I think we are all pretty much aware that if you go to Turkey you can buy fake designer jeans and Louis Vuitton goods and that there are now websites dedicated to selling fake Louboutin Shoes and Chanel handbags.
Yes you can pick up a fake designer Chanel handbag for about £250 but what seriously worries me is the fact that people purchase these and then go on to sell them on ebay for £1,000 + and I find this whole practice utterly disgraceful to be honest.
I have sold designer items on ebay for many years now and always find myself repeating over and over the fact that my item is "100% authentic guaranteed" because I know full well that it is, and it is one reason why I hate the fact that I haven't always kept the receipts for expensive items that I have bought in the past or that my husband may have bought for me, he is just as useless at keeping hold of such things! Then come the annoying influx of questions about authenticity, which drive you nuts when you know your item cost you a small fortune and is in no way a fake! This whole situation is a nightmare for genuine owners and sellers of high end goods. If I buy my 11 year old son a pair of Armani jeans and a Ralph Lauren polo top (which I frequently do) I am very unlikely to be able to find the receipt when he has outgrown them, sometimes 6 months or even a year later, depending on growth spurts.
So I am happy to sell on ebay but personally I am not so happy to buy, well not designer goods anyway and wouldn't dream of purchasing a Chanel bag or similar without a receipt, as another huge problem is the fact that the "fakers" are now so sophisticated that they can emulate holograms and care cards with ease, I was also once asked whether my receipt was genuine as you can apparently get "fake" receipts, but I am still astounded by the fact that certain individuals are fuelling these businesses and providing sellers with an income of £700 + plus with each Chanel bag they purchase. If somebody has a thousand pounds to spend on a fake item, surely it would be better to save another similar amount and purchase the real thing? If I was going to purchase such an item from ebay I would be looking for a used vintage item rather than new without receipt, but again, they go for so much money, you may as well save the extra and get a new one.
Apart from the obvious fakes, the ciggies and booze (yes its true, never buy cheap knock off, it probably isn't real, fake fags will kill you quicker than proper ones!) I was amazed to see that High Street clothing brands are also being copied by the "fakers". Karen Millen was a brand that featured and this completely shocked me! I could never imagine buying a Karen Millen dress or a pair of shoes on ebay and finding out that they are not authentic, it seems that every brand is at the mercy of the "fakers" who make a fortune out of vulnerable purchasers who may not be able to afford to shop directly from the retailer in question and honestly believe they are getting a bargain!
Karen Millen did mention the programme on their blog and are currently trying to reassure buyers that they are doing their best to put a stop to this situation as are ebay, but I wouldn't let any ebay statements give you reassurance to be honest. You can view Karen Millens information on the situation here where you will also find a link to the programme, which I highly recommend you watch.
Meanwhile you can read Pearl of "Fashion Pearls of Wisdom" advice on counterfeit goods here and if I can just take the time to remind you that Chanel can be bought from Harrods, Selfridges and any Chanel store and Louboutins can be bought from similar outlets but also online at high end retailers such as net-a-porter, matches fashion and browns fashion. The outnet also have a Louboutin sale once or twice a year, so sign up for email alerts as you will need to be quick as they sell out within minutes of the sale going live although I was lucky enough to snag a pair in 2010!
The Louboutins I can't walk in.
As for the buying and selling of designer goods on auction sites, my only advice is to always keep your receipts so that you can send them to your purchaser but do remove any personal information, I usually cut this out with a small pair of scissors rather than just scribbling out with a pen. You will also probably find that if the buyer has confidence in your item then you are more likely to get more money for it. As for buying, be very wary. Ebay is great for furniture, vintage goods and other clothing but when it comes to buying designer goods, have a look at the sellers previous history. If you looked at mine for example, you would see that I am a family who sells boys designer clothes from my son along with a mixture of high street and designer items from a man, a woman and a couple of teenage girls. Always check a sellers feedback and look at what they have sold previously. If a seller has previously sold 5 pairs of Louboutins, chanel bags or Karen Millen dresses and they are all brand new with tags - avoid them like the plague and refuse to become a part of "rip off Britain".
If you are fully aware that you are buying a copy and you pay a price accordingly, then that is up to you. One lovely blogger I know bought a fake handbag as she felt she would never be able to afford the real thing and I have to confess it looked great in her photographs. This is all a matter of personal choice, the most important thing being that she knew what she was buying and was not ripped off. I won't go into child labour, money laundering, or drug barons who are all associated with counterfeit goods, as that would make for a lengthy rant but people need to be aware of the individuals who are very often behind these businesses.
I've learnt my lesson with losing receipts and keep the Alexander Wang Rocco one in a small zip pocket on the side of the bag that I never use, just incase I ever need to sell her.
I may never get my 2.55 but I don't wish to carry a fake, ever. I'd rather go without.
What is your take on "Fake Britain"? Do you think this culture has grown due to the recent recession and the sheer volume of people out of work and in receipt of benefits, or is it just that we all get a thrill from a bargain and people are naive enough to think they are getting the real deal?
* Chanel do have a website but you are unable to purchase from it. Louboutin also have a website but an ecommerce site only exists for the US. Lets hope that these global brands realise the importance of selling their product range online in the very near future, France needs their economy boosting at present and I am sure this would help.