Sellers on eBay are required to sell only authentic goods. Sadly, there are many people who will not only sell counterfit or fake items (which I refer to as replicas), but who will go to great lengths to trick you into thinking that they are authentic. In this guide, I will help you determine the difference between an authentic or replica handbag.
Let me begin by telling you about me and where I come from. I have spent an immense number of hours on the internet, admiring and researching high end designer handbags. I have sold a small number of bags, both authentic and replica, on the internet. After the time I have spent researching handbags, I have come to recognize many signs that an item is a replica that most people would overlook.
First of all, check the location of the seller, which is posted in the auction. In many, BUT NOT ALL, cases, sellers from Asia are selling replica bags. The reason behind this is that countries in this area have very unspecific intellectual property laws, so factories which manufacture replica products are very prevalent. Sellers from China, Korea and Singapore are especially dangerous.
Also, it is important to check the wrapping of the bag in the picture. Paper around buckles, plastic over handles, and square tags of material hanging from a strap are all telltale signs of a replica. Brand new bags from the boutiques never have any wrapping around them UNLESS THE BAG WAS SPECIAL ORDERED. Special-ordered bags are typically the newest "It" bags, like the Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 was a few years ago. In contrast, the Louis Vuitton Cabas Mezzo is hardly ever special ordered because it is a classic. Get a very clear answer from the seller when it comes to the circumstances of purchasing the bag.
If the seller says the bag is from the internet, ask them which website. Websites usually leave the wrapping on bags, however there are very few websites that sell authentic bags from high end designers. eLuxury is the most prevalent one, also the websites of department stores (Neiman Marcus, Saks, Macy's, etc) will sell authentic bags. When these websites do have wrapping on their items, the handles are covered in tissue paper/plastic and buckles are covered in blue plastic adhesive. Additionally, the squares of leather that hang from straps are only on replicas.
Finally, it is important to do research on what the bag should look like. If there is a store in your area that carries the bag that you look for, take a trip and look at the ones that are carried. Pay close attention to exact colors, the way seams meet, stamps in the leather, markings on hardware. If you are not able to go to a store where authentic bags are sold, try eLuxury or the manufacturer website. Another option is looking up auctions that are verified by mypoupette or other authenticity verification service. Not all authentic bags are verified by these services, but nearly all bags verified by these services are authentic. Take a close look at the pictures provided, even keep watch of the auction.
An authentic bag should always have a dustbag, authenticity/care cards, and sometimes a reciept. However, these are also counterfitted, so do not rely on these as the sole verification source.
The final red flag to look out for is sellers who sell large numbers OF THE SAME ITEM. This is different from sellers who sell alot of the same BRAND. For example, a person who has 25 Louis Vuitton speedy 30 handbags is very suspicious, while a seller who has 50 Louis Vuitton handbags that are 30 different styles is much more legitimate. Sellers who do wholesale are always selling replicas; wholesale meaning that they have large numbers of the same item that they sell at a large discount (over 50%).
The most important thing, when buying a high end designer bag, is to do research, find a reputable seller, ask questions, and be comfortable with your purchase. Never rush into a sale (don't quickly read over an auction then bid right before it ends) and always ask any questions you have before bidding. The world of high fashion is full of excitement and glamour, and do not settle for anything less than what you want.