How can I tell if a website is selling counterfeit dresses?
- 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 dress!
- 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. Beware 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?
- 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 accidentally purchased counterfeit goods and want to report the website?
Let us know! You can report the site at email@example.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.