After reading countless articles about counterfeit items on eBay, you may feel hesitant to take the plunge and buy a pair of jeans for yourself. Have no fear! While eBay may seem daunting to a beginner, if you follow these simple steps you can easily navigate the marketplace for yourself.
1. I’ve found an auction, now what?
First make sure that you like the item. Read the description thoroughly to check for any disclosed marks, rips, stains, or tears which might affect your decision to bid. Check the measurements of the jeans to try and ensure a proper fit. One way to measure is to take a pair of jeans that fit you nicely now. Lay them flat, and measure the waist, rise and inseam. You’ll notice that often times a size 27 pair of jeans does not measure 27″ at the waist – it may measure 30″. That is because designer jeans generally sit lower on the waist, more at the hip, so this is important when looking at measurements in auctions. If you wear a size 27, but your favorite jeans measure 30″ – when laid flat to measure (15″ across) and doubled (30″), then look for jeans with that measurement. Designer denim sizing is notoriously inconsistent, so checking measurement is essential. If you know the wash of the jeans (or if its mentioned in the auction) you can run a search* of the wash to see if it fits “TTS” (true to size).
*1 ┬¢. What’s a “Search?”
A search is going to HonestForum and clicking on the little tab near the top of the screen labeled “search.” A little text box drops down, and you can type in keywords like “New York Dark TTS” or “Methane wash.” You can glean tons of information from past threads, so check the forum to see if someone has already answered your question. If the results aren’t specific enough, you can click the “Advanced Search” link and further specify your search.
2. Okay, I really like them. How can I tell if they’re authentic*?
The easiest way to see if an item is authentic is to research the seller. 100% or 90% positive feedback does not mean that an item is authentic or that a seller is reputable. Search HonestForum for the seller’s username, and see if any discussions have brought up that seller’s auctions. If you find that your seller is a highly respected, reputable seller, than you’ve got a very good inclination that his or her items are authentic. If discussions mention that the seller is peddling fakes, DO NOT BUY! If you can’t find any threads or posts that mention the seller, don’t panic and move on to step 3. It’s a good idea to continue through the steps even if the seller has positive reviews, just so you become familiar with the process of authenticating items on your own.
*2 ┬¢. Also – NEW blog feature – look to the right hand side of the blogroll – we have a new category called Authentic Ebay Sellers with direct links to each seller’s auctions. We are very selective about which sellers we post here, so the list is not huge, but they are known authentic designer denim sellers, so you can shop confidently.
3. I searched and the seller’s username didn’t turn up anythingÔÇª What now?
The next step is comparing pictures of the tags and wash. Now head to the authenticity stickies on HonestForum and see if the tag pictures look similar. Each brand of designer denim has key characteristics to look for, and each specialized sticky can help you compare. If the auction doesn’t include tag pictures, ask for them! Some fakes look nothing like the real thing, and it’s fairly easy to tell. Another tell tale sign of a fake item is the wash itself. See if you can find stock pictures to compare the washes. If your item’s wash looks streakier, more distressed, or uneven, then the item is probably fake. Once you become better at authenticating, back pockets are key in determining authenticity. Most beginners don’t notice the differences in shape, but in time you’ll be able to pick out pairs that just look “wrong.”
4. I don’t knowÔÇª I can’t decide!
If you don’t feel comfortable with authenticating on your own, you should save the pictures of the auction to your computer. You can upload them to a free photo-hosting site like Photobucket or Flickr. Once you’ve uploaded all the pictures you can create a thread on HonestForum and the members will do their best to authenticate for you.
If you were wrong with your initial authentication, feel free to ask for specific details. The more you look at authentic pairs; the more the fake pairs stand out in comparison.
5. A few more tips for Ebay buyers
- You can try sniping your jeans. Try a service like AuctionSniper – they give you several free snipes and the program will bid for you in the last seconds of the auction, increasing your chances of winning your item. Just enter your high bid and it does the rest.
- Try NegCheck.com to check the negatives of Ebay Sellers – beware of any that state items are fake.
- Sign up for PayPal if you haven’t already. And pay using a credit card so that you can dispute a charge should the item you bought turn out to be fake.
6. All Done!
Once you’ve determined authenticity, you’re good to go! Happy hunting!
Big thanks to Callire for the help with this blog!