How To Buy Designer Handbags Cheap?

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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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370 Comments

  1. Hara October 10, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I will go to London this early November and I will arrive London then I will back to my country through Edinburgh airport, I want to buy Chanel, Dior and LV. Any comment to buy the cheapest price in these place?

  2. Morgan September 16, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’m from the uk. Will I get tax back if I go to the US or Dubai or hong kong etc??

    • Alex September 20, 2017 Reply

      Hi Morgan, please read our tax-refund guide:
      https://www.bragmybag.com/category/tax-refund/

      There are specific articles about claiming tax-refund in the US, HK and Dubai.

      In short:
      US: A few states do tax-refund, but don’t have much high fashion stores. Most states you cannot claim sales tax back.

      Dubai and Hong Kong: Both cities don’t have sales tax, VAT or GST, which means there is no need for tax refund. Also Dubai and HK prices for high fashion are mostly higher than in Europe (and UK).

  3. Renee September 7, 2017 Reply

    Hi everyone,

    I am so confused with all the prices, can somebody help me out, please?
    I want to buy a classic boy bag in size medium (or the new medium), and about to visit Heathrow Airport, Singapore and the US, where should I buy the bag?

    I am not a citizen of none of those countries I will be visiting…

    Thanks in advance for the advise

    • Cynthia September 8, 2017 Reply

      HI Renee, the Classic Boy Bag is an iconic bag and will not be available at Heathrow airport. Singapore is usually more expensive than in the US, can you check the prices here: https://www.bragmybag.com/chanel-bags-prices/

      Convert the prices to your own currency.

      • Renee October 19, 2017 Reply

        Thank you very much!

  4. Selina July 26, 2017 Reply

    Hello 🙂 I love this post and reading the threads ! I am heading to Paris, Barcelona and Milan in September via Dubai and have a Gucci marmont camera bag (small) and an all black Chanel (preferably) chevron small/med bag on my mind to purchase. I have heard the Dubai airport is great however not sure on where best to buy these two bags ? Thank you !

    • Alex July 30, 2017 Reply

      Hi Selina, you can compare the Dubai prices here: https://www.vauntr.com/chanel-bag-price-list-in-united-arab-emirates/ (prices are always latest)

      I will help you a bit:

      The price of the M/L Classic Flap Bag is priced in Europe (Paris, Milan, Barcelona): €4480 euro with VAT. (if you are tourist, you can apply tax refund. Each EU country has their own rate of tax refund, you can see more here: https://www.bragmybag.com/vat-refund-in-europe/)

      The price of the M/L Classic Flap Bag is priced in Dubai: 18480 AED (equivalent 4281 euro as per today’s currency rate). So the designer bag is cheaper to buy in Dubai, but if you’re tourist and you get VAT refund in Europe, then it’s cheaper there.

      Europe Chanel bag prices: https://www.bragmybag.com/chanel-bags-prices/

      BTW Dubai is tax free, it’s always tax free. But that doesn’t mean that the prices are lower than in Europe. Airports have always less stock than boutiques.

  5. YN July 18, 2017 Reply

    Hi, i’m still confuse about the VAT refund.

    Can i check with you, if i wanna get Chanel Classic Flap medium, and Celine Mini Belt bag, should i get them in Milan or Zurich? I will be going Italy and Switzerland but im still trying to figure out their VAT refund.

    Thanks!

    • Alex July 18, 2017 Reply

      Hi, please read these:

      https://www.bragmybag.com/guide-to-vat-refund-in-europe/
      https://www.bragmybag.com/vat-refund-in-europe/

      If it is still confusing, let me know which questions you still have.

      • YN July 18, 2017 Reply

        thank you, now its easier when i have the chart to refer too.

        For the VAT refund, in one of the link, it mentioned that if i opt for cash, there will be lesser refund?

        And for switzerland, its going to be a fixed 8% right?

        Thanks for helping!

        • Alex July 19, 2017 Reply

          Hi YN, the lesser refund depends on the tax refund service company, some company do charge more fee when you choose cash.

          Switzerland is 8% VAT, but it doesn’t mean that you get 8% tax refund. We haven’t uploaded the tax-refund Switzerland article, but here’s a sneak peak:
          Value, Tax-refund, tax-refund in %
          5000 285 5,70%
          6000 344 5,73%
          7000 405 5,79%
          8000 480 6,00%
          9000 539 5,99%
          10000 630 6,30%

          • YN July 19, 2017

            Thanks for sharing it with me.

            Now i get a better and clearer picture of how VAT works! Thank you so much

          • Alex July 21, 2017

            Np, you can ask anytime.

  6. Bella July 9, 2017 Reply

    Hello- traveling to Italy in feb 2018 once I return from military duty.. was wondering what are the (best) stores in Milan and Florence , Tuscany to shop for LV , chanel and Prada bags or even clothes that would be much less expensive as oppose to buying them in NY.. I’m from NY.. I need store names please

    • Cynthia July 12, 2017 Reply

      Hi, check two outlets here:

      The Mall Luxury Outlet:
      Via Europa 8, 50066 Leccio Reggello (FI) – Toscana – Italia

      Serravalle Designer Outlet (near Milan)
      Via della Moda, 1
      15069
      Serravalle Scrivia (AL),
      Italia

  7. Joan June 27, 2017 Reply

    Hi, does LV in Paris have a limit for cash transaction? I wanna buy a bag there.. And i cant use credit card because i dont own one.. Planning too bring 2000 euros for my bag.

    • Alex June 30, 2017 Reply

      The limit is now set at 10.000 for non business transaction and non-resident. But any payment made above 1000 euro is required for proof of identity. T

      here is a 1000 euro cash transaction restriction, but it’s only for resident. This policy is only for France

  8. MsLeesah June 26, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’m traveling to London (Heathrow) from New York in July and am wondering if it’s worth buying a Chanel, Prada and Mulberry bags there? Also, I’m traveling to east of France and Spain in August and would like recommendation on what brand I should buy there?

    • Alex June 30, 2017 Reply

      Hi MsLeesah, how are you doing? Let me check the prices of Chanel by giving you an example:

      The price of the Chanel Classic Quilted WOC is right now:
      At retail store: £1630 GBP (retail price) minus £213 GBP (tax-refund) = £1417 GBP (converted to USD: $1844 USD)
      At Heathrow airport: £1369 GBP (converted to USD: $1781 USD)

      Just a reminder, the price of the Chanel Classic Quilted WOC in US is: $2100 USD

      At France:
      At retail store: €1865 euro (retail price) minus €223 euro (tax-refund) = €1642 euro (converted to USD: $1876 USD)

      Spain is around same price as in France. There are few things you need to know though:

      At Heathrow you will only get the tax-free deal if you fly from Heathrow to countries outside of the European Union. Airports have limited stock and choices, Chanel for example do not stock iconic bags like the boy quilted bag or the Classic Flap Bag. That’s also the reason why I calculated the WOC prices.

      I would check Chanel at Heathrow (for other bags than the iconics). Spain has low stock. Check France as well for Chanel.

      Brands like Prada and Mulberry didn’t experienced price increases. Prada double bag for example is priced at 1900 euro in Europe while in the UK its priced 1720 GBP. With tax-refund, it’s cheaper to buy in Europe.

      https://www.bragmybag.com/chanel-price-increase-report-may-2017/

      • MsLeesah July 2, 2017 Reply

        Thanks so much Alex! I’m in London now and ended up buying a Celine and Saint Laurent. Hopefully I can check out the Chanel store at Heathrow terminal 3. I’m flying back to the states. Great information! Thanks again!

        • Alex July 6, 2017 Reply

          Hi Msleesah, np. Ask us anything and anytime. We will post soon more detailed information about tax-refund process, tax-refund per country etc.. hope this info will help too in your future shopping.

  9. Mimi tran June 12, 2017 Reply

    Hello dear, im going to Spain first, then italy and end my trip in Paris. Can i or should i pay the bags with credit card ? I dont feel like carrying extra 10k cash around 3 countries. I want to get 1 chanel and couple of Louis Vuitton bags but i heard there is a long line at each store is that true? Do u have a recommendation for a best Chanel store? I will be staying in District 12 in paris i think. Thanks alot !!

    • Alex June 16, 2017 Reply

      Hi Mimi, you should pay with creditcards, in some European countries there are restrictions in purchasing goods in cash. I think Italy has a cash transaction limit for purchases up to 3000 euro. France is 1000 euro.

      Spain has limited handbags and also limited boutiques. France like Paris is very busy city, full of tourist, but they’ve a lot of boutiques. There are no lines at Chanel for as far as I know, but only sometimes at Louis Vuitton. My recommendation is to visit 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, it’s a great experience.

  10. NN May 9, 2017 Reply

    Hi! I’m traveling from NY, USA to Greece this month and was wondering which luxury handbag brands are cheaper in Greece so I can decide on what purchases to make. Thank you!

  11. Mel May 1, 2017 Reply

    Hi Cynthia,
    Your posts were awesome! Got plenty of tips from there. I will be traveling from Norway down to my last stop at Rome.
    I am going to Amsterdam, Paris, Switzerland, Milan, Venice, Rome. Looking at these few brands in particular Prada, Givenchy, Bottega, Saint Laurent, Ferragmo, Balenciaga. Where would be the best place with the best rates to buy them? I will be taking a train hence will have to give heathrow a missed.

    • Mel May 1, 2017 Reply

      Oh ya and Celine

    • Cynthia May 5, 2017 Reply

      For the best experience is Paris, its the city of high fashion. So I would def. recommend there. Tax-refund is around 12 – 13%, but I love Paris. Amsterdam is a great spot to find bags because there are less tourist bag hunters than bigger cities like Paris. The tax-refund is also almost the same as Paris. For the highest tax-refund, you need to look at Italy, tax-refund there is around 14%. Also check out the boutique in Florence, you might get some great deals there.

  12. PC April 25, 2017 Reply

    Hi there, I am from Australia will be going London and Paris in this year September. I am looking forward to buy LV and Channel bags. Could you please advise me where can I get the cheapest LV and Channel bag after the VAT? Should I get in the airport in Paris or London or the outlet bag shop. Thank you for your advise 😊.

    • Cynthia April 27, 2017 Reply

      Hi PC, London is quite expensive, I did the calculation already. London is more expensive because the price have been hiked after Brexit. So Paris is the cheapest for now. If you get it in Heathrow airport tax-free, you can get the best return in tax-refund (16%), but you need fly out of Europe from there to get the advantage. And also, Airports have lower stock than boutiques and Chanel don’t sell iconic at Heathrow airport. You can try at the CDG airport in Paris. Tax-refund in Paris is around 12 – 13%.

      Buy designer bag in Paris because its cheaper, try at the CDG airport to check whether you can find more bags and accessories.

    • PC April 27, 2017 Reply

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you for your advise. Your advise is really helpful for me.

      • Cynthia May 5, 2017 Reply

        Np, keep us updated =)

  13. Rocio April 23, 2017 Reply

    How do I figure out the LV prices for a bag in Greece. My GF is going to Greece and picking up two bags for me but I don’t know how much money to give her? I wanted to calculate price and VAT refund so that I could give her the correct amount. Two bags are favorite MM and Speddy 30
    ❤️Rosie

    • Alex April 24, 2017 Reply

      Hi Rocio, we have the latest Louis Vuitton Classic Bag Prices here: http://www.bragmybag.com/louis-vuitton-classic-bag-prices/

      The Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Bag, are you looking for the bandouliere (with strap) or without the strap, because without is cheaper. And what’s the second bag you’re looking for? I will try to calculate the prices without VAT for you.

    • Alex April 26, 2017 Reply

      Hi Rocio, let’s see:

      The Louis Vuitton Favorite MM Bag costs 750 euro, tax-refund in Greece is: 89 euro.

      The price for the Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Bag (this is not the bandouliere but the normal speedy bag) is 760 euro, tax-refund is 89 euro.

      Send us a picture here when you got the bag =)

    • Alex April 27, 2017 Reply

      Hi Rocio, latest Louis Vuitton Prices: https://www.bragmybag.com/louis-vuitton-classic-bag-prices

  14. Justine April 19, 2017 Reply

    Hi there! I will be going to Europe next week– a couple days in Paris, then will be going to Venice, Florence and Rome. We’re also stopping by Heathrow airport. Where would you recommend to buy for Gucci? I want to get the small GG marmont matelasse. I live in the US and it is listed as $1890 before taxes. Where would you suggest for me to buy it? Also do you know if the boutiques/ airport take credit cards? (Im thinking for points..)

    • Cynthia April 20, 2017 Reply

      Hi Justin,

      To buy Gucci, we would recommend Italy because of the higher tax-refund. Heathrow airport is also a great spot to buy, but the stock is limited there. If Heathrow is your last stop, I wouldn’t bet on the boutique there. The boutiques take credit card, it’s even recommended than paying with cash. Keep us updated.

  15. Miranda March 5, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’m traveling to London and Paris next month and wanted to know if there are limits on how many bags you can purchase from Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton. And does it apply to the entire trip or are can I purchase in both regions to get my VAT back? Thanks.

  16. Jennifer February 17, 2017 Reply

    I’m going to be in Hawaii, does anyone know if the prices are like mainland USA and tax? I’m looking for a Boy Bag.

    • Cynthia February 24, 2017 Reply

      Hi Jennifer, the prices in US should be all the same, as for the sales tax, we are not sure about this.

  17. whitekelvin January 17, 2017 Reply

    There are many online stores which are offering huge discounts, exciting deals and free shipping on the eve of new-year and valentines. I think you should go for online-shopping. Its a perfect time to buy the bags as you can save lot of money.

  18. Ngoc Nguyen January 5, 2017 Reply

    Hi I’m from USA, On august 2016 i went to Chanel boutique in SanFrancisco to ask the price of the Chanel mini classic flap bag (rectangle in caviar leather, gold hard ward) they said it cost $3700
    I will travel to London, Germany (Berlin, Hamburg) and Italy. Which country i should by Chanel bags for cheaper price and have more choices to buy them? Thank you!

    • Cynthia January 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi Ngoc, we recommend buying at Europe, you should be able to find your bag in Berlin. But try every store and when you find it, just buy it. This bag is cheaper in Europe than in UK.

  19. Emily December 25, 2016 Reply

    Hi,

    I live in the US but am visiting my in-laws in Canada, and flying directly to Amsterdam in a week. I was hoping to buy a Celine bag while I’m there. But will I lose out on any VAT refund since I will be returning to Canada first, and then returning home to the US? (I read on this site that there’s no return on tax for Canada.)

    Thanks for the help!

    • Cynthia January 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi Emily, did you buy the bag yet? If you buy in Amsterdam, you can claim tax back at the airport. But if you buy in Canada, you can’t claim tax back.

  20. Lee December 18, 2016 Reply

    Hi. I am going to some Europe countries next year in September such as London, Paris, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Amsterdam..I am going to buy Chanel, LV, and Prada bags. Could someone tell me which country should I buy those bags for a better price? Thanks for your help

  21. Jaque December 14, 2016 Reply

    Hi! i’m travelling in February to UK, and I’m planning to buy two Gucci Bags at Heathrow airport.
    I was wondering if the prices there are least expensive than in other stores around the city of London.
    Do you guys know? I was planning to buy the GG Marmont mini and the snake print leather top handle bag black.

    Since I’m from Brazil, I was thinking about taking dollars to buy this, since the exchange for UK is always the worst. Do you have any tips? Thanks!!

    • Cynthia December 16, 2016 Reply

      Hi Jaque, the prices at Heathrow airport tax-free area are cheaper than other stores if you calculate it without VAT. That is because the bags on Heathrow airport are already deducted with VAT and therefore you don’t need to apply for tax-refund and pay administration fee.

      The bags on Heathrow are around 16% cheaper while the bags in stores are 13% – 14% cheaper if you take VAT out.

      However, do know that the Heathrow airport stock is lower than at the boutiques. Also you can call for a personal shopper to guide you, it’s an extra service of Heathrow.

      Keep us updated!

      Oh yes, one more thing, you can call the Gucci boutique at heathrow to check their stock, whether they hv your bag. Or you can also make a reservation as well.

      Phone number: +44 20 8759 9159

  22. S December 3, 2016 Reply

    Hi, I’m going to Paris in March 2017 and I was thinking of getting Chanel and Dior.
    What currency should I pay with when using my card? my local currency or should I pay in Euro?

    Also, do you know if Chanel boutiques sell vintage bags? & do the bags in general run out quickly or do they have a large variety?

    • Cynthia December 9, 2016 Reply

      Hi S, where are you from? In Paris you always need to pay in euro, so ultimately, you need to convert from your own currency to euro anyway.

      Chanel boutiques don’t sell vintage bags, but they have vintage style that are brand-new, next week we will post one from the Cruise 2017 collection because they are seasonal. We have in our e-store vintage bags, you should check them out, we will expand the category in the future.

      In general, seasonal bags are available in store, but classic and iconic bags run out quickly. And famous seasonal bags as well.

  23. hoho December 1, 2016 Reply

    hi, im going Paris and Tuscany. Wonder where is the better place for me to buy bags ? Where can I check the price for Prada, Tods and LV ? Thanks

  24. Norman November 28, 2016 Reply

    Hi Biki, I will be having a 11hr stopover at london. Would like to know if there is much price different buying at airport and central london for LV and Prada bags..

  25. biki November 24, 2016 Reply

    Hi , I am going to Madrid and London in Christmas time. I am looking for buy Dior , Celine and Chanel . Do you know where is the cheapest to purchase those bag? I wonder if the same bag retail price will be the same in all Euro city ?Thank you 🙂

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