With so many options on ebay, Parfum is fast becoming more accessible to the general public where once it was the domain of movie stars and the rich to own this type of fragrance. Not sure what Parfum is? Check my other guides for the basics on different fragrance types! As an example, this guide is going to deal with Chanel and Dior products primarily as these are where my experience is.
So how can you be sure you are buying real parfum? There are some questions I always ask myself - and the seller!
If they are using a stock or advertisment picture, why? I always list with actual pictures of an item I'm selling, aside from potentially infringing copyright by using advertising material, I can't think why anyone would list without a "real" picture, unless they just can't be bothered. I use the ask a question form to request pictures of the actual item - no need to be shy of doing this, most of us at least have a camera in our cell phone, even if its not the best quality I would expect a seller to provide what the buyer wants.
Does it have a seal, box and serial numbers? Take Chanel as an example, all Chanel items have laser printed serial numbers either on the glass, or if the box is unopened it should still have an EAN number and manufacturing lot numbers to identify it. If a seller doesn't list with these details don't be afraid to ask - I have no problem looking at a bottle or box and sending a reply, or posting new pictures!
If pictures show a sealed box, you should reasonably expect the inside bottle to be sealed with wax and string - all Chanel parfums are (no doubt a few obscure ones escape this process but they would be rare). If the pictures aren't clear, ask questions! Many times I've asked for clarification, "has the string been cut?", "is that wax seal still attached?"
Look at the source and see where it ships from. If it is from a country you don't feel comfortable with, remember the golden rule of ebay - there is never only ever one of any item (except maybe with some rare vintage things), so another bargain will always come up. Is there a large lag time between payment and shipping time? If so, why? If a seller uses drop shippers or imports before sale and racks up shipping time (example, it says an item will be sent 1st class but takes 14 days for delivery - that doesn't make sense!), I feel it should be stated up-front, as you will never otherwise know from where your item has travelled. As a rule, I don't buy perfume which is better travelled than my own passport because there is no guarantee how it is stored during the shipping process.
Check the listing details and picture match - if the details say Parfum, does the box say Eau De Parfum? Some sellers don't know the difference but a big hint is in the sizing - the largest commercially available Chanel parfum is 30ml (except special editions). It comes in 7.5ml, 15ml, and 30ml sizes. Anything bigger is likely to be EDP, although a note of caution - Chanel Parfum testers for shop display come in 35ml size with spray top bottles. Because Parfum is so concentrated you really don't need to spray it (it reminds me of a cat marking territory when women douse themselves in a ton of parfum, that's just not attractive is it?).. The shop display models have a spray for ease of use to demonstrate the product. So testers, whilst being marked 'not for sale' also often offer false economy. With a retail Parfum you will usually find a stopper top to daub the wrists with and use a lot less each time.
Always get clarification if you're unsure as Parfum is an investment. One small bottle will last me a year, so I like to be sure I have the real thing. Feel free to contact me if you have questions further to any of my guides!