Consumer Alert: How to spot knockoff designer merchandise - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Consumer Alert: How to spot knockoff designer merchandise

Examining the stitching can determine if your bag is real or fake. (Source: WOIO) Examining the stitching can determine if your bag is real or fake. (Source: WOIO)
LYNDHURST, OH (WOIO) -

Many consignment stores carry designer brands minus designer price tags, but how do you know you're not getting a knockoff or being ripped off? 

Valencia Thompson is a frequent shopper at Revolve Fashion, an upscale consignment store in Lyndhurst.

"I love consignment because you save tons of money and prices are great," says Thompson.  

Unfortunately, one online site taught Thompson just because it says "designer," doesn't mean it really is designer.

"I trusted this website because their pledge is that everything is authentic. I was really upset because I paid a lot of money for it," says Thompson.

"There is a lot of fakes out there," says Revolve Fashion manager Leslie Linsky.

Linsky has seen plenty of fake designer products.

"We try very hard. We are very diligent. It takes a lot of practice and it takes a lot of reading," she says.     

After months of training, Linsky can spot a fake just by looking at it.

"If it’s a fake, a lot of the time, they'll get this. But they will always miss the hardware," explains Linsky. 

Other key signs your buying a designer knockoff:

"Looking at stitching is always a giveaway, and then always looking at how it is sealed," describes Linsky.

Linsky says to also make sure the seams are lined up, stitches are not frayed, and the item has some weight to it.  

"It’s just taking the time to back off, and don’t get all excited about the outside hang thing. Look at the construction of the bag," Linsky suggests. 

Another tip: Check the label. 

"But here is the thing that gave it away: The tag is upside down!" Linsky points out.

After being a regular consignment store shopper, even Thompson picked up a tip or two.

"I look for the serial numbers, the authenticity card that comes along with the bag," says Thompson.

"It's the little details, but they made a big difference," says Linsky.

Another note: Many of the designer's websites will tell you how many stitches per inch their handbags, clothes, and shoes have. It's another way you can spot a fake, compared to the real deal.

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