How to Spot a Counterfeit Prom Dress Website
We've all heard the counterfeit dress horror stories. You order your perfect prom dress at a steeply discounted price from a site that had a designer image and even lets you have it custom made to your size to avoid costly alterations! Suddenly, it's mere days before prom and there's still no sign of your dress, or it arrives looking like something your little cousin glued together for a school project. Avoid the stress, aggravation, and potential loss of money by taking the time to check out a trusted dress site when you shop virtually. Authentic designer prom dresses online always come from an authorized prom dress retailer, so it's important to do some research before placing an order. A little time now can save you from heartache before the big night. For more tips on how to protect your prom night dreams (Oh! And your money and identity!), check out these FAQs about avoiding counterfeit prom dress sites.
You know you've found an authentic prom dress site if you can find it listed as an authorized retailer on popular designer websites, including Sherri Hill, La Femme, and Jovani. You should also be able to find a mix of positive and negative customer reviews for a legitimate business, which you can then use to judge how well the company is handling successful orders and resolving problem orders (because, let's face it, problems can arise even with established retailers). Once you've found a trusted prom dress site, you can shop with ease and confidence for your dream dress. Be sure to also check out the company's shipping times, dress availability, and return policies to make sure you have plenty of time before your special night to do any alterations or exchanges. Make your perfect prom dress dreams come true by shopping online with authorized designer dress retailers and avoiding the nightmarish scenarios that ordering from a counterfeit dress site can bring.
Spotting a counterfeit dress site versus an authorized prom dress retailer is easily done with a little browsing of the seller's website. Consider the following questions while you explore the website:
• When you check out the dress information, does it offer custom sizes and colors? If the dress is offered in made-to-order sizes and has even more color options available than what's offered on the designer's website, chances are that it's a counterfeit site offering cheap, knock-off dresses.
• How does the price of the prom dress compare to the price listed on other websites? You know how the saying goes: "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is." There might be some slight differences in price between authentic prom dress sites, but if there is a steep difference, then that dress may not be a designer original.
• What can you learn about the business? Check the "Contact Us" page to see where the business is located. If the company is located outside of the US and doesn't offer a phone number for you to speak with a representative, then there's a good chance you've found a counterfeit dress site.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A WEBSITE IS SELLING COUNTERFEIT DRESSES?
There are some clues you can look for that will tell you if the website you’re on is selling counterfeit dresses. Here’s what to do:
• Don't let the pictures fool you. Counterfeit sites often use photos stolen directly from authentic brands. Just because a site has an authentic picture does not mean they are selling an authentic prom dress online!
• Pay close attention to the advertised retail price. Retail prices are generally consistent across all retailers. If you find a dress priced substantially lower than the others it is probably a knock-off. If it looks too good to be true, chances are it probably is!
• Beware of "made-to-order" dresses. If the website is selling "made-to-order” dresses or dresses with custom sizes and a high variety of colors, this website is probably producing cheap knockoffs.
• Visit the website's "Contact Us" page. Many websites offering counterfeit dresses are operated overseas. Look for an address in the United States as well as a phone number, not just an email address. Call the seller to speak with a real person and ask questions to determine whether the business is legitimate.
• Read the seller's return policies. You should know these policies even when dealing with a genuine retailer. Be aware that, if you are cheated, it can be extremely difficult to obtain a refund from a company located outside the United States.
• Find out more about the seller's reputation Learn as much as possible about the company's reputation. Perform an Internet search for positive or negative customer reviews.
• Visit the designer's website. Most designers will have a "Where to buy” page on their website. If the website in question is not listed as an authorized retailer, it may be part of a counterfeit operation.
• Watch out for Auction sites. Designers generally do not allow selling on sites like eBay, Amazon, and AliExpress. If you see your dream dress on one of these sites, it's probably not the real thing!
• Visit TopPromWebsites.com. This website lists verified authorized retail stores as well as which knock-off and counterfeit sites to avoid.
WHY SHOULD I AVOID COUNTERFEIT SITES?
You might be thinking a custom made-to-order dress for a significantly reduced price is a dream come true, but in most cases, it’s an absolute nightmare! Here are just a few reasons that it’s best to avoid counterfeit dress websites:
• Many customers who order off these sites never even receive their dress! These overseas websites can disappear the next day and there is no one to be held accountable.
• Counterfeit websites are frequently shut down by law enforcement agencies and no refunds are given.
• Many customers who purchase from counterfeit sites fall victim to identity theft.
• If the dress does arrive, it usually looks nothing like the picture. The dress is very poor quality, the color is not the same, and the sizing is all off, costing hundreds of dollars in alterations.
• Counterfeiting is illegal! Money often goes to fund other illegal practices like organized crime and terrorism. Many knock-off dresses are made in sweatshops using child labor.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I ACCIDENTALLY PURCHASED COUNTERFEIT GOODS?
If you’ve just realized that you purchased from a counterfeit dress website, don’t panic! Here are a few steps you can take:
• If you used a credit card or PayPal, request a chargeback from your payment processor. These companies will investigate your dispute and oftentimes issue a refund in the event of fraud.
• Let us know! You can report the site at LEGAL@PROMGIRL.COM. PromGirl will take every measure to make sure this site gets taken down and other customers don't get duped!
• You can also send a report to the National IPR Center: https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/. The IPR Center manages all federal Intellectual Property investigations in the United States.