Witness: They were not real Puma slippers
A customer on Wednesday said how she went to the police after buying a Puma item but got suspicious of it after comparing it with another item she had at home.
Monee Hope gave evidence as the counterfeit case against Ouch! Boutique owner Grenville Ricardo Delpeache continued in the Bridgetown Traffic Court before Magistrate Graveney Bannister on Wednesday.
Delpeache was the second Bridgetown businessman to be charged last year with selling knock-offs of the brand, after Rihanna’s uncle Leroy Fitzgerald Daddy I-Roy/De Warrior Brathwaite, was first charged with selling knock-offs of the popular Rihanna Puma line, as well as other items bearing the Puma name.
Hope said that she went to Bridgetown on May 13 last year to purchase some items, one of which was a pair of Fenty Puma slippers by Rihanna from the Swan Street establishment.
She said while she was unable to buy shoes that fit, she opted for a pair of slippers she saw on display.
“I asked for my size and the sales assistant said she did not have it, but I could wear them as the size was a bit off,” she said of the furry burgundy slippers with the inscription Puma stitched across the top.
She then took them to the cashier, who told her the slippers would cost $100, as opposed to the $200 price tag that was affixed to the item. Hope used her Visa debit card to pay for the item, and was given a machine receipt, and she asked for a store receipt as well.
The 28-year-old continued that after she got home, she realised that the quality of the pair she had just purchased did not match the quality of a pair she had previously bought.
“I have the same slipper to the one purchased, but in a different colour. I got the other pair from overseas in New York and paid US$150 for them,” she said.
Having observed the differences, Hope said her first thought was to take the slippers back or figure out what to do with them as “I was not going to wear knock-off shoes”.
In response to Assistant Superintendent Trevor Blackman, the witness said she knew Mark Hope, attorney for Puma in Barbados.
She continued that after showing the attorney the slippers, he directed her to contact the police, and at the Financial Crime Investigation Unit, she gave a statement and presented the slippers.
“I explained to the officer that I bought the shoes thinking they were real, but they were not,” she said, adding that she presented the receipts as proof of purchase to the officer.
Delpeache’s lawyer Satcha Kissoon, during his cross-examination asked her if she was aware that Mark Hope was investigating counterfeit shoes in Barbados, to which she responded that he did not tell her nor discuss with her that investigations were ongoing.
She also added that it was not the first time she went in Ouch!, and did not enquire anywhere else about Puma shoes. However, she did say before presenting her debit card, she asked the clerk if the slippers were real Fenty slippers, to which the clerk said they were.
In Kissoon’s further questioning of the witness, she said when she realised the shoes were counterfeit she went to the police for advice, and did not report the falseness of the slippers to Ouch!
While Kissoon also pointed out that the word Puma did not appear anywhere on the receipt, he asked if Hope enquired about the store’s coding to which she responded “no”.
The case continues on Tuesday in the Bridgetown Traffic Court. (RA)