Recently, a friend of mine sent me the pictures of the items she ordered from a seller online; when she got the items, the pieces she saw in the photos were not what she received in person. Holy crap right? She was tricked into buying rubbish / fake. She is not the only one, a lot of people have fallen into this trap of fraud where they buy things from online scammers who steal photos from reputable brands to sell their products.
Not that I can really control what happens online but I started paying close attention to my profile and work online when a dear friend of mine; The Luxebabe whose work I truly respect was sent a photo of herself she took while reviewing her Hermes Birkin on a fake website. The owners of this fake website were using her picture to sell their fake products. The website has since been taken down when she raised alarm. See the picture below and feel free to follow her by clicking on the image……..
This days, people don’t only steal photos of shoes, bags and other fashion items, people also steal contents; your contents on videos, contents of your blog and they parade it like they wrote / created it. While it is okay to feel like you inspire people enough for them to copy you, it is also heart breaking to see that your hard work is been duplicated without reference. I have seen my contents live and direct been shared on many occasions without reference. Even though I can’t control what others do especially in a public domain like a blog, I made sure I made it known to the person. Now let me not bore you with that, let’s stick to avoid buying fake goods online.
People who steal photos of others to sell their products don’t understand they are ruining the credibility and reputation of the real owners of the work or images or may be they do, they just don’t care. When you use the image of a real Birkin or any other products to sell your fake products then you are invariable telling the world that the owner of the real deal actually bought the item from you and that they also wear fake and the support your dubious act. This is bad and will make people doubt or question the genuineness, integrity and the person whose images or works you are stealing.
Same is applicable to contents. Any body reading from both the original source and the copy cat source won’t be able to tell who truly writes and who copies. If you use any body’s content or image, acknowledge them by letting them know. For anyone who doesn’t know, content creation takes time; So far on this article, I have spent almost 3 hours; correcting errors and spell checking etc. Videos even take longer time; sometimes all through the night. So lets be fair, it is the fair thing to do. If you can’t support the work people have created, don’t steal it. Just saying!
It is okay to use other people’s work but reference them.
All I did to use the picture of the bag above was to ask the owner and she said yes, it is that simple.
How to AVOID buying Fake Goods Online
I know for my dear friends in Nigeria who love luxury, there are not so many options to you because there are not so many concession stores or departmental stores. My solid advise to you is for you to use a personal shopper if you don’t travel abroad but love to shop abroad. Who is a personal shopper? I have written a blog on who a personal shopper is and what to expect from them, I will share that with you soon.
1, Buy from a Reputable Source
When I wrote the blog on how to buy the Christian Louboutin, one of the TIPS I shared was that there is nothing like www.christianlouboutin.com. If you see anything like that, it is fake. The Christian Louboutin website for Europe as an example is euchristianlouboutin.com and for the USA is uschristainlouboutin.com. What this simply means is EU from Europe and US from USA. You can read the full article on 10 things you need to know about the Christian Louboutin brand HERE
So when shopping for your fashion items whether luxury goods or from the high street, shop from a reputation source. Reputable source could be from the brand owners website directly or from a departmental store. For example, a departmental store here in Ireland or England is Debenhams where you will find brands like Lancome, Chanel beauty, Estee Lauder etc.
If you are not sure how to find what the brand website you are looking for is, please Google it. You can type into Google; what is the original website of Lanvin etc. There you will have results and once you go unto the real website you will know. For a site like the Christian Louboutin, they a section there designated to “stop fake goods”
While you can buy directly from the actual brand website, you may not be able to buy some very high end goods online. An example of this kinds of goods will be the Hermes; for the Birkin, Kelly and some other Hermes bags, you have to join the waiting list. The other option is for you to buy them pre-loved / Vintage which brings me to point number two below.
2, Buying From Resellers & VIntage Buys
A lot of people buy to resell, that is a kind of business that has evolved in recent years, thanks to social networks like Instagram. When buying from Resellers or Vintage buys, the one thing to look out for is the serial number. For example, if you have to buy an original designer purse or sunglasses etc, they always come with serial numbers.
When you get the serial number of a product, you can then verify the authenticity of the products before you buy it / them. There are websites and other sources of authenticating luxury goods especially. Unfortunately, I won’t be mentioning any here but I would say that you can ring directly to the brand with a serial number and they will be able to help you. If it is their product, they will tell you, they are real and because they want to make sales, they will explain everything to you.
For example, my Sophie Hulme bag below has a serial number / product number and the number is AW 13.1 BG027LENAVY. The Shoes are from the Gianvitto Rossi and the product number is G40777.15RIC.CAMTARA.
The numbers above has the year the product was manufactured and the product number. For e.g AW = Autumn Winter then the number. It could also be SS which simply means Spring Summer then the number.
You will find these serial numbers / product numbers on the label of the packaging, the tag on the products and in some luxury goods, they are printed on the products e.g the Hermes bags, Gucci etc.
3, Fake Websites
I know this is about the most difficult thing to figure out but how do you know a fake website. My husband actually explained this to me thoroughly. This may sound extreme but if you see a website and they have deals that are too good to be true then they may be fake. For example if a Chanel bag retails for £3500.00 and you suddenly find it on a website for £750.00 then be sure that is fake.
The other thing is if you are not sure of any website, you can ring the embassy of where that website is based and asked them if the site is real. For example if you see a website Abroad (sorry I don’t want to include any Country name but guess one) and you are not sure of that website, you can ring the Embassy of that country and they will tell you if the site is real or not, it is that simple. That may look extreme but it is better to be cautious than have to deal with loosing a huge amount of money.
Not sure how to know where a website based or registered. A site whose web address finishes with; for example dot AU is an Australian site or one that finishes with dot NG is a site registered in Nigeria.
4, Buying From hand to hand
If your BFF has a bag or shoes she is getting rid off because she wants to sell them for an upgrade. Even though you are friends, try to ask for things like the box of the bag or dust bag; you can also ask for certificate of Authentication (some luxury goods have them) ; you can also ask for things like receipt if she has it or you can check for serial or product number I explained above.
Of course you want to remain friends with your friend so be sure to look out for the authenticity of the product before you give them the money. Another thing is to check the market value of the product before you buy to it.
5, Buying on Ebay
Another one stop shop is Ebay; a go to for deal finders and money savers. While it okay to buy anything from Ebay, it is very important to know some facts before buying.
1, Have a thorough understanding of your product. It is okay if you are buying something cheap but if you have to pay a lot of money, you don’t want to get duped or buy fake. Trust me you don’t want to go through the stress of returns and requesting for refunds.
2, Know that the seller is Authenticated and registered with Ebay. You don’t want to buy from a seller who will be gone / stopped trading if you have any problems with the products.
3, Ensure the product / good is authentic. Even though this may be hard to know but you can use the point I mentioned on how to do that above in point 2 above.
4, Always pay with Pay pal. Pay pal is the easiest and safest means of making payment online. If there is any dispute, you can report to them and they will help you follow up. If you happen to win the dispute you reported, they pay you back and run after the seller; but who wants to go through this really?
5, Check the reviews and feedback of previous buyers on the Seller. Check their ratings and see if it is up to 100%. Although Sellers can be rated below 100 for simple things like delay in postage, the look of package on arrival etc but that does not mean they sell fake. You will never know if you don’t check well.
6, Ensure that when you are buying any product from any seller that they display the actual photos of the product they are selling and not the one they stole online. Check paragraph 2 above.
Although Ebay has trust and selling policy, you can never be too careful so you don’t waste your money. It is too stressful trying to get money back etc.
Although there are many more ways to prevent buying fake goods. I do hope the few I shared with you will guide you when buying luxury goods online or from hand to hand.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you learnt one or two things. Please share with me in the comments your own TIPS if you have any, would love to read them and learn from you too.
By the way, if you want to see any of the LOOK BOOKS I shared in this post in full, click on the image and it will take you directly to read the post, sure you will find them helpful too.
I want to thank you so much for stopping by. I am always happy to see you stop by. Wishing you a fabulous day today.
Much Love, Mojisola
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