Need advice? After reading this article on fake TNF's, please visit my shop ( i sell self-adhesive underarm sweat pads ) - you can contact me for advice, i'll be happy to answer any questions you have.
I've just purchased a fake The North Face summit series jacket (BNWT) for £56 inc postage. On first appearance it looked the real thing. I'd done everything the 'manual' said i should; checked feedback, history etc. The seller had already sold a number of them, some for as much as £95, and every individual had left positive feedback. The appearance, to the uninitiated is actually very good and these people are, quite clearly, under impression that they've purchased the real thing!
I was lucky, as i had borrowed an original TNF from a friend and was so impressed that i decided to purchase one for myself on ebay. I had the original to compare with when my 'bargain' arrived - otherwise i may have been fooled (until the first downpour).
The seller offered me my money back on return of the jacket, but i can assure you he was far from apologetic. I sent the jacket back. It then took several weeks of procrastinating from him for me to realise that he had no intention of honouring my refund, and i was left with that awful sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. I then threatened legal action, as he had stupidly given me his full address for return of the jacket, and I eventually received a full refund plus my return postal expenses.
I've since spoken to a number of people who have been duped by this individual and, unfortunately, none have been as lucky as myself with regards to receiving their money back. The scammer has since de-registered himself, but he'll definitely be out there in another guise - so please beware of both him and the many others like him!
Since originally listing this review, i've been contacted by almost hundreds of people who've had similar experiences and have passed on some useful information which i'll try to include in this review.
The number one piece of advise is this: If it appears too good to be true, then it is!
Listen to me as i have the benefit of hundreds of peoples' experiences. You will NOT get a bargain anywhere for a brand new, top of the range TNF jacket - and that's fact! This type of jacket is so much in demand that it's impossible for it to sell at a 'bargain basement' price - it just won't happen. If you're currently looking at NEW one - especially a 'buy it now' - at anywhere under £100, then walk away. I know in your heart you want it to be the bargain you always dreamed about getting on ebay - but it's not, please believe me. I can't believe the amount of people who contact me every week AFTER a fake purchase - so, be savvy, don't end up like them.
The North Face only supply their products to authorised dealers - not to individuals. So anyone selling a BATCH of brand new TNF's on ebay is a con artist - period. Currently ebay is awash with counterfeit TNF jackets - it's just something they don't seem able to regulate.
Also, if the individal only accepts cheques or cash - run a mile. If you're unsure about any product you purchase on ebay, at the very least make sure you purchase through Paypal for some comeback if it all goes wrong.
If you think you've been duped, there are a number of ways you can easily spot a fake.
1)Check the velcro stitching around the cuffs and hood. If this stitching looks in any way inferior it's a fake. In mine, some parts of the stitching had already come off, leaving some tiny pin-prick holes in the outer shell of the jacket, just where the thread had been. If the velcro looks as if it will only hold for about a dozen fastenings - it's a fake!
2)The shower test. I purchased my jacket for hiking and camping trips around the UK, not to parade around as a fashion item. Simply turn on your shower and hold for a few minutes over the outer shell. After a minute or so, you'll feel the inside of the jacket becoming damp. I'll give my fake it's due, it held out a lot longer than i thought it would. The bottom line is: if i was caught in a downpour on a hike, i'd be soaked through within 15-20 minutes easy. Actually, i'd be wet even if it didn't rain; the material is so unbreathable that i'd be sweating buckets even on a cool day!
3) The fit. I can't say this will be the same for everyone, but when i put my jacket on it just felt horrible. When i looked in the mirror it was uncomfortably tight around the underarms- giving a weird look to how the jacket presented itself whilst being worn.
4)Rear logo. If the stitched TNF logo on the back of the jacket can be seen from the inside - it's a fake.
5) Documentation. If you didn't receive the information on how to clean your brand new TNF, what products TNF recommend to clean and wash it and how to look after it then, you've guessed it, it's a fake.
I hope this is helpful for anyone interested in getting a 'bargain'. My best advice is that if you don't want to, or simply can't pay the price of high street retailers - then please don't be a snob, buy a used one. It's far less likely that anyone selling a used TNF jacket is operating a scam, especially if they're only selling the one item and not a batch. If you're using it for walking the dog, or any other outdoor activity, do you really care if someone's worn it a few times? It's just going to get dirty and wet the same as a new one.
I've since purchased a used Berghaus goretex jacket and couldn't be happier - all for £30 inc delivery! It's restored my faith in ebay once again.
Incidentally, if it's specifically just a goretex jacket that you need then you're probably safer opting for Berghaus. The reason being is that TNF is a worldwide brand, whilst Berghaus is almost exclusively British. It stands to reason, therefore, if you own a sweatshop in Asia and are intent on counterfeiting jackets, then you are going to make something that you can sell worldwide - rather than limiting yourself to the U.K market. I'm not saying that there are no fake Berghaus jackets being sold - and i've actually never heard of any, but the information that people have kindly provided, since I first listed this review, leads me to this conclusion.
I really hope this guide has been helpful and ensures that someone else doesn't go through the same disappointment and frustration i did - but if you still decide to purchase a 'bargain' after reading my article, then, i'm sorry, you deserve all you get. Don't say i didn't warn you!
Please visit my shop for any further advice ( i sell self-adhesive underarm sweat pads), i'll be very happy to help with any questions you may have.