It’s not uncommon to hear about nightmarish tales of fraud when it comes to Internet shopping. Take note of this scenario before clicking “buy”!

Question: I’m looking for designer items at bargain prices, but am wary of fakes. My friend bought a Philippe Starck designed Kartell Louis Ghost chair from a website (which was well designed and looked professional), and received a poorly made replica instead. What can I do to ensure this won’t happen to me?

 

Answer: The fact is designer items aren’t cheap – even when they’re discounted. “The cost of producing authentic and highquality furniture is high due to the use of quality materials and experienced craftsmanship by professionals,” says Leo Shu May of Danish Design, a multi-brand furniture store that carries brands like Fredericia and Fritz Hansen. Hence, the first red flag would be a ridiculously low price.

Before purchasing, check if the website is by an authorised dealer (as well as their refund/exchange policy). You can verify this by looking out for a dealer list on the brand’s website, or dropping a quick e-mail to confirm the e-store is indeed an authorised dealer. You can also request a certificate of authenticity – a trusted dealer will be happy to comply.

Once you’ve received the item, pay attention to the workmanship and finish. Inspect the joints and type of material used – for instance, the timber used on a Wishbone chair by Carl Hansen & Son should not have an uneven finish or knots. Check the underside of the item, too; a knock-off is more likely to be held together with staples or glue and will not have a label or serial number.