If you love Coach handbags, you are not alone. Buying them, however, can be an investment. It’s no wonder that many Coach shoppers will be tempted to buy one at a discounted price. The problem in doing this, however, is that you may well be buying a fake. This means that not only will you not be getting a bargain, but that you are being ripped off as well.
Counterfeit Market is Booming
The Coach counterfeit market is booming. The practice of smuggling counterfeit goods into the United States reached the level of an economic pandemic, costing the legal U.S. economy more than $200 billion a year, says Julie L. Myers with Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a 2007 press release. Many of the counterfeit Coach bags come to the United States from China, gaining entry to ports in Newark, N.J.; Houston, Texas; Long Beach, Calif., and Staten Island, N.Y.
Counterfeit goods, including Coach handbags, are inferior in quality to the real goods. Consumers who think they are getting a bargain are not, says Richard A. Brown, district attorney for Queens County, N.Y. The police are arresting smugglers and seizing merchandise that would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if the merchandise were authentic. Another problem with counterfeit goods is that during the process of making them, counterfeiters do not typically follow safety, environmental, child labor and anti-sweatshop laws, according to the Coach website.
Where to Buy
The only way to be sure that you are getting a real Coach handbag is to buy one at an authorized retailer. Coach only sells its products through Coach stores, Coach Factory stores, the Coach catalog, authorized department stores, authorized specialty stores, limited duty-free locations, corporate accounts and through the Coach website. Places where you may be buying a fake include Internet auctions, individual sales, street vendors, unauthorized retail stores or house parties.
Coach does not provide specific tips on how to spot a counterfeit bag because that would aid the counterfeiters in their attempts to pass off their fakes. You can often determine, however, on your own if the bag is a fake by its overall quality. If the bag doesn’t look and feel expensive, it probably is a fake, according to the My Perfect Designer Handbag website.
Common Sense Tips
Some common sense tips will help you determine if the Coach handbag is real or fake. Look at the C-pattern. If the C-pattern is broken or doesn’t match at the seams, the purse is a fake. The C-pattern in a real Coach bag will match up perfectly, resulting in the pattern looking like a mirror image on either side of the seam. The C-pattern begins in the middle of the bag and goes outward. Also, Coach only uses quality zippers, marked “YKK.” And, if the handles or any other part of the bag are wrapped in plastic, it’s probably a fake from China. Coach does not use plastic to protect its purses.
- woman with shopping bags image by T.Tulic from Fotolia.com