The brand Hermes is supposed to represent quality and good quality control. But Kelvin Kok's recent online purchase of a S$1,400 + bracelet from Hermes USA website has left him with a totally different impression.
In his first email to me last week, he said: "In a nutshell, the bracelet arrived but it's totally unwearable. Just imagine a bag without any handles." He wanted to know his rights as a consumer and what was the best course of action to take.
When he contacted Hermes USA after receiving the unwearable bracelet, he was asked to courier it back to them "as they do not ship outside USA so i've to bear the courier fees."
He was also asked to seek the help of Hermes in Singapore. So off he went to two of the outlets -- DFS and Liat Tower.
He said: "DFS's reply was they will take a picture and send it to Paris, HQ for evaluation and may take up to 6 months for a replacement. "However, Liat Tower refused to take the bracelet as I had bought it through their US online site and have to go through the US. So basically they pushed me back to US.
"Liat Tower also said if US refused to help, I will have to bring the item to Liat Tower and they will send it to Paris which will take up to 6 months for the wait. So I spoke to US that same night and they asked me to send it back to them...
"I feel that I should not be limited to whatever rights I have as an overseas buyer as this is clearly a huge oversight on Hermes' QC. They pride themselves as a luxury brand that produces high quality leather goods but this is truly unacceptable. They have bags costing more than 10K and you can imagine what would happen if it came without any handles."
As Kelvin did not explain why the bracelet was not wearable, I was curious. So I emailed him to find out.
When he replied, he surprised me by saying that he had solved the problem -- without the help of either Hermes USA or Singapore.
And the person who came to his rescue? The owner of a leather shop, 310 Woodland, located at the Heeren.
Kelvin said: "He was nice enough to help me out for a measly amount of $8. Being the pro that he is, he managed to knock out a hole in my bracelet in less than 10 mins. Now I'm finally a proud owner of a wearable bracelet."
As to why the bracelet was not wearable, Kelvin said he did not know how to explain the mechanics of the bracelet "as it is pretty complex to wear it". Instead he sent pictures to help me understand.
The first picture below shows the closeup of the metal plate with 4 slots. They were supposed to be punched through so that the pointy thing on left(second picture) can go through it. Kelvin says basically it came as a flat leather and "if you inspect closely, the 4 slots were punched but only halfway into the leather so I suspect it is done using machine."
Hermes has fallen short in its service to Kelvin. It did a lousy QC job in the production of the bracelet and was not very helpful when it was pointed out.
For those of you still interested in the bracelet, Kelvin says it is called "Collier de Chien" and is said to be "the Holy Grail of all fashion bracelets with its price starting from SGD$1400 to SGD$3000."
Well, I am not sure whether Kelvin will be buying another product from Hermes anytime soon.