Ah, shopping. Who doesn’t like shopping (well, some people don’t, but they’re another kettle of fish)? It’s the most fabulous thing you can do and is downright therapeutic. Shopping could be likened to diving head-first into a sea of endless couture choice. But like any sea, the fabulous world of shopping has its sharks looking to prey on the innocent. The sharks are often in form of counterfeit brand merchants; people who sell counterfeit goods and pass them off as genuine. These sharks are one of the biggest problems for designers and customers alike and many have lost hard-earned money to these con-artists. With these basic steps, you can protect yourself from falling victim to fake brand merchants.
- Buy from reputable sellers: This should be a no-brainer. That shady-looking website that claims to sell Louis Vuitton bags is probably not your best bet. For your own good, buy your items from reputable shops and stores, whether physical or online, that are known sellers of whatever you want to buy. It might cost a bit more, but you know you’re getting the real thing. Or buy from the designer’s store or website themselves.
- Look for realistic prices: No, that Gucci bag being advertised for N20,000 isn’t authentic. One of the oldest scammer tricks is to offer valuable items for a show-stoppingly low price. It appeals to our natural instinct to get what we want for lower prices. But like all tricks, it is simply a trick and you’ll end up losing whatever money you’re trying to save. Check online for the typical price range for the item and run from anyone offering it to you for ridiculously low prices.
- Look for signs of authenticity: A quick google search will show you various steps designers have outlines to tell if an item is truly authentic. This ranges from specific logo designs to little details that distinguish the genuine from the counterfeit.
- Take note of the red flags: Over the top prices? Shady website? Poor web presentation? A seller who seems desperate? If anything doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and walk away.