Guide to Buying Authentic Designer Clothing and Accessories on eBay.
Buying authentic designer clothing on eBay is without doubt a risky business due to there being so many people trying to “get rich quick” by selling counterfeit clothing and accessories. They, however, are only half of the problem as there are people who will knowingly buy cheap, badly made counterfeit clothing at a fraction of their retail price, which in turn keeps these people in business.
If you are reading this guide you are obviously not one of these people and you understand the fact you are not just paying for the name but also the fit, quality and pride which you get from wearing authentic designer clothing.
There are a few steps which you can take to minimise the risk of buying fake designer clothing and accessories on eBay. The first of which is to investigate the item you are buying. Here are few pointers:
• If the price of the item is vastly under that of the RRP then you can pretty much guarantee that the item is a fake. Often counterfeit items can be seen offered for sale at prices vastly below UK or International wholesale prices for the genuine item, let alone recommended UK retail prices. If you could buy authentic designer clothing and accessories at such prices then companies such as Versace, Hugo Boss and Armani wouldn’t be the huge companies they are today. I’m well aware of the fact that everybody loves a bargain but there is a fine line between a bargain and being ripped off. The sellers of counterfeit clothing usually quote an RRP and then undercut it by an astronomical amount. Check on other websites to see what the actual genuine RRP is and then ask yourself this question “If the seller can afford to sell it at such low prices, how much do they pay for it?” The answer is peanuts; they are bought from companies from the Far East and the items are paid for in US Dollars converted to local currency . If you go to the following websites they are full of these companies advertising “GENUINE” designer products at discount prices: alibaba and tradekey.
• Check the price of delivery as the sellers will often drop-ship items at your expense due to the fact that they haven’t actually got the items in their possession. This can be very expensive and time consuming as they have to be shipped from the Far East (which of course isn’t cheap) and then if a shipment gets pulled up at Customs it is up to you to pay the Customs charge (that is if Customs don’t confiscate the items due to them being illegal). H.M Revenue & Customs are getting keener on examining items marked as "Gifts" or "Safety Footwear" which are the counterfeiters' favourite descriptions for fake items.
• Many of the authentic sellers of designer clothing and accessories offer a money back guarantee if the item is not as described, some even offer a 200% refund if the items are not authentic (this is an example of the extremes we have to go to guarantee authenticity). If there is no returns policy advertised on the item(s), contact the buyer and ask them if they can 100% guarantee the authenticity of the item and ask for a returns policy; in other words make them put their money where their mouth is.
• Many of the tags and certificates that are provided with authentic designer clothing can be copied by the companies mentioned above. However even if they look authentic at first glance, ask the seller to photograph the wording in the tags and certificates as more often than not they have horrendous spelling mistakes in them as the people that produce them don’t have English or for instance Italian as their first language. Do you think that companies such as Versace, Hugo Boss and Armani would let something as simple as that happen on products under their control?
• The majority of authentic designer clothing and accessories have a UNIQUE authenticity references on the certificates. The clothing, etc. shipped from the Far East all have the same identical “UNIQUE” reference number per batch which is a clear indication that items are fakes. If the seller is selling more than one of a particular item then ask if he can demonstrate that they all have different authenticity references. We use a genuine certificate photograph in our advertisements as an example but do not advertise all the numbers of our stock for similar items - we ask the buyer to contact us for a number if they wish to check it.
• Some counterfeit clothing is also missing the washing tag so this can be another pointer, although this is not a guarantee.
• Sellers of counterfeit clothing will sometimes make their photos and description unclear; this is so potential buyers can’t see the extremely poor quality of the items there selling. If you don’t like the look of the photos that appear with the auction, email the seller and ask them for other photographs of the item which they should be happy to send.
• The quality of an item can be difficult to judge even with good quality digital photographs, however, if you have ever bought genuine designer clothing you will know that the fit and cut of the clothing is perfect whereas on counterfeit clothing there are missed stitches and the overall look just isn’t convincing or "right". If you believe the item is a fake then ask for a picture of the inside of the garment as nine times out of ten all the effort has gone into trying to make the outside of the garment look genuine at the cost of how the inside of the item looks.
• Another pointer to bear in mind is to ask yourself whether the particular brand would produce such an item, as the counterfeiters even have the cheek to produce something completely different to the original design and call it a "factory variant"; this is another word for fake! Try and source the item you are interested in on a respectable/brand owner website and see if you can find an item the same as the one you are looking at on eBay to check that it actually exists.
• If you are selling authentic designer clothes and accessories on eBay you want to uphold the image of the various brands you are selling as in turn this will maintain your own image on eBay. By putting poor quality photos and a vague description of the items on eBay the seller shows that he has no interest in the buyer’s needs. The photos and description should be clear and precise and should show the buyer what they want to see and also offer them the option of contacting the seller to discuss any aspect of the item and to request more photos. The overall image of the template/shop front should also be a factor; see if the seller has invested money in their business by the quality of the pictures; were they took with a high quality digital camera? Does the seller have a custom template/shop front? Has the seller put time into creating his listings by giving the buyer Terms and Conditions, About Us and Contact details? All these pointers are signs that the seller takes pride in his work and that he values the customer; after all without customers he wouldn’t be in business.
• Feedback is very important on eBay but it can be manipulated to the seller’s advantage. If the seller has private feedback this is because he doesn’t want you to see what people are saying about his products or services. It is also worth noting that if the seller has been selling counterfeit clothing and accessories for a long period of time for virtually next to nothing prices then they may have a high feedback score but it is mostly made up by people knowingly buying counterfeit clothing and not complaining to eBay because they got what they expected.
• It is also worth contacting the seller and see if he is willing to give you contact telephone numbers, addresses, etc. as often people selling counterfeit clothing are very reluctant to forward their precise details.
What to do if you do buy a counterfeit item.
If you are unlucky enough to receive a counterfeit item report it to eBay straight away as they cannot act on something which they are not aware of. Also if you have paid by Paypal (something I would recommend if in doubt about the item) contact Paypal straight away as they can suspend the payment. Also contact the Police and Trading Standards to stop them from doing this to other people. The Securities Manager of the particular brand owner can sometimes be located via the internet too and they can take steps to enforce intellectual property rights.
I hope you have found this guide helpful, if you have any questions regarding this guide please don't hesitate to contact me.
Many thanks for your time and interest.
FC Designer Fashions Limited.
NB: Could you please review the helpfulness of this guide if you found it useful.