Designer Discounted

The Absolute Guide to Buying Authentic Designer Purses on eBay

Are you thinking of buying a used designer handbag on eBay but are afraid it might not be authentic? This guest post from one of our eBay-obsessed members should help you make a wise purchase.

Shopping for authentic designer handbags on eBay is never easy, but it is certainly possible. I know because I have successfully bought a Chanel classic flap and a Louis Vuitton Neverfull via this online marketplace, and they both passed the scrutiny of professional authenticators. I’ve also had my share of eBay failures (including a brush with a fake YSL Muse) due to my ignorance and over eagerness. I guess you can say that when it comes to buying luxury bags on eBay, I have been there, done that, and I have lived to tell the tale.

And so my fellow bag lovers, today I share with you all the lessons I have learned in the many years I have been buying luxury purses on eBay so that you can avoid making costly mistakes. Below are several steps you can take PRIOR to bidding to ensure that you are buying an authentic item.

1. Compare it to the real deal.

If possible, go to a department store that sells the type luxury handbag you are interested in so you can personally study it. Take note of the signature details and familiarize yourself with the craftsmanship and design range of the designer brand you like. If you find a sales associate who isn’t too busy, politely ask him or her to tell you about the purse. I occasionally walk into Chanel, Prada, and Givenchy to check out their bags without any intent of buying. Don’t be shy—it’s free to look.

Can’t go to a store? There is a lot of information online about designer handbags and luxury goods. Simply visit upscale retailer websites like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to see high resolution pictures of the handbags you are interested in. Compare the hardware, logos, measurements, lining, and other specifics. Check that if the designer really makes that color by calling the store. You can also go to fashion blogs, forums, and even fashion magazine websites to see good pictures that you can use for comparison. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada have their own e-commerce stores and the photos are very good, too.

2. Ask questions—lots of questions.

When and where did they get the bag? Do some research to find out if that particular handbag was even out in the market during the time the seller claims to have purchased it.

How much did they pay? A quick Google search will reveal the retail price of a particular designer handbag. Check if the seller has the original receipt. Authenticity cards are helpful, too, but beware—they can be faked.

Can they send more detailed photos? This is important especially if the current photos are bad or don’t show details such as the serial number, the zipper, the stitching, the types of screws used, etc. Any seller who is trying to peddle a $2,000 purse probably owns a nice camera and should be gracious enough to send you more pictures until you can determine the bag’ authenticity.

If the seller refuses to send extra pictures, walk away. They might be trying to sell you a fake bag using pictures of authentic handbags—pictures that are not even theirs. Ensure that the seller actually has the purse in their possession by asking for extra photos before you bid. Make your request specific. Ask to see the back of the turnlock and angles you won’t likely find in Google image search.

3. If the deal seems too good to be true, walk away.

There is no such thing as a Chanel handbag worth $100. These purses are extremely desirable and sell for thousands, even in the used market. Obsessed collectors will snap up real Chanel bags that are in horrible condition. Here’s the deal: So many people are hunting for these bags all the time, so if no one is bidding, there’s a reason. That said, you shouldn’t confuse a high starting bid with authenticity. Look beyond the price and concentrate on the details.

4. Look at the seller's auction history and feedback.

Does the seller also post other high-end items? What did previous buyers have to say about the transaction? Nobody is perfect so you can’t always expect a 100% positive score, but there should never be any complaints about authenticity issues. Sellers with an established selling history are generally more reliable. The POWERSELLER logo indicates responsible selling practices.

I personally don’t buy from individual sellers who are new to eBay but have already sold large quantities of luxury goods in just a short period of time. That for me is a red flag. I also don’t trust sellers who keep their feedback ‘private’ as they are obviously hiding something. Also check to see if the seller has listed more than one of the same handbag. If yes, I would be suspicious.

5. Read the description very carefully.

Watch out for the words "designer inspired"—that means the handbag is a copy. Make sure that the pictures posted are the actual photos of the item. Never buy a listing that uses stock photos copied directly from department stores or big-name retailers. If the description doesn’t mention anything about authenticity, send the seller a message and ask them if it is the real deal. The key is to open a dialogue and document all your communication on eBay.

6. Check the payment, return, and insurance policies.

Responsible sellers readily offer a return or exchange policy to ensure your satisfaction. They also typically use Paypal, which offers a safer online trading experience by providing protection policies for both the buyer and seller. Look for the buyer protection amount—the higher it is, the better. I would be skeptical of sellers who request non-PayPal payment methods. Why are they trying to get around the system?

Luxury handbags are expensive, so most sellers will also include tracking and insurance at no charge. If not, you can always request for this prior to purchase so you’ll have some recourse if the package never reaches you or arrives as something else. Fraudulent sellers who are in the business of misrepresenting items will likely refuse to provide insurance and tracking because they want to be cleared of any responsibility for an item that has left their hands. Consider this a red flag!

7. Lastly, don’t be too eager.

If a seller refuses to answer your questions or send clear photographs—or if you have any doubts at all—then step away and don't bid. You don’t have to buy anything today. There will always be new listings on eBay.

Alternatives to eBay

Don’t think that eBay has the monopoly when it comes to discounted handbags. There are plenty of other websites dedicated to selling authentic luxury purses. The online consignment stores and outlet shops listed below pride themselves on being able to discern fakes from the genuine articles. They also have stricter return policies to protect buyers, though prices tend to be higher because you are not buying direct from the seller.

Yoogi’s Closet

Tips for Authenticating Specific Luxury Handbags on eBay

Gucci – If you’re looking for an affordable Gucci, why not try their outlet stores? You might be able to snag a 100% authentic bag for less than $1,000. If you really want to buy your Gucci on eBay, there are several details to check. The serial number is usually stamped on the back of the leather Gucci tag that is stitched inside the bag. Check the lining, too. Gucci is known to use diagonally textured fabrics in their classic bags, but the linings vary in seasonal as well as higher-end bags. Check our Guide to Authenticating a Gucci Handbag.

Chanel – Counterfeiters have become very good at copying Chanel handbags, but they still can’t quite get some key details right. Ask to see a picture of the screw used to secure the turn lock. Chanel only uses flathead and hex head screws for metal plates. Philips head screws are sometimes used on non-metal plates.

Just because the Chanel has a serial number doesn’t mean it’s authentic. Counterfeiters use hologram stickers with fake serial numbers such as: 10803549 11062948 10995820 10501946 10380486 10218184 9892039 9889754 9777617 9675223 9395455 9395451 9316391 8947749 7244764.

Louis Vuitton – eBay is a minefield of fake LVs, so beware! An authentic Louis Vuitton will always have even stitching. The placement of the LV logo is symmetrical, and the hardware is always brass (never plastic). All LV’s made from the early 80's onwards have date codes.

Prada – What’s distinctive about the Prada logo is the unique ‘R’. Check of the enameled nameplate matches the backing fabric. The PRADA letters should also have a raised texture. Check out our Guide to Authenticating a Prada.
Published April 08, 2016 by Carine Ferguson
Designer Discounted