HauteLook and Nordstrom have been sued for allegedly misleading consumers about the “authentic” Rolex watches they sell. Vahdat Aghdasy filed a proposed class-action lawsuit earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against e-commerce site, HauteLook and its parent company, Nordstrom, for common law fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of implied and express warranties, and unjust enrichment. His claims stem from HauteLook’s sale of damaged Rolex watches and those containing non-Rolex parts.
According to Aghdasy’s suit, flash sale site, HauteLook has offered both “authentic [and counterfeit] Rolex watches for sale to the general public. The watches are damaged, in poor condition, and contain non-Rolex and inferior parts. Defendants represent that the watches are shipped from the brand, but they are shipped, instead, from various jewelry stores.” The defendants also allegedly “misrepresent the value of the watches and mislead consumers into believing the watches are being sold at a significant discount from their true value.” The suit further states the defendants provide photographs of the watches to consumers, but the photographs do not represent the actual watches that are being sold.
The complaint goes on to state: “One of the key selling points of HauteLook is the promise that ‘our merchandise is 100% authentic and comes direct from the brands.’ Although, HauteLook began, at some point, including a disclaimer that watches may come from other vendors, the disclaimer is in small print and difficult to locate.” (Note: a similar lawsuit was filed recently against flash sale site, Beyond the Rack, which was accused of selling fake Gucci bags and passing them off to consumers as authentic).
Mr. Aghdasy alleges that he – and similarly situated class members – “read and relied on the material representation that he was receiving an authentic vintage Rolex watch, and further that the watch was in the same excellent condition as the photograph that was referenced in the solicitation materials, and further that the watch contained all Rolex parts … and further relied on the certified appraisal provided by HauteLook as to the value of the watch.”
As a result of the aforementioned claims, Aghdasy is asking the court to certify class action status for the lawsuit, thereby allowing other similarly situated shoppers (read: others who purchased “Rolex” watches from HauteLook) to join in the lawsuit and share in the settlement amount ultimately offered by HauteLook and Nordstrom. Moreover, he is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, restitution and disgorgement, actual damages, exemplary and/or punitive damages, interests, attorney fees, and other costs of the suit – which allegedly amount to upwards of $5 million.
Interestingly, one party that has not yet filed suit: Rolex. The Swiss watchmaker has filed a slew of trademark-related lawsuits in recent years in connection with the sale of both counterfeit watches and those containing non-Rolex parts. The company, which has been particularly vigilant in protecting its intellectual property, even commenced not one but two lawsuits against a Brooklyn, New York-based deli, named Rolex Deli, for trademark infringement and dilution. In short: it is likely only a matter of time before HauteLook and Nordstrom are named in a lawsuit filed by Rolex, as well. Stay tuned …