Luxury eyewear is incredibly popular all over the world, but not everyone can afford to shell out for those Chanel or Tom Ford shades. As a result, bargain-price frames garnish a lot of attention when they’re listed online for sale, even though they usually seem (and often are) too good to be true.
But how do you know if you’ve bought a pair of counterfeit frames? The first thing you need to do is understand the difference between shopping online and in a physical store. In the UK and the US it’s almost impossible to sell fake products from a high street store, as they would quickly be shut down. Anyone can set up an eBay profile or e-commerce website however, so you should be far more guarded and cynical when shopping online.
But of course online is where people will look for a bargain, as it allows them to quickly and easily compare prices across multiple retailers. Generally you’re always better off shopping with a well-known brand, or at least via a site that also has a physical presence, such as a bricks and mortar store. That way you’ll at least be able to physically return an item if you need to, and generally they’re far less likely to be selling counterfeit goods.
Online auctions site such as eBay are popular among consumers looking for a bargain, and often you really can find genuine items for a great price (particularly if you’re happy to buy second-hand). However, there are a phenomenal amount of fakes on these auctions sites, and it can be incredibly hard to tell without seeing the physical product. Of course you can look at feedback, but bear in mind that the feedback system can be easily manipulated, so it can’t be entirely relied on. Pay attention to the photos (for example are they stock photos rather than a picture of the actual item for sale), the location of the seller (China, Hong Kong and Thailand are particular hotspots for fake items) and the descriptions. You can also contact the seller and ask them outright if the product is genuine, as at the very least you will have evidence of fraud if they lie and you need to lodge an appeal with eBay or PayPal.
If you’re shopping on an e-commerce site, look for online reviews of the brand you’re using, as this will tell you very quickly how trustworthy they are and give you an idea of the quality of their products. Somewhere like Trust Pilot is an excellent place to start.
If you do buy sunglasses online, you will want to check the product thoroughly when it arrives to try and establish their authenticity. Different brands will have different indicators, for example Oakley sunglasses will have a different set of things to look for than Chanel or Gucci sunglasses. A quick search online will help you in this regard, as the Internet has a wealth of information on how to spot counterfeits of particular brands.
If you really want to be sure you’re buying the genuine product, the best thing you can do is use an officially licensed retailer, a well-known and established brand with physical stores, or buy direct from the designer themselves.