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Seller on Instagram allegedly dupes woman into paying $3,600 for a fake Chanel bag, then ghosts her

Seller on Instagram allegedly dupes woman into paying $3,600 for a fake Chanel bag, then ghosts her
After finding out that the Chanel handbag she bought is a counterfeit, Lee said she had lost hope in getting her money back.

One Singaporean woman, who only wanted to be known as Lee, thought she had found a good deal saving "about $100" after buying a Chanel handbag from a seller on Instagram.

That 'savings' became a costly $3,600 mistake instead as the bag turned out to be a counterfeit, she said.

This 27-year-old from the finance industry told AsiaOne on Tuesday (April 19) that she had been eyeing a Chanel bag, and had been following several Instagram accounts that were selling luxury goods.

One of them was, whom Lee felt "looked legitimate" since several of her friends had also followed this social media account.

Lee then got in touch with the seller Esther, who claimed that she was able to sell luxury goods "cheaper" since her supply came directly from the stores in Europe.

"I thought it would be safe to buy from her since the number of Instagram followers (at 13,000) she had was quite substantial," she said.

After enquiring on a Chanel clutch with chain for $3,600, Lee said she transferred the money to Esther in early February this year through a bank account address in Malaysia. A bag of a similar design is listed at $3,790 on the official Chanel website.

However, Lee felt something was amiss a month later. The seller claimed there was a defect in the bag that she had ordered, which meant the delivery date would have to be delayed.

Describing how Esther assured her that she would be "100 per cent responsible" for the delivery, Lee said: "She sounded very confident, and I felt comforted by what she said."

The handbag eventually arrived at her doorstep in early April, along with a receipt from a Chanel store that Lee said looked "very real".

But after carrying the handbag for around two weeks, Lee said she came across an Instagram story shared by a mutual friend, warning of an Instagram account that was touting counterfeit luxury goods.

It was the same account that Lee had purchased her Chanel handbag from and she said she quickly messaged Esther.

"[Esther] took some time to reply [me], but she said that the customer (who shared the Instagram story) did not like the model of the bag and requested a refund," Lee said, adding that the seller claimed that the Instagram story is "free advertising" since "people absorb negative news more than positive news."

Unconvinced with Esther's explanation, Lee forked out $100 to get her handbag authenticated online through a US website where she was told that it is a "bad fake".

She contacted Esther requesting for a refund but the seller ghosted her.

Now, apart from crossing the border to make a police report, Lee said she had lost all hope of getting her money back.

"From now on, I won't care about the few $100 to $200 that I can potentially save [by buying online]," Lee said, adding that she also got in touch with other women who said they had bought luxury goods from the same seller.

One of them is Lim, who claimed she and her friend were duped into paying $7,200 for a Chanel handbag and $1,200 for a pair of earrings on April 10.

Like Lee, the 31-year-old from the retail industry told AsiaOne that they had "given up" on pressing the seller for a refund.

Lim said: "We felt helpless, because the scammer is making things very difficult for us. Honestly, [losing the money] is making me feel very depressed.

"But it's a lesson learnt, just a very expensive one."

AsiaOne has reached out to Esther for comment. Her Instagram account has since been deleted.

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