Burlington Coat Factory Supplier Caught Gluing Designer Labels To Walmart Coats

A CBS investigation has uncovered some Walmart and Macy’s coats being sold at Burlington Coat Factor — disguised as more expensive designer brands. Apparently, some jackass at a coat supplier thought it would be a good idea to glue Perry Ellis labels on cheap coats. As you can imagine, both Burlington Coat Factory and the customers with the fake merchandise are not pleased.

After a customer noticed an oddly glued on label and tugged at it, revealing a Walmart brand beneath, he told his local CSB affiliate. They investigated and turned up “double-labeled jackets at every Connecticut location except East Windsor. About 115 double-labeled jackets were found in the eight store locations.”

From WFSB:

According to a statement released by Burlington Coat Factory, “… Unbeknownst to us, the manufacturer, the Levy Group, which has the rights to both Perry Ellis and Joseph Abboud labels, had ironed on Perry Ellis and Joseph Abboud labels over the top of other labels in a group of men’s wool topcoats and wool jackets.”

Since Burlington Coat Factory pointed the finger at the Levy Group, the I-Team turned to that company for answers.
“The Levy Group regrets that an employee at a newly acquired division of our company, which manufactures men’s topcoats and raincoats, appears to have taken it upon himself to iron designer labels on top of other labels that were then shipped to our customer,” company President Donald Levy said in a statement. “This action was taken without the approval or knowledge of the management of the Levy Group.”

If you think you may have purchased one of these coats, Burlington Coat factory is offering store credit or a refund plus a 20% off coupon until March 31st.

I-Team Investigates Double-Labeled Coats [WFSB] (Thanks, Anthony !)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    ::::::::Commercial Jingle::::::::

    Burlington Coat Factory, We’re More Than Great Coats!!!!

  2. broncobiker says:

    See now thats just a stupid idea…so now I have to double check the tags on coats cuz someone wanted to be a smart-alec?

    What was he even trying to accomplish? Im sure buying cheap coats is still more expensive than making the coats themselves…

  3. egoods says:

    You say crappy way to treat customers, I ask “How do I get in on the scam?” times are tough folks, oh and I have some authentic rolexs if anyone is interested.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Shame on that Burlington Coat Factory supplier! I just realized that the coat I’m wearing now, I’ve had for at least six years and I got it from BCF. It’s a really good coat, and it has nothing to do with BCF…but I wouldn’t mind shopping at BCF because their supply isn’t dependent on what is out in stores right now, so you can get a designer coat from one or two seasons back and it’s brand new and well-made, but at a fraction of the cost when it was “new” in stores.

  5. Skeptic says:

    So, if the Levy Group has the rights to these brands then is there a legitimate complaint? What if the Levy Group had taken the trouble to cut out the old labels and *sew in* new ones?

    I think this just goes to show how little most brands actually mean in terms of quality. People couldn’t tell the difference without a label to tell them.

    • joe18521 says:

      @Skeptic:

      So, you’re saying if GM sells you a Chevy with a Cadillac badge on it, you’d be okay with it?

      • Pibbs says:

        @joe18521: Have you seen the Escalade EXT?

      • Brontide says:

        @joe18521: I think he is saying that if you can’t tell the difference between a Chevy and a Cadillac without the badge on it then you have bigger problems.

        The first thing I though of was.. “Yeah, the employee’s mistake was not taking out the old label first”

        • joe18521 says:

          @snowmoon:

          What I’m trying to point out is that either way the manufacturer is committing fraud:

          - Selling low end brand products as high end brand products.

          Or…

          - Providing no quality difference between high end and low end brands, while charging a premium.

          • Brontide says:

            @joe18521: I think you are confusing “fraud” with smart business practices. It’s immoral and borders on bait and switch, but I see nothing patently illegal about what they did.

            • joe18521 says:

              @snowmoon:

              I agree it’s probably not “patently ILLEGAL,” but it is a “legitimate complaint,” as the OP of this thread was questioning.

              • Sparerib says:

                @joe18521: All I want to know is whether or not Burlington Coat Factory is affiliated with Burlington Industries. So I know who to sue!

          • Xerloq says:

            @joe18521: Joe, Joe… the difference between many “low end” products and “high end” products is the label.

            You pay for the name.

  6. JGKojak says:

    It just goes to show what a scam the whole fashion/label industry is. And how did these get past any supposed “quality” inspectors Burlington Coats has? I mean, there IS a difference in quality that is readily appearant to a knowledgable person, like, say, a buyer for Burlington Coats or a store manager? It shows you Burlington Coats doesn’t inspect their merchandise before they sell it.

    • tdarkdz says:

      @joe18521: That actually happens. There were some Lexus’ that were actually re-branded Toyota’s (with a few body elements changed). Some Mazda truck are ACTUAL Ford trucks, with a ford type VIN number. At least that’s how it was when I worked parts for a car dealer a few years back.

      • Geekybiker says:

        @tdarkdz: How is that news? Lexus is Toyota in most areas of the world. Their ES series has shared the camry platform for quite awhile. I wouldn’t be surprised if the avalon shared parts too. Ford owns mazda, so a rebranding of a ford truck as a mazda isn’t a surprise. This sort of thing happens all the time in the auto world. Heck some car makers even buy models off other makers to fill a void. Honda was buying Nissans for quite awhile to get a larger SUV on the market.

  7. joe18521 says:

    “Burlington Coat Factor”? Is that a new reality show on CBS?

  8. mbz32190 says:

    So Wal-Mart coats are made in the same places as tHe perry ellis ones?

  9. edwardso says:

    @skeptic: it is a legitimate complaint for the person who manufactured/designed the walmart coat. Good for Burlinton Coat Factory for actually taking it seriously and offering a refund and a coupon

  10. vildechaia says:

    I’m not happy with management’s explanation. For instance, from where did this “employee” get those labels? They didn’t just fall from the sky. People who work at these places get instructions from someone higher up in the food chain. So, Levy Group, what do you have to say now?

  11. Subsound says:

    It’s doubtful it’s one rogue employee, I mean what does the employee stand to benefit from the scam? Now the supplier gains a great deal from doing that, but doesn’t want to look like it is doing it so it set up the employee for the fall guy.

    • joe18521 says:

      @Subsound:

      If it was decided by higher ups, you’d think they would at least sew the fake labels on, in which case, I bet they never get busted.

    • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

      @Subsound: Well, if he’s positioned right, he can use this as a front for embezzlement. Buy cheap coats, fake an invoice/PO for more expensive coats, pocket the difference.

  12. Skeptic says:

    @skeptic: it is a legitimate complaint for the person who manufactured/designed the walmart coat. Good for Burlinton Coat Factory for actually taking it seriously and offering a refund and a coupon

    Is it? Those “Walmart” coats were, I assume, also made by the Levy Group. I’m not sure if anyone’s IP has bee ripped off.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Skeptic: And even if they weren’t made by Levy group….the Wal-Mart coat people were still paid…if anything, the Perry Ellis IP was ripped off.

  13. Shappie says:

    Kudos to Burlington for doing a good job making it right!

  14. failurate says:

    To that one singled out employee… how’s the underside of that bus look?

  15. IT-Chick says:

    I doubt they tug on tags while inspecting. There were 118 coats, maybe more, in one state. Sounds like it wasn’t just random, but a shipment to each store.
    I still don’t see how this would benefit the management, or why the employee would think it would.
    The clothing that stores like Marshalls and BCF receive are outdated fashions that the Designer Label can no longer sell at full price or doesn’t have room for. The stores then buy them in large quantity for cheap.
    I’m no Walmart shopper, so I don’t know how much a “George” coat would cost, but I can’t imagine being less than $20.
    I think it’s possible this employee was testing a scam to see if it would work and possibly go off on his own. Who knows, but I see no way it would benefit the employee who did this.
    The situation wouldn’t stop me from shopping at BCF… the fact that the only BCFs I know are in shitty neighborhoods keeps me from shopping there.

  16. vmspionage says:

    Is Perry Ellis really better than the WalMart store brand? Really?

    • Josh_G says:

      @vmspionage: Exactly what I was thinking. People think they are upper class because they shop at Macy’s or JCPenny’s vs. Wal-mart?

      • ChicagoKev says:

        @Josh_G: People think they are upper class because they shop at Macy’s or JCPenny’s vs. Wal-mart?

        People think they are middle class because they don’t have to buy all their worldly goods at Wal-Mart. I doubt anybody perceives Macy’s or JCPenny’s as “upper” class — no five hundred dollar cashmere sweaters in either store :)

  17. HFC says:

    People still shop at Burlington Coat Factory? It’s cheaper to make your own at home. It doesn’t matter, if you pay it off every month. The OP should have done better research.

    I’m just throwing out the usual responses. Do any of them stick?

    • CaffiendCA says:

      @HFC: Cheper to make a wool coat at home? Not even close. And do you know how hard it would be to make a coat? Very.

      Not that I sew, but my wife does. Cutting and sewing shoulders is very difficult.

      Manufactures, at every level, have economies of scale. Industrial machines, and experienced seamstress’.

      • MissPeacock says:

        @CaffiendCA: I think he/she was being sarcastic.

        • Collie says:

          @MissPeacock: That went over CaffiendcA’s head. Maybe you need another coffee to wake up.

          The comment is in reference to the soon to follow responses from the masses, that say such things as “Why order pizza, it is cheaper to make it your self, or make your own granola out of twigs and nuts from the back yard.

    • CaffiendCA says:

      @HFC: Yea, sorry. Braindead today.

  18. glinters says:

    Burlington is the same store that a few years back “unknowingly” sold coats/accessories made from dog fur. I have never bought or visited their stores since. Maybe their buying office needs to get a clue on QC and stop using the excuse that they have been taken by suprise. It is all about keeing their cost of goods low without any conscience.

    • joe18521 says:

      @glinters:

      Are you saying that dog fur is of inferior quality to other fur, or that killing dogs is more immoral than killing other animals?

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @joe18521: Remove your head from your anal sphincter, buddy. Dog fur is more disgusting than, say, weasel fur (ermine) because we tend to love dogs and don’t love weasels.

        • joe18521 says:

          @speedwell, avatar of snark:

          Thanks for proving my point.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @speedwell, avatar of snark: I have ferrets…which are related to weasels, and I also have a dog… My way of dealing with this is to not buy coats/anything made from the fur of any animals.

          The problem with the Burlington case was that they sold items marked as being made from artificial fur, but those items actually contained dog fur from China.

          [www.hilary.com]

          The China part is significant because they are notorious for not killing the dogs before they skin them, since a slit to the jugular would damage the “product”….there’s sick videos of dogs still barking and blinking and yelping in pain after they’ve had their skin removed. Even if you hate PETA groups…it’s somewhat hard to deny cold hard facts.

          /has nothing against the use of animal products as long as they’re treated humanely

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @joe18521: I definitely agree with you that just because we love dogs doesn’t mean that they feel pain any less – pigs, for example, are smarter than dogs but look how we treat them.

        However, in this case, the problem was that Burlington sold items that were labeled as faux fur, but contained dog fur. I think that’s a huge problem, since people who didn’t want any animals to be harmed still inadvertently caused suffering.

    • Rebecca Brown says:

      @glinters: Actually, I believe it was raccoon dog fur, not dog fur. They’re canids, but not dogs. They’re also awesome, but I digress.

      I could be wrong, but that’s what I remembered and it’s all I turned up in a brief Google search.

  19. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I thought that burlington coat factory was supposed to be cheap, but I went in one recently and was appalled at the prices!

  20. edwardso says:

    @skeptic: If they were made in the same place why wouldn’t they just sew or glue the perry ellis label on first instead of gluing it over the cheap label? It sounds more likely that they got ahold of some discards and decided to profit

  21. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I can tell a difference in quality from examining the stitching, looking at the materials used. If you wanted to buy a new coat, it really helps to just look up some things before you browse. It doesn’t take very long at all.

  22. N.RobertMoses says:

    I love the small print on their ads, “Not affiliated with Burlington Industries.”

  23. Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

    @HFC:

    Blaming the OP totally works here – I mean a good consumer would have know to check every inch of the coat and tug at every seam to ensure quality before buying it. I mean who doesn’t do that when buying cheap clothing?

  24. PittDragon says:

    @ N.RobertMoses

    I looked that up once and its quite funny. I thought it was supposed to be a disclaimer that they are not from Burlington, Vermont, but the Burlington Industries is from North Carolina and were acquired sometime ago by International Textile Group.

  25. Outrun1986 says:

    Burlington… the store my parents used to take me to to get the winter coat every year as a kid, it used to be good back then. Now its filled with outdated styles, I am not talking about 1-2 years old, but maybe styles that look like they are 15 years old. At least our location is, it must be the dumping ground for all the coats that don’t sell elsewhere. They have the worst clothes too that are along the same lines with 10 year old styles in there.

  26. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese: I can see how BCF could be kind of expensive, but not really more so than regular stores. There’s more selection and you can find more in your size. But at the same time, I’m not looking for a 100% wool coat to be $30. $90 would be on the cheaper side and $70 would be a pretty good deal, but my expectations are realistic.

  27. tastybytes says:

    it is very easy to tell the difference between george brand and anything costing more than $10 retail. if it is not the cut, or the fabric, or the stitching, then its the patterns or the just the way the coat hangs. people should be buying based on these factors, not on labels alone.. however, i do have to say that labels generally tell me how a garment is cut and will fit, so i will use that to narrow my selection. if BCF did ANY inspection, either at receiving or while placing the jackets on the rack, they would have noticed. i think im going to sell them my packard bell computer and make them pay apple prices.

  28. econobiker says:

    Story: worked at NJ gas station (NJ/OR no self serve). The owner reused oil bottles by puttingin the same brand but bulk oil from a 55 gal drum so he made even more fantastic profits on his $2.75/qt oil (1991 ish when average quart was 79¢-99¢). Us pump jockeys would bring our own ultra cheap quarts and refill the station quarts (when paid in cash vs. credit) for soda/pizza money or to balance the till if someone made a mistake…

    Always ask to see the bottle opened – with wine and gas station oil.

  29. Corporate_guy says:

    When it comes to clothes, you don’t get what you pay for. There is no difference in quality from the genuine high label crap and the walmart stuff. That is why no one noticed the difference when buying this stuff.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Corporate_guy:

      Are you serious?? I agree that Lacoste may not justify their $75 polos w/extra quality…but compare a Polo/Nautica/Hilfiger shirt with a Wal-Mart one…huge difference.

      Same with jeans…however, there is a point of diminishing returns.

  30. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @Corporate_guy: No you don’t get what you pay for because there’s a markup. There IS a difference in quality from the high label items and Wal-Mart. A huge difference, if the non-Walmart, higher label brands producing their clothing correctly. The point being that Wal-Mart ISN’T producing their coats properly (how much do you realistically expect from a $40 coat that isn’t 100% wool?) so it’s important to find the companies that ARE producing quality products.

    The people who don’t notice the difference never knew how to find a GOOD coat to begin with. They concerned themselves with looking at the labels to find one they recognized rather than finding the materials label to see what the coat was made from, or testing the buttons or zippers or toggles, or examining the stitching and the cut. The real sign of quality has NOTHING to do with the brand, but it so happens that Wal-Mart generally fails to produce quality coats precisely because they use cheap materials and poor craftsmanship.

  31. jackal676 says:

    @ tastybytes

    it is very easy to tell the difference between george brand and anything costing more than $10 retail.

    That’s a bit of a blanket statement, don’t you think? I bought a pair of George dress pants for work, and they’re really quite excellent. They fit well, have a nice drape, are really comfortable, and are still in great shape after six months. And they only cost $20 bucks. Granted, the material isn’t like that of the $70 Ralph Lauren pants that I found on clearance at Kohl’s, but the George pants are nicer than nearly every other brand I’ve recently tried. I’m sure the cheapest George stuff isn’t so hot, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @jackal676: I’ll agree…once my bags were delayed, and the only place to get dress clothing for meeting with vendors the next morning was Wal-Mart (24/7 FTW)… I was rather surprised with the overall fit and feel of the pants. The shirts don’t last that well after about half a year, but still…not a bad deal!

  32. Bridgeport Cat says:

    @glinters The problem wasn’t just that the coats were just made from dog fur (technically, they were made from Tanuki fur, a Japanese critter commonly known as a Raccoon Dog) but that they were on coats that said they were FAKE fur.

  33. edrebber says:

    I think the walmart labels were sewn in by mistake and ironing on the new labels was the cheapest way to correct the mistake. The coats are made by slave labor. No doubt they were severely punished for the mistate.

  34. B.e. Verins says:

    Yeah, there’s no way that an individual employee was doing this of his own accord. Levy Group is 100% not being upfront about this, because nothing like this happens because one guy gets an idea.

    This was a trial balloon by higher ups to save money. Didn’t work, they got caught. They threw the one guy in on the scam out as a pure scapegoat.

    Too bad the guy who was fired probably doesn’t have a shred of proof that it was Levy Group’s idea. Oh well.

  35. joeblevins says:

    Sounds like Levy Co just makes all the coats and applies the label depending on which store it will be shipped to. The only crime is two labels instead of one.

  36. shepd says:

    Thanks Consumerist! You just taught me that the Burlington Coat Factory in Burlington, ON isn’t some sort of weird and extremely overpriced local business, but actually a giant chain store. *sigh* Fortunately, despite my naivete, I’ve never bought anything there.

  37. Petra says:

    Call me paranoid, but I have a lot of trouble believing companies who blame everything on a “rogue employee”…

  38. Joyce Godsey says:

    ONE employee? that’s such a crock of shite. ONE guy cannot coordinate such a large con.
    these guys have picked a scape goat. I mean where did they THINK they coats came from? the coat fairy?

  39. engstewart says:

    In my opinion, the label doesn’t matter. If I see a coat that I like, I buy it for a price I am comfortable with- I don’t care what brand it is. People who shop labels are likely paying too much anyway. I’m not condoning the supplier’s actions, but honestly, are you any worse off than you were before you knew?

  40. Becca Donato- Hardie says:

    I will never use Burlington again after having them refuse to help my father with a Christmas exchange-even telling him to take the coat I’d purchased for him from them to KOHL’S since they sold the same brand (Kohl’s took care of him NO PROBLEM, even after he told them the coat had come from Burlington).
    Just a few weeks ago a friend spent hours trying on suits from them only to get to the register and be told he had a pair of pants that, while definitely went with that jacket, they were only allowed to be sold with a different sized jacket. And this wasn’t like he was buying a “small” ensemble and was trying to swap-out a large bottom to go with it- it was a pair of 34″ pants, and a 36″ jacket- but apparently you can only get the 34″ pants with the 40″ jacket, or buy two suits or buy the one that’s too large and spend $100 to have it tailored to you. When he found the jacket and pants on the rack they were hung together, and they both fit- the only way to tell the difference was that the pants’ tag read ’40” Jack’

  41. GildaKorn says:

    Isn’t it just as likely that the same supplier sells coats to Burlington and Wal-mart, and usually removes the “designer” label before it goes off to Wal-mart?

  42. GuinevereRucker says:

    Fail for lying companies, yes.

    But another big FAIL for buying designer labels when you can buy coats that look the same for much less. People don’t realize the markup that clothing represents!

    My wife just got a sweater for $4 at a thrift store. The label was still on it (had been worn and then given away). The original price was $130 for an orange sweater my wife got for $4. I can’t understand why people buy this stuff at original prices.

  43. Cyberxion101 says:

    That’s some shady business right there. Can’t imagine how they tought they were coming out ahead on the deal though.

  44. trujunglist says:

    How would the low level worker not have had approval to do this? I know that I can’t just go around spending what was probably several weeks of ongoing work basically just dicking around without getting noticed (maybe a week..). Are they suggesting that they had a rogue worker that for some reason had the companys best interest at heart and was trying to make a ton of extra money for the company? Where was the supervisor while they were doing this?
    Something does not smell right and it’s the generous amount of bullshit coming from the Levy Group PR team.

  45. meechybee says:

    Well I guess you CAN judge someone by the company they keep.

    Never liked Burlington Coat Factory, never will.

  46. AhTrini says:

    Yes management, let the little guy take the fall for this; like I believe it for one second that an underling, had the authority to ship coats to various locations, WITHOUT someone in management knowing where Perry Ellis brands were coming from and going, yeah rite – I believe ya….

  47. Lynne Black says:

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news for all the upscale brand name buyers, but I had a business relationship with a clothing manufacturer in Southern California. They would cut a pile of jeans out of the same fabric, do preliminary sewing, then separate them by ‘brand’ for final sewing and trim, out of that pile 30 might go to walmart, 30 might get a Calvin Klein label, and the remainder might be Gloria Vanderbilt. Same fabric, same construction, just a little bit of difference in the trim and the label. My guess is that this incident took place in a similar operation and they just mislabeled the product in the first place