Who doesn’t want to buy a fresh designer handbag directly from the boutique and put their own prints on it? Well, for a lot of us, the high price tag for a new handbag are a deterrent.
For those of us who want the designer bag but not the high price, “pre-owned” or “second-hand” options are good as any. You can get the handbag you want for substantially less. What you do sacrifice is that what you’ll be getting is not pristine, unadulterated goods – instead you’ll be getting “like new” or “gently used” with maybe minor scrapes, folds, etc. This option might not be for everyone. If this works for you, here are a few tips when buying pre-owned or second-hand.
Know the Value
Before you start looking for the bag you want to purchase, know what the retail price of your bag is so that you can compare the second-hand listed prices. Depending on the bag’s rarity, second-hand stores might have a higher premium on the price than the original.
Be an investigator
Study up on the bag and know the tell-tale signs of your designer as well as what gives it away as a fake.
To thyself be true
Also, manage your expectations. Typically “gently used” has more signs of wear and scrapes than those that are “like new”, but come with a bigger discount. When setting your expectations to the appropriate level, this second-hand purchase might be the best deal for your money. All the sites below emphasize that buying pre-owned is not buying “new,” so manage your expectations of opening up the new box – what’s inside won’t be new, just new to you!
The List…in alphabetical order
So here is a comprehensive and ongoing (please help update this list by commenting and letting us know what we left out) list of places to buy your pre-owned handbag.
1. Bag Borrow or Steal
Bag Borrow or Steal is a handbag rental site which provides options to purchase outright without having to rent one. The return policy is fair with returns within four days of receipt for merchandise credit, and the customer is responsible for shipping costs and insurance.
2. Collector Square
Boasts a tag line of “Another Life for Luxury Items” which I find quite witty and true! They are centrally located in Paris, France, and deliver to customers worldwide. There is a 14-day “cooling- off” period to decide if the item you received was correctly described at the time of purchase. The buyer is responsible for paying return shipping costs. They also have a showroom located in Paris, France, where you can view their leather goods and meet with their in-house experts.
3. Couture USA
Couture USA is a designer resale boutique offering designer labels and free ground shipping in the U.S. Hermes and Chanel can easily be found on their website. Their 30-day return policy comes with a charge of 15% restocking fee on full refunds or store credit. No returns for final sale items.
This is where anyone who has anything can post for someone else to snatch up. This is a person-to-person sale and sellers are rated by consumer service. Authenticating the bag is up to you and your trust of the seller. Items you purchase on eBay are covered by the seller’s return policy unless the item you received was damaged or not as described, in that case, the seller must cover return shipping costs. eBay will step in and intervene if interactions with the seller are difficult.
Fashionphile has been around since 1999 and raved about in lots of magazines and tv shows. They have 3 locations in California. Ground shipping is free, expedited shipping is available but paid by the buyer. If you are not satisfied with the item you received, you can use the free shipping label provided to return the item to the Carlsbad, California, facility or return it in person to the locations in California within 30 days from the date of receipt. This site is very focused on the buyer’s need to evaluate all comments and close up photos of the items to match buyer’s expectations of the condition of the purchase to avoid returns.
This California-based site touts itself to be better than eBay in many ways including authentication, PayPal transactions, and better deals. Similar to eBay the purchase is done by sellers using the platform and by auctions, meaning the highest bidder before the auction time closes is the winner. There are no return policies as each auction is done by sellers. The seller also determines the shipping costs and are clearly indicated on the item being sold.
7. Love That Bag
Love That Bag is a Canadian based bag boutique specializing in pre-loved designer bags. You can get a full return if you’re not completely satisfied with the purchase, (minus the shipping to and from – $10 each way in U.S. & Canada and $50 worldwide) and the item must be returned within ten days.
Modsie is an Australian pre-owned designer marketplace where you can buy and sell shoes, accessories, clothing, and handbags. Items are listed by the seller, and Modsie takes a commission off each sale. Once the item is purchased by the buyer, then the item is authenticated and reviewed by Modsie. However, you cannot return products sold by a user on Modsie. Items sold by Modsie can be returned within 7 days of receipt for a refund. A customer returning the item is responsible for return costs. Delivery fees are applied at the time of purchase depending on the size/volume/weight/destination of the purchase.
Rebelle is an online platform based in Germany where one can buy and sell designer brand fashion items including designer handbags. There are many handbags that you don’t typically see in the U.S. on the site. They have two types of sales: concierge items that have been authenticated by Rebelle and self-service items that have yet to be sent to Rebelle for authentication. Either way, the item purchased is authenticated by Rebelle, and your items are sent to you from Rebelle. Shipping charges are not listed for the U.S., however flat shipping within Germany is 6.90 EUR, European Union is 15.90 EUR. Instead of “return” they use the term “withdrawal,” which you can do for items sold by Rebelle within 14 days. Items purchased from private sellers are not returnable, however, if the customer doesn’t like the purchase, they can re-sell on Rebelle for free within seven days of receipt.
Revoir is Australia’s online marketplace for second-hand luxury clothes, shoes, and handbags. Their website boasts that their items are “good” to “as new” condition and guaranteed to be authentic. They do repackage each item purchased in beautiful branded boxes to give the buyer the same luxury unboxing experience. They offer free shipping for items that cost greater than $250 and offer express as well as international, additional charges apply. Full returns on Revoir products are offered if returned within 30 days, but if the item was purchased from sellers on Revoir, there are no returns, but listing to resell the item on Revoir is free.
SnobSwap located in the U.S. works with brick and mortar luxury consignment stores to bring the best designer items online. Immediate “buy” options allow instant purchase at the listed price and others are up for taking offers. Offers can be countered by sellers using the platform, accepted or declined. Accepted offers require payment within 48 hours. Shoes and clothing refunds are available; however, handbag purchases are not eligible for returns unless the item was misrepresented. SnobSwap ships for free within the U.S., however charges fees for Canada and international destinations.
12. The Fifth Collection
The Fifth Collection is a Singapore based online store offering pre-loved clothing, shoes, jewelry, and bags. They have one of the best return policies of the companies listed in this article: “No hassle” policy with free returns within seven days from receipt for domestic as well as international orders. The prices of the items being sold are all inclusive, including the delivery charge. International orders may have duty taxes attached, which is paid by the buyer. You will have to do some exchange calculations as the prices are listed in Singapore Dollars (SGD).
13. The Real Real
The Real Real offers a huge selection of designer goods including art, home goods as well as clothing, accessories, and handbags. Flat shipping charges do apply within the U.S. for 3-5 days to 1 business day with added charges for Hawaii and Alaska. There are also flat fees for delivery to international destinations. Only eligible items can be returned within 14 days of receipt for a full refund minus the shipping charges. Items that were purchased at discounts of greater than 40% or final sale are not eligible for return. However, items can be reconsigned to The Real Real.
This is an online site where you can buy or sell anything from “Zara to Louis Vuitton.” You can shop by designer as well as the condition you’d like the items to be in: new, like new, or gently used. The return policy is a good one in that you can return your merchandise if you think the seller misrepresented the item. You can also return for Tradesy credit within four days of receipt unless they are marked as “final sale” for any reason. Shipping is easy for both sellers and buyers with return boxes and labels provided by Tradesy. Returns can also be done in person at locations in the U.S.
Trendlee only handles well curated high-end designer handbags, of course, Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. There is a $20 flat fee for orders less than $4000 and $60 for orders greater than $4000. Returns are available for orders shipped back from the U.S. and the return shipping fee is incurred by the customer. Same flat fees apply for returns and returns must be initiated within two days of receipt.
16. Vestiaire Collective
Vestiaire Collective is a company based in France. You can purchase items from the online website from either a private seller or professional seller. You cannot return items purchased from a private seller; however, you can re-list the item on your account. If you are not satisfied with your purchase from a professional seller, you can return the item within 14 days. The shipping fee is determined by the price of the item and the destination. Customs fees are variable and depend on the items being shipped.
17. What Goes Around NYC
Officially, “What Goes Around Comes Around NYC” has been around since 1993 in NYC. Their inventory of selective name brands (only the top 9 are included) is limited, but they range in items from bags, jewelry, watches to accessories and clothing for men and women. They tout that their quality standards are unrivaled. Ground shipping is free on orders over $350, orders under $350 and expedited shipping is calculated by destination for the United States. International shipping and duty/taxes apply. Returns need to be requested within seven days of receipt and the item must be returned within 14 days of delivery. Shipping and handling charges are not refundable and final sales are not eligible for return.
18. Yoogi’s Closet
Yoogi’s Closet offers an authenticity guarantee – that if you find your item to be not authentic, they will give you a 100% full refund including shipping charges. They also offer one of the best offers for returns – you can return an item within 30 days if you’re not completely satisfied, except for Hermes Birkin and Kelly handbags due to their “exclusivity and extremely valuable nature.” Shipping via ground is free with additional costs for expedited, Canada and international orders. All items sold from Yoogi’s Closet have been professionally or cleaned by the manufacturer. Another benefit of this site is that they only charge sales tax for orders shipped to Washington State. That’s already a discount in itself!
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