Wedding Dress Scams On The Rise

BOSTON (CBS) – For many brides, the gown is the most important detail of the entire wedding. It can also take a considerable chunk out of the budget. That is why a lot of women go to great lengths to find the best deal they can.

When Maria Ray fell in love with a designer dress she knew the $1,200 price was way out of her price range. She decided to look on line. She was thrilled to find one for less than $400 and ordered it immediately. “I loved that dress. I could not get that dress out of my head,” she said.

But when she opened the box that came in the mail she was deeply disappointed. What she got was a cheap replica of the dress. It was a mish mash of unglued lace, a floppy corset with missing supports and a rusty pin left in the fabric.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

“I emailed them back and said ‘Are you crazy? Do you think I am going to wear this dress on my wedding day?” she said. The site promised a seven-day money back guarantee but when she sent the dress back, she never got her money. “I was very heartbroken,” she said.

Hundreds of brides have been ripped off in similar scams. Online consumer review site reports a huge spike in wedding dress scams and the Federal Trade Commission says it has also received scores of complaints.

Bridal shop owner Frank Hamicki bought a replica dress to show his customers the difference. “The reality is [they are] a very, very cheap imitation,” he said. The beads on the replica dress were made of plastic and the lace detailing was poorly done. The hemline was not sewn correctly, and the trains were completely different. Hamicki says he pulls out the dressed when brides insist they can find what they want cheaper online. “They’re thinking maybe the boutiques are charging too much for it,” he said.

Some brides have dresses that never show at all. Natasha Dennisuk fell in love with a $6,400 designer dress. She found it online for $1850. Natasha wired the money but never got the dress. She believes brides who get caught up in wedding planning are easy targets. “It’s the one thing we’ve always thought about and it’s the most important think for our wedding day,” she said.

It is possible to get a good deal online; you just need to be careful. Check out company’s reviews and be particularly careful when considering a dress from an individual seller.

More from Paula Ebben
  • MJTJ

    I purchased a bridesmaid dress from China for my reception (I’m not one for wedding gowns). The dress was a disaster. I’m lucky that I used Paypal to complete the transaction and was able to get a refund. The company kept trying to get me to close the dispute, but I refused which is good since you can’t reopen a dispute. Their scam is also to keep people on the line with promises of refunds until the 45 day window to file a dispute has passed. I checked the reviews on the website, and they looked okay. It turns out they filter the reviews and only show the good ones. If I had bothered to do a quick search of the company name, I would have found a ton of links to rip off reports and complaints.

    • Rogan Terano

      I am getting married a second time around- so I found a site online called to buy a less expensive dress. The site had a lot of pictures and options wedding dresses. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money- but I did find something I liked. Well, the dress arrived, not even close to the measurements I sent them (off 3-4 inches!!!) and the material was not what was shown in the photos (a common theme amongst complaints against this company). Well, I tried to email them for help- perhaps to give me ideas on what to do about alterations, or explain why the material is different.

      I just wanted to send the dress back to them to fix it, or cover the costs of doing my own alterations. My wedding is in 2 weeks.

      I got:

      A request for measurements for the dress itself, which showed them they were completely off which I gladly sent. Then they wanted additional measurements not associated with the problem.

      Then they gave me a care less attitude with one response and then no responses to my emails

      Then they BLOCKED further emails from me.

      Thats the kind of service you can expect from a cheap, chinese dressmaker like these people.

      So i am out 300$, and I will move on, with a lesson learned.


  • Cinque

    Any woman who thinks that she can get a beautiful wedding dress for $400 is either stupid or just plain …….stupid. If something looks too good to be true then it probably isn’t. I hope they didn’t find their husband on the Internet too!

    • Brittiny Rinehart

      @cinque . thats not very nice. i bought a BEAUTIFUL wedding gown at for less than 100.00 dollars. no need to be rude chicky

  • memory


    i was in the process of buying a gowm from DHGate please does anyone know if they are safe to buy from . need help

  • memo


    i was in the process of buying a gowm from DHGate please does anyone know if they are safe to buy from . need help as my wedding is next yr

  • Ally

    Hello Hie,
    From looking around I would reccomend to STAY AWAY from DHGate, only bad cooments from them.. however seems to have had pretty good results.. look at this comment thread .. I do believe there are good deals out there, just need to look very closely & do your research….
    Best to you!

  • fashionbridalgown

    I totally agree your point of view. Online shopping really brought many convenience to us, but we need to be careful. Except from checking the review centre of the stores themselves, brides can browe reveiws from the third-party forum like or I bought from just based on the comments from

  • Sara

    Don’t be fooled.

    I want to share my purchase with you: I fell in love with a gown I tried on at a wedding boutique. I did a search online, and found the same exact picture, designer, style and description on, but for waaay cheaper than at a boutique. My logic persuaded me into thinking that the dress would be similar enough since the original designer must be sending this to be made in China anyways? So I went for it! My dress came in good timing, and I was happy with that. However……..NOTHING about the dress was good: The color had a cheap yellow tone, while the back of the dress showed signs of potential shredding. The fit was awful. I didn’t mind the idea of getting the dress tailored, but it was terrible from the get go . The armpit area was so high, making the chest a strange fit. That was the least of my problems. I ordered a lace dress, and expected to find a cheap lace material at the least. This was not the case. I received a ballerina tutu-like material which may sound cute, but believe me, it was not. There was bad embroidery work intertwined. To explain in detail: strings carelessly zig-zagged all over the dress, and thread hanging where fabric is connected. The hole forming in the back of the seams would be bound to tear more fabric. I’m not talking about the foundation of the dress, but the entire outer “lace” layer was opening up (before I tried it on, of course). I kept looking at it thinking: could I make this work? I looked like I was wearing a poorly made swap meet quinceañera reject, and this is supposed to be my wedding dress?!

    I immediately took photos as evidence, and contacted weddingtrail’s customer support and explained that I would send photos and offered to pay for shipping it back. Given their refund policies, I had the right to return this dress. The customer service rep responded in a very unapologetic cold manner, and didn’t even give me a chance. Every response pointed the finger at me, that I was in the wrong. I stopped asking for a refund from because I realized it was my decision to buy from a cheap website. It was a gamble, and even though I found some bad reviews online, I did it anyway. That’s why it’s understandable if you choose to buy from anyway because that’s what I did. Only thing is – I regret it.

    In my opinion, I consider this false advertisement. promoted a dress using the actual designer and style name. Most misleading, they post the designer’s photography. I decided to leave a review (an honest one like this one), but weddingtrail removed it. A few days later my mother left a comment, and it was removed too. Our reviews were coincidently replaced with five star reviews which were obviously made up by the company to sound good. I don’t blame them for removing our reviews, but seriously, notice they hardly have any? The review they replaced mine with was off in grammar (sounded like that of the Hong Kong sales rep I communicated with online), and totally praised everything that was the opposite of what I communicated : I likes these dresses, good quality, best customer service, will buys more in recent times.. (That was not to make fun of anyone, and I do apologize if I’ve offended you). I did notice another customer’s negative comments that was removed, and was replaced with a highly commended false review. Coincidence??

    With all that said, I took the time to write this for consumers like me, so they could have a fair chance to hear another side. If somewhere in your heart you have doubt, stick to your guts. I don’t mean to bash, because they might actually have many happy customers that will tell you otherwise. But if you know you’re going to feel bad losing a couple hundred bucks on something that’s not so good on quality, think twice.

    Thanks for reading this, and I wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect dres!

  • Jill

    Sara! I bought a dress from in June 2011. This was one of the biggest regrets of my life! It wasn’t so much the my dress did not look like the designer version, and it wasn’t so much that it was bad quality. It was the hopelessness I felt in knowing I got ripped off. Sure, I was very unhappy about everything, but the fact that the company was located in China made it difficult and virtually untouchable. The lady was so rude about the whole thing. Without acknowledging my feelings whatsoever, she immediately told me that there :

    1- Nothing wrong with the dress.
    2- I was wrong for contacting them.
    3- Assured me that the dress was 90-95% like the original
    4- I could do nothing about it even if I shipped it out.
    5- She has proof of what the original dress should look like, so there was nothing I could say to get my money back.

    I was left angry, upset at myself for even thinking about buying from in the first place. So, you are not alone. Maybe more people will read posts like this and take it as a warning not to buy these knockoffs from China.


  • Brittiny Rinehart

    anybody know anything about light in te box?????

  • alissa

    Does anyone know if is a scam?

  • Cheap Wedding Dresses In Sacramento | My Blog

    […] Wedding Dress Scams On The Rise – Bridal shop owner Frank Hamicki bought a replica dress to show his customers the difference. “The reality is [they are] a very, very cheap imitation,” he said. The beads on the replica dress were made of plastic and the lace detailing was poorly done. […]

  • Cheap Wedding Dresses Boston | My Blog

    […] Wedding Dress Scams On The Rise – BOSTON … wedding dress scams and the Federal Trade Commission says it has also received scores of complaints. Bridal shop owner Frank Hamicki bought a replica dress to show his customers the difference. “The reality is [they are] a very, very … […]

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