Victoria's Secret sued for $15m by supplier for 'using its products on hosiery package, but putting cheap knock-offs inside'
19:10 GMT, 27 August 2012
Victoria's Secret is being sued by one of its hosiery suppliers over accusations that it 'sold cheap knockoffs' of its product.
New Jersey-based Zephyrs, which supplied Italian-made tights and stockings to the lingerie giant for a decade until early 2011, filed a $15million lawsuit in a federal court in Columbus, Ohio, where Victoria's Secret parent company, Limited Brands, has its headquarters.
The suit claims that Zephyrs designs still appear on packaging for Victoria's Secret hosiery, but the product within is manufactured by a different supplier.
'Misleading customers': Former Victoria's Secret supplier Zephyrs claims its hosiery appears on the lingerie giant's packaging, on model Candice Swanepoel, but not actually inside the packet
It accuses Victoria's Secret of 'deliberately misleading customers' and is seeking a recall of products including the Lace Top Fish Net Stockings, Fish Net Thigh-Highs With
Backseam and a Signature Stripe Thigh-High With Bows. Typically, each pair sells for $16-18.
Zephyrs told WWD that the replacement products were manufactured in 'cheaper lace trims, irregular borders, missing
heel reinforcements and less durable construction.'
The firm, which is also seeking corrective advertising, accuses Victoria's Secret of breaching their contract, unfair competition, consumer fraud and false advertising.
Debra Mackinnon, owner and president of Zephyrs, told WWD that she was first alerted to the issue in early 2011 after Victoria's Secret 'failed to sanction $100,000 worth of product for delivery'.
Cut-price: Zephyrs' lawyers claim Victoria's Secret is selling hosiery manufactured in cheaper lace trims
Allegations: Victoria's Secret is being accused of breaching its contract with Zephyrs, unfair competition, consumer fraud and false advertising
Investigating further, she said: 'When I was in Chicago in March
2012, I went to a Victoria’s Secret store and picked up a package and
saw it said Made in Canada. The product inside was drastically different
than what [the image] was on the package.'
Joseph Gioconda, of New York-based firm Gioconda Law Group PLLC,
which represents Zephyrs, explained: 'Victoria’s Secret changed the product in the packaging but didn’t
change anything else except Made in Canada on the back of the package.
It used to say Made in Italy.'
says the suit was filed on August 10, but the complaint was unsealed on
Friday after efforts to reach a settlement proved unsuccessful.
He added: 'We are planning to proceed and will be serving papers to Victoria’s
Secret and The Limited as well as other Victoria’s Secret entities. They
will have 21 days to respond.'