Abercrombie is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world, and as hard as A&F and eBay work to try and stop these fraudulent items from being sold on eBay they cannot catch everyone, especially as some of the fakes nowadays are very well made and hard to spot!
I have sold over 3000 pieces of Abercrombie and been approached by so-called wholesalers to buy in bulk. I have been mailed samples (that I promptly mailed back) as they ALL turned out to be fake. The silver-lining of this is that I had the opportunity to look, touch and feel counterfeits and I learned the key things to look out for when determining if an item is real.
Thing to look for on the Items
1. The mooseAlmost every piece of Abercrombie and Fitch from their socks to their coats will have a small moose embroidered on it, and this signature Abercrombie symbol tells us a lot.
a. The moose will ALWAYS be on the left-hand side. Whether this is on the breast or the hem, the moose will be embroidered on the left
b. The moose will be plump! Seems like a silly point, but most of the fakes I have seen have a skinny moose(to save on thread is my only guess why)
2. Hoodies: Cotton / Poly Mix - Abercrombie & Fitch rule onlyEvery single fake Abercrombie & Fitch regular hoodie I have seen has been 100% cotton. Every real Abercrombie & Fitch is made from a cotton & polyester mix, usually 60% / 40% or 74% / 26%. This rule ONLY applies to the hooded sweatshirts, neither the sweaters nor cardigans or the hooded long-sleeved t-shirts, as they are frequently made from 100% cotton. This is NOT true of Hollister hoodies.
I mention this rule as in my opinion the Abercrombie hoodie is the most forged item on eBay and asking the seller the question of what the exact material composition is could save you from buying a phony.
3. The StitchingThe stitching is a dead giveaway on a fake. Look inside the bottom at the top of the side gussets (this is especially noticeable on polo shirts.) If the stitching is messy and unfinished, with inch long flyaways – it’s a fake.
Also, if the side gussets are not nicely reinforced either with velvet or with a doubling up of the same material from which the shirt is made, that’s a sign the shirt is fake.
4. Made in ChinaThis one is not as straight forward but is a very good fact to know. Every fake I have seen has been made in China and as per the law (ironic that they tell the truth here and not about brand!) the counterfeiters always put the country in which the item was made on the item.
This is tricky as Abercrombie & Fitch DOES have genuine items made in China – but less and less as time goes one. You can use this in combination with the rules above for final confirmation.
5. The LiningCounterfeiters rarely bother fully lining their fakes. This is most obvious in the Abercrombie tote bags.
1. Sellers that have over 10 of exactly the same itemThis is a strong indication that the items that they are selling are not real. Check out their feedback and go back about 6 weeks and look at the items that have sold. If they have sold EXACTLY the same Abercrombie hoodie 10 times in the past 3 weeks, that’s a very strong sign that they are selling fakes.
When you buy fakes, you have to buy them in bulk of 10 or more, and often the sellers want to sell the batch as quickly as possible before one of the buyers receives it, recognize that it is a fake and post a negative feedback saying that, thus putting off potential buyers and possible account suspension. This is why you will see such seemingly amazing deals on A&F on eBay often times the sellers need to sell them all before someone realizes they're fake.
On the flip side, buying in bulk from Abercrombie & Fitch directly or from a store is very difficult, you have to either have a gang of friends ready to help you, or you have to know someone in the industry (you may think there are 100s of people who fall into that category, but trust the distribution industry is very small.) A&F is very strict and goes out of their way to stop people buying for resale. A buyer in their stores are only allowed to buy 2 of the same item, and only allowed to purchase 15 items at one time (and walking out and coming back 20 minutes later does not work – I have tried it!)
Online, buyers are only allowed to place 2 orders a week and if they try to place more, a rep from Abercrombie will call you and ask you to submit proof as to why you ordered so many of their goods (proof such as: I run a children’s summer camp). Of course, there are ways around this (ask a friend to place the order for example) but the speed in which the items sell out in the clearance section on Abercrombie.com (and this is really the only section for ebayers to buy from in order to make any money) means that you wouldn’t have enough time to organize 5 different delivery's to 5 different addresses using 5 different credit cards on 5 different computers (oh yes, this is what would be needed in order for ALL the order to go through) in order for the seller mentioned above to have 10 of the same hoodies to sell on eBay in 3 weeks.
This is especially true of sellers with feedbacks of less than 100 with new accounts, and sellers that only post the Abercrombie & Fitch stock picture of the item. Sellers that have been around for years and have a good positive stream of Abercrombie sales; may have stock piled similar items over the course of a few months for sale but this is rare and requires daily trips to the mall (in disguise!) to ensure the item they are stock-piling is not sold out!
2. Sellers with new accounts with less than 100 feedbacksI am sorry to have to make this so general as there will be some great, and reputable sellers caught in this category - we all started out at the beginning. As I mentioned above, fly-by night sellers swoop in with a new account (less than 2 months old) with just a few feedbacks (and check these out, whether the feedbacks are for being a seller or a buyer themselves.) They then try and sell large batches of fake Abercrombie at really low prices before they are caught and suspended, and once they are suspended, there is very little the buyer can do.
3. Sellers that only include the Abercrombie stock picture from the A&F websiteThis is very suspicious. It could just be laziness or bad technology skills, but the chances are that the sellers are afraid of someone spotting the fakes from the real photographs and reporting them to eBay before the sellers has sold their batches of counterfeits.
4. Sellers that will not accept returnsThis is not only bad customer service (which says to me that they do not indeed to be around for very long and do not care about repeat business) but it seems to me that the seller already knows that the buyer is going to be displeased with the item and does not want to be hassled with every item being returned to them.
I am sorry if this sounds harsh, and I am sure there are some great sellers out there that do have good reason not to accept returns. However, I believe it is only fair to give a full money back guarantee if you sell shoes or clothing as the buyer has no way of trying it on beforehand.
Last Point – The receiptThis is my last point, and it brings everything back to basics. As I have mentioned, you can only buy Abercrombie & Fitch directly through them, and they always provide the buyer with a receipt. Subsequently, any seller should be able to provide their buyer with a copy of the receipt.
If the seller claims to have purchased the item from eBay themselves, and resold it (a popular reason for not having the receipt) then it is their responsibility to contact the original seller and obtain a copy and prove the chain of ownership.