You've been searching for a dress to order online for a while now. You come across a site that has fantastic prices - much less than what you've seen so far! They have the same photos as other sites and you see dresses you've seen on other sites from Jovani, Sherri Hill, Mori Lee, and more! And wow, they want so many measurements; that must make the dress fit perfectly!
Sound too good to be true? Well, it is. If you are thinking about ordering your dress online and the price is really cheap, think again! There are hundreds of knock-off dress websites popping up offering to make you a cheap knock-off version of the real designer dress you want, for a very low price. Except they don't tell you it's a knock-off. They lead you to believe it's a real designer dress. This is illegal and designers are notified when we find these websites so they can pursue legal action.
The dress you receive from a knock-off site may or may not look like the picture on their website. Many times they use the designers' copyrighted photos and descriptions (which is also an illegal practice), but these counterfeit sites do not have the original patterns to make the dresses. They just try and duplicate them based on what they see in the photos. Which means, they are guessing on how the dress is made, guessing on what fabric is used, and guessing on what embellishments are used. 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 knock-off site:
- If designers are listed on the website, check the Store Locators on the designers websites such as www.sherrihill.com and www.jovani.com to see the if website is run by a store who is an authorized dealer for the designer. If the website/store is not listed, then beware that they are not selling true designer gowns. (See more information here: Ask TJFormal: Are your dresses originals or knock-offs?)
- If there is not a designer name in the title, but just a description (i.e. Trumpet Halter Chapel Train Satin & Lace Bridal Gown), then it is not a designer dress. A designer's name will always be in the title of the dress product.
- The Contact Us page should have a phone number and address listed not just an email.
- There are claims that you can return the dress for a full refund--legitimate bridal shops cannot take returns unless the merchandise has a factory defect.
- They request a large number of measurements. True bridal shops only use 3-4 measurements as provided on the size charts for their designers.
- Do your homework before placing your order with one of these sites. Research their policies and check with online forums for reviews.
- Do order very early in case the dress delivered to you is of inferior quality or fit and you have to shop for another dress.
- 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 the shipping is very expensive.
Some testimonials from customers who unfortunately got taken by a knock-off site:
- "I am gutted I wasted money on the knock off site which is called fashionlande but also annoyed with myself for not doing proper research! I am just glad to have found the genuine dress and although I have paid double for it, I am really looking forward to receiving your dress and wearing it."
- "One of my other bridesmaid got her dress through another vendor. However, when it arrived, it was a knock off and not literally a Bari Jay."
- "I have noticed a lot of chinese websites posing as american sites and stealing the same pictures you have on your site! But making cheaper versions of the dress! I don't want to wait all that time and then when it arrives will not be as exactly like the picture shown. I ordered the same dress from a chinese website, thinking it was an american one!"
Very Important! You will not get a designer dress unless you buy from a 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 same ... you'll get what you paid for. Buyer beware!