There's no denying that the high-end designer handbag trade is big business; so big in fact, that it has spawned a whole secondary industry of counterfeit goods. However, the high demand and collectable nature of designer handbags has also spawned another type of secondary industry, the authentic second-hand luxury goods retailer.
While the presence of high-end consignment stores in and of itself is nothing new, the online presence of supposedly authenticated goods is a fairly new concept. As Forbes Magazine discovered in their 2013 article about the Counterfeit goods market, it is incredibly difficult to find a luxury handbag design house that is willing to go on record and vouch for the authenticity of a handbag that is second-hand. Forbes themselves got little in the way of a response form Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Goyard, and Coach when they were researching their article, citing the large margin for liability if the company were to get it wrong, either way. At the end of the day, there are some really good fakes out there, and even those who work in the design houses are only human.
So where then do these supposed authentic online retailers get their credentials? Who is authenticating these handbags, if not the design houses themselves? A quick online search will show you that there is certainly no shortage of online companies offering their authentication services for a fee. Many of these sites offer a “trusted seller” list (quite often made up of Ebay sellers), and appear quite legitimate. However, there is no real certification process that can ensure that you absolutely, positively will not be purchasing a fake from a second-hand site. Even completely legitimate sites can have the occasional fake slip through the cracks. What’s the takeaway message? The only time you can ever be sure that your designer bag is legit is if you purchase it from the design house, and you are the first-ever owner. Otherwise, there is always that slim chance that you just might inadvertently purchase a fake.