Should website owners be held accountable for what is listed by third party resellers when it comes to counterfeit products?

The simple answer is yes. When you provide a platform without the necessary safeguards to filter and block sellers of counterfeit goods, and the goods are sold via your website and you take a percentage of the sale… you should be liable. This will force website owners to put more checks in place to protects buyers.

How this all started for me

I have been lusting after 2 specific luxury bags in a specific print for months and decided to start looking at where I could purchase it in the secondhand market – because buying it new, is not going to happen.

… and before that, I watched hours of YouTube videos on how to spot a counterfeit, which bags have the most issues after a period of time, how to get it professionally authenticated and rather importantly, where I could take it to have professionally cleaned near me.

I felt prepared to weed out the counterfeits and to ask for the right pictures to get a proper authentication.

However, I wasn’t prepared for the oodles of fake bags being sold openly on Social Media and preloved goods websites. While I understand that to a degree sites like these rely on shoppers to spot and report counterfeit goods, not enough is being done to curb this very illegal practice. Action is also not taken fast enough after an item was reported.

While I really want this specific luxury bag and have a small budget, I am not willing to settle for a fake luxury bag. (And no judgement if you do have a fake luxury bag either, I get it.) I do have a problem with sellers trying to pass off knockoffs as the real deal.

A listing caught my eye, but I felt that niggling feeling of “it just can’t be real” – and I was right.

The listing description referred to an Instagram account of Brand Habit in Ballito
She claimed that it did have some sort of certificate and it was an authentic item bought from brand habit

I then asked her for more images to authenticate the bag and she sent me pictures of a completely different bag.

Finally she admitted to the item being fake or replica

I reported a listing to Yaga around 20 hours ago as I am writing this post, and the item is still active. I reported 3 further products in the last 13 hours, and they are also still active.

I also checked the Brand Habit Instagram page and they listed everything from Goyard to Louis Vuitton for max R3,000.

Not all counterfeit products are equal

Some fakes you’ll spot right away whilst others are far harder to identify. Some sellers will claim they bought it secondhand but lost dust bags and certificates of authentication. They’ll try convince you that you are mad for not jumping on the opportunity of owning a luxury bag at a bargain price… 

My advice

My advice is to insist on pictures of the item with a list of shots and angles – especially when buying on a preloved website. Then submit those picture to an online authentication service for peace of mind.

Don’t buy because you think it is authentic because of higher price than you could get it from a hawker or china mall (there, I said it).

If however your budget can be stretched, consider buying from one of the reputable preloved websites that pre-authenticate and supply the certificate.


Want to know more about spotting fake designer things?


Susann is a travel, parenting, beauty and lifestyle blogger in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Write A Comment