With the huge popularity of Manchester United shirts around the world, they are one of the most faked shirts you can find, especially in the UK. You'll find them for sale on eBay, Depop, Facebook market place and more, but how can you spot the fakes? Here is my guide to not getting stung with fake shirts when buying online.
Covered on this guide
Adidas - 2015 onwards
Nike - 2002 - 2014
How to check shirts on eBay/ Depop/ Facebook
Fake shirts are illegal and cannot be sold in the UK regardless of if you say they're fake. These shirts are mass-produced by cheap labour and have been linked to poor human rights and organised crime. It is not okay to buy them because they're cheaper.
You will find them to be of poorer quality and sized incorrectly. It is quite common for the sponsor or name prints to come off after a couple of washes. If you want a cheaper shirt than the usual £65+ new shirt I would suggest looking for a vintage Manchester United shirt from 2003 onwards. These will last better and don't need replacing every year.
Spotting Fake Manchester United Adidas Shirts
Adidas has been producing United shirts since 2015 and there are many fakes around. As a football shirt seller, I get offered these via DM's on Instagram. They're always "great quality" and "you'd never tell the difference" - but you can!
Over the past few seasons some of the fakes have been getting better but they are still noticeable as fakes. Here is an example of shirts that can be bought from China from 1 shirt to over 1,000 shirts.
The quickest and easiest way to identify if they are genuine is to check the Adidas code inside the neck. There are 3 numbers on it. You just need to know the middle number. You can then check the shirt on my Manchester United Adidas code checker. This will show you if it is the correct code. If the seller will not give you the code or the label has been "cut out" then don't buy them!
The easiest way to spot the current season's fakes is simply the price. All major retailers sell them at the same price at the start of the season, around £65 for the standard adult shirt. You can get the fakes usually for around £30 a shirt which is glaringly obvious that they are fake.
There are some fakes that you will see regularly on counterfeit shirts, including Adidas code CW1526. I post any trending fakes on my blog.
Spotting Fake Manchester Nike Adidas Shirts
Due to the poor quality of counterfeit shirts, especially when we go back a few years, I find less and less of them around. They either fall apart or get filtered out by buyers who are aware that they are legally worthless.
Here is an example of a common fake - the 07/08 home shirt. For some reason, TEVEZ is a popular fake. If this was a genuine shirt it would be around a £100-£150 price tag.
Like Adidas, Nike also has codes inside the shirt to check they are authentic. These are by the wash label and can have 2 or 3 codes on them. Sometimes the labels have the Nike tick but the older shirts don't. Again a quick check f the code on the MUFC Nike code checker, or a Google search of the code will usually identify the shirt.
Always ask the buyer to see this label. The vast majority of fake Nike United shirts from the 2000s will not have this label at all.
Other than the labels compare the shirts to United shirts for sale from reputable suppliers (You can see all my Manchester United shirts for sale here). The MUFC badges are usually poor quality on the fakes and the sponsor print usually shows signs of wear.
Common fakes to look out for
- New with tags - These are fake remakes of older shirts. If you see a BNWT shirt for sale from the Adidas period for less than £50 for the newer shirts or less than £80 for the older shirts it is probably fake.
- Long sleeves - For some reason counterfeits seem to love a long sleeve remake. Long sleeves were only sold in small batches at this time and command a high premium. Again if they seem too cheap then they're probably not authentic - Excluding goal keeper shirts which are long sleeve 90% of the time.
- Beckham 7 - A hugely popular player and print on shirts in the first year of Nike shirts. His name is popular on fakes, pay closer attention to anything with BECKHAM 7 on the back.
How to identify fake MUFC shirts on eBay, Depop and Facebook
On eBay, the easiest way is to see if the photos of the shirt have the Adidas code on. If not message the seller and ask for a photo of them. It is usually as easy as that. If they are fake then avoid them and you can report them to eBay.
You can always return any counterfeit shirts bought on eBay by going to open a return and opening it as not described. This will get you your money back 99% of the time.
On Depop and Facebook, a similar method applies - ask the seller. It is very rare for a seller to say they are authentic and send a photo of the correct codes and then send a fake - although I have had this happen once on eBay.
Depop has a counterfeit guarantee to cover buyers if you are sold a fake. You can also report them to Depop via the listings.
Facebook is a little harder and is a place I avoid buying shirts. They do have a guarantee but it is tricky to get your money back from what I have read. If you do buy on Facebook and it's being delivered then only pay via PayPal goods and services as this offers you a level of protection to ask for a refund when the goods arrive.