How to Spot a Louis Vuitton Fake: From the Box to the Bag

Louis Vuitton bags are undoubtedly a statement, but what kind of statement do you make if you walk in with a fake?


Bridget Clerkin
Updated 4 May 2021
How to Spot a Louis Vuitton Fake: From the Box to the Bag
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United States Counterfeit Goods Statistics


$1.3 billion in counterfeit items seized each year
$200 billion yearly loss to businesses

$959 billion (estimated value of the counterfeit market by 2022)

Source: Library of U.S. Congress

Sections on this page
  1. How to Spot a Louis Vuitton Fake: In the Listing
  2. Real Vs. Fake Louis Vuitton Bags: Packaging
  3. Louis Vuitton Fakes: The Bag Itself
  4. What to Do If You Buy a Louis Vuitton Fake
  5. Where to Find Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Louis Vuitton is one of the most famous names in fashion, and with such a stylish track record, it's no wonder so many people want to wear it. But, like all coveted companies, Louis Vuitton has attracted its fair share of fakers trying to cash in on the luxury label's appeal, leading to a multitude of Louis Vuitton fakes.

With their price putting them so out of reach for so many, Louis Vuitton bags have naturally been replicated—made with far cheaper textiles and less-expert hands. While many sellers are up-front about their fake goods, many others will try to pass off what they've got as the real thing to get paid as if they were selling an authentic bag.

So how do you make sure you're not getting stuck with cheap and fake Louis Vuitton bags from China? Luckily, there are a few ways to spot Louis Vuitton fakes from the real deal.

How to Spot a Louis Vuitton Fake: In the Listing

When searching for a great deal on a Louis Vuitton bag online, your first encounter will most likely be with the posting itself. This can be an excellent place for keen-eyed bargain shoppers to start looking for clues about whether you're getting the real-deal or Amazon Louis Vuitton dupes.

A few key things to pay attention to in the initial listing include:

  • Bad grammar
  • Price point
  • Photo quality
  • Seller history

Grammar

Bad or strange grammar is a classic red flag for any scam, including posts selling fake Louis Vuittons.

While not always the case, most above-board sellers will put in the extra time to make sure all their grammatical i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

If you're encountering a lot of run-on sentences (or a lack of coherent sentences in general), strange phrases that sound like something spit out by Google translate, or any other odd-seeming grammar,  pay extra attention to the post.

Price Point

The classic dilemma facing bargain hunters is differentiating a deal that seems too good to be true from one that is.

Unfortunately, on online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, the case is usually the former (a scam)–especially when dealing with supposed luxury goods like Louis Vuitton bags.

The best way to snap out of convincing yourself this deal is different is to ask yourself why someone would be willing to let go of such a pricey product for such little money. You may even want to extend the same question to the seller themselves—their answer may be revealing and help you further figure out what you're dealing with.

Photo Quality

A classic trick many scammers use when selling fake Louis Vuitton bags online is posting only official photos (that they find online from the official Louis Vuitton website) of what they're selling.

This sleight-of-hand may hard to catch but don't let it pass you by. If there aren't any photos of the actual item you're looking to buy included in the listing, it might be a sign that a scam is afoot.

If you're still interested, you can always ask the poster to send you some different shots of what they've got. Bonus: This can help you scope out specific details to see if the bag is fake. (More on that below.)

Seller History

When all else fails, if you're still on the fence about whether to trust a particular listing, you might want to look into the seller or poster's history. (This might be a good idea when buying something online regardless.)

Most major online marketplace sites will have a seller profile page, where you can check out the seller's overall rating and any comments left by previous buyers. Of course, scammers can manipulate these ratings as well, so remember, the more people who've rated the seller, the more likely the score represents an accurate expectation for your experience.

Real Vs. Fake Louis Vuitton Bags: Packaging

You've made the plunge and ordered the bag, but you're still not past the point of no return.

Once you have the product in front of you, it's much easier to spot the small details that will betray a Louis Vuitton fake—starting with the packaging for the bag itself.

Some areas to pay special attention to within the packaging include the:

  • Louis Vuitton box
  • Dust bag

On-Brand Boxes

There are many different types of boxes the company uses, depending on the type of Louis Vuitton bag you're buying. But a few factors to look out for that may indicate a fake include:

  • Font: This doesn't just go for the lettering itself, but the spacing between the letters and where the brand name appears on the box.
  • Fit: A genuine Louis Vuitton box will have a very snug fit. There shouldn't be any gaps between the box and the lid.
  • Color: Louis Vuitton has a very particular palette for its packaging that many scammers don't get quite right.

Again, details will depend on the type of Louis Vuitton bag you order. Your best bet is to find an example online of the real thing and compare your packaging accordingly.

Dust Bag Details

Inside the box is something called a dust bag—a covering to protect your Louis Vuitton bag during shipment. On the real-deal purchases, even these should be impeccable.

Again, specific design and shape have a lot to do with the type of bag you order, but most dust bags come in a drawstring or envelope form, are made of a fine, soft tan material, and include the Louis Vuitton name in the middle.

If you ordered an older bag, a little research on the company's previous preferences could go a long way. For example, Louis Vuitton bags made before 2004 have dust bags made of beige flannel, with the LV logo and blue drawstrings.

As with the box itself, it's best to check online for examples of your bag's specific type of dust bag and compare it against what you unwrap.

Louis Vuitton Fakes: The Bag Itself

Of course, the actual bag is the essential part of this transaction and also where you can find the most clues about authenticity.

Cheap Louis Vuitton bags from China or Amazon Louis Vuitton dupes are far less likely to incorporate all the tiny details, including:

  • Legit LV labels
  • Date code
  • Quality stitching
  • Quality hardware (e.g., zippers, buckles)
  • D-Ring
  • Authentic smell

Louis Vuitton Fake Label

Arguably the best way to tell a Louis Vuitton fake from the real thing, both interior and exterior labels are often muffed up by scammers.

An authentic Louis Vuitton bag will have a clean-looking stamp spelling out "Louis Vuitton Paris," with the proper font and letters precisely spaced out. The o's should be big and round, instead of oval-shaped; the t's should be very close together, almost touching; and the "L" and "O" in Louis should also be close together.

Overall, the font should be thin and sharp. And the ® shouldn't be too big or too high up. These may sound like little details—and they are, which is why scammers tend to get them wrong.

Date Code

Another great way to determine what you're working with is checking out the date code: A series of letters and numbers that should appear on a separate tab inside the bag. (Bags made before 1980 will not have this feature.)

Louis Vuitton has a particular system to label their bags for authenticity, and you can check this number online. But beware, extra-crafty "super-fakers" have reportedly cracked the code, and some have even included authentic sequences in their faux products.

Examples of Louis Vuitton date codes
Examples of authentic Louis Vuitton date codes. (Source: Yoogi's Closet)

Stitching

In general, the stitching on a genuine Louis Vuitton bag should be superior to anything found on a fake. This includes everything from the stitches found around the bag's exterior to those holding the label onto its interior.

It can be tricky to tell the difference without a direct comparison, so, once again, pulling up photos online might be helpful. But, in general, the stitching everywhere on the bag should be thin and evenly spaced.

Chunky, short stitches aren't Louis Vuitton's style, and any fraying is certainly not up to the company's craftsmanship standards.

Hardware

One of the things Louis Vuitton bags are most known for—and, indeed, one of the reasons they're so expensive—is the quality of the hardware used on the purses.

An authentic Louis Vuitton bag should have high-quality brass hardware, including everything from zippers and locks to rivets.

Zippers should never snag and won't ever include the "YKK" or other branded labels, as Louis Vuitton makes their own.

Elsewhere, the hardware is typically either matte or shiny. Authentic matte hardware should look more like a deeper gold and reflect little light, while those made to be shiny should handily pass the "reflection test," with the brass reflecting just like a mirror.

Perhaps the easiest way to spot a fake is if any of the hardware is covered in plastic. This would never happen with an authentic Louis Vuitton bag but is often done on fakes to prevent the fake brass from tarnishing in transit.

Real vs fake Louis Vuitton zipper
Authentic Louis Vuitton zippers may have the LV logo or name printed, while fakes may have different branding. (Source: Legos in My Louis)

D-Ring

The rings on authentic Louis Vuitton bags will be in the shape of a "D" and not a circle that is found on many fakes. Check all rings that are on your LV bag handles to make sure it isn't a counterfeit bag. 

Real vs fake LV D-ring
Fake Louis Vuitton bags usually have a circular ring for the bag handles, while authentic LV bags use a D-shaped ring. (Source: Lux Second Chance)

Smell a Louis Vuitton Fake From a Mile Away

Smelling the LV bag might seem like the strangest recommendation, but an authentic Louis Vuitton bag will undoubtedly pass the sniff test.

That's because Louis Vuitton makes bags with real leather, which carries a particular smell, especially if the bag is vintage. And there's no way to fake that type of smell, even for the most skillful scammers.

On the other hand, fake bags are made with pleather or other synthetic materials and are more likely to have a chemical smell.

What to Do If You Buy a Louis Vuitton Fake

Unfortunately, it's not always easy to recoup your losses in the online retail world, which is why it's crucial to be as sure as possible about a Louis Vuitton authenticity check before making a purchase.

Still, depending on the website and how you paid for it, you may have a few options open for recourse.

Nearly all major online retailers have a method for reporting problematic listings—usually represented by a flag symbol on the listing itself. This will alert the website's security team that a complaint has been lodged and can lead to the post's (or even the poster/seller's) removal from the site. It won't get your money back, but it may save others from falling for the same scam.

Depending on how you paid for your purchase, you may also have a small window of time to get your money back or cancel any payments. You'll have to check with the specific bank or app for details.

And, if the bag was expensive enough, you may also be able to file a police report. Be sure to have certain information ready, like proof of payment and any correspondence you may have had with the seller.

Where to Find Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags

Of course, if you're worried about accidentally buying a Louis Vuitton fake, you can always lean on more reliable sources for the bags.

The company's official website is the safest place to place an order, though several other established high-end retailers may sell the products, like Nordstrom's or Saks Fifth Avenue. Well-known resellers, like The RealReal, are also reputable places to scope up the real thing.

Of course, these more reliable services come at a premium. If cost is a major concern, you may be more tempted by typically cheaper marketplace sites—remember, on these sites, you almost always get what you pay for.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tell if a Louis Vuitton bag is fake?

There are several tell-tale signs of a fake Louis Vuitton bag. Pay special attention to the stitching, the zippers, the labels, and even the dust bag that it came in to find a fake.

Where are authentic Louis Vuitton bags made?

Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, Spain, and the United States. If you have an LV bag that is made elsewhere, it is a fake. Other Louis Vuitton products, such as their clothing, shoes, and sunglasses may also be made in other countries, including Italy and Switzerland.

Do all Louis Vuitton bags have a date code?

All Louis Vuitton bags made from 1980 will have a date code embossed into the bag. If you have a new LV bag that doesn't have a date code, it's a fake. Authentic LV bags made prior to 1980 don't have a date code.

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