It’s almost your big prom night and your dress has arrived from that website you ordered it from. You open the package excitedly; push the protective paper up over the dress and your first thought is ‘there must be some kind of mistake’. Oh my, you should have had a better look at that website. You try log back on to send them a strongly worded email or rain hell over them from the phone, but there isn’t a single contact detail to be seen. The horror slowly sinks in; you’ve been scammed. There’s little you can do about it now, but the show must go on; let’s not make that mistake again. To help you, here is a guide to getting yourself an authentic prom dress from a trusted dealer.
Know who you’re buying from.
The internet and SEO optimisation has made it possible for counterfeit sellers to rank highly on search engines, which makes them seem more legitimate than they actually are. Do a little bit of research on the website you’re looking at if you can. Spend some time on there. Have a look to see if their website is in line with industry standards. This will help you judge if you’re buying from a reputable prom dress store, or if you’re getting sold down the river.
Can the seller be found offline?
This is quite an important one. One of the biggest tell-tale signs of a counterfeit seller is that their website has no or vague contact details. If there is a phone number, call it. Does the person on the line sound legitimate? Is there an address and can you confirm it? If it feels like you’re buying from a mysterious travelling circus, there’s a very good chance it’s a fake.
Sweatshops save a fortune on labour… and materials.
It’s not nice but it’s true. A lot of knockoffs are cheap for a reason, they don’t pay their workers. On top of that, the materials they use are generally of poor quality, which is also cheaper. This means they cost less overall to produce; which is what makes them cheaper to buy. If you’ve seen the dress you want at a more or less fixed price everywhere you look, then there are only so many reasons why it would be available somewhere else at half the price; and those reasons are generally not good ones.
Check the shipping information.
Legitimate businesses generally use legitimate business practices. If the site you’re looking at tells you they will send you the outfit dressed up like a gift to make import costs a little cheaper, be wary of this. Yes, customs won’t charge you exorbitant fees but what has actually happened, is that the website has avoided detection for selling counterfeit goods. If you don’t really know who the seller is, this should automatically arouse suspicion. It’s good to remember that it’s unlikely that a respectable business will break the law to get you your dress at a better price. They don’t want to be taking those kinds of risks.
A photograph is not a dress.
People are fooled by good photography all the time, and photos are one of the internet’s most powerful tools. Just because the dresses in the photos look amazing doesn’t mean they’ll look anything like that when you get it. Compare photos from different websites and see if you can spot anything unprofessional about them. The best trick is to remember that the photos should come with style numbers. These numbers are supplied to stores by the designers to make sure that when people are talking about a dress, they can be sure they are all speaking about the same one. If the photos don’t have the style number or a reference to it somewhere, or their style numbers don’t match ones from other websites, it’s probably not a good idea to trust it.
You can’t get a custom made dress from a designer.
If the website is telling you that they can get the designer to make a custom dress for you, to your exact measurements and specifications; they’re lying. Designers supply their outlets with specific size ranges to choose from, and those are the ones that are available. Its standard practice to tailor a dress once you have bought it or tried it on and it’s not the duty of the designer to do this. It’s up to you to find the dress which fits you perfectly; no one’s going make it for you; except maybe your mother.