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Verified Fakes: Authentication of Luxury Resale

Verified Fakes: Authentication of Luxury Resale

The same trends and technologies that change the way we shop are reshaping the resale market.

Luxury resale is going big. Pre-owned handbags, shoes, clothes, and accessories are no longer available only in charitable organizations and thrift stores. Luxury goods resell online and worldwide. And for customers to trust luxury pre-loved items, authentication is critical.


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Why resale?

Technology has made used goods more accessible. Now consumers can browse and shop from their computers or phones, and the process is reliable and convenient.

Online resale offers consumers to browse a great selection of available merchandise and find items that are otherwise no longer available, certainly not in the same place. Shoppers can save on luxury brands and maybe afford something they could not purchase otherwise.

Environmentally-conscious consumers look for sustainability and feel good about giving goods new life. And some consumers love the concept of secondhand and vintage.

On the other side of the sale, sellers who love to shop and get tired of their stuff have an avenue to make some money while also making room in their closets.


Are the luxury items really real?

Fakes are ubiquitous, and they are not always easy to tell. Counterfeits are not necessarily of poor quality. Sophisticated counterfeiters understand that they can sell a counterfeit for a lot more if they can market them as a genuine item sold at a discounted rate.

“Superfakes” are fakes that look like the real thing. You might even have a super-fake yourself and believe you have the genuine item. Sometimes the tell signs are as tiny as the casting of a zipper, the brand of buttons, the way a pocket is stitched, or serial codes.

Superfakes can be any item, but the term usually applies to handbags. Superfake sneakers that look like genuine ones are often called “1:1” sneakers.

So if you cannot tell that a branded product is fake, is that important?

The answer is yes.

It is significant for brands, designers, and fashion houses. But the issue is no less crucial for buyers. Fakes are illegal and misleading, and they sell for more than they are worth on the market.

Also, the decision to buy a designer item involves a buyer experience closely linked with the branded luxury name. Shoppers do not have this experience with fakes.


Verified Fakes: Authentication of Luxury Resale

The importance of real authentication

Resale of luxury goods requires authentication. There are so many fakes on the market, and shoppers need to know they pay for the real thing.

Companies like The RealReal, StockX, ThredUp, Farfetch, and What Goes Around Comes Around have created a thriving online resale market. While they authenticate the items they sell, the process may not be perfect.

Let’s look at one of the big players in online resale: The RealReal.

The RealReal is an online luxury resale consignment store for authentic luxury products which claims to authenticate all its secondhand goods. On its website, The RealReal writes it has “the most rigorous authentication process in the marketplace,” before listing the items on its platform.

Yet, over the years, there have been claims about fakes on its platform. Fashionista reports that an investigation alleges that the authentication process is not what we would expect it to be.

Instagram accounts like Diet Prada, for example, claim that too: https://www.instagram.com/p/B55j9tYHO49/?hl=en

In 2018, Chanel filed a lawsuit against The RealReal for allegedly selling fake bags on its e-commerce site. Chanel filed for trademark infringement and counterfeiting, as well as false advertising, unfair competition and more.

It mainly claims that The RealReal sells some counterfeit Chanel handbags as genuine ones and misleading customers to believe that they are affiliated with Chanel when in fact they are a retailer that has no special connection with the luxury fashion house. The RealReal responded with various defenses.

Chanel claims that the authentication experts that The RealReal uses are not qualified to know a real from a fake Chanel, and possibly that only Chanel itself can tell that. The RealReal, on the other hand, believes its authentication experts can tell the difference. Yet Chanel claims it found counterfeit Chanel bags on The RealReal.

The battle is not yet decided, but it highlights the issue of authentication among other legal claims and counterclaims. And the issue is not unique to The RealReal.


Authentication tools

With the boom in online resale shops, authenticators have trouble keeping up with the high volume and numerous styles. Also, smaller sellers, who help drive the market, do not have the tools and expertise for authentication as big companies do.

Technology is changing that too. Entrupy, for example, is a company that offers authentication solutions for high-value goods. Its tools help small resellers offer authentication and stay competitive. Another example is Real Authentication, which offers online authentication services with a cost per item for consumers.


Wiser Market Online Brand Protection


Wiser Market: anti-counterfeit agency

The resale market is big, and it is expected to grow much bigger. There are dozens of online sites and apps for secondhand handbags, clothes, accessories, and more, and thousands of small sellers.

Authentication tools help build trust and credibility. Some sites take steps to sell only legitimate items, but not all do. With many online distribution channels, consumers can think they get a bargain when instead they are getting a fake.

The lucrative trade in fakes results in more sophisticated sellers imitating luxury brands and selling them as genuine items, using online platforms to expand their presence.

Where there is profit to be made, there are counterfeiters. But online resale should not be a channel to move counterfeit inventory.

Wiser Market is an online anti-counterfeit agency. Our brand protection solution is designed to combat online counterfeiting and brand abuse while achieving an exceptionally high success rate. We search and monitor globally to analyze and flag major brand infringements and effectively enforce, remove, and deter counterfeiters.

At Wiser Market, we believe in a proactive brand protection strategy. Our superb brand protection services, from detection through analyzing to enforcing takedown actions, result in over 90% success rate in taking down counterfeits.


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