Buying handbags online can be a great way to score vintage pieces and great prices you might never run across otherwise. But if you’re not careful, it's easy to wind up buying a fake. What’s a bags enthusiast to do? Follow these five tricks to be sure your find is authentically beautiful and not faux fabulous.
Look for lots of pictures: Sellers who have authentic bags want you to know they're authentic, so usually they'll post pictures of close-up details like date codes and heat stamps. This doesn't mean that every bag with a lot of pictures is authentic or that every bag with only one picture is a fake, but it's a good way to start the weeding out process.
Watch the wording: The line between designer inspired and outright fake is hazy, and sellers try to keep on the right side of the law by working words like "replica", "inspired", "AAA", and of course "knockoff" into their descriptions. Any of these words should send up red flags and send you to another listing.
Follow the oldest rule: You've heard it a thousand times, but it doesn't make it any less spot-on: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Think you've found the deal of the century? Let me put your mind at ease: you're not going to get a brand new Chanel bag for $200. Ever.
Don't be fooled by more fakery: Accessories are a great luxury of authentic bags but they don't do much to prove authenticity. The same people who fake bags can easily reproduce extras like dust bags, care booklets and authenticity cards.
Investigate the seller: Check feedback scores (anything under 97% and you should be cautious), read the feedback comments for any negative or neutral feedback and what the seller did to resolve the situation. Go to their booth and check out what else they're selling. Someone with 50 Birkin bags for sale at once is probably selling fakes.
These tricks can arm you in the fight against fakes, but no tip is 100% foolproof. Every designer has their own ways to fool fakers, and experts in the brand can spot them with ease. If you're truly unsure, your best bet is to contact an authentication service for a second opinion.