Luxury bag reseller fails to deliver paid branded items including Hermes bags; police reports made

The Straits Times understands that at least five police reports have been made against WestCloset. ST PHOTO: NADINE CHUA

SINGAPORE - A woman who paid $29,900 to luxury bag reseller WestCloset but never received the Hermes bag she was promised lodged a police report in August.

A 33-year-old woman linked to the case has been arrested, the police said on Tuesday.

The Straits Times understands that at least five police reports have been made against WestCloset for allegedly collecting money for second-hand luxury bags but not delivering the goods.

The police confirmed that reports have been made against WestCloset and said they are investigating. They declined to reveal when the 33-year-old was arrested and other details.

It is believed there are more victims as some of WestCloset's customers who did not receive their goods after paying the company told ST that they, too, intend to file police reports.

Christine (not her real name), 45, said that she transferred $29,900 to WestCloset in July after seeing a second-hand Hermes Birkin bag listed on Instagram.

The employee of an IT firm said: "WestCloset said if I paid the full amount, the bag would be delivered to me. But it never came.

"Over the next few weeks, I kept messaging them but they kept giving me vague, non-committal responses. After a while, I could tell they were using delay tactics."

She filed a police report on Aug 16.

Checks by ST show that the company is registered under an Indonesian woman's name.

WestCloset's website, which has been taken down, said the business started in 2012. It has an online store and a physical store at Novena Regency in Thomson Road.

Another alleged victim, Alice (not her real name), 33, said she paid $18,000 for an Hermes Constance bag in June. She said it was around $1,000 cheaper than what other luxury bag resellers were charging.

The financial analyst added: "I bought an Hermes Kelly bag from their (WestCloset's) physical store in 2018. I even met the boss, so I trusted them."

But when the bag she paid for in June was not delivered, she asked WestCloset for a refund.

"I hounded them and gave them until July 17 to refund the money. They eventually transferred $8,000 to my account but when I asked for the rest, they kept giving excuses," said Alice.

Apart from selling luxury bags, WestCloset is also known for its consignment services. ST PHOTO: NADINE CHUA

The six alleged victims ST spoke to said WestCloset's excuses included the company having financial issues, and that the boss had been hospitalised and needed time to recover.

When ST visited WestCloset's outlet in Novena on Monday, it was closed. Employees in nearby shops said WestCloset moved there at the start of the year, adding that it was rarely opened over the last few months.

The alleged victims ST spoke to said they trusted WestCloset as it has a physical store as well as positive reviews on Carousell and Instagram.

Apart from selling luxury bags, WestCloset is also known for its consignment services, they said.

In consignment, owners hand over their items to a shop which will help to sell them for a cut of the proceeds. If there is no transaction within a stipulated time, the products are returned to the individuals.

Sally (not her real name), a 30-year-old bank executive, consigned her Hermes Picotin bag to WestCloset in June, hoping to sell it for $5,500.

She also loaned $18,000 to WestCloset in July after the boss claimed it had "temporary cash flow issues".

"WestCloset promised to return me the $18,000 plus an extra $1,500 after two weeks. The deal was that the firm would give me the opportunity to buy an Hermes Birkin bag," added Sally.

But she never saw her bag or money again. "I tried to collect the bag I consigned from the store in Novena, but the staff kept coming up with excuses that no one was in or that the boss' children were in hospital," said Sally.

In July, ST reported that more than 180 police reports had been lodged since June against Singaporean Pi Jiapeng, 26, and his wife, Thai national Pansuk Siriwipa, 27, who allegedly failed to deliver luxury goods worth around $32 million to customers.

The couple fled Singapore in a container compartment of a lorry on July 4 and were arrested in Malaysia more than a month later.

In August, Pi and Pansuk were each handed two charges for cheating and one for leaving Singapore illegally. They remain in custody as investigations continue.

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