There are a lot of fake Polo items on Ebay, surprising given the recent court case they lost to LVMH in France for not doing enough to stop sales of fake handbags and fragrance. Perhaps Ebay are encouraged to ignore this judgement in the face of the other recent judgement in their (Ebay's) favour in the US in an action brought by Tiffany, where the judge decided it was Tiffany's job to police their Trademark, not Ebay's.
Whatever, there's a lot of fake Ralph Lauren out there, but what should you look for, to spot a fake? Firstly let me say that the fakes are confined mainly to polo shirts and jumpers.
1. Most (though not all) Polo goods have a blue swing tag on them - not the white one you normally see on the fake goods. It's usually attached to the sewn in Polo Label or wound round a button. It's a corded tag, with a plastic shield half way down. If the item's described as Brand New With Tags then it should have this Blue Label. If it has the white label, study it carefully. Real Polo would have a gatefold label, often on a ribbon, and be heavily embossed. Normally the white labels are attached to collection wear rather than what RL call "classics" like the polo shirts, so check this next label detailed below...
2. Genuine items described as BNWT should also have a white tag on them, (inside the left sleeve in the case of jackets) which has a description of the range the item came from and a bar code. This is on a plastic swinging T-bar through the blue sewn in Polo label on polo shirts, button downs and most jumpers. If it's not there, it's probably fake.
3. In the Ralph Lauren shops, nothing is ever kept in a cellophane wrapper. When stock is remaindered it goes to a holding warehouse in Italy where it rests for a while. It will be out of any external packaging by the time it gets to Italy therefore...if it's in a plastic bag it's probably fake.
4. Cashmere from Polo retails at over £100. If it's £15 online it's not cashmere and it's not RL.
5. Most cashmere jumpers from Polo are either from collections (and therefore rather more obviously "designed" than a standard crew neck) or at the very least cable knit. If the item you're bidding on is neither of these, IE plain knit or doesn't feature arm patches or buttons or a shawl neck, it's probably not real.
Most other items from RL are obscure enough not to be worth faking - you might want to be circumspect when buying button down shirts though...they fake them in the Far East in quantity. The labels rules apply but these shirts are shipped to some retailers in cellophane packaging. This packaging is heavily branded Polo Ralph Lauren, if the shirt you're bidding on is in a bag but the bag ain't branded, it's a fake.