spotting a fake Denali jacket by The North Face on ebay

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My son asked for a Denali jacket by The North Face for Christmas.  His grandmother bought one at a local sporting goods store for the $165. or so retail price.  She said that she could return it with a receipt if I found a better deal.  I went on ebay and found what I thought was the exact same jacket for $50. less.  After checking the seller's feedback, I went ahead and ordered the "Denali."  The seller said it was "guaranteed authentic or your money back."

We took the box with us the day after Christmas for our family gift exchange.  I looked at the ebay jacket and compared it to the jacket from the sporting goods store.  After my comparison, I displayed both jackets in an out-of-the-way room for five adults to assess the products individually.  I did not say that I decided one was a "fake."  We did not discuss our findings until after the five private viewings.  All five of us came to the same conclusion.

Both jackets looked remarkably alike.  Both had very real-looking tags.  The fleece on one jacket, however, was SO MUCH thinner than the other.  Also, the fleece with the bad feel also had a terrible odor.  My mother-in-law described it as the smell of burning tires.  The authentic Polartec fleece was thick and soft.  This Polartec is what makes the jacket so expensive.  It keeps the wearer warm in cold conditions.

I am here to testify that positive feedback on ebay DOES NOT GUARANTEE ANYTHING!!!  The seller did agree to refund my money.  I had to open up a dispute resolution case.  The seller would only refund my money if I agreed to leave positive feedback for her/him.  I sent several messages through ebay to attempt to bring this "blackmail" to light.  How can a person leave positive feedback for a person selling fake goods?  How can a buyer leave feedback BEFORE getting the refund ie. before the transaction is completed?  My husband advised me to go ahead and leave the feedback in order to get my money back.  He is probably correct in saying that ebay would be overwhelmed in trying to solve all such selling of fake products.  If they are not going to handle it or stop the seller from, in essence, blackmailing me, I'm not going to make this my personal crusade.

So, I would certainly advise against buying any Denali jacket by The North Face from a seller who is selling several of these.  They most likely are NOT authentic.  I did e-mail the seller immediately after my purchase, asking her/him not to send the product if it was a fake.  I did demand that the seller refund ALL of my shipping costs, including the postage to return the jacket.  The seller put up no objection, which shows that she/he was not going to try to deny my accusations.  The seller only said "we stand by our products."  Those are empty words.

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