There has been much speculation amongst Chanel aficionados as to the reason for the new policies, particularly the four year increase in the warranty term. The most likely explanation is that Chanel decided to offer this greater level of post-purchase care because of its repeated and significant price increases over the past couple of years. As you may recall, one reason Chanel declines to sell handbags and RTW online is its stated desire to elevate the Chanel shopping experience. Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s President of Fashion, repeatedly discusses the company’s relationship with its customer and the luxury experience, which now doesn’t end at sale. Whether the after-care plan parallels Hermès’ spa service, remains to be seen.
The rumored purchasing limits and prioritization of customers based on purchasing history does resemble the Hermès business model. Perhaps it is unsurprising as Chanel continuously endeavors to pump up exclusivity with ever-increasing prices and limited supply.
Of course, there could be (and likely is) another driving force behind these new policies. That is Chanel’s desire to combat the resale market. In the new policy, Chanel makes clear that only handbags and WOCs purchased from Chanel boutiques are eligible for repairs or the replacement of any parts. Lack of proof of purchase puts you out of luck. This could potentially deter consumers looking to buy a Chanel bag from the resale market.
As for the rumored annual limit on bag purchases, many speculate it too is driven by concerns about resale. Specifically, such a move could help shunt supply available to resellers. If true, no longer could people buy excessive numbers of bags with the sole intention of reselling them. This concern about bags flooding the resale market is shared by Hermès as well. In addition to the difficulty of obtaining its top items, recently Hermès added language on its sales receipt that customers were agreeing to not resell these items on for commercial purposes. Of course, whether that is enforceable is a different matter entirely.