11 June 2008
There is no doubting it - fake Nikes aren't too scarce.
But how do you know if the Nikes you want to bid on are real or not?
Here are a few simple tips:
1. Get photos of the actual pair.
Many listings have very high-quality photos - you know, the ones with the pure white background and no shadow. Interestingly, these can indicate fakes more than regular photos you could take yourself. If a seller has more than one of the same shoe listed, but all with the one photo, then you can't be sure what you are getting. Always get photos of the actual shoe, ask the seller to take a photo with a reference to prove they have the shoe (eg. a piece of paper with their name on it next to the shoe). A seller of fakes will not be willing to do this.
2. Does the shoe come with the original box?
The majority of fakes don't come with the original box. If there is no photo of the box on the page, ask the seller to send you one (again, with the reference). Usually there is a sticker on the side of the box that says what type of shoe, what colours, and what size. If these things don't match the shoe, they're fakes.
3. Where do the shoes come from?
A lot of the Nike listings on eBay say 'shipped from Hong Kong' or 'shipped from China'. Steer clear of these. Although that is where most Nike, Adidas and most shoes and clothes are made, it's not where the companies are based. Countries like China have a very cheap workforce, which is why most major American, Australian and European companies outsource textile manufacturing. Unfortunately, these countries are also the main producers of fake products. When Nike, for example, gets a few thousand shoes manufactured in China, they are all shipped to regional centres in other countries. They are then distributed to retailers, who sell them to you. When a dodgy merchant sews together some fakes, they can't leave the country in large amounts because they will be seized by customs. This is why they sell them on eBay. So when you see a listing on Australian eBay that says 'shipped from (random Asian country)' there is a good chance of that product being fake.
Unfortunately, feedback can not be used as a good indicator of whether shoes are fakes or not. If a buyer unknowingly buys a pair of fakes for a very cheap price (which fakes are likely to be), they will leave positive feedback. And there are some buyers who just can't be pleased, and who will leave feedback comments that suggest authenticity may be doubtful. These can be ignored some of the time - most sellers offer a refund if there is any doubt as to whether products are authentic, so if these buyers really believed the items were fakes, they would have sent them back.
If the seller doesn't show photos of the actual shoes you are bidding on, or the box, ask for these photos. Sellers of fakes will probably refuse. If the shoes are listed on Australian eBay but shipped from Asia, be wary. And it always pays to ask the seller whether they offer a refund if items turn out to be fakes.