How To Buy Designer Handbags Cheap?


I want to thank all BRAGMYBAG contributors who were willing to drop a comment at our site and share their valuable knowledge on designer handbags for the community. This article is a summary of how to buy designer handbags cheap.

I am going be straight forward…

The timeless, the classics, the iconic and the ‘IT’ bags that we all love so much can’t be bought CHEAP. There’s a price to be paid. Period!

But because the world is separated in different countries and thus has different government regulation, there’s a way to take advantage of it. And in some cases, the more expensive your handbags, the more discount you can get.

Europe VAT-refund (Tax-refund)
One of the most common discussion on BRAGMYBAG to buy your designer handbag cheap is to travel to Europe and take advantage of the vat-refund. VAT, short for Value added tax, is tax regulation enact in all European country. It’s actually tax on the top of the sales price of a product or service. To get tax-refund you have to be a NON-EU residents.

Most common questions:

How much tax-refund can I get?
Well, this depends on different factors:

1. Each country has their own VAT regulation. The Netherlands has 21%, but Greece has 23% VAT.
2. Depends on the ‘affiliate company’ you use. To get tax-refund, you have to use an affiliate company that process can process your check. For the administration work, you need to pay a fee.

Generally the tax-refund will be around 12 to 14%.

Greece has 23% VAT, so I get 23% tax-return right?
No, it doesn’t work that way. Mathematically, if you calculate the percentage back, your discount in percentage will be lower. Let me clarify this through an example:

Let’s say your bag cost €1,230, which includes 23% VAT. To pull the sales price apart, you get:

€ 1,000 EUR = price of your bag
€ 230 EUR = 23% VAT

Total sales price including VAT = €1,230, right?

So your tax-refund is actually €230 EUR, but that’s not 23% discount if you calculate it backwards from €1,230. Let me clarify again:

€230 (your VAT return) / €1,230 (sales price including VAT) = 18,7% procent, so your discount is actually 19%.

But why am I getting 12 – 14% discount then? Where’s the rest of my money?

Well, the affiliate company needs to earn money. For the administration work they do, they will have to charge you the commission.

I am going to London, Paris and Rome, where do I file for tax-refund?
You have to file tax-refund at your last European country you are in. So in this case, it’s Rome.

How to file for VAT-refund?
First off, you need all documents, especially the receipts. Ask the SA to give you all the papers you need. The custom can find all the information in the documents about the handbag you bought. Get the custom to stamp your papers and give you a check, usually at the Airport.

Take the check to an affiliate company to process your application, you will be able to find one on the Airport. You can get your VAT back either through cash or credit card.

OMG, I am back home and I didn’t filed the VAT -refund. Will I still be able to get it?
Yes, but in a more slower way. How the process goes depends on the country. But you need the papers, without it you can forget about the vat-refund.

Asia and Europe
A lot of conversation has been going on about the prices of designer handbags in Asia. So buying in Paris will be cheaper anyway, but you need to invest in the air ticket and hotel to get here.

Designer handbag boutiques are Airports tax-free areas
Also for European residents, you can get designer handbag in boutiques located at airports in the tax-free areas. Chanel boutique has one at the Heathrow airport, but unfortunately, they don’t stock iconic bag anymore, but seasonal and other gorgeous products are still available.

Designer Handbags Sales Tax Advantage in United States – by Linh
Oregon in the United States don’t charge sale tax. But there’s just one Chanel boutique, located in Nordstrom. This will help you save 9,5% on sale tax.

Other states that don’t charge sales tax: Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire and Delaware. Oregon resident can also shop tax-free in Seatle if you can show you identity like passport or driver license.

I think this sums everything up. I hope this post will help you purchasing your dream bag. And if you have been more than once at BRAGMYBAG, you will know that you can ask us anything and we will respond ASAP (our community is also very helpful). Thanks for reading and please support us by liking this post.


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  • Caroline


    I am going to Greece this summer. Will a Gucci bag be less there than in the US?

    May 2, 2021
  • Christina T


    I’m planning to buy the Chanel medium classic flap in grained calfskin either the quilted or chevron, I haven’t decided or maybe that decision will be made on availability. I’m going to Rome, Venice, Cannes and Barcelona, which is the best place to buy from? I’m traveling from Canada. Thank you for your time.

    May 5, 2018
  • Polina


    I will go to London this summer in July. Will there be sales on Bond Street in Gucci, Prada and other Boutiques ? Maybe some of you know..

    January 24, 2018
  • Carole


    Hi Alex,
    I love your blog. I will be traveling to Portugal in the fall. I know they have Chanel in the Stavali store there in Lisbon. We may be going to Amsterdam too, but the blogs I’ve read say that the sales associates are not very friendly. Two questions. Do you know much about the inventory of Chanel in Portugal and if there is a lot of variety? I’m interested in a boy bag. Also, do you know much regarding how easy the VAT refund is at the airport in Portugal? When we travelled to Spain, we filled out all the VAT paperwork and submitted it. We never got a refund. I’m hoping Portugal is better. Is there a Global Blue where I can get a refund on the spot? I’m still thinking it’s cheaper to buy in Europe as per your article.


    January 8, 2018
    • Alex


      Hi Carole, let me try to answer your questions:
      1). Two questions. Do you know much about the inventory of Chanel in Portugal and if there is a lot of variety? We have much info about the stock there, but there is only one boutique, so the selection should not be that variety.

      2). I’m interested in a boy bag. Which Boy Bag are you looking for? The Classic Boy Bag?

      3). Also, do you know much regarding how easy the VAT refund is at the airport in Portugal? The bags are VAT included when you check-out. You need to go to the airport, there are tax-refund counters there. It’s very easy:
      – when you buy the bag, ask the SA for the tax refund documents. She will fill in a form together with you and you take that form with the original receipt.
      – show the form and receipt to the custom to get a stamp
      – take the form with stamp to the tax-refund counter, which is usually available at the airport. Ask the custom for more details.

      Also if you’re unsure, the SA will tell you everything you need as she is familiar with such process.

      The amount of VAT refund you get is available here:

      All classic bag prices with VAT are here:

      We have also seasonal bag prices.

      When we travelled to Spain, we filled out all the VAT paperwork and submitted it. We never got a refund. I don’t understand this? Because you should get the refund, why didn’t you get it?

      January 13, 2018
  • Lysha


    Hi Alex,

    Thank you for your patience in answering all our queries. Can I check is there any VAT refund counter in ROME city area? I thought of buying my LV bag in ROME since Italy has the highest tax refund. If there is, will the amount of tax refund will be the same in city and airport? Or City tax refund counter will be lesser bcos of admin fee?

    November 2, 2017
    • Alex


      Hi Lysha, the 14% VAT refund rate that we’ve calculated are already including the admin fee. You can find a VAT refund counter in Rome City, it’s called Global Blue (there are more companies). The VAT refund rate is the same in the city and at the airport.

      November 4, 2017
  • Renee


    Just to share with you all, it was nearly impossible to buy my dream bag (Chanel Boy in old medium Lambskin and silver hardware), after I visited every Chanel store in Singapore and Honolulu, I finally scored mine at Wynn – Las Vegas (after I checked the Bellagio store)….

    October 19, 2017
    • Alex


      Hey Renee, congrats with your new bag. Your bag is even more valuable now that you know that its very hard to get. I also heard this classic bag is soldout everywhere, especially in black. Which color did you choose?

      October 21, 2017
      • Renee


        Hi Alex!
        I scored the black bag. My dream came true…
        In Honolulu they had the black caviar with gold hardware, but I didn’t want to settle for less…

        October 25, 2017
        • Alex


          Renee, congrats with your new bag. It’s good that you won’t settle less, because this bag is not easy to find. And now you own a limited piece.

          October 30, 2017
  • Lysha



    I am flying to Rome and Paris. I plan to buy LV bag at the airport. I have read above that Italy has the highest VAT refund. So I am planning to buy in ROME airport (FCO). Is there any LV boutique in ROME airport? The price of the bag is already inclusive of VAT or without the VAT?
    Can I assume that boutique in the city and airport are having the same procedure? Buy the bag then claim the VAT refund at the counter?

    October 11, 2017

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