How to Tell the Difference Between a Real and Fake Louis Vuitton Bag

Everyone is trying to save money these days, and people who love designer handbags are no exception. One great way to save money is to buy used bags. With so many people out there trying to unload their luxury items for some quick cash, there are plenty of great deals to be had. For unwary buyers, many online shopping markets can be very dangerous and full of fake designer bags. So how can you avoid buying a fake?

There are some things you can do to help reduce the chances of getting stuck with a knock-off.
Below you will find a few tips for buying used Louis Vuitton handbags online.

  1. Louis Vuitton’s logo is a distinctive “LV” that is usually spread all over the bag. Each one should be sharp and clear. Look at a photo of the bag on the official website and compare it to any bag you consider buying.
  2. Check the bag for any imperfections. Even a slight stitch out of place is a sign of a fake because the real bags are always made with a high emphasis on detail. Feel the bag. It should feel soft due to the graphite canvas used by Louis Vuitton. A fake will feel stiff.
  3. Check the bag for a serial number. Most LV bags have it, but it may be hidden right along the seam. The real bags are one continuous piece of fabric, so the seam should go smoothly from one side to the other. No glue should be seen from the exterior.
  4. Buy the bag from an official Louis Vuitton retailer. A list of those retailers is available at the company website. If you choose to buy from eBay or another auction site, check the seller’s feedback reports. Also, check the price against the price on the official website. If a bag costs $1,400 from Louis Vuitton, and the seller is offering it for $300, that’s a good sign the seller is pushing a fake.
  5. Check the packaging. A real Louis Vuitton is also sold in a high-quality dust bag that perfectly fits the bag. The dust bag is made from beige cotton with neat, tight seams. It also has a tiny tag inside that says the dust bag is 100 percent cotton and made in India. The inside of the box has a serial number, and the logo should be aligned to the right-hand side.

Know your seller!

Always, check out a seller’s feedback. Do they have a history of selling Louis Vuitton? Quality is just as important as quantity. Positive feedback regarding previously sold Louis Vuitton items should carry more weight than positive feedback alone. This isn’t to say that a first-time seller doesn’t have an authentic item, it just means that this is something you should take into consideration.

Know your item!

Go to your nearest Louis Vuitton boutique and check out the style you are interested in. Get to know EVERY little detail. If you don’t have the opportunity to see the bag you want in-person, then examine close up photos from a trusted online source. Pay very close attention to the alignment of patterns since this is consistent among all bags of the same style. Also look at the number of stitches on different parts of the bag. All classic monogram Speedy handbags, for example, have exactly 5 stitches across the top on the handle mount tab (see picture below). Pay attention to what lining the handbag should have. The Multicolor Speedy 30 in black, for example, has a mushroom gray Alcantara lining.

Beware of fake tags and dust covers!

Sometimes a fake can easily be spotted merely by identifying a fake tag or dust cover. If the handbag in question has a white or yellow “Louis Vuitton” tag dangling from a string, then run in the opposite direction as fast as you can! An official tag is in plain white with only a bar code, style number, and the name of the item printed on it. Tags come loose; they are never attached to the outside of the handbag. Pay attention to dust covers. The ones that have “Malletier Paris” written beneath the words “Louis Vuitton” are fake.

Familiarize yourself with date codes!

Looking for a discontinued style? Make sure that the date code matches the time frame in which the style was produced. Between 1990 and 2006,  all date codes consisted of 2 letters followed by 4 numbers. The letters coded for the country of origin, while the numbers represented the production date. The first and third numbers indicated the month, while the second and fourth numbers indicated the year. Beginning in January 2007, however, the date code format was changed. The first and third numbers now represent the week
 (out of 52) in which the handbag was produced. Date stamp does not guarantee authenticity. Whether your bag has the stamp or not, does not prove that it is genuine. Louis Vuitton started to use date codes to mark their items in the early 1980’s. Counterfeiters are even copying these, so I would not recommend basing authenticity singularly on this. You may need to search for the date stamp, they are occasionally hidden and may be difficult to find in some models.

Other minor flaws
An easy way to determine authenticity is by examining the bag visually. Make sure that the LV’s are lined up, and the material is not tilted. Monograms should be clearly printed gold letters with brown lines through the LV’s, not cutout, solid colored, smudged, or have a greenish tint. The threading should look neat, thin and done with accuracy. If the LV’s are upright on both sides, it may be a fake. Many Louis Vuitton handbags have the logo’s upside down on the other side.

Additional tips for purchasing

Ask for additional pictures. They may be using stolen images from the Louis Vuitton website.

There is such thing as a good deal. However, do your research to make sure you are getting the real thing. Be cautious of anyone claiming to be selling an authentic handbag for considerably below retail. Ebay, Yahoo, Overstock and other auction sites are cluttered with replicas selling for below $100 for a bag that retails in the hundreds.

Read up on Louis Vuitton and the new collection. If someone is selling a bag from a collection that isn’t even in stores yet, or there is a waiting list, then don’t buy. If the collection is new in the stores and the seller claims to have them in stock, they are definite fakes.

There is no such thing as a Louis Vuitton “wholesale list” or “closeout liquidation.” That’s just another way for scam artists to get your money in return for a list of disconnected/out of service numbers.

Happy shopping!