I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages as I’ve had so many questions regarding my recent “Birkin drama”. I shared part of the story on Instagram but if you’re keen to know the rest, read on!
For any luxury fashion-aholic a Hermes Birkin bag is the holy grail piece to have in your wardrobe. I’ve lusted and drooled over them since my early teens. Everything about it screams craftsmanship, quality and timeless elegance. Unfortunately, the scary price tag and their elusiveness (Birkin’s are renowned for being almost impossible to buy in store), meant I remained without one.
However, when I spotted one on Hardly Ever Worn It, the UK’s version of Vestiarie Collective, I thought now might be the time to invest. I have a big birthday coming up in January (I’m turning 30!) and figured it would be the ultimate birthday treat for myself.
The bag was priced at £5670.00 and after doing some research on the age, colour and condition, I felt confident this was the one. I fell in love with the colour which was a perfect mix between baby blue and grey. For those interested the official colour name is “Blue Lin”.
I rung Hardly Ever Worn It to double check the bag was still available. They lady who picked up was very curt and uninterested in me to begin with until she realised I was enquiring about a very pricey item and suddenly she switched to being nice as pie. It was a complete 180, red flag number one!
I mulled over the bag for a couple of days before taking the plunge and purchasing it. Rather than having it posted to me, I opted to pick it up from their Central London office. Hardly Ever Worn It suggested I pick it up on a day they were having a special shopping event, where they were showcasing some of their VIP items.
When I arrived, I was ushered into the room where the event was being held and noticed a baby blue Birkin similar to the one I’d purchased on display. As I got closer I realised it was in fact mine. I was standing there watching women yanking and pulling at it trying to find a price tag (there wasn’t one given it was already sold!) with a glass of champagne precariously balanced in the one hand. They would then plonk it back into the Hermes box, crumpling all the tissue paper as they did so.
Perhaps I am being pedantic but I was REALLY upset by this. I had already paid for the bag, so in my eyes, it should NOT have been put on display. With this being such an expensive purchase, I expected it to be kept safe and out of harm’s way, rather than having random people pawing over it and risking it getting marked or scratched. When I asked why it the bag had been put out, I was barely given a response. Just a shrug of the shoulders and a swift remark about how they wanted people to see it. Red flag number 2.
Despite being so upset, I still ended up purchasing another handbag! This particular one is sold out everywhere and I just couldn’t resist it. Annoyingly, when I went to pay my card was declined. I later found out there was a security issue as I’d just bought the Birkin on it and the bank wanted to verify my transactions. Anyway, Hardly Ever Worn It kindly kept it aside for me and I purchased it the next day once I’d spoken to the bank.
A couple of days later I went to pick up the second bag from their office. While I was there I was pulled aside by the COO who had told me they had accidently undersold the Birkin bag by £2500!
They explained that a new member of staff had made a mistake with the listing (who they since “let go” aka fired!) and the woman who originally owned the bag was absolutely furious (hardly surprisingly). They asked me if I would either return the bag or pay the difference. I was totally shell shocked! I said I’d sleep on it and get back to them.
I ummm’d and errr’d about it for 2 days and asked just about anyone I could for advice. Legally, Hardly Ever Worn It didn’t have a leg to stand on. The bag had been fully paid for and was in my possession so it 100% belonged to me. Technically, I didn’t owe them anything and I was certainly under no obligation to return it.
A lot of people advised me their mistake is your gain and to a certain extent, I agree with them. As a business owner, I would never ask a client to make up my shortcomings. However, I am also the sort of person that if I have the ability to make something right then I will. I’m also a great believer in doing the right thing and karma will reward you later (which in this circumstance, it did, but more on that later!).
Also, I still had the two red flags etched in my brain, so I decided to return it. I wrote a strongly worded email saying how disappointed I was that they had put me in this position. As a result, I would be returning both bags I’d purchased from them as they’d lost me as a customer.
It took a couple of day before I received a reply from the COO. She said she understood my disappointment and offered a £250 voucher to use in case I changed my mind. We arranged for me to drop the bags back a few days later.
The day before I was due to return them I began having second thoughts about the second bag as I really did love it and wanted to keep it. I asked if I could use the £250 credit they had offered against the bag. Knowing that they needed me return the Birkin which was saving them £2500, I was fairly hopeful they’d agree to it and they did.
Although I had to return the Birkin, I got another gorgeous bag and managed to save £250 on it, which meant my experience with them had a slightly happier ending.
However, I still wouldn’t shop with Hardly Every Worn It again and would advise others to be careful when buying or selling with them. There were too many red flags throughout my experience and I’m still bemused by the fact they asked me, a customer, to rectify an internal mistake. The disappointment and anguish they caused just isn’t justifiable.
I mentioned earlier about good karma and something amazing happened about two weeks after this whole drama. When I told a relative of mine, who has been collecting Birkin’s for nearly 2 decades, about Hardly Ever Worn It she informed she was potentially looking to part with a couple of hers. I ended up buying one off her for £2000 less than the Hardly Ever Worn It one. It’s not my ideal colour but it’s still a beauty and I can’t wait to reveal it very soon! Watch this space!