Parties mum on Aspen retailer’s claims of counterfeit consignments
An Aspen retailer that unwittingly sold counterfeit items lost the goodwill it had built with clients and potentially six figures in profits, according to a civil complaint nearing a settlement.
The Little Bird consignment store also had to refund customers for the money they spent on what they believed were authentic brands, such as a Cartier bracelet and two Chanel handbags.
“The Little Bird could suffer lost profit in the total amount of $116,676.00,” said The Little Bird’s lawsuit against Viviana Petkov, who lived in Aspen as recently as December 2021. She did not reply to a message left on her cellphone Monday. Her law firm’s written reply to the lawsuit denied the allegations. She also was not criminally charged.
Lawyers also would not comment about the civil complaint, which was filed Dec. 23, 2021, in Pitkin County District Court. Leadership at The Little Bird, which is owned by Loyd & Keeler Inc., did not respond to a message Monday.
Now, nearly one year after the lawsuit was introduced in Pitkin County District Court, the parties are about to settle the the lawsuit, according to a Dec. 2 court filing signed by Glenwood Springs lawyer Shoshana Rosenthal on behalf of The Little Bird and Aspen attorney Chris Bryan on behalf of Petkov.
Petkov started business relationship with The Little Bird in 2012 and would go on to consign approximately 200 items with final sale prices ranging from $100 to $5,000, the suit said. She also signed a contract attesting to the authenticity of the items she put on consignment, and the store employees followed suit by telling customers the items were legitimate, the suit said.
Depending on the sales price of the item, The Little Bird would either split 50-50 or 40-60 with the consignor, the suit said.
The items alleged to be counterfeit first came to The Little Bird’s attention in September 2020, when the luxury jeweler Cartier returned a bracelet the store had sent for repair on behalf of a client who bought it.
“Cartier refused to service the bracelet due to the fact that the bracelet was not manufactured and/or sold by Cartier, or a company duly authorized by Cartier,” the suit said.
The Little Bird refunded the customer $4,895 paid for the bracelet and added a $400 gift certificate “in an effort to maintain The Little Bird’s goodwill,” the suit said.
In the late summer of 2021, two items were returned to The Little Bird after the the buyers learned they were knock-offs. One was a navy Chanel handbag the store sold for $3,960 in January 2020, the other a cream-colored Chanel purse that was sold for $3,895 in February 2020, the suit said.
One customer lost confidence in the store because of the revelation, the suit said.
“This customer not only wanted a refund for the cream Chanel purse but also for a different authentic black patent Chanel purse purchased in 2018, due to the loss of The Little Bird’s goodwill,” the suit said. “Trust with this particular client was broken, and she did not want to keep the authentic Chanel purse because of her knowledge of that The Little Bird sold her a counterfeit purse.”
The customer was refunded more than $7,000, the suit said, noting there were likely more fake goods the store had sold on consignment from Petkov.
“The Little Bird has since learned that there are at least three more handbags that Defendant consigned, and The Little Bird has since sold that are also counterfeit,” the suit said.
The suits four claims against Petkov include fraud and breach of contract.
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