Delortae Agency Consumer Guide
The UK's leading authority for authentication and appraisal services. As internationally accredited Appraisal and Authentication Specialist our services are recognizable worldwide. As experts Delortae Agency provides different levels of authentication services to fit your needs.
We know more than most, how frustrating it can be seeing unscrupulous eBay sellers claiming authentic goods when they are clearly fakes but there are ways you can protect yourself and your money from these fraudulent cheats.
Counterfeiters are getting much better at their 'art of deceit'. Including fake receipts and other useless documents. Whilst they can fool most people they can never fake the quality that the original merchandise will give you or the professionals, such as ourselves, who make it our job to stay one step ahead of them.
Here are the Top Six Red Flags we look out for as a warning sign something may not be quite right and once we recognize one we go on to check check the others, which come as no surprise, are usually there also. Authenticity on any product can be a little tricky, but if you know the basics, you will be able to spot a fake in just a few minutes if you follow these few basic steps outlined below. No pretty pictures here, just straight up advice!
1. Check The Sellers' Reason For Selling
This is an important one not to be overlooked. We saw one seller saying that their Louis Vuitton bag that currently retails at £1,152 as new condition with receipt was purchased on a whim! - If you were going to spend that money indeed on a whim are you the type of personality to post it on eBay with a Buy Now Price that is a third of what you paid! Louis Vuitton will take returns at FULL PRICE within 14 days if they are in pristine, unused condition and sell them at full price. They destroy merchandise that is unusable or unsold once that season is over. That holds true for most top design houses that don't use the services of Authorized Resellers or through their own outlets. No factory seconds, wholesale discounted prices or any of the other rubbish that sellers may use for Louis Vuitton. Yes, some designers do have factory outlets and some sell wholesale. Also watch for short auction listings 1 - 3 days should be an alert. As should low Buy Now prices.
2. Check The Serial Number/Date Stamp
Check for serial numbers where possible. It must be said that the presence or indeed absence of this kind of code on Louis Vuitton neither ensures the item is genuine or fake. It must be said that not all manufacturers use serial numbers, but many do. The serial number for a Fendi purse for example, can be found quite easily on the inside pocket. When turned inside out there will be a printed number on the fabric or sometimes possibly on the leather tag. Another good exmple would be Gucci which includes a small leather tag on the zipper seam of the handbag which includes a serial numer. In most cases Louis Vuitton will use a date code stamp, for them to identify place and date of manufacture (except for vintage). For Louis Vuitton vintage merchandise you should not find a date code. This knowledge will help you determine if the date the seller claims to have bought the bag matches this information! The seller previously mentioned claimed it was bought that year, but the fake date code clearly indicated it had been manufactured two years prior!
3. Check The Background Of The Seller
Does the seller have a lot of 'new & authentic' items listed, check and see what the seller has listed in the past 30 days and of course their feedback. Remeber a design house such as Louis Vuitton only use Authorized Resellers or their own outlet to sell new items, so if their listing new their fake! Buy from reputable authentic sellers where possible.
4. Look Closely At The Pictures
Yes, we buy with our eyes, but don't let them deceive you. If you believe your auction item is authentic be sure to save these pictures to your computer. Should a dispute arise later you can prove that the pictures posted were not the product you received. Bait & Switch is a scam used where the seller will post 'stock' pictures taken from other websites and send some tacky counterfeit when the auction has ended if they send anything at all! Delortae Agency watermark their original pre owned bags and can if you want authenticate before auction closes. Can help watermark your original photographs for you or sell your pre owned authentic items for you. Fraudulent sellers will not give clear shots of things you should be looking for so don't be afraid to ask to see further pictures or confirm if the pictures shown are of the item you will receive.
5. What Should You Be Looking For?
One of the best ways to ensure your auction is authentic is to look at the bag itself. Take a good lood at the stiching. There should be no loose or missing stitches, the colour of the thread should match the main colour of the bag and the stitches should be evenly spaced. If the handbag is leather, the logo should be engraved or heat-stamped, not just printed on the leather.
Also take a good look at the hardware. All of the hardware should match in colour and sheen. If posted in 'as new' condition should also be free of scratches. Many manufacturers, including Gucci, Fendi and Prada, protect their hardware with a removable plastic cove that is to be removed only after it has been purchased. The brand name or logo should be engraved, not embossed or simply printed on the hardware.
You can also find the brand name or logo engraved on the strap hardware on Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Chanel and others. Check details of the monogram for authenticity.
Inspect the material of the bag; lining, hardware and accents are made of. Many handbags are made of different types of leather, from Lambskin, Calfskin, Goatskin and Patent Leather but it is easy to distinguish if the leather is of a good quality or not. The lining is usually made of a satin material, when not suede, that has a nice shine to it and most luxury designer handbags have the name or logo on the lining.
Designers almost always use leather accents, not plastic. Some bags have straps that are specially coated and seem to be artificial. However, a quick look at the edge of the strap, usually near a stiched joint, should reveal a leather core. Also for Louis Vuitton in particular, things to look out for would be if there is a round white tag hanging from the item, and should it even be there? Louis Vuitton does not add these to their products. Is there an ink-stamped number on the hang tag or a swatch of fabric hanging from the bag and/or white tissue and tape wrapped around the handles or around the hardware or around the zipper pull? all sure indicators of fakes.
Is there an authentication card? An authentication card is a little card that usually has the manufacturers logo embossed on the front and has some information about the product you purchased and sometimes includes a magnectic strip, bar code. Many manufcturers, including Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Chanel and Coach, use these type of cards for authentication. NOTE: Gucci does NOT use a black, plastic, credit card style authenticity card. When you see one of those with a Gucci, it is almost certainly a fake. Also Louis Vuitton do not use those ugly yellow 'authenticity' cards popular with counterfeiters!
Remember: pre owned bags are exactly that if the price is less than 50% of the original retail price you expect it to have blemishes. The areas you need to see are corners, folds and interior pockets. Watch the description if it states where the damage is on your auction then you MUST see the pictures.
6. Authenticity Guaranteed
Nearly all fakes will post this guarantee, the seller we mentioned certainly did and had the fake documents to back it up! Do ask the seller how they guarantee the item is authentic. Louis Vuitton will tell you if your item is fake if you take it in to one of their outlets but will never put it in writing!
Please do not try to get caught up in a bidding frenzy, check out the bag you want to bid on prior to bidding and note as much detail as you can. In the event of a dispute and you have paid by PayPal they will only accept non authenticity from a reputable accreditor such as ourselves who will supply the information they require in the accepted format. If by reading this we can prevent one person from being conned then it will be a job well done. You can buy authentic luxury items on eBay if you do your research and bid with care, remember shop wisely follow our points carefully and you will be able to spot a fake even from a distance.
If you have been unfortunate and received a fake please see our guide Bought A FAKE Bag? - What To Do If You Won A Counterfeit which should help you. Happy Bidding!