While I would consider myself somewhat of an expert on a few brands, every now and then there’s an item that makes me do a double-take. For that reason, I’ve learned to utilize the services of online authentication services. These services are absolutely essential to anyone buying designer items online – whether you are doing a pre-purchase check or if you receive the item you bought and are questioning its authenticity, these services can help me get your money refunded if it is actually a counterfeit item.
Another reason online authentication is important is because of “super fakes” – these are items that replicas considered to be pretty much identical to the real thing. Anyone that claims super fakes don’t exist is lying. While it may be extremely difficult for you or I to spot one, an authentication service that does this sort of thing every single day is skilled enough to spot even the tiniest details. (For this reason, Chanel and Hermes are brands that I absolutely insist be authenticated – the number of super fakes out there for these two is outstanding)
I do get requests to authenticate items for individuals. It’s not a service that I provide because even if I find that an item is counterfeit, my opinion is not enough to help you file a claim with your credit card company or PayPal. I would need to get a whole team of legal services in order to do this (especially since authenticators can find themselves liable for lawsuits if someone contests their judgment), which is not something I can realistically justify.
If you find yourself in need of a professional authenticator, here are my recommendations.
Based in London, Authenticate4U is my favorite service. I’ve used them countless times (most importantly for the Christian Louboutin heels I wore for my wedding, I trusted them the most!) – despite being “across the pond”, their response time is fast! The prices are also extremely fair and they accept PayPal, making transactions easy.
Of all the services out there, MyPoupette is the most well-known. This company has been around since 1999. The name recognition is very valuable in pursuing a claim if you need to get your money refunded. Fees for MyPoupette are a bit higher but if you’re looking at a very expensive purchase, it’s worth it.
As a seller, I like that AuthenicateFirst offers a special service to ensure potential buyers that an item is authentic. The range of brands that they work with is incredible – while the “big names” are on there, mid-range brands like Kate Spade and Michael Kors are also included.
ThePurseForum (commonly known as tPF) is the largest online community of luxury fashion enthusiasts. Despite the name, it is not just for handbags: there are popular sub-forums in here for shoes, jewelry and clothing. tPF also offers “Authenicate This” threads for a wide-range of brands – where users can post a link and photos to items to gather the opinions of others. What you should note is you can’t use posts on tPF to pursue a claim (if you need to go that route) but it can be extremely helpful – and is free! – for pre-purchase.
I have not personally used Lollipuff’s authentication service but I’m choosing to include them on this list because I’ve been really impressed by the detailed authentication information on their website. This quiz on Celine bags is awesome because it’s a brand that is notoriously difficult to spot fakes due to so many variations within the brand. While I haven’t tried out their services yet, I certainly will in the future.