If you are a fan of a well-made designer handbag (and who isn't!?), you are well aware of the eye-watering price tag that often accompanies the most popular and exclusive bags on the luxury market. Like most savvy shoppers, you have probably surfed the web, looking for that elusive deep discount or incredible bargain. But buyer beware; as many as one in five customers who are in search of a discounted designer handbag have ended up purchasing a counterfeit item, whether they realize it or not.
Back in 2012, consumer reporting firm MarkMonitor looked at this phenomenon in closer detail, monitoring online shoppers in six countries over a period of nine months. The study covered approximately 9 million internet shoppers, and involved more than 9,000 online handbag retailers. The results were staggering: for every customer who appeared to be intentionally purchasing counterfeit goods, there were 20 who appeared to be simply looking for a bargain. This led to a finding of nearly 20 % of shoppers purchasing counterfeit goods unintentionally from a website that was posing as either a discount supplier or a designer outlet.
How does one avoid such a blatant breach of customer trust? There are a few telltale things to look for when shopping online.
High-end handbags often retain up to 75% of their initial retail value, even when sold secondhand. If you see a Chanel Mini-Flap bag for $150 (retail price $2,900), you can be assured it is a fake.
The Authenticity of the Site
Many sites claim to be selling “100% authentic” goods, but the only way to know for sure is to check with the design house itself or an authorized dealer of the brand. Remember: anyone can falsify a receipt, tag, or dust bag, so don't be fooled simply because the item appears to have its original packaging.