Monday, October 27, 2008

Dress shopping - beware!

For those of you who are about to go dress shopping for your big day, I'd love to share this story with you, and hopefully this doesn't happen to you.

One of my lovely brides was just on a European cruise this past summer. It happened that her favorite dress designer was Pronovias, and Barcelona, Spain was one of the ports of call. Perfect... she could get her dress at their flagship store and that would be one thing checked off of her to-do list.

Photo Credit: Pronovias

When the ship docked, my bride went to the store with her mother-in-law. She tried on a few dresses and found the one that she liked, but she wanted to change the neckline in addition to the regular alterations. The store promised her that they could get her a brand new dress since the factory was right there, and everything would be done within 2 days and that they wouldn't charge her extra for the alterations.

My bride picked up her dress on the last day that she was in Barcelona, paid the remaining balance and headed back to the ship. That night as the ship set sailed, she checked her dress and she couldn't believe her eyes... there were several parts of her ruffles that were ripped, and there were a couple dirty spots as well. When she looked at the alterations, the hemming was very sloppy. That didn't sound like a brand new dress to me, but at that point, it was too late because the ship had already left the port and my bride couldn't go back to the Barcelona store.

When she came back to the U.S., she called the Pronovias flagship store in New York. Unfortunately, the regional manager told her that there was nothing they could do because they had no jurisdiction over the stores overseas. Since that didn't go anywhere, my bride contacted her credit card company to see what kind of consumer protection it offers.

She talked to someone in billing dispute... only to find out that she couldn't dispute the charge unless the merchandise is returned. She tried to explain that it's not that she didn't want to return the merchandise, but that the vendor was unresponsive and wouldn't take it back. But ultimately that was a dead end. Then they transferred her to retail protection, only to find out that this program offers protection against fire, accidental damage, and theft, but only up to 90 days from the date of purchase. So really, for brides-to-be, the only "protection" is smart-shopping and common sense.

My bride told me this story when she came out to Mau`i for her scouting trip a month ago. I felt so bad that she had to go through this... so I suggested that perhaps she could call up one of the bridal salons in her area and their seamstress might be able to help her fix all the rips and hemming. Sure enough, she called and explained her situation, and the bridal salon was totally sympathetic. They had her bring her dress in a couple of hours later so their in-house seamstress could look at it. Unfortunately, they did not have the machine necessary to fix it... but their outside preferred seamstress did. They called her to make an appointment for my bride even though she didn't buy her dress from them.

Two days later, my bride picked up the dress from the seamstress and now there are no more rips and gaping holes. The seamstress was appalled at how poorly the alterations were done. She told my bride other horror stories regarding dress designers and alterations (and that she had to fix), so this kind of thing does not seem to be as uncommon as we all thought.

So when you are ready to buy your dress, please make sure that you check the dress thoroughly before you pay your final balance, and before you bring that dress home.


Everett Peacock said...

Della and I were on a cruise, ported in San Juan PR and went to a local grocery to buy some 'mix' for our fine bottled liquor ;)

As we were pulling out of port and opened the lid, we found no inner foil and our mix as hard as a rock.

Suffice it to say, I did a lot of chiseling that night!

Elliana said...

Nice dress…. You are looking pretty in it.

The Flirty Girl said...

That is so unfortunate. I have to say in my 11 years working in the wedding industry I've seen all kinds of similar stories to this one. It truly is a sad reality check but buyer beware is a good rule to follow when shopping not only for your wedding day but every other day as well.