eBay extends authentication service to luxury bags

After high-end watches and collectible sneakers, eBay will now offer its Authenticity Guarantee to luxury handbags sold on its online marketplace in the US.

The authentication services will be available for new and pre-owned handbags sold for more than $500 from 16 prominent luxury brands, namely Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Hermès, Saint Laurent, Celine, Dior, Prada, Fendi, Goyard, Burberry, Chloe, Valentino, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta.

eBay says that the guarantee means that a team of professionally trained authenticators will physically inspect items, looking at the packaging, handbag details, smell, and accessories. If confirmed as genuine, the shoes are then shipped to the buyer with a tag guaranteeing their authenticity.

Inspection happens again if they are returned to the seller, to guard against people trying to inveigle counterfeits into the system, and the service is provided at no cost to users of its platform.

The company started offering an authentication service for luxury watches costing $2,000 or more last year, and extended it to sneakers worth $100 or more last October. It has also started offering sneaker authentication in Canada.

At the moment the handbag authentication service is only available in the US, but eBay says it may be able to offer it in future for items listed overseas for delivery to a buyer located within the US.

"Authenticity Guarantee has changed the way people buy and sell luxury items on eBay," said Charis Márquez, vice president, fashion, at eBay.

"There's a handbag bought every 12 seconds on our marketplace, and now we're expanding authentication to deliver an additional layer of trust and confidence for these shoppers and sellers."

eBay will be hoping that giving buyers some degree of assurance that their purchases are genuine will translate to increased sales, and there's some signs that is happening in the other two categories.

The company's sneakers business has grown at a triple digit rate year on year for several quarters, while its watches business accelerated from 16 per cent to 38 per cent in the first three months of 2021.

"Demand for luxury items on eBay is soaring – an iconic Hermes Birkin bag was recently sold for $98,000 and our watches business doubled last quarter," said Tirath Kamdar, general manager of the company's luxury business.

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