August 03 2012

Spot a fake designer item online

It’s midnight, you’ve been trawling eBay for hours and suddenly you find it – the Proenza Schouler PS 11 for an incredible 80% off! Before you succumb to this seemingly irresistible purchase, ask yourself why such a coveted designer bag is in the ‘buy it now’ bargain basement.

Despite the efforts of retailers such as eBay, it’s still all too easy for sellers on classified sites and online auctions to hawk their designer fakes as authentic items. Luckily, there are a number of tell-tale signs that will help you spot the difference between a Céline and a cheap and nasty:

Price: This is usually the main indication an item is a fake – particularly if the item is described as brand new, yet is considerably cheaper than the recommended retail price. Unless an item has been used or is a sample, expect the online price of a designer piece to be close to the in-store price.

Fabrics: This is an important consideration when purchasing designer bags or shoes. Even 100% leathers can differ in terms of softness and price, so make sure the online product is made from the same kind as the genuine item.

Pictures: Be wary if an online seller uses a designer’s official campaign photos to sell a product. If the piece is legitimate, they should have a photo of the actual item for sale. If the listing doesn’t have a real photo, request one from the seller before committing to buy.

Return policy: Online shopping’s increased popularity means it’s rare to encounter a no-return policy, and you should be very wary of sellers who don’t give refunds. It’s also worth noting that under Australian law it’s illegal to refuse a refund if the item is faulty or not as described.

Ask others: allows users to post photos and give advice on an item’s authenticity. If you’re not sure, upload the item photo and let the users be the jury!