Although this guide is specific to spotting certain fake The North Face Womens Nuptse Jackets, some of the advice applies to Men's Jackets as well. Other The North Face styles that are often counterfeited and sold on eBay are Metropolis, Triple C, Atlantic, and ESPECIALLY the Denali.
I thought I was knowledgeable enough to avoid fake The North Face jackets, but I still got scammed by another eBay seller. I was able to return my black Nuptse jacket for a full refund, however I realized that the majority of Nuptse jackets for sale on eBay are counterfeit.
But what is most disturbing: a lot of the eBay sellers listing counterfeit black and white The North Face womens Nuptse jackets are PowerSellers with excellent feedback! (The other day I did a search in Womens Clothing and found 18 PowerSellers selling counterfeit Nuptse jackets.)
Here's what you should watch out for:
1) Sellers (mostly from the New York metropolitan area (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx) and New Jersey) with endless supplies of black or white Nuptse Jackets (or even other The North Face Jackets like Atlantic, Metropolis, Denali, etc.)
Just be wary of sellers who frequently relist the same style jacket (usually in the same color, or limited color choices) as they are probably getting their jackets from a counterfeit wholesaler.
I would also avoid sellers from China who are offering ANY kind of The North Face items.
(Obviously, I'm not talking about sellers who are offering legitimate overstock or liquidated inventory but once you know what to look for you can tell the difference.)
Some of these sellers are PowerSellers, some even insist their items are 100% authentic and offer a money back guarantee. Although I applaud them for covering their items with a money back guarantee, and feel more sellers should do the same, it's only a ploy to avoid receiving negative feedback. It doesn't mean the item is genuine! I would suspect the other brands they are selling are fake as well. (Nike, Juicy Couture, etc.) A lot of these sellers seem to be offering similar items, i.e. they're all using the same "wholesaler." If the seller is claiming his items are authentic because his wholesaler is telling him they're authentic, guess what? FAKE. I've been told on thenorthfaceguru .com website that "The North Face has very few sales offices. One office based in PA covers DC, PA, MD, DE, NJ and NY. There is no other legitimate source to buy at wholesale, and those Retailers who do buy wholesale have to be authorized retail stores that follow strict policy."
Money back guarantee or no, what these sellers are doing is illegal. It's also illegal to sell a jacket as fake, i.e. to inform your buyers that the jacket is fake. Sellers also can't claim ignorance of whether an item is fake or not.
Black or white Nuptse jackets are popular and it's hard to find them on sale -- they usually sell out, even at retail prices. 99% of my North Face items for auction come from authorized retailers, and I rarely score a white Nuptse jacket, let alone a black one. So where are these sellers getting seemingly unlimited numbers of Nuptses from? Check the seller's other listings, and completed listings. A steady supply of black and white Nuptses (or Atlantic Jackets,Triple C Jackets, Denalis, etc.) should raise an enormous red flag.
2) Examine any pictures in the auction.
The majority of these sellers don't take pictures of their items and are using stock photos ONLY, but after I bought my fake Nuptse I was able to spot similarities between my jacket and others for sale on eBay.
I knew my jacket was fake before I even took it out of its packaging. In fact, the plastic bag itself was different. Any The North Face jacket I've purchased from an authorized retailer that came in a plastic bag had a sticker on the bag that contained all the information that was also found on the sticker on the back of the red The North Face cardboard tag (style number, gender, style name, color, size, serial number, where it was made, retail price.) You don't always get a bag, however, even when it's purchased from an official retailer, and sometimes they'll repackage it in their own bag, which will still have some kind of inventory stickers on it.
NO 700 fill Nuptse jackets come with a small pouch containing down. You will see this "down pouch" attached at the neck of the jacket, along with the standard red The North Face tag, on counterfeits. (The Triple C jacket I owned did come with a down pouch but it was labelled with The North Face Logo on one side and "700 Fill Goose Down" on the other.)
The counterfeit jacket I received was not soft and fluffy like my The North Face Nuptse vest -- it was almost flat, as if there were hardly any down at all, and the shell material was stiffer. Puffiness is something you can distinguish from a photo, if not shell material. Once received, these two characteristics should be enough to tip off buyers that it's not authentic.
The fit of a counterfeit jacket will be awful. Boxy, and/or the arms are too short. Again, hard to spot from photos.
The red The North Face tag I keep mentioning looks a little funny on the counterfeit jacket. The font of the print on the back sticker didn't quite match the font used by The North Face, it wasn't as dark, and it may have a weird serial number. But if you had never owned a North Face jacket before, you probably wouldn't have noticed this.
The cuffs weren't right, either, the velcro tabs weren't as wide as they are on the authentic jacket.
The logos and neck label were the only things that looked legit to me, which is usually the first thing I check for.
It has been my experience that you can tell right away when the jacket is fake in person. Most likely there is a good reason why your suspicions would be raised -- after all, these are poor quality jackets! And yet, eBay buyers continue to give these sellers good feedback. Are they too trusting, or just ignorant? If you think your jacket is fake you can take it to an authorized retailer, or better yet, send it to The North Face Warranty Department and they will authenticate it and ship it back to you for free. (Authenticate means they will examine your item and return it to you with a letter stating whether your item is authentic or not.) You only have to pay to ship your item to their office. The process takes about three weeks; include a note with your item that you would like it authenticated, with a return address.
The North Face Warranty Department
14450 Doolittle Drive
San Leandro CA 94577
3) Check the bidding
As I've mentioned, black or white Nuptses are popular on eBay and they usually go for a small fortune. If a PowerSeller is listing them for a low Buy It Now price, or more importantly, only inexperienced bidders are purchasing his items, maybe there's a good reason why savvy buyers are shying away!
If you have questions about the authenticity of an eBay auction, visit the forums at thenorthfaceguru .com and ask questions! They are far more knowledgeable than I am, and they also have a great thread on what you should do if you get scammed. (If you want a quick opinion of another seller's listings, you can contact me through eBay, but as I've said, the people at thenorthfaceguru website are a better resource.)
I would also be wary of counterfeit The North Face Denali Jackets, Triple C Jackets, Metropolis Jackets and Atlantic Jackets on eBay. The Triple C has 700 down fill and the Metropolis has 600 down fill. I would be leery of any Triple C advertised as having 550 Down Fill, and in 3/4 length. The Triple C is a full length coat. Also, the authentic Triple C Jackets I have seen have the tags by the waist pocket. The fake 550 fill Jackets on eBay show them at the neck. Authentic Metropolis Jackets should have the "600" on the left sleeve, and 2007 season Triple Cs have the "700" on the left sleeve as well. 2006 season Triple Cs don't have a 700, but they came with a down pouch as mentioned earlier.
There are even more fake Denalis than fake Nuptses on eBay.
I was told that The North Face doesn't use the red octagon Windstopper collar-tag, which you will see on a lot of Soft Shell or Fleece counterfeit jackets, but I have seen that tag on Factory Outlet items and on The North Face Take Me Down Jacket. (Factory Outlet items do not come with the Lifetime Guarantee and will have marks on the neck label to prevent retail return.) 3XDRY is not a North Face technology. And North Face and Summit Series embroidered logos will be poorly done on fakes.
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