEO Julie Wainwright emailed The RealReal customers and said, "We strive for perfection but we may not be perfect every single time."

Few people believe that The RealReal has simply made mistakes, and many believe that the company is much more concerned with turning a huge profit rather than keeping the integrity of their sales. The RealReal has already sold almost 12 million products since its onset.