How to buy authentic luxury bags on eBay.

With eBay facing lawsuits from Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Tiffany & Company etc. and having them come up on both sides of the win-lose column, I thought I should write a little mini guide to help my blog readers who are looking to buy authentic luxury goods on eBay.

They are there.  Yes, you can find amazing, authentic pre-owned and brand new Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Coach (who else do you love? yep, them too…).  You know, we’d prefer it if you bought all of your bags from us :)  But it’s equally important to us that the bags you get elsewhere are at least authentic.  So here are a few basic hints to keep you safe from fakes and fraud:

1.  Buy from trustworthy sellers.  What kind of feedback does the seller have?  Don’t just look at numbers.  They may have just bought a bunch of junk to pump up their feedback score… Actually read responses.  What have they sold and bought in the past?  How long have they been selling?

2.  Get to know your bag.  Go to your local boutique and “try the bag on”.  Take note of the details.  If you’re looking fro Louis Vuitton, check our Photophile, for good, clear pictures of authentic bags for comparison.   You can also search eBay for similar items sold by reputable sellers.  They say, “the devil’s in the details” and this is so true with the “better” fakes.

Check online for a good buying guide for the brand or line that you are interested in.  Study our free Louis Vuitton buying guides.   (They have all kinds of interesting information on release dates and colors, etc.  ie:  If White Epi wasn’t released until 2007, a white epi bag with a 2002 date code must be fake.)  You’d be surprised how many good guides are available on eBay’s Reviews and Guides.

3.  Are there good clear pictures?  If there aren’t enough pictures- ask for them.  If  you don’t get them, move on.  You’ll need a picture of the interior, some hardware, the embossing and any special markings (date code, registration number, creed etc)  You can’t make an informed decision on whether or not a bag is authentic based on one or two pictures.

4.  Watch out for red flag wording.  Get out quick if you see words like “final sale”, “got this from rich neighbor, aunt, collegue, etc- she’s a doctor’s wife” (for whatever reason, these are never real :), “it’s real- don’t ask”, “this was a gift, but it looks real”,  etc.

5.  Communicate with your buyer.  This is an expensive purchase that you are making.  Go ahead, ask questions.  Pay attention to the content and tone of the emails that you get in response.  In fact, if you are buying an expensive bag, and would feel more comfortable talking to the seller- ask if you can give her/him a call.  We get calls from potential buyers all the time.  We recognize that it makes people feel more comfortable to talk to us ear to ear.

6.  Make sure they take refunds for authenticity.  Even if the buyer has a hard core no refunds policy for condition, etc. if there is no refund available for authenticity… just don’t chance it.  This goes for sellers who say, “I know this is real, so I won’t take a refund for authenticity.”

7. Don’t be afraid to get it authenticated.  There are all types of paid services, from My Poupette to Carol Diva- and the experts on The Purse Forum and eBay’s Purse Board will actually authenticate for free!

8.  Is the price, “too good to be true?”  It probably is.  You just won’t find a Louis Vuitton Neverfull Gm in great condition for $250 Buy it Now.  Be careful about this.  Sure, there are bargains to be found- but these are relative bargains.  Like finding that Neverfull for $550 BIN.  You just aren’t going to find great condition, authentic, luxury bags for 25% retail.

9. Pay by Credit Card-  Preferably buy PayPal,  but at the very least… only pay with a credit card.  You will have the Credit Card behind you if you get in an authenticity dispute with your seller.  If you pay by PayPal, you have an additional level of security.  Even if their buyer protection is weak, it freaks out sellers when you file a claim.

And finally, number 10.  Buy from FASHIONPHILE!   Honestly- we take the worry out.  If there are ever any issues at all- we’ll work them out.  We do our best to make sure that you have a great experience with us.  If you don’t for whatever reason, let us know.  We’ll make it right.  So go ahead, and check our current weekly eBay auctions and all the fabulous items on our website!

Good luck in finding the authentic bag you’ve been searching for at a great price!

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