Buying pre loved luxury online
Your guide to buying pre loved designer bags online
The pre loved designer market is growing rapidly, and there are a few reasons for this. The first is that authentication services and platforms are becoming more and more well known and reliable, so people are more comfortable knowing that they are purchasing authentic items. The second is that many of the luxury designers are suspected to be reducing their quality, meaning that older models of handbags in particular are better quality and worthwhile buying instead of brand new. In addition to this, pre loved is more sustainable and also quite simply the only way to acquire previous limited edition or rare items.
With that said, buying pre loved designer items can be very daunting if it is your first time, because while they are often (but not always) cheaper than buying brand new, it can still be a very expensive mistake if your item turns out to be a fake. This is the biggest challenge with buying pre loved designer items, so we have pulled together a list of the tips and tricks you can use to ensure that you don’t end up scammed.
If you are looking to buy pre loved, the best first call is a site which guarantees authenticity so that you have peace of mind. Some which we recommend are Vestiare Collective, The Real Real and Fashionphile. These tend to often take large commissions from the sellers, and often don’t have the best prices, so many people prefer to buy and sell outside of these platforms. This post will focus on giving advice for when you are buying from a source which is not a guaranteed authenticity platform.
You might not have considered it, but there are some social media communities solely focused on pre loved luxury (and even specific brands such as this Chanel group). These communities often have people selling pre loved items for a good price, and the main benefit is that there is a whole community of people who are educated on authenticating, who can weigh in on things to confirm or validate authenticity. Joining one of these communities can help you with purchasing second hand designer items, as some even allow you to post items which you are not sure about, for people to let you know if they think the item in question is authentic or not. Keep in mind that these aren’t official experts, nor is their advice guaranteed, but it can be a great resource for those who need guidance. They also share information about trusted sellers, and also any scammers they have come across, so it can be a great place to check before you purchase.
There are a number of authentication services online which will review photos of your item and confirm if it is authentic or not. The cost can vary depending on the item, but is often around $20. We recommend this service.
Photos with name and date
If you’re browsing online in resale communities you would have inevitably come across photos of handbags which include a piece of paper with the seller’s name and sometimes the date or location. The reason for this is that unfortunately scammers sometimes use someone else’s photos of an authentic bag, so it passes authenticity checks, however they actually send you a fake. Because scammers can do this, often resale communities specifically require sellers to include this information to ensure authenticity. Keep this in mind when looking at photos of items for sale.
This is so important that perhaps it should be the first on the list. PayPal provides protection for buyers and sellers, and so if you are sold an item and it never arrives, or it is fake, PayPal will help you through the dispute resolution process to get your money back. In order to have this protection, you must mark the payment as ‘buying goods or services’ rather than ‘friends and family’ when sending money. This incurs a charge, but this charge is the fee for the protection that they provide, so if you choose friends and family, you will not be protected. Sellers sometimes will prefer friends and family because they don’t want to pay a fee: if this is the case, offer to pay it. This does two things: firstly, it ensures you are protected if the item is fake, but secondly, it weeds out the scammers. Scammers know about PayPal protection and will come up with any excuse to avoid it. If a seller is refusing to do the transaction as ‘goods or services’, or even worse, won’t accept PayPal at all, do not buy from them!!
Check for money back authenticity guarantee
When buying pre loved luxury on eBay, or other online platforms, there is often a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty around authenticity. Many are truly selling authentic items, but it can be a minefield to distinguish those from the ones which are selling fakes, not to mention the sellers who simply don’t know for sure if the item they are selling is authentic. One thing that you can do is message the seller and ask for a money back authenticity guarantee. This is because even if the seller doesn’t offer returns, if they know for sure that the item is authentic, they can make the guarantee because they know it will never be found to be counterfeit. Sellers who know their item is real will agree to offer this, and those who don’t know will usually be honest about it, and scammers won’t agree to it, or sometimes won’t even reply at all.
Do your own checks
Even if you aren’t an expert, you can do some checks with information online to verify authenticity. This shouldn’t be your only source of validation, but can be a good starting point to determine if it is worth progressing with professional authentication before bidding or agreeing to purchase. Many high end handbags have serial numbers and date codes which can help authenticate the item, and there are plenty of resources online which guide you through them. Here is a link to a complete list of chanel date codes which can help you identify the year of manufacture and other key information about authenticity.
Some sellers only include a few photos of the item, which can mean it is not possible to confidently authenticate. There are two clear categories of why people do this:
The person is lazy or was in a rush
The person is a scammer
It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between the two by simply asking for more images. An authentic seller will provide more images, even if it takes some time. Keep in mind that this extra effort to ask for the photos can really be worthwhile because the poor images can put off other buyers and if the item is actually authentic, you could find yourself getting quite a deal.
Tip: When asking for photos, be specific about what you want to see, and remember to get photos of the inside of the bag!
Colours make a difference!
The price of a pre loved item can vary significantly depending on the colour. Classic colours like black, beige and brown can often sell for a higher price than the identical item in less traditional colours like purple, yellow, pink, or multi coloured. You can expect to get a better deal if you are willing to go for less traditional colours.
Most of the true deals are for bags which are in need of some TLC - some can have chipped paint or corners, peeling, or missing parts. Luckily, there are some amazing companies out there which can completely transform luxury items - from light refreshing to entire refurbishment, new parts, or even complete colour change. These services are amazing and can truly transform pre loved bags back to brand new condition.
Brands that you can make a saving on
There are some brands that have a better resale value than others, and it is important to keep this in mind when searching online. Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Dior tend to sell relatively close to the retail price, however brands such as Saint Laurent, Celine, MCM, and Versace.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Do you have any more tips for buying pre loved designer items online? Comment below!