Lauren Harano | 

Is The RealReal Legit? Here's What to Know Before Shopping

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If you want to find second-hand designer items for affordable prices, the best place to shop is The RealReal. This online consignment website is the go-to place for people to buy and sell authenticated high-end fashion and luxury items. It has been around since 2011, and since then, it has become a trusted site for people to shop at when they’re looking to buy pre-owned designer items or sell their own luxury items. But still, people wonder: Is the RealReal legit, and is it safe to shop from?

What makes The RealReal stand out is that they have a very meticulous authentication process that helps make sure every item that’s listed on its platform is genuine and not fake. But, some people think The RealReal is a scam because luxury items are super susceptible to counterfeiting.

Spoiler alert: It’s safe to shop online, in-app, or in-store at The RealReal. But as always, you have to be careful with secondhand items. Here’s how you can buy luxury items for cheap at The RealReal, plus how to sell your own things to make money.

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A Little About The RealReal

a person holding three purses on their arm

The RealReal is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell luxury items. It has gained a ton of popularity in recent years since more people want designer items for cheaper prices. Customers can shop from and explore a wide range of categories, including clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, and even home decor.

The company’s team of experts carefully evaluates and authenticates each item that’s sold on The RealReal, guaranteeing that it’s authentic and in good condition. This makes it a better place to shop for luxury and designer items as opposed to a thrift store since authentication isn’t a priority at your everyday thrift.

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Why is The RealReal cheap?

The RealReal is cheap for a couple of main reasons.

  1. First, they sell consignment items, meaning that the items listed on their platform are previously owned. This means that everything on the site is cheaper than it would be if you were to buy it new.
  2. Secondly, some items might be older or not in high demand, which allows you to snag them at cheap prices. You might also be able to bargain for items and get them for less.


Is The RealReal ethical?

A woman sitting on a couch, using a laptop.

The RealReal can be considered ethical since it essentially supports sustainable fashion. By letting people consign and purchase pre-owned luxury items, this company helps reduce waste and extend the overall lifespan of countless fashion products.



Why Do People Think The RealReal Is a Scam?

People worry The RealReal is a scam because they’re scared of getting counterfeit products.

Despite The RealReal’s thorough authentication process, there were a few isolated incidents where counterfeit items were listed on the platform. YouTuber Kayviana Holland shared an instance where she (unknowingly) bought a fake Tory Burch bag from The RealReal in 2021. Holland was able to communicate this error to The RealReal and get a refund, but it took her eight months and getting the item deauthenticated by a third-party seller to do so.

Instances like these can make people less likely to trust the site and can lead to some worrying that the company’s not effectively checking for counterfeit products. However, this is a risk every shopper takes when shopping secondhand.


Sometimes the customer service isn’t great.

There have been some reports of delayed shipping, difficulties in contacting customer support, and inconsistencies in item descriptions. While these things are bound to happen at big companies, some people have stopped shopping here because of this. To avoid this, try reaching out to customer service as soon as you notice an issue or have a question.


So … Is The RealReal Legit or Not?

the exterior of the real real store

Yes, The RealReal is legit.

If you want to snag discounted designer and luxury items, you can shop at The RealReal because it’s a legitimate company. It has a good reputation thanks to their rigorous authentication process, which ensures that the luxury items listed are real.

On top of that, The RealReal has secure and reliable transaction processes, (like credit card, PayPal, and Affirm) which means you will be able to get your money back if something happens. Finally, shopping second-hand helps the environment and saves you money.


You can find great luxury items at up to 75% less on The RealReal.

The RealReal is a great place to go if you’re looking for discounted designer items. I will usually surf around the site to see what’s new as well as see if anything catches my eye. They usually have really cool items, and they’re nowhere near as expensive as they would be if you bought them first-hand.

For example, right now you can get a Louis Vutton Monogram Speedy 35 bag for $750. The estimated retail for this bag is $1,620 — that’s nearly 60% off.

The RealReal also always has a sale section where you can shop items at up to 75% off popular brands. I’ve seen items from Reformation, Gucci, and Canada Goose on there, and it’s worth checking out.


Tips for shopping at The RealReal

1. Sign up for email promotions and get a $25 site credit on your first order.

If it’s your first time shopping on the site or in-app, you can take advantage of an always-available promotion where you’ll get a $25 credit after signing up for marketing emails.

2. Look out for sales.

Luckily, sales at The RealReal happen often. At the time of writing this, I could score 20% off any purchase with the code REAL. And yep, you can stack this timely sale on top of your already discounted item.

3. Thoroughly read item descriptions.

Take it from me, it’s important to carefully review the descriptions and condition reports of any product you want to buy. (You can find this info on the product page). These details offer super valuable insights into the condition, size, and any potential flaws or wear of the item. Plus, it’s worth paying attention to the measurements, material, and other features of any product before you buy it.

4. Chat with the experts to verify the authenticity of each product.

One of The RealReal’s best features is its authentication process. However, if you have concerns about a specific item you want to buy, you can request additional information or chat with experts to make sure it’s authentic. Pro tip: If you’re really wary, it might be worth it to familiarize yourself with the brand’s authentication features. Plus, you can really examine any images that are provided to spot any red flags or discrepancies.

5. Always compare prices.

Before buying anything, it’s worthwhile to research the market value of the item you’re interested in. Compare prices on The RealReal to other reputable resale platforms or even new retail prices. This will help you gauge whether the listed price offers a fair deal and know how much you’ll save.


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