How to Spot a Counterfeit Marc Jacob Purse

When attending purse parties and stores that specialise in cheap knock-offs of designer handbags, you know what you are getting. The advent of the Internet and popularity of sites like eBay make buying an authentic couture purse more difficult.

Some stores even mix counterfeit merchandise with the real thing to make customers think everything in the store is authentic. Marc Jacobs purses are no exception.

Check Marc Jacobs' website to determine stores authorised to sell genuine handbags. A Marc Jacobs boutique or upscale department store such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nieman Marcus or Bloomingdale's will guarantee any handbag you buy is the real thing. Do not buy from any other store or outlet.

You will pay an average of £650 for a Marc Jacobs bag. If the bag is priced for less, you are probably buying a knock-off. The only real sale you will find on Marc Jacobs purses is at stores authorised by Marc Jacobs to sell the merchandise.

Check the quality of the bag. Leather should smell good (not like chemicals) and be soft and supple. Logos should be exactly like the logo on the official website. Watch for loose threads, seamless piping and substandard stitching and materials. A tag and serial number inside are no indication of authenticity, as many counterfeiters now add them to their merchandise. One sure giveaway is if the handles are wrapped in plastic and there is no dust bag offered with the purse.

Compare colours with the Marc Jacobs website. If the bag doesn't come in pink and you find a pink bag online, don't buy it.

Buying online is risky. Photos can be enhanced. Always check the seller's reputation online before purchasing. Most websites have this option.