Everyone has heard of scammers selling fake handbags and electronics. But parents and high school teens have to look out for another scam. . . counterfeit prom dresses. So be warned, getting scammed by a knock-off or counterfeit dress website can be a costly mistake that can damage much more than just your wallet.
It’s surprisingly easy to be lured onto one of the fake prom dress sites. It all begins as you search and search for the perfect dress. It starts with looking at the latest fashion magazines and red carpet interviews. Then you begin your search online. . .
Looking for the best deal and the dress of your dreams, you come to a store that offers more than 60% off your selection. While managing to pick out the perfect style and the best deal, you find that, even better, it comes in more than 20 colors. It’s a dream come true! Now you can look great in the dress you’ve always wanted and in the color that perfectly matches your skin tone.
The truth is, you’ve just seen the biggest dead giveaway that your dress won’t be quite what you are expecting. It’s time to hit the back button if something like this pops up on the page where the photographed dress is featured:
The above selection box is similar to what is shown on most websites that offers discount and “cheap” special occasion dresses. And it’s not something to get excited about.
The idea is appealing. You love this gown but it is green, and you hate green. But look at all of the available colors! Hooray!
There’s a reason that these sites offer dresses in every color of the rainbow, while the designer’s sites only show the dress available in just a few hues. According to Mac Duggal, “The fact is you’ll never know which color you are going to get when you see so many colors. Counterfeiters use damaged, leftover material that they can get cheaply to offer such low prices. These materials often fall apart, rip easily, or even give young girls hives and rashes.”
What do we mean when we say you never know which color you’ll get? Well, for example, if you wanted a white dress and walked into a store, you would know exactly which shade of white you envisioned. The store would do everything to find you that perfect white tint you desired. However, when you choose the color white from an online counterfeiter you could be getting white, off-white, bone, or even ivory. It makes an even bigger difference when you order bright colors. Mac Duggal warns that, “you could choose the color ‘Pink,’ but what you could really get is a neon pink or light pink. It really comes down to which materials are left over, and sometimes you may even get two different color sewn together on a dress.”
Girls look forward to the idea of getting a dress in so many colors, but in reality it’s more of a curse than a blessing. When you look at a dress in your local prom retailer, you know what color you are going to get. Legitimate prom retailers are going to be there for you every step of the way. If you are deciding between a store or a counterfeit online deal, Mac Duggal asks you to remember this one thing, “These stores and honest designers are willing to fight for you and get you the dress of your dreams. Counterfeiters NEVER have your best interests at heart. There is no such thing as returns with prom dress counterfeiters.”
If you happen to stumble across a site that offers steeply discounted dresses in a wide range of colors, think twice before you click “Buy.”
Overseas counterfeit websites (many of them China-based) target teenage girls by stealing images from top designers. They then claim to make the exact dress in multiple colors at a discounted rate, and millions of girls fall for their scam.
But when your dress is delivered, it’s hardly like the dress in the photograph. If you even get a dress, you are shipped a cheap knock-off with problems in the stitching, beading, and fit. Some girls only get pieces of the dress and are expected to sew it together!
Jan Ferracuti from popular prom dress store Bridal Elegance knows first hand the experience that mothers and teens go through when accidentally ordering a counterfeit prom dress. “During prom season, we have mothers and daughters frantically searching for a prom dress at the last minute because they ordered their prom dress online from a random website and it either didn’t come in or it doesn’t look like what they ordered. They will show us a picture of what they thought they were ordering and the dress that they received. It’s very sad- not only does the girl not have her dress, her mom is out the money she spent for the counterfeit dress.”
Featured on the Today Show, one young high school girl, Alexandra Marschall, had high hopes when she found that perfect dress online for a discounted rate. However, when she received the dress it was in pieces and the beading was actually left in a separate bag!
Alexandra was expected to sew her own prom dress together. . . just two weeks before the prom. So if you’re not into a DIY prom dress and don’t want a cheap knock-off, then stay away from scammer prom dress sites.
What Mac Duggal is Doing to Stop Counterfeit Prom Dress Scams
On a daily basis, Mac Duggal sends Google requests to remove links to the webpages of counterfeiters that use copyright infringing photos of our dresses. Within the industry we are the leader in Google takedown requests. During the past year, our efforts have led to the removal of over 15,000 webpages from Google’s index. These webpages were on found on over 500 websites that have copied Mac Duggal photography with the intent of scamming consumers. One of Mac Duggal’s top priorities is to protect the women and young girls who assume they are buying a designer Mac Duggal dress from getting ripped off. We’ve also created a Counterfeit Prom Dress Nightmares page to increase awareness of how frequently teenage girls are being victimized.
What You Can Do to Avoid the Scam
You can take proactive steps to avoid being scammed by counterfeit prom dresses websites. Beware that if you view a counterfeit prom dress site, their advertising will pop up on your browser in the future.
It’s important to protect yourself and your prom dress purchase. Avoid getting ripped off by one of these fraudulent websites by watching out for the following:
Price: If it’s too good to be true, then it’s probably too good to be true
Website: Check the FAQ and About page. Make sure it’s a professional site
Return Policy: Reputable dress sellers will spell it out for you
Location of Website: Beware of websites based in and shipping from China. Mac Duggal has zero retailers located in China
Knock-off Prom List: If you still aren’t sure, check the Knock-off Prom List.
And if you see a website that offers a multitude of colors, run don’t walk.