With Ray-Ban sunglasses selling at premium prices, there is little joy in finding that your favourite shades are actually fakes.
And it's not as though you can guarantee that just because you shelled out some big bucks, you must have bought the genuine article.
There are plenty of people out there hoping to make fools of the gullible and stupid by passing off fake Ray-Bans as the genuine product.
That said, you can get still bag a bargain if you shop in the right place and genuine Ray-Bans do come up for sale at very competitive prices.
And a trusted source is one of the first tests in the checklist of ways to spot fake Ray-Bans.
Websites that sell the genuine thing must be registered with Ray-Ban's owner Luxottica as an authorised dealer and AlphaSunglasses is fully signed up and registered to provide good deals on original Italian-made Ray-Bans.
You can wear glasses from AlphaSunglasses, confident in the knowledge that you have settled for nothing but the best, even though you may have paid a lot less than you would elsewhere.
But there are other ways to make sure you've not parted with your hard-earned cash only to be sold a fake. Here are a few tips on telling the difference between the genuine product and cut-price imitations.
Run a finger around the upper edge of the glasses frame, especially above the lenses and along the arms where they touch the ears.
If you can feel the seam or hit any rough spots, the glasses are almost certainly not genuine and original Ray-Bans.
Most sunglasses frames are made of laminated plastic with front and backs glued together around the lens.
All genuine Ray-Ban glasses are cut from a single piece of acetate to ensure the highest quality and uniformity in the final product.
The acetate Ray-Ban frame is not only made from top quality materials it is also hand-polished and carefully checked to ensure a perfect finish.
Fake Ray-Bans will most likely be manufactured using obsolete equipment, out-of-date laminating techniques, machine polishing and no quality checks so a less than perfect finish is a dead giveaway.
Inspect the hinges carefully to ensure they are made of solid metal and are bolted cleanly to the glasses frame this is a sure-fire way to spot a fake.
If the metal looks cheap, if the hinges are glued in place, if they are welded onto separate pieces of plastic or are either too stiff or too loose they will not be the genuine item.
Hinges are pretty much the only moving parts in a pair of sunglasses and Ray-Ban take great care to produce high quality, durable metal hinges that are cleanly bolted to the frame.
Any model made before 2010 will have seven-finger hinges, while those made after 2010 will have three.
Ray-Ban glasses models such as Aviator and Clubmaster use different hinge mechanisms, but all will be constructed of reliable, robust and high-quality metal and attached with screws.
Basically, genuine Ray-Ban sunglasses will have proper metal hinges while fakes will have cheap plastic ones.
All Ray-Ban parts use top quality materials, even for the small pads that ensure the glasses sit firmly on your nose.
Ray-Ban nose pads are usually manufactured from a rubbery silicone that feels firm but soft and comfortable.
Some, but not all, Ray-Bans will also have a little RB logo etched under the transparent resin pad. For Aviators, also check that the size code is etched under the nose bar and matches the code on the inside left temple arm.
Whatever, the nose pads should exude quality. Beware if they appear fragile, poorly made or manufactured from hard plastic.
Genuine Ray-Bans have the RB logo etched into one of the lenses. The logo can often be imperceptible unless held up to the light.
Run your finger slowly over the lens logo, and you should hardly be able to feel it. Check it against the log on the box to ensure it is a perfect match.
If the Ray-Ban logo has been stuck onto the lens, has rough edges or looks sloppy in any way, you can be pretty sure they are fakes.
Don't be disappointed if the logo says BL instead of RB. Models made before 2000 will have the Bausch & Lomb logo, the Italian company that formerly owned Ray-Ban.
The inside left temple arm should have the letters RB followed by the model number etched, along with the size code.
The number should be clearly printed, properly centred and aligned perfectly with the arm. The same goes for the inside right temple arm with details of the Ray-Ban model and state 'Made in Italy' with a stylised CE for European certification.
All the serial and manufacturing numbers should match those on the packaging. If they don't, the glasses will almost certainly be fake.
Although this applies to most Ray-Bans, thin-armed models such as Aviators may not have this feature.
The numbers should all comply with the following:
And finally, check the logo on the temple of the glasses. It should be cleanly attached, be flush with the arm, and not stuck or glued on.
The arms of thin metal glasses may not have this feature, but conventional arms should feel robust and weighty as genuine Ray-Bans have a metal frame structure inside the plastic.
There are several other giveaway signs that can signal a fake pair of Ray-Bans. New glasses come boxed with a large white shipping label. The label information should correspond with the sunglasses.
All Ray-Bans should come with a carry case made of quality material that feels like real leather, have a shiny gold logo on the front left and good, clean stitching.
Ray-Bans usually come packed with a small booklet. The print quality should be flawless on quality paper with no spelling errors or typos.
A small cleaning cloth is always included in its own plastic bag. The fabric should be smooth textured, of quality material with neat stitching.
Now, a lot of people think Ray-Bans overpriced and that you are just paying for the label. Well, Ray-Bans certainly aren't cheap, and there is little doubt that the branding markup on these sunglasses is not trivial.
But don't be fooled into thinking that fake Ray-Bans are just a good as the originals. Cheap substitutes may not provide full UV protection and lenses that are just dark tinted cold harm your eyes.
Ray-Bans also guarantees the use of high-quality materials that will last longer and perform better. And if they do need repair you need only look to AlphaOmega Frame Repairs for a top class repair with original and genuine glasses' parts and lenses.
Probably most important – genuine Ray-Bans just look so cool and classy, and your friends don't need to be an expert to spot a fake.
Remember also; fakes will not carry a warranty (Ray-Bans come with a two-year warranty), and they are much more likely to break.