The BBSA (British Bridal Suppliers Association) set up the campaign Brides Beware in 2013 to help raise the awareness behind the risk of purchasing wedding, prom and bridesmaid gowns online. The main message is that if you see a gown in a boutique for £800 and then see it online for £250 there will be a catch. The result is more often than not a substandard gown in poor quality fabric, a lack of underskirts and structure and dreadful beadwork.
The main issue with these copycat websites is they are using photography owned by manufactures and designers, claiming that this is the dress the customer is purchasing. When, in reality, they are simply creating a substandard copy from the photograph. The campaign is helping to inform brides before they waste their precious wedding budget on a copied gown.
Please do not be tempted to buy online, after all who wants to purchase the most important garment they will ever wear from a stolen photograph.
Do not be fooled into thinking you are buying the same designer gown online that you have tried on in a boutique just because it’s the same photograph. Or worse still because they are claiming it’s the genuine designer by using their name. These counterfeit sellers, often based in China, steal the images from designers’ websites and use them to sell highly inferior copies. You are not cutting out the middle man by buying from these sites. Genuine Bridalwear designers and manufacturers never sell online in this way.
Anyone that has been to try on wedding gowns, bridesmaid gowns or prom gowns will know how important it is to try on a number of different styles, see and feel the quality of the garment you are buying and use the expertise of trained sales staff.
Please consider how these gowns are being manufactured at these prices and how much the workers are actually being paid. Who is regulating the factories that these gowns are being made in and who is actually making them. Designers and manufacturers spend money and time sourcing factories and making sure the workers are well paid and fairly treated.
Watch out for .co.uk websites, they are almost always still Chinese based. Some British based bridal shops are ordering in cheap copies themselves. Also people are setting up their own ‘businesses’ via Facebook ordering these dresses, passing them off as their own designs and sometimes even claiming they have made them.
You cannot rely on getting a refund if the dress is not what was expected or advertised. Most brides struggle to get any sort of refund and they are expected to pay to return the dress to China themselves.
We have seen many sellers with fake UK postal addresses and phone numbers. Enter the address into your search engine and see how many other similar sites are using the same address.
Warning signs you are looking at a counterfeit site
A website with 300+ styles available
Price quoted in $ and often available in any size, any colour
Using a mixture of different image styles on one page
A website claiming to be selling lots of different designers collections, using them by name
No contact phone number or email address
Spelling mistakes or misinterpreted text
Free shipping and money off offers
Live Chat option available