Finding a bargain piece on eBay makes me feel like I’ve won the fashion lottery, every time it happens. It’s almost as good as picking up a Furla bag in a charity shop for £3.50 because none of the grannies who work there know what it is. These purchases don’t happen everyday but when they do, it feels bloody amazing. As I’ve had my fair share of lucky finds and an eBay account for nearly 10years (I started early), I thought it would be cool to write up a fashion bloggers guide to buying second hand designer on eBay, to help my readers out too.
Do your research: It’s good to know what you’re looking for and to have some background knowledge on the particular item or designer first. Often fakes are really easy to spot but you don’t what to get ripped off paying more than retail either, so your best bet is to get clued up way before you hit eBay.
Focus on one brand/item at a time: Just looking at shoes or bags as a whole will take you months to sift through so you need to get specific about what you want. For example, if you love the Phillip Lim bags searching ‘Phillip Lim bag’ would be good but it’s better to know the exact item e.g. ‘Phillip Lim Pashli bag’ as this will bring you the best results.
Look for real pictures: This may sound like a weird thing to say but if the listing has stock images from a website and it’s not a retailer, then chances are it’s not the item you’re ACTUALLY buying. Especially if the description says it’s second hand, you know it’s not going to be in mint condition. Ask the seller for snaps of the exact item and if they don’t want to send them to you, then it’s likely it’s dodgy.
Save it: Ebay has a function where you can save your favourite searches and sellers for later, so that you can keep checking for new listings. Say you’re searching for a ‘Furla Metropolis Bag’ save your search including location (if you don’t want to pay for shipping for example you can set it to UK only), the maximum price, colour etc. and then check on it once a week for anything new or any discounts. You can also follow your favourite sellers which is good if you find someone who loves the same designer as you and likes to clear out their wardrobe often!
Be prepared to wait: I once watched a Kenzo bag for months. At the beginning the price was £300 and I kept on watching until she reduced it to £60. Often if people really want to get rid of something you can offer them a bit less too and by waiting you’ll figure out if it’s something you still really want.
Don’t be shy about contacting the seller: Designer items are always going to be a little bit more expensive and therefore more risky to buy. If you need some extra info or reassurance the option is there for you to contact the seller and you should use this function as much as you need to. Whether thats for more pictures, to see a proof of purchase or just for piece of mind, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Avoiding Fakes: Obviously this will depend on what you’re buying but there are a few tell tale signs that something isn’t quite what it seems. One of the most popular scams is listing fakes with just a picture of the bag (so you recognise it) but the seller won’t put the brand name in the title to avoid getting caught my eBay. This is because if a fake bag were to be listed under the name of a real one, e.g. “Gucci Dionysus” and eBay saw that it was a fake not only would they take it town but the seller would lose their account. As long as you search your specific item, you’ll likely avoid this but it’s good to be aware. This doesn’t mean that all items listed are real though, so you still need to be really careful. If you’ve done your research and still aren’t sure then you might want to try out using a authenticator service online. You can send them the link to the item and they’ll give you their professional opinion on whether or not it’s legit. This isn’t free but if you’re making a bigger purchase, it’s 100% worth it. Designers like Chanel or Hermes are sold for crazy prices on the second hand market but are also copied on a mass scale so it may be hard for you to tell the difference.
Chanel bags cost more than £5: If the price is too good to be true then it’s probably fake, as much as a bargain purchase can happen it’s very rare and if something looks shady, it probably is. Don’t be lured in and always do your research. I recently picked up a Karl Lagerfeld bag for £40 which is a bargain but not crazy unbelievable, if I found a Chanel for this price though I would know it was dodgy.
Open a case: If you purchase something and it arrives not as described, in bad condition or you think it’s fake then you can open a case with eBay and they’ll help you to resolve the problem. This is obviously worse case scenario but it’s worth knowing that you’re covered just in case.
If it’s the real deal but you don’t like it, you’re not getting a refund: Something else worth mentioning is that eBay doesn’t work like ASOS. There’s no free returns and you can’t just send it back if you don’t like it. Provided everything is legit and it’s as described the seller probably won’t take a return, so just make sure you really want it or would be prepared to sell it on before you buy.
I hope you liked these tips and that you found them useful! Let me know if you have any tricks of your own or if you try these out and pick something up. I’ve also written a post on other places to buy second hand designer online here if you’re interested.