Designer Handbags: Real or Fake?

August 14, 2011 by kdskelley  
Published in Fashion

Experiencing eBay buyer’s remorse? Did the Coach handbag that you got for a steal online arrive sporting "G"s and not "C"s? This article will help you on your quest for fashionable finds, while avoiding fakes and frauds.

I almost spent $300 on a fake handbag once. I was caught up in an eBay bidding frenzy, and with only 24 minutes left in the auction, something started to smell fishy. The handbag was a Tory Burch and the seller claimed that it was her newest style. When I compared it to the same handbag on a well-known department store website, the logo was different. Fortunately, eBay will allow a bidder to cancel any bid up to one hour after it is made. I narrowly avoided disaster.

It may sound rather melodramatic to refer to a fake designer handbag as a disaster, but counterfeit luxury items are no laughing matter. The counterfeit luxury business has been linked to organized crime, sweatshops, and terrorist groups. I am all for scoring a great deal, but not at the expense or harm of others. The following tips might be helpful when looking online for a high-end fashion accessory at a low-end price.

When perusing eBay for a handbag, always look for sellers with excellent feedback- and lots of it. Look at their items and where they are located. China has long been a leading hub of counterfeit goods, although some companies, such as Coach, are now manufacturing their products in China. To be safe and not sorry, I automatically discount sellers from China and sellers who do not disclose their location. Often the counterfeit seller will have multiple identical items for very low Buy It Now prices—another red flag. Only look at auctions where you can compare the item online, and make sure that the auction lists either the handbag’s name or the style number. Take that name and number and put it through your search engine to see what pops up. If that particular handbag is nowhere on the net, then odds are it is not legitimate. Make sure that the listing is of the actual handbag and not a stock photo. If the seller has not posted many photos, ask for more. Beware of sellers who will only accept cash or check. Pay Pal has anti-fraud services, and if a buyer can prove that a seller has committed fraud, then Pay Pal will refund some or all of the purchase price. The problem, however, is proving it. eBay does not provide much recourse for swindled buyers. Often by the time the fake has arrived, the seller is either long gone, or eBay has removed them.

I, personally, like to purchase items from individuals who are cleaning out their closets and looking to make a little spending money. In this economy, every little bit helps and it is a win-win situation if a seller can unload an item that they do not need, and a buyer can purchase a quality item at a discounted price. In the world of luxury online auctions, the best advice that I can give a buyer is this–if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

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