My First Chanel Bag (& What I Learned Buying Secondhand)

Wondering how to find the perfect secondhand designer bag… and not get scammed? I’m sharing my experience with buying a secondhand Chanel bag and what I learned along the way! 

collage of a woman wearing a neutral outfit with a Chanel wallet on chain

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My Hunt For A Chanel WOC

I’ll start by saying that I’m a pretty frugal person in general. While I enjoy nice things just as much as the next person, I rarely buy anything impulsively…or at full price.

So when I decided that I wanted to add a Chanel Wallet On a Chain to my (very) small collection of designer pieces, I knew it would be secondhand and it had to be perfect — guaranteed authentic, in excellent condition, from a good seller, and at the right price. 

My search began. And friends – it took almost a year

Woman holding a black Chanel wallet on chain wearing a white button up shirt, cream sweater, and blue jeans
@style.your.occasion

Along my journey to finding the perfect Chanel WOC (which I successfully did), I learned a lot. I also got scammed a couple of times, which luckily resulted in refunds. And, I experienced Poshmark’s Posh Authenticate service, which is free when purchasing any piece on Poshmark for over $700 (CAD)

Below I’m sharing about how you can find and buy the perfect secondhand designer piece too! Not only did I save thousands purchasing my Chanel WOC secondhand, I also feel good about participating in a more sustainable way of consumerism. 

image of a bag in bubblewrap with a Posh Authenticate card on top
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1. Go To The Right Source

When it comes to purchasing secondhand designer pieces, the selection of places to buy from can be overwhelming. There’s Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, eBay, TheRealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Fashionphile, 1st Dibs, and thousands of smaller retailers like LuxHub and Retyche.

From my experience (also being in Canada), Poshmark is the most reliable option – with some caveats (read on). I’ve purchased several pieces from TheRealReal, but with it being a US-based company, the shipping fee is expensive, and I was hit with a big duties payments on arrival (17% of the item price, yikes).

If you live in Canada, I recommend buying from Poshmark (I’ll give more details on what to look for/watch out as you read on) or reputable smaller retailers like LuxHub, VSP Consignment,  and Retyche. With these options, you’ll avoid paying duties, get free shipping, and your designer item will be authenticated.

Note: Do not buy from any secondhand luxury “retailer” who does not have a legitimate storefront/physical location and contact phone number listed clearly on their website.

If you live in the US, your options are plenty! Those I’ve listed above including TheRealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Fashionphile, and 1st Dibs are all excellent options. They are legitimate retailers and every piece is authenticated when consigned. 

2. Watch Out For These Red Flags

When purchasing a designer piece from Poshmark specifically, it’s important to be aware that everything listed isn’t automatically authentic, high-quality, or even real. Unfortunately, scammers are all over Poshmark, so here is what to look out for. 

  • Avoid sellers with no selling history or with only one item listed in their closet.  There’s a good chance they are not a legitimate seller. 
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. I purchased a designer bag for what I thought was a “steal of a deal” on Poshmark, only to have the seller not ship the item and essentially disappear. The bag was likely a fake and they realized it would be sent to Poshmark for authentication. 
  • Avoid sellers who ask you to buy designer bags off Poshmark/privately. This way they avoid the authentication process and could be selling a replica. 
  • Avoid designer pieces that are less than the Posh Authenticate threshold ($700 CAD), unless you are certain it is authentic (seller can provide original receipt/proof of purchase). In this case, you can also pay for a third-party authentication service online for about $30. If the seller refuses, then it’s likely a fake. 
  • Choose a seller with lots of previous sales and positive reviews
image of the inside of a Chanel WOC bag
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3. Always Ask for Proof of Purchase

Be extra cautious of sellers who are not willing to provide the original receipt or proof of purchase. The Chanel bag I purchased came with the original Holt Renfrew Chanel transaction receipt from 2018 which gave me extra assurance, over and above the Posh Authenticate, that it is a genuine Chanel bag. 

Unless the seller is not the original owner of the bag or it is a vintage piece, there should be no reason they can’t provide you with the receipt. If they can’t provide the receipt but still seem legitimate, then I highly suggest making sure the bag can be authenticated by Poshmark. If it is below the Posh Authenticate price threshold, have it privately authenticated by LegitGrails

4. Authentication Options

image of a Poshmark authentication card
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As mentioned earlier, when purchasing any piece over $700 CAD on Poshmark, you automatically qualify for the free Posh Authenticate service. After purchasing from the seller, the item is shipped to Poshmark authentication headquarters (mine was shipped to the British Columbia location), and then reviewed and inspected by an expert. 

If the piece you are interested in does not qualify for authentication, I recommend having it privately inspected by LegitGrails or Entrupy. There was a different Chanel WOC I found on Facebook Marketplace and I had it authenticated through LegitGrails. The bag did turn out to be genuine, but I ended up going with this one simply because the hardware was gold, my first choice. 

If you are purchasing your bag from another retailer, such as Fashionphile or TheRealReal, you can rest assured that the piece has been expertly inspected and authenticated! 

Woman wearing a black Chanel wallet on chain wearing a white button up shirt, cream sweater, and blue jeans
@style.your.occasion

5. Be Patient

While it can be tempting to buy the first designer bag you find that seems to fit the bill, it’s so important to be patient and go through all the steps to make sure you are truly happy in the end. I literally looked at hundreds of bags online before I found the one. 

Make sure you go through all of the images in detail and ask for more pictures if you can’t clearly see the quality of the bag. Ask the seller(s) every question you have and if they get annoyed, then they aren’t the seller for you! 

And lastly, don’t overspend because you are eager to get your designer piece. As long as you have a realistic budget, the bag you desire will likely become available, it may just take some time! I looked at so many Chanel Wallet on Chain bags but decided to hold out for the one that ticked all the boxes, including budget! 

 

I hope this helps you in your journey of purchasing a secondhand designer bag! If you have any questions about the process or my bag, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]!

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