Posted on Jun 11, 2011 in Clothing & accessories, Money & finances, Style & beauty
How can you find out how to tell if a designer purse is real or a knock-off (counterfeit)?
The sale of knock-off products – including fake designer handbags — is big, big business. In fact, the FBI says that counterfeiting causes US businesses to lose an estimated at $200-250 billion a year.
So when you go to buy, how can you make sure you’re getting the real thing? We have some tips.
When evaluating a handbag, remember that a designer bag won’t go out the door unless it’s perfect. That means that on a legitimate purse:
The number one easiest way to tell if a handbag is counterfeit or genuine is the price. Designers rarely — if ever — discount their goods. (The “seconds” they do sell are usually available through their outlets, and have the inside tag cut in half or hole-punched.)
When researching a buy, compare prices across a few different reputable websites to get a good baseline price, then compare that to your “bargain.” Any more than a 10% cost difference should be a major red flag. (That said, some places will charge a lot even for a knock-off, in an attempt to make them seem legitimate.)
Your best bet is to only buy from well-known retailers. In the case of high-end designer handbags, think stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Online, check out Endless, Zappos.com and each of the individual designers’ websites.
If you are purchasing from an auction site, look at the following to make sure you’re not buying a copycat:
Here are a few detailed guides to help you steer clear of knockoff designer handbags:
How to avoid counterfeit purses and handbags
How to spot a fake Coach handbag (and a video)
Learn to spot a fake Gucci handbag
Spotting fakes: Balenciaga, Chanel, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton
Dooney & Bourke authenticity checklist
There are legal copycat bags out there, that specify they’re replicas or “designer-inspired.” The brand name on these will never be exactly the same as a designer’s brand, but may be very similar. At least in this case, you know what you’re getting.
Still, counterfeiting isn’t a victimless crime. For starters, the original creators of a product are seeing their intellectual property rights trashed. Then, an estimated 750,000 jobs have been lost in the US to counterfeiting, says the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency. The sale of cheap knock-offs are even said to be tied to terrorism and organized crime.
And finally, if you buy a knockoff bag, you’re spending your money on something vastly inferior to the original — and one that many real fashionistas will be able to spot a mile away.
If your heart is set on carrying a designer piece, but you don’t have the big bucks to shell out for it, we recommend going for a smaller splurge first. For example, get the fancy brand’s coin purse or wallet or wristlet — like the Kate Spade Paley Paisley Lacey Wallet, See by Chloe Poya Square Zippered Wallet (seen at right), and Coach card cases and Mini Skinnies.
That way, you’ll have the cachet — and a little cash left, too.
Top photo by asgw
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