By Michelle Graff
Los Angeles-- A consumer in California is suing HauteLook, claiming it is misleading consumers regarding the quality and value of the “authentic” vintage Rolex watches being offered on the flash-sale site, court papers show.

Los Angeles resident Vahdat Aghdasy filed suit against HauteLook and parent company Nordstrom Inc. on March 17 in California federal court, charging the retailers with fraud; unfair, fraudulent and unlawful business acts and practices; and misleading, deceptive and untrue advertising.

Aghdasy claims that he purchased a watch purported to be an “authentic” vintage Rolex from HauteLook in October 2015 and thought he was getting a watch that looked the same as the picture on the website but was being sold for 50 to 75 percent off the retail price.

The plaintiff also believed he was getting a Rolex shipped by Rolex because one of HauteLook’s “key selling points” is its claims that its merchandise is “100 percent authentic and comes direct from the brands,” court papers state. While the company does have a disclaimer stating that this might not be the case with the watches its sells, that disclaimer is “in small print and difficult to locate.”

What Aghdasy received instead, according to the lawsuit, was “an inferior Rolex-packaged watch, which contained many non-Rolex parts” and was “damaged and in poor condition, (and) did not conform to the photograph in HauteLook’s solicitation.”

The watch is worth “substantially” less than advertised and is accompanied by a “certified appraisal” from a company called SwissWatchAppraisers that the lawsuit alleges is not an appraisal of the actual watch Aghdasy received but, rather, an appraisal of what that watch would be worth if it was an authentic Rolex.

The suit even goes so far as to claim that SwissWatchAppraisers was a company “formed, organized, sponsored, funded and/or aided” by HauteLook and Nordstrom “for the express purpose of providing fraudulent appraisals.”  

It noted that there’s no contact information for SwissWatchAppraisers on the appraisal itself, and the number listed on what appears to be the company’s website is disconnected, a fact confirmed Wednesday by National Jeweler

National Jeweler also was able to locate an email address on the SwissWatchAppraisers website. An email sent to that address Wednesday evening went unreturned overnight.

Nordstrom did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Aghdasy’s suit is being pursued as a class action in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of all U.S. citizens who purchased vintage Rolex watches from HauteLook in the four years prior to the lawsuit’s filing date.

Rolex did not respond to request for comment when asked if it plans to take any legal action in the case. An online search of court records in both U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and federal court in New York, where Rolex U.S.A. is based, did not turn up any lawsuits filed by Rolex against Nordstrom.

In the legal notices section of its website, the well-known luxury watch brand states that genuine Rolex products are sold through official Rolex retailers only and that it cannot ensure the authenticity of watches sold online.

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