Buying Vintage Sunglasses: Buyer Beware!

Fakes & Counterfeits. Condition Lies & Deception. Reproductions. No Returns.

When you're buying vintage sunglasses that are 25 to 100 years old that counterfeiters know are worth more than new models being produced today you need a trusted source. Several hundred people want our help each year after having been cheated on eBay, Etsy, Mercari, and other websites by sellers of counterfeits, reproductions, vintage frames with cheap replacement lenses, or by deceptive practices lying about, omitting or downplaying serious condition issues. They'll casually reference "minor" lens scratches from "typical" or "normal" wear that miraculously "can't be seen when wearing", "aren't noticeable", or that don't "obstruct" or "impair" vision. They lie about condition and use meaningless numeric rating scales for condition that won't match your own, and they use vague and imprecise terms to describe condition to get high prices for junk while protecting themselves against giving refunds. See some real examples of how auction sellers through lies, deception and ignorance mislead and defraud buyers. Some would be funny if so many people weren't getting cheated.


Eyewear industry research shows that over 45% of all vintage designer sunglasses being sold in auctions are fakes, reproductions, or have non original lenses or parts. Learning how to identify fake and counterfeit sunglasses requires deep expertise and is usually impossible to do from pictures alone. Ebay and Etsy both have vintage sunglasses sellers or "stores" that put aftermarket lenses in authentic frames, assemble alleged "new old stock" from surplus and third party parts, and sell easy to obtain Malaysian and Chinese fakes which can look good to an untrained eye. Counterfeiters know that many vintage styles of a given brand bring higher prices than new styles, so they buy one authentic vintage pair and then copy it - often including stickers, tags, boxes, and warranties. Counterfeit sunglasses are sold knowingly by a small group of sellers mostly on eBay and Etsy, companies that lack the knowledge and the will to police it.


For a time a lot of the counterfeits originated in Malaysia but lately there have been a flood of Japanese sellers especially on ebay selling fakes of everything from Ray-Bans to Oakleys. When you see auction and craft sellers with never ending supplies of 20+ year old sunglasses including "new old stock" with tags and stickers just ask yourself how an individual or some sham business is realistically going to have this vast inventory. But most fakes are sold unknowingly by regular people who have purchased fakes over the years and then resell them. This is how counterfeit sunglasses propagate through the marketplace, even by honest sellers who just don't know that they themselves have been cheated and yet confidently insist their sunglasses are "100% authentic".


So when you buy on these anonymous buyer - seller websites you end up depending on a total stranger to have real knowledge and tell you the truth about what can be a major purchase. In the event you discover you've been deceived and cheated, you'll find the sellers hide behind no return policies. In rare cases when you can escalate a claim you'll talk to the company's offshore call center and a third party will be the arbiter of often ugly back and forth accusations and conflicting claims of truthfulness between you and the seller. Meanwhile, the seller has your money and you have worthless sunglasses, often without even basic UV protection so you can really harm your eyes as well.


The Vintage Sunglasses Shop has a reputation that's stood the test of time since 1998, offers returns and refunds for any reason within 7 days of receipt, and has unmatched expert knowledge to protect you from fakes, reproductions, and ignorance. We continue to serve our customers around the world and protect their investments - and their eyes - while providing the world's largest selection of rare and authentic vintage designer sunglasses from the 1930s through the 1990s.

You Can Trust The Vintage Sunglasses Shop

The Vintage Sunglasses Shop is the world's largest retailer of authentic vintage designer sunglasses in operation since 1998. We are here to protect your investment - and your eyes; read about our vetting process and our condition & authenticity guarantee. If you are ever displeased with anything you buy here, you can return it for a full refund - no questions asked.

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We buy finer vintage designer sunglasses that meet our standards; learn how to sell your vintage sunglasses at good prices with no fees, hassles, or uncertainties.

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