I’ve had my fair share of designer item fails when purchasing second hand online and I’m here today to share some tips I’ve picked up when hunting for a designer item online. I’ll also put my hands up and say I’ve tried a few knock off items whilst on holiday in Turkey or Thailand (“Miss, it’s a genuine fake – just as good as real thing” 🙄) so have gained a lot of experience in fakery. Not my proudest moments in life and the last one in Thailand was because I needed a bag and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a knock off. But you know I’m all about keeping it real here and a quick disclaimer: I wouldn’t ever purchase something fake (knowingly) anymore – we all have our past!
It’s a minefield of fakery out there, so hopefully this post will help you navigate through the tat to find the treasures!
- The product descriptions are key when searching for designer wear (no matter what it is you’re looking for) – when I first click on something, I always make sure to look out for “Gucci Style” or “Mulberry Style” (or whatever brand you’re searching for “style”) because that means the seller can’t verify its authenticity or they’re aware it’s a fake. If an item is genuine, you’re likely to have a more thorough description and maybe confirmation of where the item was purchased – be wary of “Genuine Mulberry Bag” without much else to go with it, it probably doesn’t indicate you’re getting something genuine
- Check the photos VERY carefully! Now I don’t mean to check whether it looks as amazing as it should because the design is amazing and what you’re after; check for pictures of the item up close; the stitching should be immaculate, hardware should be in the correct place and there shouldn’t be just one picture of it. If you’re unsure, go onto the designer’s website to check their product pictures and see whether it matches exactly. This can sometimes be difficult distinguishing from photos as they might not be showing the dodgy parts, but it can give you a bit of reassurance until you see the item in real life (if you decide to take the plunge!)
- If the product has a serial number (usually on accessories like sunglasses, belts, purses, bags etc.) make sure to Google search the serial number to check it’s not a common one used for fakes – there are normally loads of sites listing the common ones to look out for so it’s definitely worth dropping the number in there to find out
- Try to get some proof of purchase – whether that’s a copy of a receipt or a certificate of authenticity. A lot of brands will provide these if you’ve purchased something you’re not sure about and eBay/PayPal will insist on you obtaining these if you’re disputing a purchase- if you can’t see in the product description whether they have this, drop them a message to ask! Most of the time they’ll share that in their description as it makes the item more desirable due to it being authenticated
- Check the feedback from the seller and what other items they have for sale. If they’re selling various designer items with photos they’ve taken themselves and they’ve had great feedback, you’re probably onto a winner. But if they’re using stock pictures from a brand’s site, I’d say to steer clear
- If a seller doesn’t have any feedback, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re dodgy, but it can be a warning sign if they’ve only got one item available for sale, or the same one in different variations – ain’t nobody got time for that!
- Always shop around and check what the average price for a secondhand item of your choice usually is – you don’t want to overspend on something you’ve first seen if someone else is selling for a more genuine price. I found this a lot when I was shopping for my Mulberry Taylor bag – someone might have purchased it originally for £900 but that doesn’t mean it’s still worth that amount, despite it being unused in its dust bag
- If the price looks too good to be true, it more than likely is. I learnt the hard way when purchasing a fake Gucci Marmont belt on Depop and it’s a pain in the arse trying to get your money back from a seller who’s profile has mysteriously vanished or doesn’t reply to your pleas for a refund!
- ALWAYS PAY THROUGH PAYPAL!! I cannot stress this point enough! If you’re buying on eBay or Depop, then PayPal is always an option and gives you buyer protection for when an item isn’t genuine or doesn’t turn up (I’ve been victim to both – the Gucci Marmont belt as mentioned earlier was a fake, but I also purchased a Mulberry bag on eBay a few years ago which the buyer didn’t end up sending 🙄)
- Try selling some of your old clobber to help fund the purchase. Before I bought my last Mulberry bag secondhand, I had an old vintage one that I’d impulse bought and an old smaller one that I wasn’t using anymore, so I popped it on eBay and used most of the money I got from selling those to fund my new purchase!
- If you’re wanting to drop quite a bit of coin on something, make sure you REALLY want or need the item you’re looking for – it’s easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of online shopping and you might not have wanted those neon coloured Christian Louboutin shoes yesterday, so sleep on it and go back tomorrow or a few days time. Your bank account will thank you for it
- And the final tip comes from Aaron “buy with your head and not your heart” which I thought was a great one! So often you can want an item so badly that you can’t see any of the above points, so you’ll go with your heart, only to find out later that you’ve bought a PVC Louis Vuitton bag that “definitely looked like genuine leather” in the photos – save yourself heartbreak and keep on looking
And those are my little nuggets of wisdom when it comes to buying designer online, if you want some more specific, popular brand related posts, make sure to check out the following links to find some more tips;
- Gucci Belts
- Louis Vuitton Bags
- Christian Louboutin Shoes
- Mulberry Bags
- Chloé Bags
- Michael Kors Bags
- Baleciaga Bags
- Ray Ban Sunglasses
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any second hand designer fails and if you’ve got any tips to add to my list!