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Buying designer bags on eBay has always felt like a roll of the.
Sure, there might be amazing deals to be had, but are the bags even authentic?
I mean, sure, if you want to carry around a fake Chloe or Birkin Bag, head right on over to eBay and sort the prices Low-to-High.
The problem is, what if you want the real deal but also want to save some money? Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of a specific designer bag for years and think that eBay is the route to your dreams?
Well, you could very well be right, provided you are careful, patient, and follow all my tips for buying authenticating used bags on eBay and protecting yourself from scams.
What do I know about designer bags?
Well, let’s just say I know enough to embarass myself and others at most parties. It usually makes women uncomfortable when I (a guy) know the style, MSRP, production years, and authenticity status of their bag.
And if you want to make everyone more uncomfortable, just let the husband know that you recognize the “expensive anniversary gift” that he just got his wife is actually a fake.
I have been a full-time eBay seller for more than 5 years and have been selling designer handbags (and other luxury goods) for the past three. While we specialize in importing authentic used Louis Vuitton bags from Japan, we sell buy and sell bags of all sorts and at all price levels.
I literally look at thousands of bags a week to find the gems and I want to sell and have handled hundreds of them as they’ve passed through our home-warehouse. After seeing thousands of listings and bags it becomes apparent very quickly what sellers can be trusted, the techniques that scammers use, and the tell-tale signs of authenticity when it comes to bags.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about some of the methods that I use to identify authentic designer bags and goods on eBay!
1. Buy Only From Trusted Sellers
This is, without a doubt, the most important tip I can give you. There are tons of designer bags started on eBay auction by accounts that have very few feedback. You can gamble on these if you want (you might get a great deal) but it’s far more likely you’ll get a poor quality knockoff from someone who made the account to sell their own fake bags when they were low on money.
I might miss out on a few screaming deals, but my personal policy to avoid those “one-off” auctions saves me the hours that I would otherwise spend looking at all of those listings.
Instead, I buy designer bags and goods from only sellers that I can vet and see lots of positive feedback.
Be sure to check out our list of 8 Trusted Sellers of Designer Handbags if you’re concerned about getting swindled.
2. Learn The Style Name/Number Of The Bag You’re Shopping For
There are two ways to go about this. If you want a specific bag, look it up by the style name or number and spend a lot of time looking at pictures. If you can go to a store and handle it, so much the better. This will protect you from sellers that use only stock pictures or don’t know what they’re selling and have obvious fakes.
On the other side of the fence, if you find a bag you’re interested in, look through the pictures to find the style number. Reputable sellers will typically include the name, style number, or pictures of them. If they don’t, run! Use that number to look up the model and see what it’s supposed to look like.
3. Buy From Established Large Volume Sellers
As an extension of Tip #1, if you’re new to eBay you should stick to people who specialize in selling bags. The sellers I buy from typically list dozens to hundreds of bags at a time. Because of the large volume, there are still great deals to be had.
Large volume designer sellers are typically able to source items en masse and aren’t as concerned about the profit of each individual sale. Furthermore, they are likely to be highly experienced in handling and selling designer goods. They won’t purposefully list counterfeit goods and risk their business.
4. Ask For Proof Of Authenticity
If you’re buying from someone who does not typically sell bags, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s fake. There’s just a higher possiblity. It’s totally possible that they are selling a personal bag, they’re selling on commision, etc.
To alleviate your concerns, ask for a receipt, certificate of authenticity, etc. Sellers who are legitimately selling authentic goods will understand your concern and not be offended. If they don’t have “proof” or are cranky that you asked, give it a pass.
5. Read Between The Lines Of The Description
Very few people who sell fakes on eBay are unaware and most don’t feel comfortable outright scamming people. If you read carefully they’ll usually cover their butt somewhere in the description with something like, “I don’t have a certificate of authenticity but it feels really nice!” They’re telling you that it’s fake.
This is also giving them a way out if you try to file a claim with your credit card company. They will simply claim that you knew exactly what you were doing and they didn’t make any false claims.
Since selling fakes on eBay is actually not allowed, report such listings as counterfeits and protect your fellow shoppers.
6. Study The Logos
For some reason, people who produce fake items typically don’t make them perfect. They think that, in some perverse world, creating a fake that is less than perfect protects them from the law. Study the logos and tags very carefully and look for typos, incorrect fonts, logos that look slightly off, etc.
Designer companies don’t mess around with quality control so if anything looks off (check the stitching as well) then it’s probably not real.
7. If In Doubt, Don’t Buy
Once in a blue moon, I’ll gamble on something I don’t know for 100% certainty is real. This past week I bought a suede MiuMiu bag and a Gucci clutch for $100 apiece that I wasn’t certain about. I was 80% sure that they were real and, coupled with the low price, I was willing to risk the money. If you are looking for personal bags and not to resell, your risk tolerance may not be as high.
How To Get The Best Deal On A Designer Handbag
Now, even among authentic bags, there are great deals to be had. If you are patient and play things right, it’s still possible to get a guaranteed authentic bag for a fraction (like 1/4) of what you’d pay retail. Unfortunately, better deals are better deals because they come with an increased risk. Here’s how to be smart about it:
- Wait for the right bag. To butcher a Warren Buffet quote, “Money moves from impatient people to patient people.” If you can afford to wait, take your time to make sure you find the bag you want that you can afford.
- Be willing to make repairs. Most designer companies make cost-effective (“cost-effective” being a relative term) repairs to their items. If you find an item that is missing a snap, has a broken zipper, etc. you can typically get it repaired by the company with authentic hardware or by a private repairman for less. Damaged bags are typically much cheaper than those that are ready to walk down the street.
- Buy from overseas. If you’ve read out Louis Vuitton sourcing post, you’ll know that 80% of the bags we buy come from overseas. Many countries have severe penalties for selling fakes overseas. In Japan, for example, sellers must be licensed to sell luxury/designer goods. Buying from those sellers is typically a safe bet. We included several sellers we trust and buy from in our article.
- Buy on auction. Unless an item is highly trendy, you’ll get the best price by buying on auction. If an item is hot, however, (such as Neverfull totes) you’re better off to watch or save the search and buy something on a Buy It Now.
Long story short, the victory goes to whoever is smart and patient!
At the end of the day, you’ll come out ahead if you simply employ lots of common sense and don’t get greedy. While there are great deals to be had, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Buying authentic designer bags on eBay isn’t a crapshoot, it’s a matter of knowing the game.
Have you bought anything great lately? What tips do you have for fellow shoppers?