Buying Hyped or Designer Sneakers and Clothes Safely Online: A Guide

Written by
Ch Daniel
buying sneakers online safely
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Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Ch David

This post is the stripped-down version of the longer article that goes very in-depth on how you can buy either streetwear or high-end designer items safely. Meaning: without getting scammed.

Make sure you check out the full version of this guide if you have any doubts, and have a look at the checklist below before buying. It’s interactive and it saves your answers if you leave the website.

[frontend-checklist name=”Ultimate Buying Guide Checklist”]

Related: How to detect sites selling fakes.

Without any further ado, the short(er) version guide.

General stuff to look out for

Always use PayPal invoice

Unless you really really know the seller, avoid anything else other than PayPal Invoice at all costs. Even for meet-ups.

PayPal invoice means you’ve got both your ass covered and the seller’s. If the seller is legit, they won’t have anything to worry about by going through PayPal invoice — except for the 2.9-4.4% extra fee.

buy safely by paying through PayPal Invoice

The common-sense consensus is pretty forward. You and the seller will split this extra percentage fee in a fair manner. Obviously it’s up to you to negotiate this.

If you don’t go through PP invoice at all times, here’s what’s going to happen to 1/15 things you’ll buy:

  1. You won’t be paying full attention to the authenticity of the item/seller
  2. You’ll bank transfer or whatever
  3. Turns out the item is fake
  4. You’re out of the money you paid and stuck with a fake — can’t take your money back since you can’t ask PayPal for it
  5. You’ll start using PayPal Invoice

Say you paid £400 for this item you’re getting scammed for. And we said that it’s the 15th purchase when you get hit (likely it’s going to happen sooner than your 15th purchase).

Assuming the 4.5% (highest fee) and an average of £400 per item, that means you’re paying extra £18 for every purchase, just to be covered.

That means in 15 items you’ve paid an extra of £270 just so that you’ll get help if things go wrong. Paying £270 so you won’t be short of £400 and stuck with a fake item? Seems fair to me.

Not to mention the mental health impact and time saved. Stay safe, always use PayPal invoice, I don’t care if it’s Barack Obama.

use paypal invoice page to buy without getting scammed

When not to use PayPal invoice

Only use do this if you truly trust the seller and think there’s no reason for him/her to scam you OR that if anything goes wrong, they will be nice and do something about it.

You can also use something other than PayPal invoice for a physical meeting IF you’re:

  1. Confident in your ability to legit check
  2. Paying close attention to the shoe’s condition
  3. Accepting the fact that if something goes wrong, there’s nothing you can do about it

Don’t be afraid to ask for a PayPal invoice if you have any doubts during that meeting. It takes a minute to write up the invoice if you’ve know what you’d need to write in the description of the document (e.g. “The pair is 100% authentic, never worn … etc)

In another article we’ll write up what needs to be added to that invoice so that you can write up the invoice in a minute and just copy-paste that text.

If the price is too good to be true…

Then it’s a no-no. Unless you’re 100% confident in your ability to authenticate (check our guides), you’re most likely wasting time, if not also money.

99% it’s better to just stick to being efficient and avoiding dodgy situations. No, statistically speaking, chances are not in your favour so that “the item was at a really good price”, you just got it and it’s also authentic.

Avoid eBay

Hate to say this but eBay is likely not the place you’d want to look out for items. Because it’s not curated, a lot of fakes are over there.

That doesn’t mean all streetwear or high-end designer items are, it’s just that the doors are open for anyone to put their stuff up.

If you do purchase something through eBay and find out it’s a fake, you can get your money back though — open up a PayPal dispute and you’ll receive a refund.

Checking the seller

Background check

Make sure you do your due diligence and background check the seller:

  1. Search the name on Facebook/Instagram
  2. Have a look at the profile, see if it looks like an actual profile or not
  3. Especially search their activity on the Facebook groups you’re in — see if they’ve posted anything or commented in any place
  4. Overall try to grasp how authentic the profile looks. No rocket science is needed here, the only precaution is to not talk to an alternative account of a scammer

Past transactions

This applies more to Grailed/eBay/Depop and sounds pretty obvious, however it’s worth mentioning as it will make the checklist.

have a look at the seller's review to buy without doubts

It makes sense why someone with 157 past transactions are more reliable than someone with 2 or 3. Here’s what I’d add: to those who have a lot of transactions, I’d have a close look at their negative reviews.

Why? In case something goes wrong, you want to see who you’re dealing with. Is it someone who’s going to be immature and ignore you or someone who will handle it fairly?

Verified PayPal

Pretty clear here: being vetted by an authority like PayPal goes a long way.

look out for seller's PayPal verified badge

Tagged pictures

Ask for this, it’s a way for you to know that the seller has the items he’s claiming. A tagged picture means that next to whatever you’re buying, there’s a paper with the seller’s name + the date when that is taken.

Its purpose is to simply confirm that it’s their picture and that the item is in their possession. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for that tag to be your name — someone you want to deal with will not be afraid to prove their authenticity.

stay safe by asking for tagged pictures

On PayPal

Add the full description in the invoice

State the details of the transaction — if something goes wrong, you’ve got it on record. When I say you I mean both you the buyer and the seller.

As mentioned above, we’ll eventually cover some templates in another article that should make it easier.

State details like:

  • Item condition
  • Agreements over shipping conditions
  • Whether returns are accepted or not
  • Mention that the seller claims the item is 100% authentic
  • State that the item will be double boxed (more in a second)

Ask for the item to be double boxed

Applies more to sneakers rather than other items, as part of the pair’s value is linked to the box’s condition.

So in order to protect the sneaker’s box, ask the seller to put that in a secondary, outer-wrapping box. The responsibility is on your side, even though most of the time sellers do that automatically.

Mention this in the PayPal invoice — this can prevent a lot of headaches with the shipping company as well (the original box can open during shipment, shoes are lost and my point is made again with the insurance).

Ask for double box when buying sneakers
This is what happens when items are not double-boxed

The bottom line

If there are still doubts in your mind about what you’re buying, make sure you have a look at the longer version of this guide.

There, you’ll find an exhaustive guide that goes deep as possible into this topic, exploring everything that could go wrong.

Also, if you need our opinion on a specific item, a personalized legit check is a service that we offer:

Get our opinion

Ideally you will be safe if you stick to using the reliable methods we’ve described above — if there’s any new scam you’ve heard about or some extra way to stay safe, feel free to contact us and tell us about it.

Buy safely,
Ch Daniel

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About the Author

Ch Daniel is the co-founder and co-CEO of Legit Check By Ch, one of the world's leading companies in product authentications. Daniel's experience: 8+ years in the luxury industry, 7+ years in the authentication industry, 10+ years of business development. Currently, Daniel is overseeing the development of new products of Legit Check By Ch.
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