Buying a pre-owned Louis Vuitton online is a pastime of the savviest fashionphiles and deal seekers. The century-long global obsession for the Louis Vuitton brand is rooted in the same traditions that make them excellent bags to buy online today. However, the strong resale and high market demand for used Louis Vuitton is why this brand, more than any other in the world, has an unprecedented counterfeit market. Whether it’s a vintage Alma from the 80’s or a brand new Palm Springs backpack, it is critical that you go into your used search, knowing that the market is flooded with fakes.
To explore this topic further and avoid many of the common decision making pitfalls that people often fall victim to, let’s take a look at the 5 worst mistakes when buying a used Louis Vuitton online.
The 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Buying A Used Louis Vuitton Online
1. Expecting Too Good Of A Deal
With a brand new Neverfull now selling for over $1,300 (they were under $800 only 6 years ago) it makes a lot of sense to consider buying a used Neverfull + a wallet for the same price as the brand new bag from the store.
With Louis Vuitton iconic bags staying in their collection for not just years but decades, there is always a strong selection second hand Louis Vuitton inventory available online. But that same longevity of styles is also what makes this brand a hotbed for fake bags and puts buyers at risk if they don’t know what to look for.
Here is one of my important rules when buying a pre-owned bag.
You will never sell your bag for as much you expect and you will never buy for as little as you hope.
Very rarely do I see customers getting an outstanding deal on a used Louis Vuitton bag. They do get a good deal, but the ones that come to us for pre-purchase authentications saying they are getting the “best deal ever”, typically are the ones that most likely end up being a replica or flawed.
You run the greatest risk of missing signs when you are looking for a popular Louis Vuitton style on a very conservative budget.
I can assure you, if you are looking for a Pochette Metis and stumble across a listing on Poshmark that is several hundred dollars less than what you are finding elsewhere, there is a high likelihood that it’s a super fake.
How To Avoid This Mistake: Set Your Budget and Style Expectations Before You Start
Before you let yourself fall deeply in love with a particular used Favorite PM (or more likely, it’s price), first know what your max limit is, then set the expectation that you will spend your max.
In addition, also list out what you are looking for in that style.
Do you specifically need a clutch with a strap?
Maybe it’s the chain that you love as well?
Would you be willing to get it in a monogram or Damier Ebene?
The reason why these questions are important is that as you start your search, you’ll likely come across styles you didn’t know existed. Most people go off the current Louis Vuitton collection as their buying options and then look for those online in the second hard market. However, for a brand as iconic as Louis Vuitton, the volume of chic styles not currently available is extensive.
It’s always better to apply your search by opening up more options across the line by through considering other styles than it is trying to push yourself into a bad deal on a bag simply because it’s the best option in your price point.
2. Purchasing Through A Website That Doesn’t Protect The Buyers
I love auction sites as much as any other Louis Vuitton enthusiast but I definitely always proceed with caution. While the direct to consumer model that removes any markup from a consignor means lower prices, it also means greater risk. The largest inventory of fake Louis Vuitton lives on eBay. With a large global audience, it’s a hotbed for people disguising replicas as real bags. Combined with the impulse of a competitive auction element the risk for sellers, the buyer typically makes decisions that aren’t fully thought through and risky.
Even smaller platforms like Poshmark and Tradesy have the same purchasing risks because their bags are also listed directly from seller to consumer.
While all these sites are great for getting good deals, know that it’s always recommended to get a pre-purchase authentication to save yourself money.
How To Avoid This Mistake: Buy An Inspected Bag From A Vetted Online Source
Your first options are to purchase directly from sellers and get a pre-purchase authentication and know that the bag is real, then bid. However, if you keep losing auctions or keep finding out that bags are fake, you might want to try a different pre-owned Louis Vuitton buying experience.
Retail outlets like Fashionphile will have a wide selection of Louis Vuitton. The inventory from sites like these are taken in by the company and inspected before the company photographs and lists the produce. There is a markup element because the seller will have to pay a commission to the company, but in most people’s opinions, it’s well worth paying a slightly higher fee (that is still well under the new bag retail price).
For companies like Fashionphile, you also get a return window which allows you to inspect the bag at home and make the final decision to keep it after seeing and touching the bag in person.
3. Convincing Yourself That The Bag Is Real
As someone who was once about 30 seconds away from losing tens of thousands of dollars on a BMW online scam, I know first hand how easy it is to let our desired outcome cloud our judgment. We naturally craft a story in our head to support what we want.
Maybe no one else was searching eBay using these keywords?
This seller is clearly a very wealthy woman who just doesn’t care and needs to make room in her large closet.
It’s not weird at all that this uber-wealthy woman has the inclination to sell bags on Poshmark. . . .
Maybe everyone else is over there buying on Poshmark while I’m the only one brave enough to try Craigslist?
Or my very favorite. . . . the wealthy relative.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many stories I’ve heard of the bag that was inherited from a wealthy relative who carried it for decades and always bought her bags while vacationing in Italy. When I have to let those customers know their bag is counterfeit it’s a twice as crushing blow because they are also finding out that their style icon was possibly a fraud and maybe a wee bit of a liar for most of their life.
How To Avoid This Mistake: Vet Your Bag
I’ll talk a bit more about how you need to separate your bag from its source and do a line up to compare it to others so you can look at just the bag characteristics, no story, no receipt, no dust bag . . . just the physical bag itself and nothing else.
4. Not Getting The Bag Pre-Authenticated
This mistake always surprises me. I know there are many buyers out there at don’t know about authentication services but for the ones that do, not having your bag pre-authenticated is basically like playing roulette with hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Most people looking for their first Louis Vuitton online haven’t spent years studying the line, don’t have a deep expertise with the craftsmanship and don’t know the brand and bag specific style standards paired with the country of origin – all of which is ok. There is no reason that anyone who plans to buy one Louis Vuitton should have that deep of a knowledge base. When the cost to have an expert tell you before you give a stranger on eBay your money definitely always get the bag pre-authenticated.
Some of the bags with the highest purchase price we have authenticated were replicas.
Our poor customers literally spend thousands of dollars on these specialty bags based purely off the assumption that they are paying so much money for it, it must be real. It’s a crushing blow for them to realize all they had to do was sign up for an authentication before they purchased instead of months after and they would be in an entirely different position.
How To Avoid This Mistake: Get The Bag Pre-Authenticated
Having a bag authenticated before you purchase is the safest way to ensure that what you are purchasing is authentic. Many times a seller is the second or third owner of the bag and don’t even realize that the bag is fake.
We are frequently doing authentications for insurance adjusters for claims. If your bag is lost, ruined or destroyed and you claim it on insurance, the ownness will be on you to prove you had an authentic Louis Vuitton. Too many times we’ve done authentications for insurance adjusters and determining for the first time that their claimant’s bag is not authentic. Or in the case that it is and you have already pre-authenticated the bag, it’s a very simple and easy way to provide your insurance adjuster instant proof that your bag’s authenticity has been evaluated.
5. Not Piecing The Puzzle Together Correctly
Authenticating a Louis Vuitton is a complex process and likely one that most buyers are better off leaving to the professionals. Fake bags, to an untrained eye, can completely dupe even the most seasoned Louis Vuitton buyer. In a recent authentication, a customer assumed her bag was fake because the date code did not match. Many customers will have a microfiber lined bag with no visible date code. Other customers have French Company bags that looks strikingly fake despite being completely authentic.
Customers who don’t put the pieces together correctly typically just look at the date code to see if it’s real or fake. Or they look at a real receipt and assume that it associated with the bag photographed next to it. Or they miss signs of sloppy production that don’t align with a Louis Vuitton quality of craftsmanship.
While I will always applaud an educated buyer who does their homework, not getting your bag authenticated is like taking a quiz while sitting with a tutor and never having them tell you if your answers are right or wrong.
How To Avoid This Mistake: Never Move Forward Without Certainty
Whether you are trying to self-authenticate or have an expert do it for you, always proceed with certainty. You don’t want to turn around and resell a bag that is fake any more than you want to donate a real bag that you think is fake. Knowing for certain is the only way to proceed.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are trying to get a hard to find limited edition Louis Vuitton or simply looking for a steal on your first bag, the pre-owned internet marketplace is a massive resource to any saavy shopper. But with the rewards come equal and opposite risks that the buyer must consider during their purchase. Always do your homework first, remove any personal attachment before purchase and whenever possible get your bag authenticated before you hand over a visa.