How to Spot a Knockoff Pair of Sunglasses

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Years ago, 14 to be exact, I embarked on my first overseas journey to the enchanting nation of Turkey. It was an expedition of many firsts, really. My first trip taken with my husband (my first with my in-laws, as well) not to mention my first time out of the country. We toured breathtaking castles in Bodrum, ancient coliseums and ruins of Ephesus, plus the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It was there I experienced another first – my purchase of knock-off sunglasses. I was shocked. And how did I discover this trickery? The sunglasses cracked before the sun even set. (Another first!) Upon further inspection, I noticed other indications that they may not be the genuine article. Naive no more, I vowed that I’d be prepared the next time I was presented with an opportunity to “save beeg.”

So, how do you spot a knockoff? Here are a few tips:

Quality/weight – You can tell a lot about a product just by handling it. Does it feel cheaply made? Or is it of heavier weight? Is the plastic flimsy?

Label – Carefully examine the logo and name. I thought my sunglasses were Oakleys. They were spelled slightly different though, which I didn’t notice right away. My memory has faded a bit, but I believe the “e” was omitted, or something to that effect. A slightly altered logo gives it away too.

Where it’s made – Find out where the designer manufactures its product. If it’s made in the U.S. and it says China – well there you go.

Visit the brand’s website – Familiarize yourself with a designer’s characteristics so you know what you’re looking for.

Warranty card – Check for a warranty. No card? Good chance it is a fake. Oakleys for instance, provide a warranty card with the serial number on it, which matches the serial number on the sunglasses.

Packaging – Most designers provide well-crafted cases. Knock offs usually come in a cheap looking pouch.

Do an online search – No doubt there will be other victims out there who’ve fallen prey to counterfeits. You’ll gain a lot of helpful tips from these people to avoid falling for similar scams.

Turns out, I paid for a couple other knock-off items on the same vacation. After awhile the names became a running joke among our travel party (Hilfinger instead of Hilfiger was another.) Since then, with the above knowledge now in mind, this savvy sunglass shopper finally owns a real pair of designer shades.

© 2012, Anthony Masiello. All rights reserved.

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