First step – let’s call fake designer merchandise what it is: Counterfeit. Just like counterfeit money, producing and selling or distributing counterfeit merchandise is a crime. In fact, it’s a huge criminal network. Counterfeit designer merchandise is a more than half-trillion dollar industry, with revenue nearly twice that of illegal drugs. Shockingly, most of the money made in the sale of counterfeit designer merchandise is funneled directly to criminal networks and enterprises; funding Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, drug cartels and human trafficking. As if that weren’t bad enough, many of the counterfeits are also produced by child labor.
Think of it as identity theft. You have a name and a reputation, which is important to you. It’s not OK for someone to just come along and pretend to be you, stealing your paychecks and impersonating you in a bad way, damaging your good name. Likewise, it’s illegal for anyone to steal a designer’s brand or logo, or to copy their style in a way to misrepresent who made it.
You may think, “Well, they make millions of dollars off selling their products, why should I pay that much when I can get something that looks just like it for a lot less?” Designer labels spend lifetimes and millions of dollars (probably billions, actually) creating their look, their reputation and their cachet. Copying that without permission is not only wrong, but hugely costly for the brands to defend against. That’s in addition to the billions they lose in sales to people who think they’re getting an authentic designer handbag, and instead end up with a shoddy knock off.
The sale of counterfeit designer goods costs the design houses billions, not to mention the damage to their names and reputations. While many people buy a counterfeit unwittingly, overpaying for an illegitimate product, others buy them knowing they’re fake. It’s no bargain to buy a cheap knock-off. Counterfeits are illegal, and are never as high quality as an authentic piece. If they were as good, why would they be so cheap, am I right? The high quality of an authentic designer handbag, shoes, clothing or glasses ensures that the product will last longer and retain its value, and that the design house will back it up if you have a problem.
Have one you want to sell? Many genuine designer handbags and goods sell for high a fairly high percentage of their original price. There is a high-demand market for authentic luxury resale goods, while the counterfeits are unsellable in any reputable forum. None of the reputable and long-standing resale businesses will touch them, either online or in their brick and mortar shops. Why would we? We have our own reputations to maintain, and selling counterfeits damages our reputations too, in addition to being illegal and prosecutable.
It’s profoundly sad to us when someone brings in a designer handbag to consign, truly believing that it’s the real deal. We hate to be the ones bursting their bubble and telling them they paid too much for too little.
At HWGA, we will never sell counterfeit products. We rigorously research our luxury goods before putting them up for sale, and often use outside experts to authenticate. You can count on us to be honest and upfront.
Want a deal on a designer bag? Buy from a reputable business. Ask questions. Legitimate resellers of luxury goods will happily answer them and show you how they authenticate. Most will even gladly educate you on how to spot the fakes. If you know how to spot a counterfeit, we’re doing our part to stem the demand for counterfeit goods. Locally owned or legitimate online businesses stake their reputations on what they sell, and risk losing everything if they sell counterfeits. Our businesses are literally on the line. If you wouldn’t pass a counterfeit bill, why would you want to support those who produce counterfeit designer goods?
Get the real deal. There are genuine resale luxury goods out there in excellent condition waiting for buyers. If you want to save money, support the authentic resale market and buy a great resale product that will last you for years and years, and, well cared for, will retain its value.