Online Sales: How to spot the scams
Twice upon a time I fell in love. Once was with my husband. The other was with this dress! It was from China, which I knew could be sketchy, but I did my research. I looked into the seller. They had a good rating. They had shipped items recently. I was completely excited. I placed my order ($150 for this?! Totally!) and waited the 3 months.
And I, with the thousands of other girls who have tried, got scammed. So, I did my research, tried again (and then again), and came out successful. Read how!
There are several things that scream "SCAM" when purchasing a dress online. Go through this list and make sure yours checks out.
It comes from China, Romania, or Nigeria. 92% of the time, these sellers will send you something that looks or feels nothing like what the image portrayed. However, if you want to take your chances, there is an 8% chance you could get something amazing. Keep reading.
You see the same picture of your "dream dress" from multiple sellers. The legitimate dress sellers have their own pictures of the dresses that they have made. That's that. It's easy to dream about that one gorgeous dress you saw coming from 15 different sellers, but none of them are going to sell you that one gorgeous dress. They are going to sell you 15 different knock-off versions which look nothing like the picture.
The price is too good to be true. If the dress is an amazing dress that would be above $1,000 anywhere else, but they have it listed "buy now for $99," forget it. You'll have more luck sending that picture to a seamstress that can custom make the dress. Sometimes you can find a dress being auctioned for a price you can't believe. If this is the case, keep reading.
The 100% feedback rate. No one should have a 100% feedback rate on the wedding category of ebay (this doesn't apply to other categories or to etsy!). Frankly, even the best company is bound to have a dissappointed bride. Even a 98% or 99% rate can be sketchy. Take a look at the comments left on the feedback. If they are written in poor English, are from a different country, or all seem to say the same thing - stay away! You want feedback that is honest (gives pros and cons); feedback that sounds like your neighbor telling you about a product.
The feedback is all about the same item. This is what got me. I checked the feedback. There were several that I was convinced was from a real consumer. After I received my let-down of a dress, I actually went back to check my seller's ratings. I noticed that all of the feedback was from the sale of one item: a cute beach coverup. That's how the companies get you. They make one item splendidly, advertise it profusly, get quality reviews, and then make every other item as cheaply as they can. READ READ READ the reviews.
Even after you follow all of these steps, recognize that you are ordering a dress online. There is bound to be something that doesn't fit quite right or something you didn't realize from the picture. Have a trusted seamstress on hand (learn how to find an amazing cheap seamstress here).
So...how can you avoid the scams?
1. Buy from legitimate online wedding dress shops, like My Modest Gown
2. If on ebay, find bridal shops that are closing, cancelled weddings, or snapshots of a dress on a bed
3. Contact the seller. Ask questions. Trust your gut. Don't get pulled in by the price.
<-- what my dress came looking like. Not too bad, actually. Just not what I imagined from the original picture!
Now, what wedding item do I love to by from China sellers? Check out that post here