Know Your Chanel: Can You Spot a Fake Chanel Bag?

If you're paying thousands of dollars for a Chanel bag, you'd better hope it's real. We show you how to tell the difference between a real and a fake.

Jesse Sumrak
Updated 14 December 2021
Know Your Chanel: Can You Spot a Fake Chanel Bag?

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. What Are Fake Chanel Bags?
  2. Red Flags of Fake Chanel Bags: The Listing
  3. Red Flags of Fake Chanel Bags: The Product
  4. Where Are Fake Chanel Bags Sold?
  5. What to Do If You Purchased a Fake Chanel Bag
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

For years, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claim fake handbags and wallets have been the most seized counterfeited product based on the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). And with Chanel providing some of the most high-end, expensive handbags, it's no surprise fake Chanel bags are a favorite amongst scammers.

An Instagram study found that 20% of social media posts tagged as #LouisVuitton or #Chanel featured fake goods from accounts based in China, Malaysia, and Russia. Scammers are flooding the market with cheap imitation handbags, and they're making it harder than ever for consumers to know if they're getting the real deal.

What Are Fake Chanel Bags?

Fake Chanel bags are low-quality counterfeits handbags that scammers manufacture to resemble original Chanel products. Original Chanel bags usually sell for around $3,000 to $7,000, but some can cost upwards of $10,000 depending on the model and year. Fakes often sell at a much lower price rate to compel discount hunters into supposed deals.

Scammers use cheap materials and manufacturing products in their counterfeit Chanel bags. For example, instead of authentic lambskin or caviar leather, they use synthetic leather. Original Chanel bags have high-quality materials and stitching that last for years—whereas poorly made fakes fall apart within weeks or months.

Red Flags of Fake Chanel Bags: The Listing

While the six methods above can help you spot fake Chanel bags in person, they won't help very much when you're making an online purchase. Fortunately, spotting a listing for a faux bag is almost just as simple as identifying the counterfeit bags—pay attention to the following:

  • Price: Original Chanel bags costs thousands of dollars—if you see a price tag that seems too good to be true, it probably is. With these bags in high demand, there's no reason for a legitimate seller to discount the price significantly. However, scammers trying to sell counterfeit products at scale have every reason to sell them for cheap.
  • Images: Ensure the seller uses their own pictures of the product instead of photos they took from Chanel's website. If the seller uses stock photos of the handbag, then ask to see authentic images of the bag in question before purchasing. This practice will verify that the seller actually has the bag, and it also gives you another chance to verify the authenticity using the six methods above.
  • Seller: Double-check the seller details to make sure they align. If the seller lists their name and email address, make sure these are in sync. Also, see where the item will be shipping from. While Daniel James may very well be sending this product from Singapore, be on high alert for any potential red flags.
  • Reviews: First, check the five-star reviews. If the scammer has purchased fake reviews, you'll be able to notice quickly. Then, scroll down to the one-star reviews and look for reports of counterfeits or fraud from other previous buyers.

Red Flags of Fake Chanel Bags: The Product

There are six main ways you can easily spot a fake Chanel bag from a counterfeit. These include:

  1. The serial number
  2. The stitches
  3. The "Made In" tag
  4. The CC logo
  5. The quilting pattern
  6. The zipper

Check the Serial Number

Chanel bags feature a serial number tag sewn into the bag's interior lining or inside a pocket. This tag will feature two CC logos with a short serial code beneath them. This code should be eight or fewer characters long. Every original Chanel bag will have one of these serial codes, but its inclusion doesn't automatically authenticate your bag—clever scammers have started including this indicator, too.

However, keep in mind that Chanel is a luxury brand that's intentional with every aspect of its handbags. These serial codes aren't a last-minute tacky security feature for the bag—they're still made with high-quality stitching that's consistent with the Chanel brand. So if your brand-new bag's sticker is falling off or apart, there's a good chance it's a fake.

Real vs fake serial tag on Chanel bag
(Source: Racked)

Count the Stitches

Chanel bags aren't just made with high-quality materials—they're made with top-notch craftsmanship. Bumps, loose threads, and apparent irregularities are not signs of vintage work—they're signs of fakes.

Chanel bags usually feature high-stitch counts with sometimes as many as 10 or more stitches per edge of a diamond quilt. Of course, the exact stitch count can vary, but low-stitch counts usually indicate poor craftsmanship—a tell-tale sign of a fake.

Verify the "Made In" Tag

Original Chanel bags feature a "Made in France" or "Made in Italy" tag—not a "Made in Paris." So if you see a "Made in Paris" stamp on your bag, then you'll know it's a counterfeit.

However, authentic bags do etch "CHANEL" and "PARIS" into different elements of their hardware—that's normal. The differentiator is if scammers also add "Paris" to the "Made In" stamp.

Also, check for inconsistencies in the bag tag, such as misaligned lettering or less than perfect font stitching.

Analyze the CC Logo

The Chanel CC logo is an elegant design that needs closer inspection. It's challenging to recognize the subtleties in a monochrome 2D image, but the design becomes more evident with a 3D format. For example, notice how the Cs overlap in a specific pattern?

The top of the right "C" should overlap the left "C," while the bottom part of the left "C" should overlap the right "C." It's a simple, elegant design, and it's also a minor detail that scammers often get wrong. This is the one-and-only CC logo, so if there's a mistake, it's only the fault of the scammer.

There should also be no imperfections, and the logo should be perfectly symmetrical. 

Authentic Chanel bag logo
Chanel logo on an authentic Chanel bag (Source: Chanel)

Scrutinize the Quilting Pattern

Chanel bags feature a timeless diamond quilting pattern across their handbags, but the real quality is in the details. For example, look at the stitching on the back pocket. If it's not aligned perfectly with the diamond stitching, it's fake. There should be no interruption to the diamond pattern, even with the back pocket sewn on.

Real vs fake Chanel bag quilt pattern

Examine the Zipper

Chanel bags use Lampo, DMC, YKK, and Eclair zippers. These are high-quality zippers that you'll find on a variety of luxury products. Scammers will often skimp on this detail and use inferior, low-cost zippers instead.

Give the zipper a try. If zipping the bag open and shut is a clunky experience, then it's likely a fake. Zipping should be smooth and seamless.

Where Are Fake Chanel Bags Sold?

With fake handbags being one of the most counterfeited products (by MSRP), scammers have saturated the market with these products. You can find fake Chanel bags everywhere, from your local flea market to eBay to an Instagram ad.

Here's a list of the most common places you'll see fake Chanel bags:

  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • Wish
  • Alibaba
  • Walmart Marketplace
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Instagram ads
  • Facebook ads

However, many of these sources sell authentic Chanel bags, too. And these are the places you'll likely find legitimate discounts. Yet, you'll always run the risk of purchasing a fake if you don't know the tell-tale signs to look for on your bag. 

Where Are Authentic Chanel Bags Sold?

If you want a guaranteed genuine Chanel bag, shop at a Chanel store, either online or in person. However, commerce always finds a way to expand customer options. Here are some online stores that offer an authenticity guarantee on designer items or your money back:

What to Do If You Purchased a Fake Chanel Bag

If you discover you've purchased a fake Chanel bag, take action as soon as possible to increase your chances of recovery. First, contact the seller to report the counterfeit and request a refund. Honest sellers may have been victims of fraud themselves, and the good ones will respect your refund request. If they don't, then it's your right to contact the police.

Next, contact the website or platform where you purchased the fake bag. Here's what the process will look like on a few popular websites:

  • Amazon: Contact Amazon to request their A-to-Z Guarantee.
  • eBay: Contact eBay to ask about their money-back guarantee.
  • Wish: Contact Wish about their 30-day return policy. This policy has an extensive list of exceptions, so you'll need to report your counterfeit to see if you qualify.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you spot a fake Chanel bag?

Pay attention to key features, including the zipper, the stitching, the serial number, and the diamond pattern on a Chanel bag. Usually, a single test will tell you all you need to know, but looking at all red flags in conjunction will give you the confidence you need to make any Chanel handbag purchase. 

Can fake Chanel bags look real?

Yes. Scammers have perfected their craft, and they've made nearly identical look-alike products. However, they often miss the nitty-gritty details—that's where you'll catch their slip-ups and mistakes.

Where can I buy authentic Chanel bags?

The best place to buy authentic Chanel bags is from Chanel itself, either online or at a store. However, there are a few reputable sites that offer an authenticity guarantee or your money back.

How much does a real Chanel bag cost?

Real Chanel bags usually cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000. They're made with expensive leathers and other materials (as well as expert craftsmanship) that coupled with the Chanel brand create an upscale product.

Where are Chanel bags made?

Chanel bags are manufactured in France and Italy only. If your Chanel bag has a tag that says it's made in any other country, it's fake. If it says it's "Made in Paris," it's also a fake—genuine Chanel bags will say "Made in France" or "Made in Italy" only. 

Other Chanel products may also be made in Spain and Scotland.


Featured Reads