As you guys have probably noticed, I buy a LOT of my pieces secondhand. I usually prefer to find my good deals with luxury consignment websites, such as TheRealReal and thredUP, because they only accept items in good ---> new condition, and offer authenticity promises. However, I have found the most amazing steals on designer items from eBay, paying for some items a 1/4 of the price that I would have paid for the same secondhand item on a consignment site! (I recently won the most AMAZING find on eBay, I can't wait to share with you all!) Some of my most recent wins include lululemon tops, leggings, and jackets (all under $20!) and my well-loved Burberry scarf ($80, I mean come on!)
However, it is important to remember that there are many sellers that are deceiving, and looking to take advantage of unsuspecting and naive consumers. But do not fear! I have compiled a short list of do's and don'ts to avoid falling into one of these traps. Continue reading!
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Many designers offer limited editions of their classic bags, accessories, and clothing items. This can make it difficult to figure out if the item you have in your watch list is legit. If the seller does not have a name listed for the item, ask! Google it! If you can't find it anywhere on the internet, steer clear. Also, when you have an item in mind you are looking to bid on, wait a few days to look at the bidding trends, and see what a typical price is that the item is going. For me, I have found the most success winning items during the week days. For some reason, there are less bidders, and items go for cheaper than when they sell over the weekend.
2. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR MORE PICTURES
One of the first things that should tip you off to a scam is if the seller uses stock photos for the item. Before bidding, make sure to contact the seller to ask for genuine pictures. As well, if it is hard to decipher the overall quality of the item, ask for additional pictures with the product in a well-lit area. If you receive no response, or are declined pictures, this item is a no-go.
3. WHAT IS THE SELLER'S TRACK RECORD?
I always feel more reassured buying from a seller with hundreds, or even thousands, of positive reviews on their profile. Go through and read the comments. Look for other customers that purchased second hand designer items. Did the item they received reflect what they thought they were buying? And if the seller is new (a member less than a month) or has no reviews, I would highly suggest moving on, they are most likely a scam.
4. UTILIZE GOOGLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NUANCES BETWEEN AUTHENTIC AND REPLICA ITEMS
Whether it's the shape of the "L" on the bottom of a pair of Louboutins, or the capitalization of the origin city on a designer bag, it is important to utilize the internet to learn the small details in authentic items that are often looked over in the creation of replica designer items. You can even find pictures with authentic and replica items side by side.
5. USE YOUR COMMON SENSE
Look closely at the photos, be honest with yourself, and if the price seems too good to be true, I assure you it is. Don't think the quality looks like that of a $1,000 handbag or pair of shoes? It's because it isn't. Keep looking, and don't lose hope! It may take time, but eventually you WILL find the item you are looking for in your price range.
I hope these tips are helpful to my fellow bidders, and best of luck!
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- Marie Claire, September 2016