Visitor Question

Handbag damaged by store employee…

Submitted By: Denise (Los Angeles, CA, USA)

A Sephora (chain of beauty product stores) employee was preparing a sample of liquid foundation for me, and accidentally squirted it on my new leather handbag. It is now stained. The store has Traveller’s Insurance handling the claim. They have asked for a receipt for the bag.

My husband purchased the bag at a discount, which is no longer available. If we were to buy another, it would cost more than what we paid for before. Should I be compensated for what we actually paid for the purse, or for the current price that it can be replaced at? What else do we need to do to make this claim successful? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Denise,

You have a legal right to be “made whole” as a result if the employee’s negligence. Making you whole means you should be placed back in the same position you were before the employee negligently scarred your handbag. Doing this, however, can be a challenge.

Because your handbag was “used” at the time of the incident, you may only be entitled to enough compensation to cover the handbag in its used condition. This is similar to a car accident where the insurance company is not required to pay for a new car, but rather for the fair market value of the car’s condition at the time of the crash.

While the idea of making you whole may seem unfair, it nonetheless is the prerogative of the store, or its insurance company, to compensate you for the value of your handbag at the place and time it was damaged.

While you may be ultimately subject to the “made whole” position, there is nothing wrong with your making every attempt to convince the store or its insurance company to reimburse you for the amount it will take to purchase a new handbag. Do everything you can to present the highest value of your handbag.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 14, 2014

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