It's known as a store for bargains, and that's just what one woman thought she was getting when visiting a TJ Maxx store in Philadelphia.
However, upon her return home, she made a discovery that caused her to question the retailer.
Carole Tramutola thought the Bottega Veneta bag she purchased was real and that she got a bargain. The authentic version of the bags sell for $2,000 plus in upscale 5th Avenue stores.
It's far away from the TJ Maxx in suburban Philadelphia, where Carole found her bag secured in a special area reserved for high end merchandise.
She took the card out of the bag and saw the Bottega Veneta label and said to herself it has to be real, because they do not sell fakes.
Carole was so thrilled she bought another one for her sister. With nearly $2,000 of designer bags in hand, she arrived home to make some sad discoveries.
First, the bags were not soft like real ones. Bottega Veneta said they only use materials from Italy to make their bags. There should also be no made in India lining or New York leather tooling. The workmanship and missing threads also indicated the bag was not authentic.
TJ Maxx then agreed to investigate after hearing Carole's story. After examining the bags, they concluded they were not authentic Bottega Veneta bags.
TJ Maxx believes the original bags were purchased from their store by someone who kept the originals then returned cheap counterfeit versions like those sold by street vendors. The fake bags went undetected and entered the store merchandise flow.
They released this statement: "Unfortunately, retailers, and in this case, an innocent customer, sometime fall victim to fraudulent return activity . We are taking swift action to tighten our return procedures to prevent this situation from occurring again."
TJ Maxx headquarters says they are going to start a rigorous training program for store managers to spot fakes.
When you buy merchandise the best thing to do is what Carole did, get it home go online, compare features. If its supposed to be made in Italy but says made in India, you've got a problem.