|LVMH Korea President Cho Hyun-ouk|
Louis Vuitton is under criticism in Korea again, after it recently decided to allow only 14 days for Korean customers to exchange their products for free, while offering the usual 30 days to customers in other countries, industry officials said Thursday.
Critics say the company is seemingly looking down on Koreans, despite its popularity here
According to industry officials, Korean customers of the French luxury brand received a sudden notice of the revision of terms of purchase late last month.
"If the terms are amended, the exchange of the product will be available within 14 days, shortened from 30 days," Louis Vuitton's local subsidiary wrote on its official website.
"If you have any questions or objections to the amendment of the terms, please contact us. If you do not inform us that you refuse the amendment by the effective date of the amendment, we will consider that you agree to the amendment."
Louis Vuitton said only Korea will be subject to the amendment.
It guarantees 30 days in the United States, China, Japan and France.
The company even wrote on its French website that Louis Vuitton offers its customers the opportunity to exchange their products within 30 days of purchase in order to satisfy them, although the country's law guarantees only 14 days.
In addition, Louis Vuitton allows only seven days for Korean customers to get refunds for free, while offering 14 days in France and 30 days in the U.S. and Japan.
Korean consumers regard the return policy as discriminatory.
"It is ridiculous that the multinational enterprise offers a shorter period of time for exchange to Korean customers than to those in other countries," a Consumer Network for Public Interest official said. "Considering Louis Vuitton's products in Korea cost relatively more than those in other countries, it should guarantee same rights to Korean consumers."
Some Louis Vuitton customers also complained that they were not notified of the amendment.
"I did not receive a text message from Louis Vuitton, I noticed the amendment after reading articles on the internet," one customer said.
They also complained that Louis Vuitton does not intend to withdraw its decision, even if its customers refuse to accept the amendment.
Louis Vuitton cited the nation's market conditions as a reason for its recent decision, saying other luxury brands, such as Gucci, Chanel and Burberry, also only offer 14 days for an exchange.
Over the past few years, the luxury brand has drawn criticism from Korean consumers, as the international fashion house continues to carry out massive price hikes in Korea. Whenever it raises its prices, the Korean subsidiary says its global headquarters made the decision.
Data compiled by Exane BNP Paribas, a French-based finance group, showed Korea ranked second in the cost of luxury goods relative to the global average last year, following China. Luxury goods in Korea were 14 percent more expensive than the global average.