A woman is warning other brides-to-be to be vigilant when shopping online for wedding dresses after being scammed just months before her big day.
Elizabeth Neeves had been planning her March 18 wedding for eight months, and only spent a few weeks looking for a potential dress before she came across her “dream dress” on the website Sheer Girl.
“The dress was full lace with a full neck line and the back line went halfway down my back,” she said.
The website was the first site that came up on Google when she searched “wedding dresses NZ” and the owner of the store, who she knew as David, had fast responses and worked with Neeves on measurements and sizes.
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“I did check reviews before purchasing my dress, and they were great,” she said.
The company is based in Suzhou, China and has not responded to a request for comment.
But when Neeves’ $700 dress was shipped, and she noticed the tracking number she was given said “delivered” but it was nowhere in sight, she knew something was wrong.
“I emailed him immediately with no reply. I hounded him with emails and told him how stressed I am, then how unprofessional it is not to reply. And I still got nothing,” Neeves said.
The tracking number for her parcel said it had been delivered on January 13, but she realised the wrong address had been put on the package, addressing it to a Kerikeri property.
An NZ Post spokesperson said the parcel was delivered to the address on the package, which led Neeves to believe the tracking number she provided was not for her package, or the order did not even exist.
“I am now wondering if my dress was made at all,” she said.
Looking through the reviews again she found more negative posts where people either did not get their dresses, or they were not happy with them, and received no response to questions.
She was in the process of having her money refunded through her bank, and this week had to buy a new dress, which is due to arrive less than two weeks before her wedding.
Consumer NZ spokesperson Gemma Rasmussen said there were several red flags consumers should be aware of when shopping online.
They include products advertised at an incredibly low price, or have features or benefits that sound too good to be true, if the social media associated with the store is very new, if the store provides limited information about return policies, contact, delivery, terms and conditions or dispute resolutions.
Reviews on the site that were all exceedingly positive were another warning sign. “Sometimes Reddit can offer clues to the legitimacy of a site,” she said.
And finally, don’t be fooled by a ‘.co.nz‘ URL or local contact details, such as a New Zealand postal address or number, Rasmussen said.
“These can be purchased and does not guarantee the business is based in New Zealand.”
Shoppers who though they had been scammed should contact the retailer first. If that did not resolve the issue they should talk to their bank, and report the incident to Cert NZ, she said.
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