Prom and wedding dress scams

Prom and wedding dress scams

By Karen Stiles. CREATED May 14, 2013

MILWAUKEE - If you are shopping online for a wedding or prom dress, watch out. 

A growing number of people are getting scammed. 

What kind of problems are people having with these dresses?

The dresses are portrayed online as top quality designer fashions that are being offered at a big discount. 

But, when the dresses arrive, they are not the same as what was shown online. 

They are often knock offs that have been poorly made, with substandard fabric and details. 

They may have been poorly packaged and damaged. 

In some cases, consumers either do not receive the dress, or they are hit with added shipping or other bogus charges.

What can you do if you fall victim to this type of scam?

If you try to return the dress or resolve the problem with the company, you may not get very far. 

A number of these companies are located in China or outside of the country and may not be motivated to work with you. 

If you receive the dress in substandard packaging or are told to pay more for shipping, refuse the shipment. 

If you used pay pal or paid with a credit card, file a dispute as soon as it appears on your bill. 

Also, keep a close eye on your credit card statement for several months. 

Some of these scams could lead to other credit card fraud.  

If you believe that you have been scammed, report it to state and federal consumer protection agencies.

How can you avoid getting taken by this type of scam?

Before you place an order, check out the reputation of the company. 

You might also want to google the company name along with words like "problem" or "scam".  Many of these companies or websites will not be listed with consumer agencies.

Also, look for a street address for the company, and use extreme caution if you plan to purchase a dress from outside of the country.

The more local the company, the less problems you may encounter.

Pay with a credit card so that you can dispute a charge if something is wrong. 

Follow the golden rule:  If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.