Everyone loves a bargain, but with luxury goods and the increasing ease of buying such products online, you need to know what to look out for to know if you’re getting the real deal. If you’re buying online, always use a third-party payment service like PayPal, and only purchase from reputable consignment stores who offer in-house authenticating and a money-back guarantee. Below, we share 12 tips for spotting fake designer bags.

1. Get up close

Don’t buy an item based on a stock image. Make sure to request photos of the actual piece which shows you the details. A video would be great too.

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2. Study the stitching

Uneven or slanted stitching is a sign of a poorly made item, and a counterfeit.

3. Look at the lining

A quality bag is more likely to have a lining made of good canvas, cross-grain leather or microfibre suede.

4. Inspect the trimming

Most leather goods will have a wax casing that is hand painted to cover the raw edges of the piece. A messy and uneven paint job is a sign of inferior quality.

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5. Check the hardware

Pay extra attention to zippers, clasps, and closures, they should all have the same colour and finish. All the hardware on an authentic Prada bag — zippers, buckles, locks, metal feet, and decorative hardware — will all be engraved with Prada. No exceptions.

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6. Smell the leather

Leather bags should smell like leather, so if you smell glue or chemicals, it’s likely to be a fake. If you’re buying a pre-loved bag, the leather handles should have discoloured slightly — fake leather handles will remain shiny and unchanged.

7. Count the number of pockets

Do your homework, examine the bag in the boutique and know the placement of pockets.

8. Look for the details

Is there a hologram sticker where it’s meant to be? Are the serial numbers in the correct sequence? Does the brand offer an authenticity card?

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9. Pay attention to the dustbag

Newer Chanel bags will come in a black dust bag with ‘Chanel’ written in black, while vintage Chanel bags will come in a white felt bag with a black logo. There are two Gucci dust bags, one made from dark brown satin and with the GG logo printed on the front, the other in a solid light brown colour with GUCCI written in gold across the front.

10. Before you buy Hermes

The Birkin and Kelly styles come complete with an engraved lock and key set, and the lock will have the word Hermes written on the bottom and there will be a matching number that’s placed on the lock and the key.

11. Before you buy Louis Vuitton…

Louis Vuitton will use one continuous piece of coated canvas that will wrap from the back to the front, which means one side of the bag will have an upside down logo. Not all Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, some are made in Italy and some are made in the United States.

12. Before you buy Goyard…

Authentic Goyard bags are made from special resin coated linen and are lined with a cotton and linen blend fabric that leaves the bag feeling extremely light. The fakes are often made from cheap cotton and vinyl.

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