Recently, I decided to buy a Coach purse for my wife she's always had a hankering for one and I had some brownie points to earn - you know how it goes. The problem with designer purses is that I haven't got a clue - I don't know a Gucci from a Prada or a Wal-Mart special - so I was ripe for the taking. However, applying some sensible techniques kept me safe. First off, let me say, most sellers on eBay are genuine - I know because I built up a good business selling CD media there, became a Platinum Powerseller and made lots of genuine contacts along the way. But unfortunately, this doesn't apply to everyone. It is not uncommon for sellers on eBay to try and scam people by selling them fake goods - especially items like designer Coach purses. Luckily, it is often quite easy, with a bit of care, to spot these fakes as I shall explain.
The first thing I did was, naturally, check the sellers feedback - this is always a good starting point when buying anything on eBay. I try and avoid anyone with a low or no feedback. This doesn't mean that they are dishonest - they could be new to eBay - but they could also be a scammer who uses multiple accounts to rip people off, or even worse they could be someone previously banned starting up again. A good tip if you really want to buy an item from someone with low feedback is to e-mail them a specific question first, genuine sellers will always respond quickly - after all they want the sale - no answer - don't buy! So, I chose a seller with lots of feedback - over 1100 in this case, and then went through this with a fine tooth comb. I specifically looked for negative feedback and mentions of fake Coach purses. It's worth noting that hardly any seller has 100% positive feedback - there could be many reasons why this is the case - but in my experience anything over 95% should be ok.
The next thing I looked at was the listing itself. I'm always suspicious if the photo is lifted from the manufacturer's website. You can tell by just visiting the website - in this case I headed over to the Coach purse website - and compared the images there, they weren't the same ones so it showed me that the seller had probably taken the photos themselves - meaning that they at least had the item! Another trick is to check the larger image - if there isn't one, and it's just a thumbnail then the seller has almost definitely just lifted it off someone else's site, and I immediately become suspicious. A good photograph will also show any imperfections, fake badges, poor quality material and so on, so if it is a fake, don't expect the seller to be drawing your attention to these things!
Although this seller specialized in Coach purses, another thing I always look out for is anyone who lists multiple items of the same kind of thing. This is especially true for items like designer purses, since, by their very nature, they aren't made in large quantities. There are websites out there that sell these items in large quantities, and I find quite often they are all fakes.
Satisfied with the feedback and images, the next thing I did was to closely read the sellers description of the item. I was especially looking for mentions that it was an authentic Coach purse. Quite often, the more devious fake sellers will try and wriggle out of any possible problems with eBay by being ‘creative’ with their descriptions. For example, they may use words like ‘genuine reproduction', ‘manufacturers overstock’ and so on to basically hide the fact that it's not the genuine article.
So, at last I picked my Coach purse, and decided to bid. After all that work, I was determined to win, and to be honest I probably paid a little over the odds - guess I don't always get it right on eBay. My final safeguard was to pay using PayPal. Not only is it the simplest way to pay since eBay bought them over, but they also gave me around $2000 dollars in coverage if something went wrong with the purchase. I knew that if the purse did end up being fake then I could dispute the transaction and still get my money back.
The end result was that my wife's new Coach purse arrived safe and sound 3 days later and she loved it! Another good eBay purchase.
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