It is a general rule that bridal garments are never returnable. It will state this somewhere on your contract of receipt. It's a very hard policy to understand for many young ladies who are used to returning clothing items. This is a very important policy for the Salons. They probably could not stay in business without it. Weddings are called off every day for all kinds of reasons. It's just not the store's fault. They can't resell a gown for full price. so this policy is necessary - BUT many stores apply it to situations where they shouldn't. It's my opinion that if a sales person gives a bride poor advice and the gown comes in totally unusable, the store should step in and make it right.

added September 2007

I am a business person but do not understand the justification of the policy of a bridal shop my future daughter in law visited. I would value your opinion on this.
She visited a bridal shop and saw a dress that she thought would work for her. She tried it on and they said it could be altered. She paid $140 deposit but did not sign anything.
A couple of days later she decided against traditional wedding attire and called the shop to tell them she would not be getting the dress. They refused to refund any of her deposit. This is what I don't understand. This was a dress off the rack, it was not special ordered. No altering was done. The dress did not leave the shop. Do they have a legal justification for keeping her money? As a business person I am struggling with the question of 'where do they enter this in their accounting?' What exactly is the charge for since there was no possession of merchandise by the consumer. It never left the store. Was this a service charge for a salesperson waiting on her and letting her try the dress on? If that's the case why don't ordinary stores charge you for being waited on and trying on clothing? I would appreciate your opinion if this is legal.

sincerely, Perplexed

Bridal stores usually have a very strict no return policy. Yes, I do agree with you that this policy is stupid. But it is their right to make any policy they choose. There is probably a sign somewhere in the store that she did not notice that clearly states this policy. It might say something on the back of her receipt in really tiny print.

How did she make this payment? If she used a credit card she has 90 days to call her credit company and have them issue a chargeback. If she paid by check you can signal the bank to stop payment on the check, but it might have gone through the system so you'll need to hurry.

added July 2007

My bridal dress came in and it's the wrong color! We wanted white but instead we received Ivory. Ivory would have been fine however this is not an ivory it's almost yellowish/gold looking. Unfortunately the order that I signed had Ivory on it and apparently I didn't look hard enough to see there error. The women who ordered the dress for me say that Jasmine Couture will not take the dress back or even restock it for a fee. She said if I want the white one I'd have to pay full price all over again. Do you think I have any options? or do I have to eat the cost for the first dress and buy a second?

If you paid for the gown with a credit card you can contact your credit company and issue a chargeback if the purchase is within 90 days. Otherwise, the only thing you can do is hire a lawyer and sue the store. That might cost you more than simply buying the white gown.

I have seen ladies sell gowns on ebay and get more than they paid for them too. It would be easiest on your stress level to buy the white gown and sell the ivory one. Even if you don't get all your money back, you will have the gown you wanted.

Unfortunately I paid by check.

That's why most bridal stores don't accept credit cards. I'm so sorry you are stuck in this lousy situation. It really does suck, but you are not alone. Many honest brides find themselves trapped by these stupid rules that were designed to protect the bridal store from unscrupulous customers. This is a very clear case of them making a mistake and not wanting to own up to it.

Do you have a consumer advocate type reporter at any of your TV stations? We have a great one here in Cincinnati. You can try writing to someone like that. Certainly, this store won't want any bad publicity of having this reported on TV.

Going to court over this is very expensive, but it might be worth the small expense of having a lawyer write them a letter. They can take back your unworn gown and use it as a sample or sell it at a discount to recoop the cost of fixing their mistake by getting you the white gown you paid for. They just don't want to and unfortunately, they don't have to unless forced.

added May 2006

I am Mother of Bride. I ordered my dress on January 14th 2006 for a wear date of May 6th 2006. Dress shop always says they will call me (never do) Dress was not in on wear date of May 6th. What do I do ? Paid half for them to order it. When I call they say I will get in touch with Jovani and see when the dress is coming in. Jovani has a 8 weeks for a dress to come in.

Thank you,

The stores have different policies about this. You need to read your sales contract. If it says you are able to get a refund if the dress is not delivered by the wear date the store owes you a refund. In the meantime, you need to be shopping for another dress, just in case.

added October 2004

Do you give full refunds on alterations done if customer is unsatisfied with work for any reason?

That's a loaded question. Not for "any" reason, but for good reasons, yes. My policy is, "I get paid when the work is finished and the customer is happy." I do professional work, but I am human and do make mistakes now and then. I do not expect a customer to pay when I have goofed up.

When mistakes happen I fix them. It doesn't mater what it takes or how much it costs me in time and money. They get fixed. For hanging in there with me through the stress of the process of fixing the mistake I charge the customer nothing. She gets whatever the alteration would have been for free.

Especially in bridal - alteration is a process. Most brides understand that this process often takes several attempts to get it right.

Only twice in the 20 years I've been doing this have I had a customer walk before the alteration was finished. They left without paying. One bridal party did not like me fees. They picked up their dresses a couple days after the fittings because they found someone cheaper. I don't mind that. There are plenty of people out there that are cheaper than me. BUT I am worth the price I charge, they are not.

The other bride did not understand the "process" and expected it to be perfect on the first go. Since it wasn't, she did not want to let me try again and walked.

If a customer is being overly picky and I know she is only trying to get out of paying than I'm going to handle it differently. I will rework an alteration until the customer likes the look, but in the end if it looks good to me and she's just being belligerent, no, she is paying what I ask for, for my good work. I have reworked items up to 5 times to get a bride to say it's good. I have never had anyone push me so far that I have to insist that reworking is over and payment is now due.

added June 2003

hi, my name is christine, i purchase a gown from bride by demetrios in january. i went in to check on my gown last week and they had ordered the wrong dress. then i went in today to get my veil and tiara i ordered and those turned out to be not what i had asked for. do you think i can get a full refund because of all the mistakes they have made? thanks for your time. christine

I would say that you certainly should get a full refund, but I would not be surprised if they didn't allow you any refund at all. I am working with a bride right now in the same situation. She had to buy the gown she really wanted and put the wrong one in a consignment shop to try to recoup her loss.

If they do agree to a refund because it was their mistake, be prepared to pay for the shipping and handling anyway. And you may have to make a scene in the store in front of other customers to get them to even talk to you, but try to be nice first. If you are dealing with a good shop, they should honor their mistake and even give you something extra for their adding to your stress of planning the wedding.


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