Reader Samantha said, “I’m interested in purchasing a vintage Louis Vuitton (either a NOE drawstring bag or a Frame bag). I’d rather buy it second hand than pay the full price. I was looking on Ebay but how do you know they are real (anyone can emboss a serial number on a bag). Can you suggest any trusted vendors on Ebay or consignment stores in NY that have nice LV bags?”
This is actually a great question. A few years ago, I was the unfortunate victim of an Ebay scam artist who sold me a ‘Louis Vuitton’ Epi Leather wallet whose price was too good to be true. I received it and it was obvious it was a fake…but by the time I realized I’d been bamboozled, the seller’s profile was gone. It was a tough lesson, but now I know better.
If you want to avoid Ebay scams, you have to be vigilante about getting what you want–and what you pay for. A few tips:
1. Research the bag you want before bidding so you know what to look for.
Does it have a D-ring or not? Silver or gold plate? Make sure the bag you’re viewing on Ebay is 100% like the one you see on the brand’s official website. Real bags have leather handles and trim, sharp print quality, and LV studs inside and out. Study the pictures closely…but know that sellers can put up fake or stock photos in order to fool you. Which leads us to…
2. Ask for additional pictures.
A lot of Ebay scammers can simply use stock photos from a brand’s website to include in their write up. Ask the seller for their own personal pictures–and request detailed shots of the front, back, bottom, inside, etc. Try to see if the pictures are taken inside someone’s home, for instance, instead of in a studio. If the seller is hesitant, move on.
3. If it’s too good to be true, it is.
Authentic designer bags are almost always going to cost you between $400-$1,000 and up, so if you see them for $300 or anything that seems a little too sweet, beware. Very used vintage bags will probably net the best price, but anything lightly used or somewhat current will still cost you a pretty penny.
4.Check the seller’s feedback and return policy.
Read the seller’s feedback and see what people say about their business. Read all the reviews–both positive and negative–and see how the seller responds to negative ratings. Also be sure all the positive feedback isn’t from one person, in one area. It’s also a good idea for the seller to have a return policy in case you’re ultimately not pleased with the bag.
5. To be extra sure, check for recognition clues like Paypal verified or a Powerseller seal on the auctions.
If you buy with Paypal, you are usually protected when you encounter an Ebay scammer. Also Powerseller’s can only get their seal if they have an exceptional and longstanding relationship with Ebay. Check for both when looking at their products. Also, do a search for the sellers past items on eBay and check to see if the seller has sold similar items. To search on the past auctions, go to the Advanced Search page. Type in the sellers ID and check the box for Include Completed listing. It is always good to check this especially if you are considering buying something expensive.
Hope those tips were helpful!
The only way to be sure you are getting an authentic item is if you purchase it through an authorized retailer. Also check out authentication services at www.forum.purseblog.com.
Do you guys have anything to add? Or any Ebay horror stories?
Let me know in the comments.