Handbags are the ultimate luxury accessory as dubbed by The Digital Luxury Group, and they’re the products that fuel designer brands. High-end signature purses are coveted for their style, character, quality, and perhaps, the status symbol they exude, and all of these qualities come in a steep price.
Going to actual stores ensure quality, authenticity, and excellent customer service, but some bag enthusiasts turn to online sellers to find more affordable rates. While this is a convenient way to shop and save dollars, going this route can put you in a position that’s more susceptible to scams or counterfeits.
So how can you snag your most coveted designer handbag online without getting duped? Here are five tips to keep in mind.
Verify the store policy.
Online stores and sellers may have varying policies when it comes to shipping, returns, and other important issues that may surround the purchase of a designer handbag.
Before doing business with any online merchant, see to it that you reviewed their store policy and terms. Are returns allowed? Will you get a refund if you’re not satisfied with the product or if you proved that it’s not authentic? Is there a warranty of some sort? Will you be entitled to a free repair in case the bag gets damaged? If so, by how long from the date of purchase?
Being clear on the store policy outright will prevent disputes along the way and will allow for a smoother transaction. So read up on the policy and verify details that seem vague to your before agreeing to do business with a seller.
Check seller feedback.
Sellers can control the images and details they put on their ads and product descriptions, but they can’t alter or manipulate what clients will say about them. Investigate and do your research. Find as many reviews as you can about a seller, how they do business, and the quality of the merchandise they offer online.
If the majority of reviews are bad, it could be a red flag that the seller is poor at customer service, selling counterfeit items, or hard to deal with. It’s best to steer clear from merchants that perform poorly in terms of client feedback and spare yourself the hassle of doing business with them.
Meanwhile, if most reviews are positive, maybe it’s worth giving the seller a shot. If you see a couple of negative feedback, see if the issues raised were addressed and in what way they were resolved. Verify if those bad reviews were just isolated cases and were dealt with accordingly.
Know the ins and outs of the bag you want to buy.
Research about the bag and be familiar with key information such as:
- In-store price – If you know how much the bag retails in an actual store, you’ll know what to expect when you shop online. If a store is offering you a really low price for a bag, chances are you’re being offered a counterfeit.
- Features of the model – Familiarize yourself with the measurements, materials, hardware, and any unique features that you need to be on the lookout for in order to verify the authenticity of the bag. Online research can help, but it’s also advisable to visit stores to see the actual bag. This way, you’ll get an idea on the feel of its materials and you can learn more about the bag’s important details.
- Brand – Get to know the culture of the brand the bag comes from. Louis Vuitton, for example, doesn’t conduct outlet sales or advance releases of their new collections outside of their official boutiques. If you’re looking at buying a purse from LV and the seller claims that it’s from an outlet sale hence, the low price, walk away. Most likely, it’s a fake and you wouldn’t want to spend your hard-earned dollars on that.
READ: Spot the Not: How to Tell if a Louis Vuitton Bag is Fake
Online sources and communities are easily accessible. Use it to your advantage to learn about the designer bag you want to buy.
Ask for more information.
When deciding to buy a designer bag online, it’s important that your choice will be based on an informed decision. If the photos posted or the description stated is not enough for you, ask for more information from the seller. A legitimate merchant will have no problems or qualms with providing you with more details or images.
If it’s a pre-owned bag, you can also ask questions about where, when and for how much the seller got it. You can also inquire about why the seller wants to sell it. Asking those questions will not just give you insight about the item, but also about the seller’s character. It gives you an opportunity to gauge whether a seller is worth your trust or if they’re just bluffing just to convince you to finally buy the bag.
Trust your gut.
If there’s something that doesn’t sit well with you about the bag or the seller, even if there’s no clear evidence that the item is a counterfeit or the person you’re dealing with is a con artist, just don’t go with it. There will always be another option out there. Opt to place your bet on a seller that you’re comfortable transacting with and on a bag that doesn’t just possess authenticity markings, but also looks instinctively genuine to you.
The Importance of Taking Caution when Purchasing Designer Bags Online
It’s normal to get excited about designer bags, but that doesn’t mean that you should purchase them on a whim, especially if you’re buying online. Here are reasons why taking caution is important:
- You get your money’s worth. Designer handbags come with a hefty price tag. Think of it as an investment. Make sure that you’re parting with your money for a legitimate piece and not a cheap knock-off.
- Higher chances of resale. There will always be buyers who will want a bag that’s no longer on the market, perhaps because it’s an old model that’s no longer being produced. In cases like this, shoppers are taking their chances on the resale market. If you have an authentic piece, you can easily sell it at a good price.
- Financial shield. If you’re strapped for cash, designer handbags can be your savior. You can either sell them or used them as collateral for a loan. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry purchases or lends on high-value items such as designer handbags. We have a team of appraisers on board that can evaluate your signature purse and give you top dollar for it—whether through a sale or a loan. If you want to know more about the loans we make or the items we purchase, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.