Here are some things to do beforehand to make sure you do your due diligence before buying second hand designer item.
Research, research, research.
If you’re buying from a reputable seller, it will probably be all well and good, but still look at their feedback and/or online reviews all the same. If you’re buying from a private seller, try doing some Googling on their name – sometimes buyers place posts on Purseblog or similar forums outlining their experiences with sellers selling fake items. They even share other aliases that these sellers go under!
Other research you should do is about the item itself. Have a look at a new retail one online or better yet, instore – get a feel of the item, note things such as the logo, stitching, construction of the item, material, all the things that make the designer item special. You can then have a better idea of what to look at in more detail when you’re buying the second hand item.
Ask for proof of purchase.
One of the best ways to ensure something is authentic is proof of purchase – namely, a receipt or confirmation from the store where the item was originally bought. This is particularly important for those big ticket items like handbags. The seller may or may not give you the receipt itself – sometimes they’ve bought other things on there so they would want to keep the receipt just in case – but they could send you a copy of the “redacted” receipt if you will. I would also recommend familiarising yourself with how store receipts look – join some Facebook “high end” groups or the Purseblog forum for example – and ask to see what actual store receipts look like. I’ve seen too many instances of fake store receipts it’s scary!
Get it authenticated.
You’ve looked at the real thing instore, you’ve checked out some handy posts (like mine!) on what to look for in a fake – but to be on the safest side, it’s best to get the item professionally authenticated. My blog posts about fake vs real items (here, here) is not meant to replace professional authentication – it only gives you some tips on what to look out for if you’re buying a designer item second hand. Not only will professional authentication give you the peace of mind that something is authentic or not, it’s particularly important for big ticket items like designer handbags and watches – you don’t want to be stuck with a doozy and not have evidence that it’s fake.
Always, always, always pay with PayPal.
PayPal offers Buyer Protection so that if you provide enough evidence that something is fake, they will more often than not back you as the buyer and ensure that you get your money back. However, it’s important to have evidence that you know it’s a fake, including having professional authentication as a way of proving that what you’ve bought is fake. Make sure you pay with through PayPal Goods and Services – it’s the only form of payment that has Buyer Protection (hence the extra 3%). If someone hustles you into paying with a bank transfer or Paypal Friends and Family – either back out or offer to pay for the item to be professionally authenticated. Better to be safe than sorry!
If in doubt, back out.
If something about the seller or the item is off, definitely back out of the transaction. Gut feelings are there for a reason! If you’re really keen on buying a second hand designer item, go through reputable resellers or engage the services of a personal shopper to source the item for you. You’re spending a lot of money on this – it may as well go towards an item that’s real rather than one that’s been made in a workshop with poorly paid (and often underage) workers!