Many consumers justify the purchase of their knock off handbags by the high price of the originals. Unfortunately what they don’t realize is that not only do they get what they pay for, but purchasing counterfeit products only drives the authentic pieces’ prices higher and contributes to immoral labor practices and a sagging economy.
Eighteen percent of counterfeit products seized by US customs in 2002 were fashion related items. This is a problem because this robs the country of an estimated $200 billion a year in taxes. The American public has to make up for taxes that could be gained from our imports. This hinders our economy, while the countries these products came from continue to grow and thrive (China for example).
Additionally the funds made from selling these knockoffs often go to organized crime rings. There is evidence that the World Trade Center bombing was funded by the sale of counterfeit apparel. These organizations also commonly employ child labor forces and often use their products to transport drugs and other dangerous materials.
The lack of quality in the replicas can also be a safety issue. Replica sunglasses break more easily and don’t offer the UV protection they claim. Sometimes however it’s not easy to spot the difference between the imitations and the genuine articles.
There are some telltale signs however that can help a consumer identify counterfeit handbags. Counterfeits can be called copies, knockoffs, replicas, or imitations. Retailers are not always so quick to list their merchandise under these terms. The first major indicator of a fake is the price. A genuine Prada bag will not be found for fifty or one hundred dollars.
The location the bag is purchased is another dead giveaway. Top name designers don’t sell their bags on the street, out of cars, at home parties, or in online auctions. Some designers such as Louis Vuitton don’t sale wholesale at all- the bags must be purchased directly from the company itself.
If a website has fifty bags in one style, sixty in another and so on then they probably aren’t the real thing. It’s more likely to be genuine if the retailer has only a few bags in each style. Online sellers should not be listed as private dealers nor should the product be listed in a one day only auction. Knockoff retailers will overuse adjectives describing how genuine the bags are- “authentic, genuine real Fendi.”
When looking for handbags online it’s hard to determine if a product is real because the bag cannot be handled and inspected. If looking for discounts a consumer will encounter a number of knockoffs. There are some online stores that sell genuine products at deep discounts, this is usually because the bag is out of season or was an overstock from a department store.
Look carefully at the bag’s description. “Inspired by” is another dead giveaway. The bag should come with a certificate of authenticity, genuine packaging, and also a dust bag all with the designer’s name on them. The store should also stand behind the product, so that once the consumer receives the bag they can have its authenticity verified and it can be returned if it’s discovered to be a knockoff.
Handling the bag will be the best way to determine whether the article is genuine or not. The point of origin tag is a good indicator. If it says “made in Taiwan” then it’s not real. Examine the materials, real leather is supple and not at all like plastic. Check to see if the bag is misshapen. Examine the stitching, look for poor craftsmanship such as missing stitches and frayed ends. One of the reasons designer handbags are so expensive is because of the intense detail that goes into creating them.
The designer will have a high quality tag sewn in the purse. They will not be cheap fabric tags that are barely stitched on. Many designers will use leather tags in the purses or will have the name plaque riveted in. Examining the article closely is the best way to spot a fake.
Counterfeit products should be reported. Reporting counterfeits will help keep designer prices from sky rocketing even higher and stops the illegal trade that could be occurring also. Fakes can be reported at 1-800-report-a-fake. Not all discount handbag retailers are up to no good some really are offering genuine bags at great prices, but the buyer should always be skeptical.