Genuine vs fake designer goods: can you tell the difference?
The internet has made buying second hand designer goods much easier than it used to be. Often, even after you factor in shipping, the cost of an "experienced" designer handbag or belt is far less than buying new. And with the world economy still wracked with dry heaves, more people than ever are selling some nice possessions to bring a little more money into the household.
Second hand can be great for those who love the goods but don't have the budget for them. And occasionally, people do find that rare genuine object for a great price. But counterfeit goods cost the UK much more than "just" a few quid here and there. The internet is also awash with peddlers of fake designer goods, and it costs the UK economy £9 billion a year. So how do you minimize the chances of buying a counterfeit when you think you're buying something genuine? Here are a few points to consider before your next purchase of a brand name item:
1. Familiarize yourself. Before you make the transaction, if possible, familiarize yourself with the real thing by closely examining it at one of the high street stores. That will help you to see if there is something "off" about the item you're buying. If nothing else, Which? advises looking at the designer's website closely to study the genuine article in terms of stitching, logo, and hardware. If you are purchasing an expensive watch, examine not just the face, but the hands shape, size, colour and internal mechanism if possible. Check the fonts, the description (and spelling!) on the bezel. Don't forget to check the watch strap and the writings/logos on the back of the watch.
2. Look at the packaging. Often the packaging is your best clue. Louis Vuitton handbags don't come wrapped in cellophane. Prada shoes come in a box where the logo is only on the box end, not the top, and the real ones are further packaged in a silver plastic bag with a silver drawstring, not a fabric bag with a black drawstring.
3. Obscurity can be a good thing. Everybody knows the big names like Versace, Manolo Blahnik, Ugg, and Prada. These are the most likely to be counterfeited. An Aquascutum coat or a Loewe clutch purse is somewhat more likely to be the real thing.
4. Ask yourself if the price makes sense. Yes, you've all heard the platitudes about "If it's too good to be true, etc. etc.," but it's a platitude for a reason. The same goes for scammers selling fake items as genuine products to increase perceived value. A fake Omega Seamaster (grade A) would retail for around £40-£150 (depending where you purchase it), but they also can look just like the real thing. C Search out listings that allow you to pay upon collection, so that you can examine it in person.
People may think of counterfeiting as a victimless crime, but beyond fake designer handbags and clothing accessories, counterfeiting certain products such as drugs or fake jet airplane/automobile parts have cost lives. Have you ever bought fake stuff knowingly or unknowingly? Do you think it matters? Let us know.