How to Authenticate Pre-Owned Luxury Items in 2024

Thanks to the digital revolution, the resale industry, particularly the luxury reseller sector, is surging past expectations. 

According to Verified Market Research, the global luxury resale market will reach $68.53 billion by 2028 from $16.23 billion in 2020. With so many resale marketplaces and social media, finding a pre-loved Chanel bag online is easier than a new one. 

But there’s a big problem that both legit resellers and customers face: counterfeits. Authenticity is a big concern for customers, especially when buying online when they can’t physically hold the product to inspect. 

So as someone with a taste for luxury, you may want to keep some tips and tricks for designer items authentication

The Luxury Resale Market at a Glance

The resale market has been growing steadily, but it’s the luxury resale market that’s growing at an unprecedented pace. Thanks to a strong emphasis on sustainability and the growing influence of the circular economy, many people are more inclined to buy pre-loved luxury items than buy them new. 

Of course, those savings play a big role too. Pre-loved items are often a good bargain, allowing people to own a luxury item without paying the full price. But some rare pre-owned items may even be more expensive than their original retail price. Limited edition sneakers are a great example of that. 

The resale platforms serve as the meeting point for most resellers and consumers. While older platforms like eBay have long been used to sell vintage and pre-owned luxury goods, there are other platforms dedicated solely to luxury fashion. Poshmark and Vinted are two of the most popular platforms for selling and buying used luxury items. 

Market Growth 2012-2021Just in 2019, luxury resale platforms saw a growth rate 25 times higher than that of retail platforms. That shows the growing interest of the public in buying used luxury items. 

The Problem With Luxury Resale: Counterfeit Products

While the resale sector is growing exponentially, it faces serious obstacles as well that may hinder its progress. The biggest problem both resellers and customers face when buying used luxury products is fakes. 

The counterfeit luxury products market has become more sophisticated than ever before, making it even harder to distinguish the real from the fake. Luxury products, even when pre-loved, can go for hundreds or thousands of dollars, which allows counterfeit sellers to swindle both resale businesses and end consumers.

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that most luxury resale platforms don’t have any authentication methods or guarantees. Some platforms, like eBay and StockX, have taken initiatives, but those are limited to shoes. 

Counterfeit products also harm these platforms because once a customer has a bad experience getting a fake product, they are less likely to return to the platform. Authentication is the only solution to this problem. 

5 Best Practices for Authenticating Pre-Owned Luxury Items

Whether you want to start a luxury reseller business or perhaps you just found that handbag you’ve been looking for, there are ways to ensure that the product you’re buying is authentic. 

Here are five tips for the authentication of pre-owned luxury items:

Ask for Close-Up Pictures

Pictures can tell you a lot. Sure, it might be better if you could see the product in person, but detailed close-up shots of the products should be enough for a keen eye. So when buying a used luxury item online, make sure there are close-up pictures of all the parts of the products, including tags and any packaging that it comes in. 

If the seller doesn’t have any close-up images, ask for them. If they decline to give those images, it’s likely that the product is fake or not in the condition they claim. 

Look for tiny but important details, especially in the tags. Also, ask for pictures of the inside of the product.

For instance, when buying a luxury handbag, ask the seller to show you the inside of the bag. Counterfeit handbags often have sloppy construction on the inside, even if they manage to get the exterior as close to the real thing as possible. 

Look for a Authenticity Certificate

The most reliable way to ensure you’re getting your hands on a real vintage, pre-owned luxury fashion item is to buy one that comes with an authentication certificate. These certificates may be produced by the platform or a designated luxury authenticator. 

Check the details on the authenticity certificate and ensure that they match the product description. For instance, the product's name, production year, country of production, and condition. 

Lastly, research the individual or company that has produced that authentication certificate. Companies like LegitGrails provide Certificates of Authenticity that help resellers build trust with their potential buyers. The recently launched NFT Authenticity Certificate can never be forged or altered as it is stored forever on the Ethereum blockchain.

Check Seller Rating and Reviews

If you’re buying from one of the many popular luxury resale platforms, checking the seller rating or reviews doesn't hurt. If they have been in the business for some time with favourable reviews from past customers, they may be more trustable.

Such sellers are less likely to have counterfeit products. But lookout for any negative reviews or experiences and see how they responded to them. Also, look out for any customers claiming they received a fake item. 

Use a Luxury Authenticator

The best way to ensure the luxury item you’re buying, whether new or pre-owned, is to use an authenticator. These authenticators have been trained to examine various luxury fashion products like handbags, watches, shoes, jewellery, and even clothes to confirm their authenticity. 

The good news is that authenticators can also verify an item just by looking at pictures. So they don’t necessarily need to examine the product physically. This is the case of LegitGrails - the most advanced digital authentication service. LegitGrails authenticators take 30 minutes or less to verify any kind of a luxury item.

If you’re investing in an extremely expensive pre-owned item such as a Rolex watch or Hermes bag, it’s worth spending money on the authentication process first. Of course, it’s going to cost way less than the product price, but it will help you avoid paying heavily for a counterfeit product. 

Check Refund Policy

When buying pre-owned luxury designer items, take a minute to read the return policy. Can the item be returned for a refund? Is the refund store credit or cash? How long is the return window?

A solid refund policy ensures that you have the chance to return the item if it turns out to be fake. Ideally, there should be at least a 15-day return window, so you can send the item back just in time. This window should be enough even if you’re sending the item back to another country. 

Keep in mind that you would be responsible for bearing the return shipment in most cases. However, it’s best to pay for the return shipment than spend so much money on a fake product. 

Use LegitGrails Authentication Services

Your best bet at avoiding counterfeit products, whether buying to sell or to use, is to go with an expert authenticator. LegitGrails is your one-stop solution for authenticating luxury items from many luxury brands. Our expert authenticators can verify any luxury item in 30 minutes or less. 

If you’re buying a vintage luxury fashion item from a platform or a friend or acquaintance, all you need to do is supply the pictures of the products. Then, one of our experts will examine the pictures carefully against our carefully documented luxury authentication standards and protocols to find whether the product is real or fake. 

If you’re buying multiple pre-owned luxury products, you can take advantage of bundle authentications that can save you money. The process is pretty much the same, as you just have to supply pictures for each product.  

For resellers sourcing vintage items from owners, there are custom solutions for authentication services to help ensure all the products in your inventory are authentic. More importantly, you will receive an authentication certificate for each product, increasing your chances of getting the asking price for the products you’re selling. 

LegitGrails can also help you get a refund if you’ve had the misfortune of buying a counterfeit luxury product. 

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