How to Tell if Your Bag is Fake

Posted Wednesday January 16, 2013 2:00 PM GMT
Photo Credit: Bag Borrow or Steal

If you’ve been fooled by a fake bag before, you’re not alone.

While some counterfeits are easy to spot (cough, New York City street corners), others can be a bit more deceiving. Further complicating matters is the abundance of designer goods available on the Internet — a playground for couture-con artists — at too-hard-to-resist deals.

So, how do you protect yourself from fraud and forgery? We went to Cassandra Connors, founder of Bella Bag, and an expert in designer authenticity, to find out.

Let’s start with the basics: What are the most and least obvious signs that a bag is fake?
“The symmetry (or asymmetry, rather) of the fabric's pattern or stitching, or logo” is the most obviously sign a bag is fake, says Connors. “If you aren't sure if the item is fake, try to dig a little deeper,” she adds. “Take a magnet to the hardware and test the magnetism,” or simply, “Research the real item's measurements and measure the item you are questioning. Some replica bags are often mis-sized by an inch or so.”

What types of materials are fake bags usually made with?
“Counterfeiters are getting more sneaky,” says Connors. “We've found that often, they’re using real/true-to-form materials, including real leather. And, don't forget, plenty of designer bags are made with PVC and Vinyl now.”

Yikes! That makes things difficult. Who’s selling these counterfeits?
“Most real designer bags aren't sold anywhere other than reputable resellers (Yoogi's Closet, Fashionphile and Bella Bag are tops!), major department stores, and the brand's boutique itself,” says Connors. Anywhere else, “be very skeptical of and do your research,” she warns. “Obviously don't buy from a street vendor!”

How can I safely shop on the Internet for designer handbags?
When shopping online, Connors recommends that you thoroughly check:
Seller Feedback: Have they been caught selling fakes before?
Return Policy: Will they refund your money if you find out it’s not the real deal?
Price: Does it look too good to be true? It probably is!

Is it illegal for retailers to sell knockoff bags?
Selling counterfeit bags is “absolutely illegal and scamming someone to believe they are buying something they not is absolutely illegal too,” says Connors. “And, honestly, I can't comment on the ‘legal’ guidelines regarding knockoff bags, as I think it should all be punishable by jail time and major fines.”

What should you do if you suspect you purchased an illegal handbag?
“I would have it professionally authenticated to know for sure, get a certificate of authenticity (or not) and then contact your credit card company to protest the charge,” says Connors.

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