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Tips to authenticate designer items

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A lot of people want designer items, but they don't want to spend the money to get them. Some turn to buying fake (also known as counterfeit, replica, copy) designer items knowingly, or some thing they have gotten the deal of a lifetime. It happened to a customer and friend of mine, and my goal is to help you learn a few tips that might save you a lot of money down the road.

First, you need to understand why buying these fake designer items is illegal. They violate copyright and trademark laws the designers or companies have on the logos of their brand. You can not just take a company's logo (without permission), and slap it on a product and call it a Tory Burch bag, or a pair of Coach sneakers.

Coach recently sued a mom and daughter team for selling fake Coach items on their website. Coach won $44 million. Now this mom and daughter team are also in trouble with Chanel for doing the same a few years ago. It is illegal. Even if you put a disclaimer say it's a fake item does not make it right. If you went to pay with counterfeit money, would expect the business to still take it even if you told them up front the money was real?

So here are some things to look for when you're looking at purchasing a designer item, whether it be online, from a Facebook yard-sale group, or that consignment store down the road.

1. Check the creditability of the business. If it's a website are the photos just stock photos taken from the real designers website? Do they have spelling errors, or sentences that just don't make any sense? What are the prices like compared to actual retail? If a bag retails for $500, sorry to tell you but you won't find a new with tags (NWT) version online for $35 plus tax and shipping. If it's a store what other kinds of items do they sell? Can they answer questions about the item such as retail price, history, style name?

2. Check the quality carefully. This is hard to do from photos, but there are usually some things to look for that vary from designer to designer. Is the stitching even and neat? Is the heat stamping or engraving clean, and readable? If it's plaid does the pattern line up at the seams?

3. Research that style. Try to find the exact style at a well known reputable shop or website. Compare what you see to what they have.

4. Always get authentication done if you're not sure. There are a lot of great authentication services out there. I personally have used Authenticate First, and Authenticate4U. Both deliver great results, and have never steered myself, or those I have recommended to them wrong.

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