Luxury retailer, Tiffany, filed a lawsuit this Valentine’s Day against Costco over claims it falsely marketed diamond engagement rings.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Federal District Court, Tiffany alleges that the discount warehouse chain was selling diamond engagement rings as Tiffany rings said The New York Times.
Tiffany was not alone its anger that its prestigious name was being used to sell warehouse retailer jewelry. Long known worldwide for its jewelry, specifically for its engagement rings, Tiffany learned of the potential fraud from a customer.
It seems that a Costco shopper complained to Tiffany in late 2012 saying, “that she was disappointed to observe that Costco was offering for sale what were promoted on in-store signs as Tiffany diamond engagement rings.” A Tiffany investigation followed, said The Times, and revealed that Costco sales people were, in fact, referring to diamond engagement rings as Tiffany-brand rings. The rings were not sold as Tiffany rings online.
By not selling the fake “Tiffany” rings online, detection was deferred for some time; however, there remain scores of consumers who believe they received a Tiffany engagement ring when, in fact, they have a Costco engagement ring. In fact, according to lawsuit allegations, “Unbeknownst to Tiffany, Costco had apparently been selling different styles of rings for many years that it has falsely identified on in-store signage as Tiffany.”
Tiffany said it “has never sold nor would it ever sell its fine jewelry through an off-price warehouse retailer like Costco,” the lawsuit states. Because of the false advertising, the lawsuit also notes, there are “hundreds if not thousands of people who mistakenly believe they purchased and own a Tiffany engagement ring from Costco.” Costco told The Times that it had no comment.
Costco stopped marketed diamond engagement rings as Tiffany rings after Tiffany approached the chain store in 2012. The high-end jeweler seeks all ring sale profits and damages that involve the value of using the Tiffany brand to increase Costco’s business, The Times explained.
This is not the first time a luxury brand has filed a lawsuit to maintain its stature and ensure copied products don’t make it to market, and this is not the first time Costco has been involved in a lawsuit involving a luxury brand producer, noted The Times. Costco fought the Swatch Group over its ability to sell Omega brand watches. That case reached the US Supreme Court.