How to Tell if a Designer Bag Is Fake
• Don’t buy a luxury bag from a discount store like Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.
• Don’t shop wholesale markets
like those in Chinatown in Manhattan.
• Don’t buy online for prices that are significantly lower than normal.
• The best way to guarantee that you are not buying a fake is to purchase directly from the brand.
“We must be doing a good job, since counterfeiters are looking for such complicated ways to get in,” the lawyer says.
People often ask me, “How do you know it’s fake?”
Well, if it’s being sold at a fold-up table on a sidewalk corner or on the back of a peddler on the beach, chances are it’s fake. Or if it’s at a flea market. Or a church fundraiser. Or in Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club or other discount mass retailers. In June
2006, Fendi filed suit in a U.S. district court against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., asserting that the world’s largest retailer was selling counterfeit Fendi handbags and wallets in its Sam’s Club stores. For example, one bag was offered for $295; the legitimate Fendi handbag of the same design normally retailed for $925. In the suit, Fendi stated that Wal-Mart has never purchased Fendi products and never checked with Fendi to see if the items were real. The case was setded out of court last summer after Sam’s Club agreed to pay Fendi an undisclosed sum.
If you want to guarantee that your luxury-brand purchases are legitimate, don’t shop in wholesale markets like those in Chinatown in Manhattan or Santee Alley in Los Angeles. “We’ll go on raids on Chinatown wholesalers, and we’ll find five or six suburban women standing there customers,” New York security expert Andrew Oberfeldt has told me. “We’ll say to these women, ‘The dealers take you down dark corridors, through locked doors. The police say, “Open up!” The lights are turned out and everyone is told to be quiet. At what point did you realize that something was amiss here?’ ”
If you find an item for sale on the Internet for a price so low that it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Last fall, the U.K.-based Authentics Foundation, an international nonprofit organization devoted to raising public awareness about counterfeiting, launched myauthentics.com, a Web site that helps Internet shoppers determine if the products they are eyeing on the Web are real. It includes blogs and forums, news, myths, and tips on how to spot fakes; eBay now has links to the site. EBay also works with brands in its VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program to find out if the items for offer on the site are genuine. If the brand deems a particular item to be counterfeit, the sale will be shut down. However, not all online sales sites have such verification processes in place. Besides, counterfeiters are known to post photos of genuine items to sell fakes. So as the old saying goes, buyer beware.
Of course, the best way to know if you are buying a genuine product is to buy it from the brand, either in directly operated boutiques or in a company’s shop in a department store. If you are curious about the authenticity of a used Vuitton item you purchased at a vintage shop or online, you can always contact one of the brand’s boutiques.
Most important, we need to spread the word on the devastating effects counterfeiting has on society today. I didn’t tell the girl in Mill Valley that her bag was fake. It wasn’t her fault her family had given it to her. But if I had met her parents, I would have said something. Awareness is key. Counterfeiting will never go away it’s been around since the dawn of time but we can surely cut it down to size if we just stop buying the stuff Without the demand, the supply will shrink. It’s up to us.
Fake Designer Bags 2015 Photo Gallery
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