As spring takes hold in Acadiana, the end of the school year signals and important event for many high school students: prom. This means teenagers and their parents are searching high and low for that perfect, affordable dress for the special event.
Color, cut, size and even price – it all has to be perfect, and that means many turn to the web to find the ideal dress.
While the internet can offer limitless options and styles to find the perfect designer dress at a desirable price, it also offers dangers.
Better business Bureau Serving Acadiana reminds consumers for every reputable online garment seller, there are sites selling knock-off, fake, or damaged goods. There’s nothing worse than buying that dream dress, for that dream date then have it all turn into a nightmare when either the dress doesn’t arrive, does not fit or comes apart before or during prom.
To be safe and enjoy this prom season follow these BBB tips:
- Start With Trust®. Check them out at bbb.org before doing business.
- Before ordering a dress, check the URL link to make sure it starts with “https://.” The ‘s’ means the site is secure and safe to enter payment information.
- Check Contact Information. Make sure the site has listed a physical location and working phone number. Call customer service before you make the purchase. If you can't reach a real person at a company, that is generally a red flag. If you are considering buying a dress online, give the company's customer service department a call and go over their return, exchange, and delivery policies.
- Check for Hidden Costs and Bad Reviews. Some popular sites such as Amazon and Ebay allow third-party sellers to list items, which can result in higher than expected shipping costs which aren’t always regulated by the website. Check over the reviews of sellers to see how long they’ve used the site and how previous customers rated their purchasing experience.
- Read Over the Return Policy. Read the return policy carefully to see if the business allows a full refund if the customer is not happy with the product. Review the policy to see who pays for the cost of shipping and handling for the return. Don’t assume verbal promises on return policies are accurate.
- Choose the Correct Payment Method. Always pay with a credit card when shopping online. A purchase with a credit card is protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This allows customers to briefly hold payment while a problem is reviewed and resolved. This act also protects customers in the event that credit card information is stolen and used without permission. Make sure to print the receipts and product information of any online purchases to prevent incorrect charges. If a company demands payment by money wire or pre-paid gift cards, run away.
- In the event of online fraud, a complaint can be filed with Better Business Bureau to help resolve the issue. The Federal Trade Commission also handles complaints at www.ftc.gov/complaint along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 24 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.
BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.