The National Consumer Service (Sernac) said Tuesday that it has filed a class action lawsuit against La Polar for selling counterfeit clothing and lack of consumer information about the garments it markets.
Through the class-action lawsuit, Sernac will seek La Polar to pay back the money and compensate all consumers who have been affected by these practices, as appropriate.
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Additionally, the Service has requested that the courts compel the company to cease selling this type of product, implement a compliance plan that prevents such behavior, and apply maximum penalties for violating a number of basic consumer rights.
According to Sernac, La Polar faces fines of up to 3,000 UTM (about $183 million pesos), for each of those affected.
Sernac took the decision to sue after the information gathered in an investigation, after having summoned the representatives of La Polar and the legal representatives in Chile of Adidas, Columbia and Forus to testify.
The Service also alluded to “responses to businesses; information provided by other public institutions; the customs criminal complaint for the alleged crime of smuggling, on-site and remote inspections by Sernac in Santiago and Concepción, and the statements of the consumers themselves”, he indicated in a statement.
“Polar has been marketing non-original or authentic clothing, since at least 2020, under the label of renowned brands such as Columbia Sportswear Company, being expressly recognized by the multistore itself in a transaction undertaken with said company in 2021, where it stated that it had purchased ‘bona fide’ non-original products from a foreign supplier,” they added.
Similarly, Sernac pointed out that “Polar has marketed apparel from brands such as Adidas AG, Under Armor Inc., and Levi Strauss & Co., but that, according to the brands’ own statements, the actions and inspections by the National Polarity Service customs and other available information, would not have an original or authentic character, since these attributes were not accredited by the multi-store”.
A second edge of the lawsuit points to La Polar’s acknowledgment that it allegedly sourced the garments from original or authentic brands (which has not been reliably proven by the company) through a business model called “Off Price” (outlet).
This model involves the marketing of products from a previous season or possibly sales, which have not been notified in a timely manner to consumers as well.
“Consumers who have purchased these products, even if original or authentic, have also seen their rights violated, as Polar did not inform them in an accurate and timely manner of the characteristics, attributes or qualities of these so-called ‘Super Brands’ , making it look like they matched the current clothing line or season,” Senac’s national director said, Andres Herrera.
According to Sernac, the case distinguishes between two groups of beneficiaries, with their respective subgroups.
The group 1 corresponds to consumers who have purchased items sold by La Polar from international brands that are not authentic or original. They shall be indemnified for consequential damages caused by the patrimonial disposition or purchase value of these products.
- Subgroup no. 1: there are those who have purchased in person, who must be compensated for the value of the purchase plus the costs incurred to go to the store.
- Subgroup no. 2: Those who bought via the Internet and paid for the shipping service must be compensated for the value of the purchases and the shipping of the product.
The group 2 considers those who have purchased garments sold by La Polar of original brands which, being possibly original, correspond to second or third selection, surplus stock or sales of other seasons, which do not comply with the quality standards that these brands apply to first selection products .
- Subgroup no. 1: There are those who have personally purchased these garments and must be compensated for the value of the purchase and the expenses incurred.
- Subgroup no. 2: they are those who have purchased online and must be compensated for the value of the purchase plus the amount paid for the product shipping service.