But the trend seems to be reaching fever pitch this week, with many well-meaning customers reporting disappointment with sites they thought were the real deal. Thanks to a reader, we’ve managed to take down one fake supplier, Louboutinsatin.com from our own list of advertisers today, but I admit it’s easy to be fooled and their ways are cunning…
so what can you do to avoid being duped in this crime against shoe-manity? Read on for our advice…
• The first tell-tale signs is poor spelling and grammar on the site. You’d think anyone who’d take the trouble to rig up an authentic-looking website might spend some time getting this bit right, but no: so far all of the sites revealed as fakes have been littered with linguistic mistakes. Fake sellers are also rife on Ebay, so don’t assume you’re safe if you avoid unknown websites.
• If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. A genuine pair of Louboutin heels will set you back around £400 or more. Most of the knock-off sites are selling their fakes at around 70% off this price which is roughly £170.
• Can you contact the site owner? Dodgy sites tend not to give too much away about their whereabouts, and may only provide an email address, it that. Although most of the fake sites are registered in the UK there may not be anyone physically based over here, and the owners will be hard to pin down. Check for a valid VAT and registration number when tracking down genuine sites.
• Does the seller protest too much? Trustworthy sites are not usually plastered with reassurances about money back guarantees or excessive information on currency, payment and shipping options. If you notice a higher than normal amount of copy relating to shopper safety then the site is more likely to be fake.
If all these warnings have only served to make you want to get right on to one of the fake sites and bag yourself a pair of convincing copies, you might want to think again: ripped-off customers and those investigating the sites have said that the quality of the shoes is ‘shoddy’ and clearly not the real thing, suggesting they’ve probably been put together in sweatshops.
A more sobering reason to avoid them is that they are said to be run by criminal gangs, with profits going to line the purses of the mafia! Do you really want your footwear to be bankrolling international crime?