BUYING ONLINE: GET THE FACTS
Dress designers spend millions each season to produce their beautiful collections, and local salons spend their time and money curating these collections to bring the best to YOU, their customer. Enter the age of the internet, where buying online has become enticing for brides who are looking for a great dress at a cheap price. But are they really getting a good deal? The counterfeit crisis has plagued the wedding fashion industry for years, but has escalated with online purchasing. It is also not an exclusive issue for brides; it's a problem that crosses all lines of formal wear, including prom, pageant and bridesmaids dresses. Dress designs and their pictures are stolen from legitimate wedding gown designers, and advertised on fake websites. Then, shoddy knock-off dresses are created and sold on the internet to deceive and defraud innocent buyers.
We urge you to beware of counterfeits when shopping online, and offer the following tips:
- Find the designer's website and use the "Store Locator" for a list of retailers authorized to sell their collections. If there are no stores listed, then you are likely on a copycat website and not purchasing from the true designer.
- Knockoff websites steal and use images of authentic designer dresses to lure unsuspecting buyers for that "deep discount". Cropped photos could be an attempt to disguise copyrighted images. If the models' heads are cropped off in the photos, the site is likely using the images without the designer's permission.
- The "Contact Us" page on a legitimate designer's website should provide a phone number and address (preferably within the U.S.), not just an email for customer service. If the site has a phone number or address in China, that's a RED FLAG. Some U.S. phone numbers simply forward calls overseas.
- In most cases, authorized retailers of designers cannot accept returns unless the merchandise has a factory defect. Beware of sites that claim you can return a dress for a full refund.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you find a $1500 designer gown on a website for $300 brand new, you will most likely receive a dress that looks nothing like the picture and is sewn with the cheapest materials.