How To: Spot a Counterfeit Wedding Dress

Hint: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Here, five signs of a scam.

  • Story by Photo Greta Kenyon

The internet is heaving with online retailers claiming to sell big-name designer brands – often at heavily discounted rates. But how do you tell whether you’ve nabbed a bargain or if you should you suspect a scam? Our guide to savvy shopping shows you.

Dodgy details

Scan the ‘About’ and ‘FAQ’ pages for anything that points to a lack of professionalism: think poor spelling and grammar or vague address or delivery details. Search the company’s address on Google street view to check the shopfront exists (and whether its condition matches the quality of the stock it claims to sell).

Check the web address

In a practice known an ‘cybersquatting’, malicious retailers will misspell the website name or URL of a reputable retailer in an attempt to take its identity. If you’re unsure of a website’s legitimacy, send a link to the designer of the dress it’s claiming to sell. The designer should know whether the site is a genuine stockist, or if you should run a mile.

Bad reviews

Find reputable wedding boards and online forums (try, and check your prospective dress seller with them to find scathing recommendations or poor reviews.  

Unbelievably low pricepoints

Very few legitimate dress designers or stockists have the margins to be capable of offering 90 per cent discounts. If you’re drawn in by a heavy reduction in price, check the retailer’s reputation doubly carefully – it’s probably too good to be true.

Vague refund policies

Given the inability to physically try garments when online shopping, genuine e-commerce retailers should have clear, well-detailed return policies. Research this before you tap in your card details. 

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