If A Lucky Brand Product Is Defective, You're Pretty Much On Your Own

Lisa writes that she purchased a neat Lucky Brand patchwork bag from Macy’s just about a year ago, and the bag has fallen apart long before its time. The list price is just above $150, so one would expect it to hold up for more than a few months. While the manufacturer admits that the self-destructing purse isn’t up to their usual standards, they offer no warranty or repair service to customers.

I have a defective handbag from Lucky Brand Jeans. I bought it on September 26, 2009 — I remember the date because it’s my birthday — and the handle has broken continuously since then. And it wasn’t cheap — it’s something I’d expect to make it through its first year without any hiccups. (But, alas, I just saw a review on the Macy’s website that mentioned the shoddy handle…so I should have done a bit more research beforehand, I guess. [At the very least, it proves I’m not alone.])

After nearly a year of repairing it myself, it broke again the other night. And *that*, Consumerist, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I wrote Lucky customer service to tell them of the broken handle and I got a pretty useless response, assuring me that shoddy craftsmanship is not standard and noting there are no refunds, exchanges or repair services available.

I spent good money on this purse and loved the Lucky bag I had prior to this…so it’s a shame to have a bad experience with this one — and I certainly don’t trust Lucky enough to ever buy a bag from them again. (In fact, I found a very nice handbag from Fossil that I think will replace it.)

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Here’s the first part of the useless e-mail Lisa received back from Lucky.

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for contacting Lucky Brand.com. We are always interested in hearing from our customers!

We apologize for your experience with our product(s) and appreciate you bringing it to our attention. We assure you that this is not standard for our product(s). Unfortunately, we are unable to process refunds or exchanges for product(s) purchased in stores. At this time, we do not have a repair service available. Please contact our Store Customer Service for additional assistance at: 888-943-2653 or email at: storecustomerservice@luckybrandjeans.com

Self-destructing handbags are the worst. From the photos, it looks to me like the break is fixable in theory. I’ve had good luck bringing beloved leather purses to small shoe repair shops, which have the equipment to stitch up and securely glue leather pieces, and don’t charge much. Try to find a shop that could secure the broken strap, and get some more life out of the bag.

Comments

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  1. cynical_reincarnation says:

    I may have missed it, but was there any reach out to the mail address or hotline number?

  2. thewildboo says:

    Did she follow up with the phone number or email address provided? It sounds to me like they are saying they (presumably the Lucky website folks) can’t process returns for items that were bought in a store, as opposed to directly through their website, and were re-directing her to a department that could help.

    • Nisun says:

      yea it kinda sounds like thats what their saying. might as well give them a call…

    • jefeloco says:

      That is exactly what I gathered from the reply, including the “storecustomerservice@luckybrandjeans.com” email address for her to try…

  3. Transient says:

    Any time I hear about a purse/handbag breaking, I remember an ex-girlfriend’s idea of what a purse should hold. A few pounds of change, a camera, a full line of cosmetics, more keys than a medieval jailer, and a book or two. Her purses were obscenely heavy and the handles always broke in delightfully explosive fashion.

    The only light purses I’ve ever held were either still on the shelf or those tiny little bags that simply can’t hold much, which leads me to think that purse-cramming may be either a game or psychological addiction.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Or…you’re dating women of a certain caliber, who require so many pounds of ‘get ready’ stuff that their purses just can’t take it.

      My purse (i have ONE) holds one tube of lipstick, gum, and my wallet. I’ve never had a purse Break.

      ~a girl without a shoe, makeup, perfume or accessory addiction.

      • minneapolisite says:

        +1

      • Lethe says:

        My purses always have to be big and strong enough to carry a hard-cover book (or two) in addition to my wallet and keys.

        – still a girl without a shoe, makeup, perfume or accessory addiction.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          The essentials (wallet, keys, etc.) one tube of lip gloss, a pocket for my cell phone (cause sharp keys on iPhone is bad), enough room for a book and a pair of heels (I take public transportation to work and wear sensible flats for all the walking).

          I have many purses, of varying sizes, strap length, and quality. Some I treat more gingerly than others. Some I only use during a certain season because they hold up better when wet or accidentally dropped into a pile of snow. Some are better for travel than others. Some are only really good to be paired with a cocktail dress.

    • Bativac says:

      My wife has never carried a purse. She has a small metal cellphone-sized case that carries her license, debit card, insurance card, a little cash and that’s it. It is at least 25% of the reason I married her.

    • Marshmelly says:

      haha I am probably much like your ex-girlfriend with the “bag o junk” purse. I have an incredibly large purse that contains the essentials (wallet, phone, eyeglasses, ipod, keys) as well as a large hardcover book, an umbrella, occasionally shoes or a light sweater, my lunch for the day, camera if I need it, and a bunch of random knickknacks like a mirror, chapstick, pen, and handcream. This is mostly because I hate having to carry more than one bag around. That being said, I make sure to get a bag that’s up to the task! The one I currently have now has chains connecting the handles…super sturdy! The only time I’ve ever had a handle break was with the bag I used for my books in school…which was rather cheaply made, and the books of course were heavy as ever. =p

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      This is why I use a very small backpack (it’s basically a purse, but with shoulder straps).

      I’ve never been one to carry much with me (usually just my wallet / id / phone) but if I need to stash a book I can.

    • 3skr1mad0r says:

      That’s why I refuse to retrieve anything from the wife’s purse. I half expect to find a pigmy tribe living in there. Learning the hard way, dumping it out is not acceptable either. She’ll ask me to get something and I just hand her the whole bag following a long sigh.
      I can’t complain too much though. There is a kitchen drawer like which I am to blame for.

  4. thompson says:

    Ummm, not to blame the OP, but did she do as the email asked and contact the support number / email address listed?

    It sounds like they’re saying that the .com department isn’t setup to handle requests related to store purchases, and they helpfully pointed you in the direction of people who can help.

  5. jason in boston says:

    I haven’t had to look this up in years, but isn’t there an implied warranty on anything bought? I don’t know the specific laws but remember this from a business law class I had to take.

  6. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    If you’re happy with the purse and want to keep it, I’d recommend going to a local shoe cobbler to repair or replace the leather. It would be an easy job and not very expensive. The guy we go to has been able to repair similar issues on an old leather briefcase and my wife’s purse.

    • Shenanigans Was Taken says:

      My wife owns this same purse. We both love the style and she has got a ton of compliments on it since she bought it in 2008.

      Her purse did the same thing after between 18 months and two years of use. We just took it to a shoe shop and had it fixed. The bag is fine other than the glue de-laminating on the handle. After having it sewn on both ends the leather holds great and it is probably more structurally sound than it was initially.

  7. danmac says:

    People are free to disagree, but I feel that when you pay a premium for what should be a high-quality product, any manufacturer worth its salt should be willing to stand behind that product.

    That said, I would caution anyone about to purchase an expensive purse from a company that’s known for selling jeans. Well-known fashion labels are notorious for slapping their branding on shoddy, outsourced items that they have no business selling.

    • Osagasu says:

      Honestly, it sounds like they’re redirecting her to the proper department so that she can get a repair or exchange.

      • danmac says:

        If they are, they’re being awfully ambiguous about it.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Touche.

        • Osagasu says:

          So is the article itself. If doesn’t say what the email she originally sent to was, and it doesn’t say whether or not she followed the instructions in the email.

          Most likely she just went to the website and came up with this email: customerservice@luckybrand.net. This isn’t the proper department and they would have been “unable to process refunds or exchanges for product(s) purchased in stores.”

        • jefeloco says:

          Ambiguous /= specific, which is what the email was.

          “Please contact our Store Customer Service for additional assistance at: 888-943-2653 or email at: storecustomerservice@luckybrandjeans.com

          • danmac says:

            First, thanks for the condescending tone. Always appreciate that. I know what ambiguous means.

            When I wrote that the e-mail was ambiguous, I meant that, in my opinion, the response does not do an adequate job explaining to the customer that Lucky Brand.com is a separate entity that cannot provide her with customer service. On the face of it, this e-mail looks like numerous other “canned” customer service e-mails that say “blah blah thanks for your concern blah blah unfortunately we cannot help you blah blah for additional questions you can reach customer service at…”.

  8. Michael Belisle says:

    They’re so interested in hearing from their customers that they replied with a response fresh out of the can.

  9. ORD75 says:

    It looks like she purchased the bag at a retail store and then e-mailed the online store.. and they redirected her to the proper avenue for a retail store purchase. This might be news if she contacted the proper customer service department and they didn’t stand behind their product.

  10. Sword_Chucks says:

    Take it back to macy’s theyll give you the lowest sales price or even replace it.

  11. failurate says:

    Find a shoe repair place. They can usually fix just about anything involving leather + metal.

  12. JiminyChristmas says:

    Ideally, Lucky would repair or replace the bag. Barring that, just find a shoe repair shop and have them fix the handle. Most of them will repair anything made of leather, and the fix will likely cost less than $20.

  13. Jfielder says:

    Ya know, just because something is expensive, that doesn’t mean it’s a quality item… This is a good example.

    And she also doesn’t mention how much she uses it… If this is a beat-it-up, every day drag around purse… I don’t consider a one year life span to be too short.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      I have much cheaper purses that I used everyday for over a year and they are still in good shape, I just changed them when I wanted a different style. A year is not a long time to ask a purse to last.

    • Ilovegnomes says:

      I’m not nice to my purse (travel with it, throw way too many things in it including a full sized digital slr camera and this is just a small shoulder bag) and it still looks brand spanking new after 3 years. It’s just made out of pvc too! So I’m going to have to disagree that purses should only be expected to last a year.

  14. carlathecommander says:

    I love the matching purse and quilt! I bet a shoe/purse repair place could get it fixed faster and cheaper than mailing it off. It’d save a lot of hassle too.

  15. jesirose says:

    What did HER email say? They’re telling her to contact the store, because the online service can’t do anything about it since it was bought in store. They gave her TWO ways to get in touch with the right people.

    My BF loves Lucky and has bought us several things there. Last year we went in the week after Christmas and he saw that the sweater he had bought me was 50% off. They refunded him the difference, which he then used to buy more stuff at the store :) I thought that was great service, most places won’t price match their own sales on previously bought items.

    Also, that’s an ugly ass purse.

  16. cosmic.charlie says:

    What did Macy’s have to say. I would just return it to them. If it isn’t too badly used they will typically take anything back.

  17. Macgyver says:

    This is an easy fix, just get some duct tape.

    • Weighted Companion Cube says:

      Good ole’ Alabama Chrome will fix anything.

    • Jfielder says:

      Nah, Gorilla Tape!! I have a vinyl shotgun case that the handle broke on. I figured I would “rebuild” the handle with Gorilla tape and then eventually get a new one…. that was 3 years ago and I’m still using it!

      Yes…. I am cheap and lazy, thanks for asking!

  18. samar says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I used to work for Liz Claiborne and Lucky Brand is one of our partnered brands. Contact Liz Claiborne Consumer Relations (by mail with pictures or you can try giving them a call, not sure what the extension is) and they might be able to assist you…

    Liz Claiborne
    Consumer Relations
    1 Claiborne Avenue
    North Bergen NJ 07047
    201-295-6650

    I remember receiving several similar issues and I would forward them to Consumer Relations…

  19. redheadsrbest says:

    I don’t understand why she’s trying to return the bag to Lucky if she bought it at Macy’s. Shouldn’t the manufacturer be a last resort, if the original retailer is unable/unwilling to help? Try exchanging it at Macy’s. I’ve always had great success with their customer service, especially if I need to exchange something.

    P.S. I also have this particular Lucky bag and I love it.

  20. guymandude says:

    This is real simple guys. There is an implied warranty of merchantability. Take them to small claims court. It likely wouldn’t be worth their time or trouble to show up. Easy win for you. :)

  21. Nic715 says:

    I’m surprised by this. I have 2 friends who had 2 different problems with a similar Lucky brand bags…both called customer service and were sent credit to purchase a different bag…even though NEITHER bought their bag directly from Lucky. One was purchased via the Victoria’s Secret catalog and the other from TJ Maxx….I was under the impression that Lucky had great customer service because of this. I suggest she call and ask that they send her a replacement or credit for a replacement bag.

    • thompson says:

      Makes you wonder why the OP didn’t attempt to contact the proper customer service channels after she was pointed in that direction.

  22. Keter says:

    A big “ditto” to those suggesting taking the bag to a shoe repair place. Typically they charge 1/10th of the price of an item or less to repair it, and I’ve always had good results.

    Just a note for the ladies who may not understand leather and leather construction: the key with leather is thickness and weight if you want it to last, both in the leather and in the stitching. Particularly with patchwork, because each patch join is a potential failure point.

    15 years ago, I bought a Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather purse, which is very heavy. It came with a lifetime replacement guarantee. I’m still using it and it still looks great, which might explain why they don’t make them any longer. But I gotta tell you, paying $300 for a purse was extremely scary at the time! It has more than paid for itself over time.

    You don’t have to pay that much for good leather, though. I have a heavy suede patchwork bag that is still rock solid and looks good at 36 years old, and I use it as a small tote and as an overnight bag – it can easily carry 15-20lbs of tools. I paid all of $15 for it back then, in today’s shrinking dollars it would probably be $45. I also have a similar vintage leather tote that came from India that I use for weekend travel…I paid $17 for it and it frankly surprised me….it still looks brand new!

  23. INsano says:

    Product makes it through the first year?: Lucky!

    -By Lucky Brand, where our products explore the bottom shelf and the back room.

  24. Buckus says:

    I guess the moral of the story is don’t put your chihuaha in your bag and only use it for a week before buying a new one.

    I mean, if you’re Paris Hilton.

  25. cloudedknife says:

    this could be a ridiculous suggestion but maybe she shouldn’t buy cheaply made bags. And by that I DON’T mean she should spend 400 instead of $150 on a coach or LV bag, I mean she should pay attention to how things are made.

    That bag looks easily repairable. She should take it to a shoe repair shop and have them restitch the handle.

  26. Kibit says:

    The OP bought the bag a year ago and said that “the handle has broken continuously since then” so my question is, why didn’t she return it to Macy’s after it broke the first time?

    I think there is a lot that could be added to her post to help figure it out. Did Consumerist receive a copy of her original email to Lucky or just their response? Did she ever contact Macy’s and or try to return it to the store? If so, what did they say? Does she still have the receipt?

    Even if she did not have the receipt they may have exchanged it for her. Also if she tried to return or exchange it now without a receipt she would get the lowest price that it had sold for. At Macy’s their clearance items can get very cheap so she would most likely receive only 15-25 % of the full retail price ($22.50 -$37.50) because they most likely do not have this bag anymore in store. Is that why she has contacted Lucky? It appears that Lucky and Macy’s do not have this bag online anymore either.

    Most stores will not, even with a receipt return a bag that was purchased a year ago. Even if it did break after a year of use. They tend to consider that normal wear and tear. Even if she told them that it has broken continuously since she purchased it, they still most likely wouldn’t do it because it has been a year since she purchased it and she never brought it in before when it broke.

    If the OP had bought the bag and returned it numerous times because of a defect then I think she would have a stronger case and more reason to be pissed at Lucky. Since she did not buy it at their store and it broke numerous times before she finally contacted them and since she has used it for a year. I’m really not sure she has a case against them.

  27. radio1 says:

    After the first or second break, why did not the OP take it back to Macy’s for a refund or an exchange…?

    They have a nice return policy.

  28. sopmodm14 says:

    $50 handbags are cheaper and better

    does putting sprinkles on dog turds make it more pretty or just as unpleasant ?

    i might not expect a refund, but if its due to craftsmanship, i’d like to have it repaired at the very least

    thats why North Face has my continued patronage….not only are their products up to standards, if there are defects, they’ll back up their reputation to quality (had a one glove and one sleeve fixed due to bad seams).

  29. Gladeye says:

    I actually know one of the owners of Luckybrand, and while I can’t afford or defend their prices, I do know that they are a pretty ethical company and their products are usually very well made. They were bought by Liz Claiborn a few years ago, so I guess it’s not the fault of the guy I know. Oh well. Sorry about your story.

  30. backinpgh says:

    Whoa…brackets AND parentheses. My mind is officially blown.

  31. backinpgh says:

    Clearly this is a case of the online entity being separate from the brick-and-mortar entity (a la Target stores, etc.) They’re saying that they can’t help you with a store purchase; contact the store department for help with that.

  32. leopard.print says:

    I had this problem as well, but with a pair of Tory Burch flats I got from Nordstrom. They were completely destroyed after a few months of regular use. I contacted TB and told them about the situation but they were unwilling to help. However, when I brought the shoes to Nordstrom they gave me a brand new pair with no questions asked. Superior customer service! I would try to reach out to Macy’s and explain the issue. They might be able to help in some way. Good luck!

  33. pot_roast says:

    My wife had a similar problem with Coach. There are claims that they stand behind their quality and have great customer service – until you actually have to use it. Then you’re screwed. You’ll be told that your item was discontinued and there’s no replacement, or “repair services aren’t available for this particular item.” That’s great to hear when the purse that’s 6 months old and was purchased in person from an actual Coach store starts falling apart.

  34. banmojo says:

    Now we, as consumers, have the right to NOT purchase this particular brand of bags. With such crappy CS/warranty, this company should not last long.

  35. jimstoic says:

    You deal with the store first. They deal with the manufacturer. Macys.com permits returns of most merchandise for a full refund, less shipping charges, based on the original form of payment, anytime after purchase.

    I think the back of the receipt explains the return policy for items bought at a store, but I’ve never had Macy’s turn down a return.

  36. goodfellow_puck says:

    Thank god it broke, ’cause it’s pretty ugly. Unfortunately, $150 is a lot to just lose so hopefully they’ll make right after your Consumerist post.

  37. neaseoul04 says:

    My bag just broke the exact same way today!! Is it a total lost or should I try to have it repaired? Granted I have had it for almost 3 years but it is my favorite purse of all. I’m not ready to give it up just yet.

  38. free says:

    so what the crap is with this company; at least you guys have rcvd a response from Lucky Brand CS. I’ve written 2 emails 2 weeks ago and no reply. I guess they don’t care about customers or profits. Still waiting you MF’S