Australian Real Estate Agent Loses $30,000 in Luxury Sneaker Scam: Unraveling the Bizarre Case
The shocking revelation comes with a twist – the buyer knowingly purchased the fake sneakers from a 17-year-old seller, leading to legal complexities that prevent him from seeking a refund.
The Melbourne-based real estate agent, lured by the allure of Dior x Air Jordan 1 sneakers, purchased seven pairs from the teenage seller. Astonishingly, he paid as much as $10,000 for a single pair, thinking he was investing in rare and authentic collector's items.
Upon receiving the shoes, the buyer claimed to notice defects, prompting him to seek authentication at a sneaker store. The store's expert confirmed the heartbreaking truth – the coveted sneakers were counterfeit. Outraged by the deception, the buyer took legal action against the 17-year-old seller and his father, bringing the case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in October.
The tribunal's ruling, delivered in December by VCAT member Katherine Metcalf, brought a surprising outcome for the duped real estate agent. Despite losing tens of thousands of dollars on the fake sneakers, the buyer was denied a refund. The key factor in the decision was the age of the seller, as Metcalf stated that the 17-year-old did not have the full capacity to enter into contracts due to his young age.
The teenage seller presented an unusual defense, claiming to have a 'system with some international associates' who participated in sneaker raffles on his behalf and sent him the limited edition sneakers. These sneakers, a collaboration between Dior and Air Jordan, released only 8,500 low-tops and 4,700 high-tops in 2020.
The real estate agent's purchases varied in cost, ranging from $3,800 for one pair to $10,000 for another, with three additional pairs priced between $2,690 and $6,700. Distressingly, the buyer noticed defects in the shoes upon arrival, leading to the discovery of their inauthenticity.
Attempts to contact the 17-year-old seller proved futile, prompting the buyer to engage with the teenager's father. Together, they visited the sneaker store, where an authenticator confirmed the shoes were fake and labeled the seller as a 'scammer' who had been black-listed.
While the father allegedly offered $10,000 in compensation, the buyer refused and pursued legal action through VCAT. However, Metcalf's ruling highlighted a critical factor – the buyer was aware of the seller's age and even sent a text wishing him a 'happy belated 18th birthday' in May 2021.
Under Victorian law, contracts with individuals under the age of 18 are not enforceable. The Supreme Court Act of 1986 specifies that certain contracts, including those for goods and services that are not necessities, are not legally binding. Metcalf emphasized that the contract was fully performed while the seller was still a minor, and if entered into when he was 18, the outcome might have been different.
While the law typically protects minors from the consequences of their actions, the ruling raises questions about the need to protect those who engage in business with minors. The VCAT spokesperson declined to comment on individual cases.
The real estate agent, left with the counterfeit sneakers, faces the financial repercussions of the unusual scam. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old seller, who unknowingly started a sneaker business during a business management studies course, has faced threats from irate buyers and even allegedly been chased through a shopping center by furious customers who discovered they purchased fake shoes. The case serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the complexities and challenges in the world of high-end sneaker transactions.
How to spot a fake pair of Air Jordan's?
Buyers can spot if a pair of Air Jordan's are fake by checking a few details.
The label on the cardboard box must match the label on the shoes.
The shoes should be created with quality materials. The material on a fake pair of Air Jordan's are usually poor quality with lose stitching and protruding exteriors.
The iconic 'Air Jordan' logo should be deeply embedded into the shoe. Counterfeit sneakers are usually printed on the footwear and buyers can tell the logo is fake if the 'Air Jordan' letters are smaller and thinner.
Buyers should also check the back of the shoe, in particular a small rectangular tab in the middle that is several centimeters above the heel of the shoe.
The double stitch on the rectangular tab should be placed exactly over one another. If there is a gap the sneakers are fake.
The price is also important. If the shoes are selling for a lower price than what they are normally sold for the shoe is not original.
Popular footwear retailer Footlocker sells Air Jordan sneaker for around $180 however other models of the popular sneaker brand are more expensive.
The Air Jordan shoe brand partnered up with iconic fashion label Dior in 2020 to release the Dior X Air Jordan sneakers.
The sneakers are listed for $14,625 on StockX, a popular online accessories retailer
The shoes which are made in Italy was first listed at $2000 in April 2020 and the sneakers are sold in both both high and low tops