Authenticating merchandise– how do I know it’s real?

Many people ask me where can they get information on authenticating merchandise. Whether they bought it as a consumer or are looking to resell it, I really can’t help them.

People always say that the companies behind these brands should have an interest in helping people spot counterfeit items, and you might think they should. The truth is, they don’t. No one has an interest in helping people buy outside the normal distribution channels.

Follow me here, if Louis Vuitton provided information on how to spot an authentic Vuitton bag, it would have two consequences:

1- it would encourage consumers to buy outside their normal channels of distribution because they would have confidence in knowing they could tell a fake bag from the real thing and
2- it would give counterfitters more information they could use to make better counterfeit bags

They don’t want either of these. This is why no one helps you out. If you have something you think is fake, the company will authenticate it for you, but if it’s fake, they won’t return it to you because it’s illegal merchandise (and it really is illegal because it’s in violation of trademark law and probably a few other laws as well– I’m not just using the word illegal lightly).

Companies want you to buy from their boutiques and their retailers, not Joe Schmoe on eBay or some jobber. This is why they don’t tell you how to authenticate merchandise. When you get scammed buying counterfeit merchandise, it’s pretty much to bad for you for trying to circumvent our set up. They might go after the source, but no one’s trying to provide restitution to the victim.