90% of my luxury items were purchased on the pre-loved market. I have learned many lessons from buying in this way, and therefore have quite a good grasp on ways you can avoid making mistakes (and potentially losing lots of money!). The main way I shop for my second hand bags is on Facebook. Keep reading to find out more…
I’m a member of around 6 private Facebook Groups for designer handbags. Unfortunately, I can’t name them as the majority prefer not to advertise themselves to the masses. Their main focus is to maintain a close-knit community as a way to avoid any scammers finding them and taking advantage of vulnerable people. However, you should be able to find them through some clever searching on Facebook. If you drop me a message asking about a particular group, I’ll be more than happy to give my thoughts or personal experience with it.
Once you’ve found a group and you’re ready to seek your pre-loved item, there are many steps to follow in order to protect yourself.
- If possible, do not post an ISO (in search of) post. Instead, try and search the group for the item you are looking for first. It’s likely someone may have already posted a ‘for sale’ post.
I say this because I have been scammed this way. I posted that I was looking for a particular item. A scammer created a fake profile, joined the group, and sent me a private message saying they had that item for sale. They then sent me pictures they had stolen from a third party selling site. I had these pictures authenticated to say the item was real – which of course it was, the scammer just didn’t own the bag. Which leads me to my next point…
- Always insist that the seller posts very detailed photographs of the item, with their name written on a piece of paper next to it, in every single picture.
This ensures that the seller actually has the item in their possession.
- Make sure the seller is an active member of the group.
Search for their name in the group’s search bar. Do they post regularly? Have they sold to other people in the group before? I would always be wary if they have no activity in the group – they could be a scammer with a fake profile. If their only communication with you is through private message, this is a huge red flag.
- Do a reverse image search.
There are obviously ways around having a name on a piece of paper (people can Photoshop things like that). Therefore, its important to do a reverse image search to check that image doesn’t already appear somewhere on the internet. To do this, save all of their images to your computer. Then, open up Google and drag the image into the Google search bar. If that image is posted anywhere else, it will appear and direct you to the website. (After I realised I had been scammed, I did a reverse image search and found the exact images on a Tradesy listing. But by then it was too late).
- Once you have found a seller who is active in the group, has sold before, has passed the reverse image search and has listed their item for sale correctly with their name in all of the images, always get the item authenticated by a third party company.
I like to use either Pro-Authenticate or Authenticate-4-u (both of which you can find on Facebook). They will ask for very specific photographs which the seller should be happy to provide. They normally come back within 24 hours with a result.
- Once you are happy with all of the above and you have agreed on a price with the seller – they way they ask you to pay is very important.
The only way you should ever pay for a preloved item is using Paypal for Goods & Services. Not a bank transfer and not even Paypal Friends & Family. Paying with Friends & Family is classed as sending a gift. With Goods & Services, the seller must pay a fee. This essentially means you are protected if anything goes wrong – for example if the item doesn’t turn up, or if it turns out to be a fake. As long as you can prove it, you will get your money back.
Those are the 6 steps I like to take every time I consider purchasing a pre-loved item. I have been scammed in the past so I am now extremely cautious. If for any reason it doesn’t seem right, or if I feel the seller is being impatient or pushy, I will always walk away. Another item will come along. A trusted seller should always be willing to answer your questions and help you in any way to make you feel comfortable. After all, it’s a lot of money to be playing with – especially for something you haven’t even seen in person.
What are your experiences purchasing pre-loved? Are there any other sites you like to use – like eBay? Could you give me any tips that I have perhaps missed out?
Thank you for reading and good luck!
UPDATE: I now have a video version of this post, if you would prefer to watch that:
These tips are from my own personal experiences and is in no way a fool-proof guide. This blog post is for advice purposes only and I can not take any responsibility for anyone being scammed.