This is the time of year many families start shopping for prom and bridesmaids dresses. And if you see the prices in stores, you may be tempted to save money buying those dresses online.
But before you do, one mom has a warning for other parents.
Tried to Save Money on Prom
Prom can be expensive. Between gown, flowers, and limo parents can pay $1,000 or more.
Dorothea Taylor of Colerain Twp., Ohio, was thrilled to find some beautiful prom dresses at a site called LovingDresses.com.
"I saw that the price was really marked down," she said,"so I thought that was phenomenal. It was originally a $700 dress!"
So she paid $169 for a prom dress for her daughter, supposedly at 75 percent off.
But weeks later, no dress. Nothing. "It was saying she would have the dress by the 10th of this month, but it didn't come," she said.
Bridesmaid Dresses Arrive, Not What Was Shown
A year ago, bride-to-be Courtney Brewer told a similar story after purchasing discount bridesmaids gowns from a site called TBDress.com.
"They had a whole lot of different dresses. Cute models, cute styles, the website looked very legitimate," Brewer said.
What arrived, however, was completely different from what she saw in the photo.
"The color is not at all what I wanted. It's tangy and cheap looking, if a color can look cheap," she said.
Caution About Chinese-Based Companies
In both cases, the women had unknowingly ordered their dresses from companies based in China, though the websites don't say so. They fail to list any address
The Better Business Bureau gives TBDress an F rating for a string of unanswered complaints, and says the company has not responded to its inquiries.
LovingDresses is too new for a BBB rating (less than a year in business), but an internet "whois" search finds it located in Beijing.
The company did not respond to our email or live chat request.
Taylor is now disputing the purchase through her credit card provider.
She says she wishes she had been more suspicious, especially after noticing a holiday season sale on the site.
"Now they are having a Black Friday sale. I thought Black Friday was in November, but now they are having a Black Friday sale," she said.
We want to point out that neither of these websites are scams, and some women report receiving decent dresses. But many more postings online are complaints.
Remember: if you have a problem, you have no agency such as the FTC, Attorney General, or even Better Business Bureau to help you resolve it, as you are dealing with a Chinese factory. U.S. sales laws do not apply.
So be careful so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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