For luxury consumers and collectors, coming across a designer handbag or vintage timepiece at a fraction of its original retail price is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack–it's a dream come true! Finding rare pieces is becoming more common now that luxury resale is booming. From hand-to-find limited editions to discontinued designer goods, you may find your dream bag, watch, jewelry, and other collectibles from pre-loved designer sellers, including here at The Relux. But before you go through our listings, there are some do's and don'ts you need to know about.
Do's of Buying Second-Hand Designer Items
When spending your money on second-hand luxury, remember to approach your purchases with a well-thought-out strategy. Here, we outline the do's of buying second-hand luxury items.
1. Know Your Brands
Learning about a brand's history, trademark designs, and signature features can help you make informed choices, as well as assist you in identifying counterfeit items. For example, in 2021, Chanel began replacing the serial stickers on their handbags with microchips. These electronic circuits contain the bag's authentication details, making it easier to determine whether a Chanel bag is real or fake. Even if counterfeit manufacturers reproduce these microchips, they are unlikely to work or pass the house's authenticity checks.
Unfortunately, few brands have implemented this practice, and Chanel purses made before 2021 do not have microchips. As such, you must familiarize yourself with a brand's distinctive traits to determine whether you're buying the real thing or a replica.
2. Know Your Budget
Determine your budget before you go shopping. Luxury items, even pre-loved, can vary in price. Having a predefined budget will prevent impulsive decisions and overspending. However, keep in mind that purchasing second-hand luxury items may come with additional expenses regardless. These costs typically include authentication services, professional cleaning, and/or repairs. Remember these contingencies when setting your budget.
3. Know Your Seller
Choose your purchase platforms or sellers wisely. Reputable sources such as established consignment stores, authenticated online marketplaces, and renowned auction houses provide added security and transparency in your transactions. If you found a dream item from an unfamiliar seller or business, investigate their reputation before making a purchase. For example, positive reviews on Yelp or high ratings on their Facebook page from previous shoppers can indicate a trustworthy source.
In addition, check if the seller or business has a reasonable inspection and return policy. The Relux, for instance, offers a 14-day return period for all items. You can quickly request a refund if an order does not meet your expectations. In other words, when buying pre-loved designer goods, your motto should be "No Return, No Exchange? No Deal!"
4. Know Your Questions and Demands
Engage in open communication with the seller. Ask questions about the item's history, previous owners, any known defects or repairs, and if the original receipts, certificates of authenticity, and dust bags are available. Furthermore, if you're shopping from an online marketplace, even if the seller provides HD photos, do not hesitate to ask for new pictures from different angles, helping prove that the item up for grabs is legitimately on hand. A transparent and accommodating seller is a positive sign.
5. Know Your Inspection Points
Once you receive the item, examine it thoroughly for signs of wear and damage, especially if the seller did not discuss them with you. Leave no stone unturned. Pro tip: Record your unboxing and inspection process for added security.
Next, bring the item to an authenticator. If it's real and you're happy with your purchase, then congratulations on your successful second-hand buy! If it's fake or you're unhappy with the item, return it to get your money back. Just make sure the item is in the same condition you received it in.
Don'ts of Buying Second-Hand Designer Items
Let's move on to the don'ts of buying second-hand luxury items to safeguard your interests and ensure a rewarding shopping experience.
1. Falling in Love and Checking Out at First Sight
One of the cardinal sins in the world of luxury shopping is succumbing to impulsive purchases. Resist the temptation to buy on the spur of the moment or as soon as you see something you like, as hasty decisions can lead to regret. Instead, take your time and go through the above do's of buying pre-loved designer goods. Patience is your ally, and remember that luxury items are investments warranting careful consideration.
2. Embracing Red Flags
Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. For instance, if an item is in excellent condition yet remarkably cheaper than retail and secondhand market prices, exercise extreme caution. Luxury goods generally maintain value; substantial discounts may signal counterfeits or hidden issues.
In hindsight, some people do sell pieces from their collection at generous prices, although such sellers are as rare as Himalayan Birkins and usually sell within their circle. Again, exercise extreme caution when a miraculous offer falls on your lap. If something raises doubts, trust your instincts.
3. Not Comparing Prices
Ensure to compare prices across different platforms and sellers. Neglecting to do so can result in overpaying for an item, as different people and businesses may offer varying price points for the same luxury piece. Also, research the market thoroughly and ascertain whether the asking price aligns with the item's condition, rarity, and current market trends. The worst case scenario is paying for a pre-loved item that's available in-store and retails for less than double or triple the amount you paid.
4. Skipping Authentication
Authentication is non-negotiable when purchasing second-hand luxury items. Regardless of the source's reputation or your level of confidence, always seek professional authentication to confirm the item's legitimacy. Even established sellers and businesses can inadvertently sell counterfeit or misrepresented items, which is why they have return policies. Authentication offers an extra layer of assurance.
5. Overlooking Return Policies
Speaking of return policies, ensure you understand your seller's. Failing to acquaint yourself with this crucial information can be a costly oversight. Different sellers have varying return windows and conditions. For example, most sellers, including The Relux, require items to be in the same excellent condition for returns. Ensure you comprehend these terms to avoid surprises.
Ready to Secondhand Shop for Luxury Items 'til You Drop?
More and more luxury consumers are loving pre-loved designer goods and the platforms selling them. If you're ready to experience luxury resale, follow these do's and don'ts of buying pre-loved luxury items to get your money's worth.