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Is The Real Real Legit? What to Know Before You Shop

Is The Real Real legit? Here’s a look at my personal experience buying a designer bag from the company…

A vintage Chanel bag from The Real Real

Wondering if The Real Real is legit? If you’re about to drop $1,000 or more on a pre-loved luxury item, you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal. This was my personal concern when I was shopping for a vintage Chanel double flap bag. I didn’t want to spend $5,000 on a brand new bag but I was still planning to spend $2,000 on the secondhand one …. so it had better be real.

The good news?

The Real Real is legit, and so is my Chanel bag. Since then, I’ve purchased a number of other luxury or contemporary items from TheRealReal, including an Isabel Marant belt, a Tory Burch dress, and a Rodarte shirt, and they’ve always been legit and authentic.

From both my personal experience, and my research on the brand, The Real Real is one of the best online luxury consignment boutiques.

Here’s everything you’ll want to know about The Real Real before you make a purchase of your own.

Is The Real Real Authentic?

One of the reasons I chose to purchase a designer bag at The Real Real is because the site is authentic, and they have a stringent policy against fakes. I did a lot of research about the company before buying the Chanel bag, and in that research I read the “authenticity” section of the company’s website, which I found very helpful in easing any concerns I had.

The gist of it is that The Real Real employs a team of authenticators who make sure the items the site lists are actually designer pieces. Their authenticators include gemologists, former employees of Saks Fifth Avenue, former magazine editors, eBay super-sellers, and more.

According to the company, The Real Real “The RealReal” has the most rigorous authentication process in the marketplace..

Here’s a look at some of the company’s authentication standards, according to their website:

  • We are the only resale company in the world that authenticates every single item we sell—and there is no other resale company doing more to remove fakes from the market every day and put counterfeiters out of business.
  • We have worked tirelessly to gain and maintain your trust by creating a safe, reputable marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment.
  • We employ hundreds of experts and brand authenticators, including gemologists and horologists, who inspect thousands of items each day in our TRR Authentication Centers.*
  • Our authentication process and all of our internal processes are changing constantly, driven by new technologies like TRR Vision and TRR Shield that use machine learning and AI.
  • In-house innovations like TRR Vision and TRR Shield are created in the TRR Authentication Labs where experts in authentication, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning collaborate to fight counterfeit products.

Most importantly, if a customer ever does have a question on an item, TheRealReal will work with the customer to make sure the item is real or the customer is happy. The company says “We stand behind our business and importantly, if our customers aren’t happy, or if they ever question one of our products, we always make it right.”

Is it safe to purchase from The Real Real?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to purchase from TheRealReal. In addition to authenticating their items, TheRealReal also offers a return policy, so if you don’t love your item, you can send it back.

The return window is short, at just 14 days to initiate a return and 21 days from the purchase date to send an item back, so you’ll want to decide quicky.

Another thing to note, is that you also have a short window to cancel orders if you change your mind about something.

My husband actually first purchased a Chanel bag on TheRealReal site as a gift for me, but he told me about it and I asked to see a photo because I was excited. Turn out, he actually bought a navy blue bag, not black, which was the color I wanted. I ended up emailing the company before the bag shipped, and I was able to cancel the order and purchase the black bag instead.

What is The Real Real?

Wondering how TRR works? Basically, The Real Real is a luxury consignment marketplace. They offer a way for consignors to sell gently used luxury items, as well as for buyers to purchase these items for less than retail.

Unlike sites like eBay, where sellers ship good directly to buyers, TheRealReal acts as a middleman between the buys and seller, and actually houses and ships all of its items so they can authenticate the items properly first.

TRR is also particular about they type and brand of designer items they will accept and sell. Like many consignment shops, they choose items that are in demand and in good quality. TRR offers a few different ways for sellers to have items vetted by their team: A rep from TRR can go to a seller’s house to see and choose items, a seller can bring items into one of TRR’s physical stores, or a seller can check the list of brands and items types TRR accepts, and ship items to the company for vetting.

How is TheRealReal Different than Poshmark and other secondhand sites?

Like eBay or Mercari, Poshmark is a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers directly. TheRealReal, on the other hand, acts as a middleman between the buyer and seller in order to authenticate the products it lists and sells.

This is good news if you’re planning to spend a lot of money on a high-end item, since you’ll be able to shop confidently knowing the product you’re getting is the real thing.