BBB Advice on Avoiding Wedding Scams this Spring

  
     
March 20, 2012
Akron, OH - This spring, love is in the air as many soon-to-be brides prepare for the day of their dreams. While family and friends can offer their support with your big day, bridal shows can also provide good ideas and help you determine where to start.

BBB advises brides to proceed with caution when it comes to buying a wedding dress online or in person, choosing a photographer, or selecting a wedding planner. Doing your research and asking for referrals can make all the difference in helping your special day go as smoothly as possible. From choosing a florist to picking out the perfect wedding gown, more and more soon-to-be brides are opting for online retailers. While most venues have the brides’ best interest at heart, it’s important to recognize the red flags before shelling out the cash.

“With today’s wedding averaging around $25,000, there’s not a penny left to gamble on unreliable vendors,” said Christy Page, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne Counties. “Before securing your wedding services and paying any upfront fees, it’s important for all newlyweds to do their research.”

BBB recommends that newlyweds consider the following when planning for their special day:
Start with referrals. Seek recommendations from friends and family for businesses providing the products and services you need for the big day. Ask to see the products or pictures if possible.

Research all online vendors. When choosing to go with an online retailer for your wedding services or products, start with a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can often lead you to unscrupulous websites or phishing scams. Look for the BBB seal and other widely recognized “trustmarks” on retail websites. Be sure to check the company out with BBB at www.akron.bbb.org before doing business with them.

Don’t be afraid to be frugal. Set a wedding budget and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors and don’t be pressured into purchasing more than you can afford.

Use restraint at wedding expos. Wedding shows are a great way to learn about trends and options, but don’t let the show’s glamour and excitement allow you to make hasty decisions or commit to a vendor on the spot.

Review all terms and conditions. Whether you’re dealing with a company online or in-person, review all terms and conditions carefully. What is the company’s' refund and exchange policy? What is their cancellation policy? What happens if the company can’t hold up their end of the bargain? Who will perform the service on your special day? Be sure you understand your rights as a consumer before doing business with the company.

Keep documentation of your order. For online orders, save a copy of the confirmation page or e-mails confirming the order until you receive the item or service and are satisfied. If you’re dealing with a company face-to-face, be sure to get all details in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, cancellation and deposit policies and signatures from both parties.

Pay with a credit card. Credit cards offer consumers the added protection of disputing any charge over $50 within 60 days of the purchase. Most established businesses accept major credit cards, so use them whenever possible, including payment for deposits. Never wire money for something you are purchasing over the internet.

Consider purchasing wedding insurance. Wedding insurance can cover a range of prospective problems including vendor no-shows, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, travel delays and more. Many policies start at $200 and can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

For more consumer tips and to check out businesses you can trust, visit www.akron.bbb.org or call toll-free at 800-825-8887.