Buyer Etiquette and Expectations
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Fun fact: one of the titles we were considering for this wiki was “Beating A Dead Horse.” Just kidding. Well, not really. We joke about it, yet it’s a sad truth. Everything written here has been repeated on RL ad nauseam. Our intent in creating this guide is to formalize an essential code of conduct we can all abide by.
Being a good buyer is no different than being a good person, but when you combine the anonymity of online interactions with cultural and language barriers, the results can be downright ugly. We’re aware that a large segment of RL members are polite, compassionate, and know to treat others with dignity. However, there are a dreadful number of people who shouldn’t be buying reps, don’t deserve them, and based on the way we’ve seen them behave, must lead bereft, miserable lives.
In an effort to help the sellers, curtail unreasonable expectations, and combat senseless levels of entitlement, we’ve outlined ways to help you develop a good relationship with your seller, define the mods’ duties as it relates to order issues, and provide perspective that may be reassuring to new or anxious buyers. Please read everything carefully. After you’re done, if you feel we’re not making any sense and/or you’re displeased by our stance, then you would be better served purchasing retail. We’re not being dismissive. We are being honest. Reps, the process of buying reps, and the compromises it necessitates will not make you happy. Better to know now than later after you’ve already wasted your money.
Not every transaction is going to be sunshine and rainbows. Things will go wrong. When they do, this is what you can expect from the mods and how best to approach the situation:
Make a good faith effort to work things out with the seller before making your issue public on RL. If not, you risk making an absolute fool out of yourself. It’s happened many times. Most of the problems we’ve seen could have easily been resolved by simply communicating. Here are some helpful conflict resolution tips from the Newbie Guide.
Keep your composure during a conflict. Sellers are more willing to help when you’re being calm, patient, and understanding. If you choose to act like an asshole throwing a bitch fit, well, then you may be faced with some resistance. Good luck getting your way.
Let’s all get on the same page: you are buying bootleg contraband from sellers overseas. You are not shopping at Bergdorf or Harrods. If that’s the level of service you demand, then you need to pay for it. You can’t have it both ways, as in the full boutique experience at rep prices. That isn’t to say that sellers can’t be incredibly accommodating, but you shouldn’t assume they will be in every situation.
Treat your seller with respect. They are real people with feelings. Would you speak to a department store SA in such a reprehensible manner? We hope not. If you’re using all caps and saying things like, “DON’T PLAY WITH ME. RETURN MY FUCKING MONEY OR I’LL CALL THE POLICE” and/or using racial slurs, you will be banned by us and many of the popular RL sellers. End of story. We have zero tolerance for that bullshit.
Just because you haven’t heard from a seller in several days, it doesn’t mean they’ve stolen your money. You’re not the only customer they have. Yours is not the only order they’re working on. It’s not likely that a seller would jeopardize their livelihood for a few hundred dollars, so refrain from creating threads hysterically claiming that you’ve been scammed because you paid yesterday and haven’t received PSP yet.
Do not use RepLadies to threaten sellers. We cannot stress this enough. It happens too frequently and it is absolutely abhorrent.
Your problem with a seller does not warrant their removal from the list. We know you are upset, but try to be mature. It is boldly presumptuous and grossly self-involved to think that your issue alone is of such utmost importance and magnitude - others’ positive reviews be damned! - that it means a seller should immediately be deemed persona non grata over it. All of our most highly rated, well regarded sellers have and will fuck up because it’s impossible to please everyone 100% of the time. You don’t like a seller? Then don’t buy from them in the future. We don’t make changes to the list based on individual dissatisfaction.
We need to be realistic about the things we are purchasing. Of course, it’s everyone’s wish to get the most accurate items, but there comes a point when it gets out of hand. We’ve unintentionally fed into a collective frenzy of extreme nitpicking and it has to end. Our reset starts with this legendary quote: “Fucking behave yourselves.”
Rep vs. auth differences are not as bad as you think they are. Much of what we’re discussing, buying, and reviewing are high-end reps. They’re the best being produced and virtually indistinguishable from the auth to most everyone on the planet. They are not the horrendous Chinatown fakes people are accustomed to and think of when reps come to mind. There are specific things we characterize as “glaring flaws” like orange-toned LV mono canvas, Chanel Boy strap ends, and Goyard touching Ys, just to name a few. While those aspects can be viewed as inaccuracies, they also aren’t based on how insanely inconsistent the auths we’re comparing them to are. On TPF, you will find countless examples of different colored canvases, Boy straps that vary in shape, and Ys that are miles apart from each other. It isn’t necessary nor is it correct to be so unyielding when you’re QCing.
Reps aren’t for everyone. If you’re drawing a goddamn diagram on your PSP and marking up 1mm discrepancies, you shouldn’t be buying reps period. Sending that to your seller isn’t going to motivate them to find you something better. Quite the opposite. Sellers won’t hesitate to refund a buyer so they can be done with them. Forget about “the customer is always right.” They’re not and it doesn’t apply in a black market. Difficult customers are the ones who tend to harass and threaten sellers when their impossible demands aren’t met. Time is money, and the sellers understandably do not want to waste their time with overly picky buyers who make their jobs far more difficult than it needs to be.
Have some perspective. No one except other reps buyers would recognize a “tell-tale” sign of a fake. Jane Smith rolling up to 31 Rue Cambon to acquire her Classic Flap has never and will never pick the bag apart in such an exhaustive, painstaking way. She is absolutely ignorant about the length of the turnlock tab, the shape of the back pocket, the texture of the caviar, and the precise Pantone shade of the burgundy interior, which means that when she sees your 187 clone, she’s not going to notice shit.
No one cares nearly as much as you do. This brings us to our final point: you are staring at a macro photograph of an object with the sole intent of finding something wrong with it. A stranger taking a seconds long glance at you will not be able to QC your bag, nor will they think to. When leading publications like Harper’s Bazaar and New York Magazine can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s a very obvious fake, that should be a sign for you to stop freaking out over every minor detail because it’s a “dead giveaway.” It’s not. And if you have friends who would “call you out,” then what you really need to do is find new friends. It’s fine to want the best, obsessively research to uncover the rep that meets your criteria, and request an exchange when a rep differs significantly from the factory photos. All we’re asking is for you to be realistic. Perfection is not realistic.
Additional Links and Discussion
- General Purchasing Etiquette
- Expectations Refresher
- PSA for Buyers with Unrealistic Expectations
- Asshole Buyers Hall of Shame
- Don’t Do This
- You Are Not the Exception to This QC PSA