With online purchases from websites like eBay and Craigslist steadily increasing, so are the occurrences of sellers peddling counterfeit items. From faux designer sunglasses to knockoff handbags, it can be hard to know you’re getting the real deal when you buy online sight unseen. In fact, it can even be difficult to distinguish real from fake in person. How can you spot the phonies and ensure you’re only spending your hard-earned money on authentic merchandise? These five tips will help set you up with the information you need next time you shop.
Look at the items you currently own, or do some research
If you already own products from the brands you’re interested in, take a good look at them before you start shopping. Pay attention to logos, inscriptions, tags and other unique details that set that brand apart. Counterfeiters don’t always carry over these details into their versions, so they serve as tell-tale signs to determine real vs. fake. If you don’t currently own something by the brand or designer you’re interested in, do some research online to familiarize yourself with these particulars.
Examine the craftsmanship
High-end designer products are held to a higher standard than those you can get for half the cost. They have superior craftsmanship and detailing, usually resulting in a longer lifespan. When you’re browsing for designer handbags, shoes or clothes, examine the stitching, seams and logo placement. Something like a misaligned logo is a dead giveaway that it isn’t authentic. If you’re shopping for designer sunglasses, the same can be said for printed logos. You should also pay attention to screws and lenses to see how sturdy and well-aligned they are. Quality assurance is strict with name brands but sparse with counterfeiters, so these are good ways to tell the difference.
Look for spelling and grammatical errors
It may seem like something that only happens in funny movies, but counterfeit products often contain glaring spelling errors and misspellings. Thoroughly inspect tags and imprinted words on the product, as well as its packaging. Many counterfeits originate from foreign countries where English is not the native language, thus making such errors commonplace.
Pay attention to packaging
You wouldn’t expect to buy a pair of Oakley sunglasses and not receive the signature branded pouch with them. Or order a Coach bag online and have it show up in a plain box with no branding. These are both sure signs of counterfeit merchandise. Take note of flimsy packaging as well as packaging that includes misaligned printing, misspelled words, or logos that don’t quite look authentic. You should also pay attention to the paperwork included inside the box. Look for legitimate receipts and advertising materials from the manufacturer. It’s very unlikely that these kinds of things wouldn’t be included with an authentic product.
Be realistic about price
A Louis Vuitton product for $50? I don’t think so! If you’ve found a deal like this that seems too good to be true, it probably is. You may find some decent prices on used products from private sellers, but anything new at such a drastically reduced rate is likely not the real thing. Also, it’s important to note that you should be on the lookout for fakes even when buying products from past seasons, especially from private sellers.
The bottom line
There’s a lot of money to be made in the counterfeit goods industry. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and keep the above five tips in mind so you don’t end up with an inauthentic product that’s not worth the money. Become familiar with the products you’re interested in and you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to distinguish genuine prodTucts from knockoffs.
This post is sponsored by LensCrafters.