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Before Ordering Your Prom or Bridal Gown Online…. Beware!
You’ve searched hours, weeks or even months online scanning dozens of websites for your dream dress. Then you find a site with fantastic prices that beat the competition. The site features the same photos of dresses from designers that you recognize and respect. But the prices are half – or even less. Better yet, they offer to custom make your dress to fit your measurements instead of buying an off-the-rack size. Sound too good to be true? Well, then it probably is! If you’re tempted to order a dress online and the price is super cheap, think again. The Internet is recently flooded with hundreds of websites selling knock-offs dresses. Instead of getting an authentic designer dress at a ridiculously low price, what you risk getting is a cheap counterfeit version coming to you directly from a factory in China.
Delivery to your home can take up to 30 days or longer and might not reach you in time for your event… and that’s if you even receive your order at all.
If you do get a dress from a knock-off site, it may or may not look like the picture on their website. Many times the Chinese factories behind the slick websites use the designers’ copyrighted photos without permission. But the counterfeit sites lack the original patterns needed to sew the dresses. Instead, they try to duplicate them based on the photo taken by the original designer. As a result, a lot of guess work goes into the dress when it comes to construction, fabric and embellishments like beading.
Do you really want to leave your once-in-a-lifetime-event prom dress or wedding dress to chance?
Here’s how to spot a website selling knock-offs or counterfeit dresses:
If designers are named on a website, find that designer’s website. Then check the Store Locator for a list of retailers that are authorized to sell their dresses. If the store is not listed, then beware that they are not selling true designer gowns.
The Contact Us page should have a phone number and address listed that is in the United States, not just an email, for customer service. If the site has a phone number or address in China, that’s a red flag. It might be difficult to contact them about your order given the time difference and the language barrier.
If the website claims that you can return the dress for a full refund you can be fairly certain that this is a China website. In most cases, Authorized Retailers for these dresses cannot take returns unless the merchandise has a factory defect.
The websites requests more than a few of your body measurements. Professional dress and bridal shops in the USA typically rely on three to four key measurements as provided on size charts created by the designers.
If the models heads are cropped off in the photos, this could be an attempt to try to disguise copyrighted photos the counterfeit sites are using without the permission of the designers.
Before placing your order with one of these sites:
Do your homework before placing your order with one of these sites. Research their policies and check with online forums for reviews. Google a website’s name and “complaints”.
Do not plan on getting a refund or returning the unwanted dress back to the knock-off company as most are located in Asia and shipping is very expensive.
Email them and ask them to give you some reassurance they are an authentic retailer. They should be able to point to their store on a designer’s store locator on the designers’ website.
If you still think the price is worth the risk, order well in advance of the date you will wear the dress. You’ll need extra time to shop in case the dress delivered to you is poorly made, doesn’t fit or never arrives. You could
Very Important! You will not get an original designer dress unless you buy from an authorized dealer for the designer. These knock-off sites can duplicate the designer labels as well as the dress but the quality and style will not be exactly the same … you’ll get what you paid for or you may not get anything at all.
Buyer beware – especially for your life’s special occasions!
ABC’s Good Morning America recently did a report on knock off sites: See Avoid Wedding Dress Blues