Having been duped to bid on a fake Mulberry Annie bag and won it, I decided to write a guide to help buyers spot fakes and save themselves from heartache.
Look out for the followings in a genuine Annie bag:
1) The length of the front two straps on the front pockets: The genuine bag should have quite long straps. They should be very obviously longer than the pockets - almost reaching the bottom of the bag itself when the flaps are closed. Also check out the proportion of the flap to the pocket. The flaps of the fake bags are often shorter.
Genuine bag Fake bag
2) The dimension of a one-piece leather at the bottom of the bag on the outside: The fake one is often longer on the sides than the genuine one.
Genuine bag Fake bag
3) The fitting of the big central brass closure of the bag: The genuine bag will have the left and right end of the brass disk fitted very closely to the inner stitching of the double stitching around the leather.
Genuine bag Fake bag
4) Look out for the smallest details when you are buying Mulberry bags. Mulberry has exacting standards that all bags have to be adhered to regardless of where it is made. It is best to check out the genuine bag in the store before you bid. At least you should recognise the quality of the Mulberry leather.
Other important things to be aware of:
1. Seller with mostly private listings: This means buyers will not be able to see what he had sold and won’t be able to tell if the seller has been selling many similar items in the past. This will also prevent prospect buyers from suspecting his many similar 'unwanted gift'!
2. Refund policy: If the seller guarantees the authenticity of the bag and accept returns, make sure the return policy is reasonable. The only way that you can get the bag authenticated with confidence is to bring the bag to Mulberry store and sale assistant will have to send it away to the main office for authentication. This could take some time so beware if you are only allowed to refund in a short period of time.
3. Even though Ebay has imposed the longer period listing for goods which have a big counterfeit market, the seller finds way to get round this by listing the item for full 7 days with no detail and no photos to begin with. He will then revise the listing to add the description in the last day or two before the auction ends. For example, the bag that I won was relisted as ‘BLACK bag with EVERYTHING Included BNWT’ without any photos for earlier days of listing and then was revised to ‘BLACK Mulberry ANNIE bag with EVERYTHING Included BNWT’ on the last two days of the listing with all the pictures added. Be careful, if you have been looking/searching for a specific bag for a while and suddenly a new listing just appears from nowhere in your search results with only a day or two to go.
4. If the seller does not accept Paypal, you will have no comeback once the payment was made. Always buy with Paypal when possible.
5. Fake items do not necessarily have a low buy-it-now price. A genuine bag will have quite a high buy-it-now price but a fake bag may be listed at a reasonably high buy-it-now price too.
6. Look out for clues in the listing and the communication with sellers e.g. Is the item location listed the same as where you are asked to send your payment? Does the seller correctly describe the bag and its components? Most importantly, can he actually answer your questions? Generally genuine sellers do make an effort to reply to your questions. If the seller does not reply, the chances are he does not know the answer.
7. DO NOT whole-heartedly believe in what people said in the positive feedbacks especially if there are not that many of them. Some unsuspecting buyers did not know any better and thought they had bought genuine bags. Always use your own judgement when reading feedbacks.
Hope you find this review helpful. Remember, if in doubt, don’t buy. You want a genuine Mulberry bag that improves, not falls apart, with age!!
PS: If you find this review helpful, please click the 'Yes' button at the end of this page. Thanks.
26th December 2007: Annie bag is now 50% off at £298 at any mulberry store. The offer includes Annie in oak colour so i presume it will be discontinued. Hurry and pick up a bargain!!!