Reebonz's reputation under jeopardy as CASE sees rise in complaints against firm

Luxury marketplace Reebonz has been slammed by buyers and sellers online for their products reportedly being counterfeit and payment to sellers being delayed. Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, it has received 37 consumer complaints against Reebonz from the beginning of 2019 to date. Buyers had complained that the pre-owned luxury products sold on Reebonz "were counterfeit or not authentic", adding that the products were "of poor quality", said Melvin Yong, president of CASE.  

Meanwhile, sellers also had issues with Reebonz. Citing Yong, sellers were owed more than SG$30,000 as of mid-August, and 11 complaints filed with CASE in 2021 were from sellers instead of buyers. Despite the agreed pay out period of 20 days, these sellers did not receive payment for the items sold even after waiting for several months. The sellers are under Reebonz's White Glove Service. The White Glove Service enables users to sell their pre-loved luxury items on Reebonz. Upon inspection from the ateliers, who are individuals responsible for checking the bags and authenticating them, an offer would be made and customers would be able to receive up to 95% payout of the final net selling price once the item gets sold. 

A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE found that Reebonz currently has a rating of 2.7 stars on Google Reviews, with many reviewers giving the brand a one-star rating compared to in 2020 when five-star ratings were still visible. Netizens mainly complained about delayed payments, especially for sellers; shipment delays and the lack of response from Reebonz when met with customer enquiries. Some have warned potential users to "deal at [their] own risk" and to be careful of the company. Others also expressed their disappointment in Reebonz as well as its White Glove Service, complaining about the lack of assistance from Reebonz when contacted about payment, as well as payment delays. 

According to Reebonz's website currently, the company has temporarily halted accepting new White Glove collections and is reviewing its existing process to better meet users' requirements. Reebonz told CNA that the company "just needs time" and that it is "not running out". It also added that "all will be paid" and explained that it is not the only company affected by the pandemic. According to CNA, Reebonz said it had paid "two batches last week" and payments are underway this week. The company also clarified that it uses "licenced ateliers", adding that it has been around for at least a decade. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Reebonz for a comment. 

Reebonz's selling platform is currently only available in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia. According to its website, its investor relations page is currently unavailable. Reebonz also had a physical store at Suntec City in Singapore but a check on the mall's directory found that the store is no longer available. Reebonz touts itself as "an online luxury specialist retailer". Users can shop by category, designer, colour, and price range on its platform. Reebonz also claims to have a global community of independent multi-brand boutiques, pre-owned luxury merchants and vintage dealers. Some of the brands available on the site include Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, YSL, Gucci, Coach, Chloe, and Salvatore Ferragamo, among others. 

As online shopping in Singapore grows in both volume and value, CASE is of the view that online marketplaces need to ensure that it has a robust set of policies and processes that protect both buyers and sellers. Online marketplaces should also be ethical and honour all contractual terms stated on the website/platform, as this will help establish trust between consumers and the platforms, and create a healthy eCommerce ecosystem in the long run which benefits both consumers and businesses.

Consumers that wish to purchase pre-owned luxury items from online marketplaces should take note, "online marketplaces are not experts in evaluating the authenticity of luxury items sold to the company", said Yong. The products that are sold at these platforms are often subjected to authenticity issues. When purchasing pre-owned luxury products, consumers should ask for certification and verify the authentication of the product. Additionally, customers may check the customer reviews or testimonial before purchasing, and patronise platforms with "clear exchange and refund policies", he explained. 

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