An entire industry of counterfeit Chanel has discovered eBay as a great way to trick buyers who can't see or smell the product before they buy. Don't be fooled! I used to buy and sell Chanel perfume and was duped a few times until I learned to spot the patterns. This guide will help you spot fakers a mile away, and to test the perfume once you've received it. Many of the tips are true for other designer brands, but I wrote this specifically based on my experience with Chanel.
Chanel doesn't care about counterfeit products and eBay pretends it's not their issue, so you have to fend for yourself. If you can't afford to be fooled, don't buy Chanel on eBay.
I have found fakes on eBay and had others reported to me. Here are the most commonly faked fragrances in my experience:
1. Chanel Allure 35ml Eau de Toilette, without a cap, without a box
2. Chanel Allure Homme 50ml eau de toilette without a cap or box.
3. Brand New, Sealed Coco Mademoiselle 100ml eau de parfum (many reports)
4. 100ml Chance EDT sealed in box (1 report)
5. Ralph Laruen Romance for Women (1 report)
Chanel perfumes sold on eBay are commonly in three forms:
- Factory sealed new in box (SNIB)
Used bottles and testers are the safest bets. Personally, I only buy partially used perfumes for myself. And I always check to see if the photo they are using is one they took or if it is a professional stock photo. These basics go a looooong way toward a safe and easy transaction. If you are able to follow these two steps, consider yourself educated, and read no further! If you want a sealed perfume, please read on.
If you need a factory sealed bottle to buy as a gift, be very very careful on eBay. Ask questions, read carefully, and be nosy! Easily read all lifetime neutral and negative feedbacks at toolhaus . org
BEFORE BUYING GUIDE:
Sellers on eBay can sell genuine or fake products, and be good with customer service or bad. You can weed out the bad ones by emailing and asking for photos. The sellers of fake products are usually also bad, careless sellers unwilling to put in any effort. They can sometimes be good to their customers, and these sellers are the type that it's okay to deal with because in the event the product is fake, they will issue a refund. Only buy from sellers who will offer you a refund if you feel it is not real. Email them about it before bidding and buying. If they do not reply quickly and confidently, do not bid. Look for positive feedbacks saying buyers were refunded--this is a very good sign.
Counterfeit Red Flags: Decanted bottles, 'Sealed, New in Box', Stock Photo
Decanted: Some sellers will take a large bottle of perfume and pour it into smaller bottles (called decanting) hoping to make a profit on the inflated price of small bottles. If you are buying a new perfume that has all its parts (cap, box) but is not sealed, ask the seller if it has been decanted. You can often distinguish decanted perfume--the spray tube does not have air bubbles inside.
Sealed in Box: A sealed box is the perfect hiding place for an ugly fake bottle full of pine sol. Fakers often have copied one or two of the design components like the box and plastic, but they inevitably fail in another component, like the glass bottle, cap, and of course the perfume. To reduce the number of aspects the counterfeiters have to copy, the fakes are often sold as 'sealed in box' so you can't see the mess on the inside until after you've paid. If you are buying as a gift, check the cello and the box carefully before gift giving. Sometimes sellers will misspell ingredients, or write the same one twice, or other minute errors in the location of production. Check against a real box in a department store. Note that there are legitimate differences between productions in France versus New York, and they also vary over years. The cello should be folded at the ends and glued down with neat circles or lines of transparent glue. The glue is light duty and should come undone easily. If corners are already lifted, this is a good sign. Look for neatly glued cello in the picture or ask for a new picture. There should be some 2-3mm overlap on the back of the box where the cello edges meet.
Because of the difficulty of authenticating a perfume without smelling it, I strongly recommend that you pay the few bucks extra to buy one at a retail store.
Often authentic bottles are sold without boxes and without a cap when they are tester bottles. Tester bottles will have the word 'TESTER' or a code like engraved into the glass (usually on the back of the bottle like T1 or Ch1). A sticker is applied to the cannister in the case of Chanel Allure Homme Travel Spray, Chanel Platinum Egoiste Travel Spray, & Chanel Pour Monsieur Travel Spray bottles.
Look for a bubble in the spray tube The bubble indicates that it has never been sprayed. I've never seen a fake that has this detail. I've also never come across a fake that was advertised as a tester, though they are probably out there!
Fake bottles are often badly made. Look for warped glass, imperfections in color and bubbles in the glass. The cap should fit snugly and stay in place if you flip the bottle upside down. I've seen many fakes with caps that don't fit. The perfume name, size, and location of manufacture should be engraved into the glass on the underside of the bottle or printed on a sticker which is centered on the bottom of the bottle. The sticker should fit within the bottom and not wrap around in any direction.
Fakes print the information onto the glass with a paint-like ink. If you can scrape the ink off with a fingernail, it is likely a fake. I have found this to be true on many Allure EDT 35ml and Allure Homme EDT 50ml. If you Ask the seller to test the bottom. Often sellers don't realize the merchandise isn't authentic, and truly are surprised if the paint comes off. This can save you from buying bad merchandise and may teach the seller not to sell fakes.
The color should match the color of sample bottles in department stores or boutiques. Color quality doesn't always show up well in photos, so ask the seller to photograph all the bottles of that kind of perfume in that concentration with a white background. If there is relative variation, start getting suspicious.
Fakes often get the color slightly too dark or too light and are inconsistent. One may be too light, the next too dark, the next perfect. I have found this to be true with Chanel Allure eau de toilette, 35ml especially.
The color of a parfum should be slightly darker/more concentrated that eau de parfum. And eau de parfum should be darker than eau de toilette which is darker than eau de cologne which is darker than voile eau de parfum. If you don't see a difference, that is okay. But if parfum is lighter than eau de parfum as seen below, you have a problem.
Red Flag Sellers
Check recent feedback. Compare the number of positive feedback in the last month to the number of items listed. If they have been on a listing frenzy compared to the past, be very careful. They may be trying to sell a bunch of non-existent perfume and keep the change with a throwaway eBay account. Be especially cautious if they are all sealed in box and if they are using only stock photos. I only buy perfume items when an actual amateur photo is present. If more photos can be produced on request, that would mitigate a stock photo in a listing.
After receipt, check to see if:
*The color is wrong
*The glass has streaking or messy corners
*The printing on the underside of the box is faded, globby, or isn't what it should say
*The threads inside the cap (if any) don't screw onto the bottle or doesn't fit
*The CC Chanel logo isn't sharp and clear
*The description on the base of the bottle can be scraped off with a fingernail
*The name of the perfume is spelled incorrectly
*Any of the ingredients is spelled incorrectly
*Fragrance should not alter after application within 20 minutes. (check my false negatives section below)
*Fragrance smells like cleaning solvent. If it's bad but you're not sure, take this test: apply a spray from the identical Chanel fragrance with the identical concentration (eau de cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum) department store or other genuine source on one wrist, and the unknown eBay fragrance on the other wrist. Do a smell check to see if they match. If they do match, check again after 10 minutes. A fake won't be able to keep up the olfactory facade.
If you aren't sure after all this, ask the Chanel specialist at a Chanel counter for their opinion. Find out what their version says on the underside, as that is a great way to check without opening the packaging or going to the store. Typically there is one expert in a department store with the expertise to know right away. They tend to work 9-5pm hours, Monday through Friday. Call ahead to check that they are in before you head off to the Chanel boutique or counter at Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Marshall Field's, Barney's, Saks, or Nordstrom. An untrained staff may not have the Chanel eagle eye.
Sometimes buyers think the perfume is fake, but it truly is authentic. Some of the confusion arises if the buyer is nervous or is not familiar with the fragrance. If it's been years since you've last smelled it on your skin, your skin chemistry may have changed. Other factors are the humidity in the air, age of the perfume, and the concentration. For example, Chanel Allure eau de toilette is very very different from Chanel Allure eau de parfum. The EDT does not smell good on me at all, but the eau de parfum and parfum smells great. If the weather is particularly hot and dry, a fragrance will disperse much more rapidly and lose its fullness. As this happens, the smell changes a bit. This affects eau de cologne and eau de toilette most severely since they have the highest concentrations of alcohol.
Once you've found a reliable seller, try to stick with them. However, this is not foolproof. I have found a few fakes in with the real mccoy from my favorite seller. They took them back for an exchange and I haven't had a fake from them since. Someone may have swapped it out, or a wholesaler could have been ripped off. With potentially counterfeited items, the best prevention is to email the seller asking them about the authenticity, and their return policy in the event that the product is certifiably fake.
I'VE GOT A FAKE, NOW WHAT?
Most sellers are amenable to returns of fakes in my experience. Actually, all have refunded me after I returned the fake. When it comes time to send that email, try to approach it calmly, with the goal of receiving a full refund in mind. Leave threats of negative feedback out of it -- focus on whether they will accept a returned counterfeit item for return, and the return postage. They will likely want to satisfy the customer and be pleasant in assuring you a speedy refund. If not, a certificate of inauthenticity from a local Chanel expert and photos will go a long way.
Spare others before they fall into the mess you are dealing with by reporting them to eBay.
Selling misrepresented items is against at least two eBay policies. Unless they disclose that the perfume is not authentic in the description, the item is Not As Described. Open an Item Not As Described Dispute. They may reimburse you if the seller doesn't (less a $25 service fee). Counterfeit items are those bearing the name or logo of a company that did not produce it. They are not to be sold on eBay. Ever. Even if it was disclosed as not authentic, it is still a copyright infringement against Chanel, AND eBay does not allow couterfeit goods. If they say it may not be authentic in the description, you can report them as counterfeit before anyone bids on the item. Report these items.
To contact eBay to report a counterfeit item, go to:
- site map
- security & resolution
- listing violation
- counterfeit ©right violation
- potential trademark infringement
- other replica or counterfeit items
- email us
- copy and paste the item number
http://cgi1.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=InlineSelfHelpWebform&wftype=2023&rcode=BN%P10158&subject=Replica and Counterfeit Items&bcrumb=+Home+>+Help+Topics+> Rules+and+Policies > Rules+about+Intellectual+Property > Replica,+Counterfeit+Items+and+Unauthorized+Copies&instruction=&expirationDate=
Please inquire for more details on anything I have touched on. I am a Chanel Allure, Allure Sensuelle, and Coco Mad perfume wearer myself and may be able to check your product questions against my bottles. I also sell some perfume occassionally, and you can be sure that when I list it, it's the real deal. Here are some real photos of real perfumes.
Thank you for reading. If this has been helpful please click the YES button below.
Jacqueline, eBay Powerseller since 2004
user ID Phoe_Line