We love the idea of rolling into a high-end boutique, snatching up the latest iteration of Dooney & Burke, Baraboux or Louis Vuitton and slapping down a credit card without a second thought, but for most of us, that is a rare occurrence. But fear not, the eye-catching style and buttery soft leather of luxury handbags are not out of your reach! In fact, a pretty robust industry surrounding the resale of gently used luxury handbags have sprung up in the past few years, and it’s showing people a new way to buy used.

In the past, buying luxury handbags used was a recipe for disaster. Either the bags were in awful shape or they were downright counterfeit. From expert replicas to shoddy knockoffs, the market has always been flooded with people trying to make a quick buck off unsuspecting consumers.

To help navigate the crowded and tricky waters of the used luxury market, we offer a few handy tips that have saved us oodles of headaches (and heartaches) when searching for that perfect bag.

  1. Find a trustworthy seller

While a few years ago this may have elicited scoffs that would have suggested that you were better off searching for unicorns, the market has changed significantly since then. Now finding a trustworthy seller is surprisingly easy and there are major players in the resale game that can offer a pretty generous selection of pre-loved luxury handbags, all checked for authenticity. From used Louis Vuitton bags to Cartier satchels, to DVF wallets, these sellers offer these bags at up to 70% off retail price and are adamantly against counterfeit merchandise.

  1. Know your bag

When hunting down a pre-loved handbag, you’ll probably have a specific piece in mind. Whether it’s a gem from seasons past or a hot ticket item that flew off the shelves, you’ll probably be able to spot one at twenty paces, but can you spot a fake?

When buying pre-loved, you’ll want to know how to spot a fake and also how to spot the real thing. Date code guides, stitch patterns, and hardware metal are all aspects you’ll have to learn about to make sure you’re buying the real thing.

To help, find an online guide that lays out the tricks of the trade to help you feel more confident when searching for that perfect purse.

  1. Read the fine print

If you’re buying your pre-loved bag online (which most people are these days), you’ll want to do a little pre-shop reading before throwing that your credit card.

We’re well aware that most of us are guilty of scrolling through a few Terms and Conditions to get to the good stuff, but we implore you to take a different route with your online purchase of a used, luxury handbag.

Check the site’s return and authentication policies and take a few minutes to understand the site’s rules and regulations. Most online stores don’t have a return policy as generous as brick and mortar stores, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you end up with a bag that’s significantly different than described or a re-seller that duped you into buying a fake.