I recently ordered a pair of Christian Dior sunglasses from a vendor that claimed to be recognized by Taobao as a global "Daigou" - an online sales model popular in China in which personal shoppers based outside China buy products on behalf of Chinese consumers who want to avoid much higher domestic prices for many branded goods.
The vendor's Taobao storefront featured close-up photographs of the product's logo and serial number, as well as a range of certificates purporting to show the product had legally cleared Chinese customs. Taobao statistics showed that the vendor had sold 22 pairs of these sunglasses within the past month.
As a final assurance, the vendor promised to send the original purchase invoice with the product, so I put in an order for the sunglasses at a price of 936 renminbi (about $143).
I was still skeptical, knowing that Dior sunglasses can retail for $400 even outside China, but Daigou shoppers are known for shopping during sales periods and getting good prices because they buy in bulk, which helped allay my concerns.
Two days later, my parcel arrived - and I was immediately suspicious. The print and texture of the Dior logo on the sunglasses did not look the same as on a genuine case that accompanied Dior sunglasses I'd personally purchased previously in London.