How to Buy Authentic Prom Dresses Online
Many girls spend hours combing through magazines and browsing the internet looking for a prom dress that fits their style and budget. There are a number of sites online that offer steeply discounted dresses identical to the more costly, designer dress. Thousands of teens have purchased these dresses, only to find out they are counterfeit.
A number of Chinese websites are in business that steal American prom dress designers’ copyrighted images and sell counterfeit dresses. These dresses do not fit properly, look nothing like the real designer dress, and in some cases, take months to ship.
In 2014, American prom designers and American prom retailers (online and offline) lost an estimated 300,000+ dress sales and retail sales of more than $100 million dollars to rogue dress sites. The government has seized a number of packages being shipped from these counterfeit websites, but the problem has continued to grow as new fraudulent sites show up in internet search results, boasting company legitimacy and trustworthy discounts.
Avoid prom mishaps this season with our guide to purchasing an authentic prom dress:
This is the only rule you need to know! A designer determines the price of a prom dress, and retailers are required to sell the dress at that suggested retail price. If find that a majority of the sites in your search are selling a particular dress for $298, and then find it on another site at any kind of discounted price, it is a counterfeit dress.
2. Advertising Online
Watch out! Just because a website advertises on Google's or any other search engine's search results does not mean it is a legitimate website. In fact, the ads are dominated by counterfeit websites using the credibility conferred by being an approved advertiser on Google's ad platform to fool you into thinking they are selling authentic dresses.
Websites that sell products have live seals that verify the site is protected by an SSL certificate, or note that the site has been verified by PayPal as a legitimate business. Counterfeit websites steal these verification seals and place them on their websites, but they are not active and cannot be clicked on. A real SSL certificate on an ecommerce site is mandatory if you want your credit card information to be secure and protected.
4. Contact Information
Authorized American Prom Dress retailers have their contact information listed clearly and prominently on all pages of their websites, including address, phone number, email, and contact form. If the website has no address, or an address outside of the U.S., avoid ordering from them. To verify a website is an authorized retailer, visit the “Where to Buy” page of the designer’s website.
The shipping on these websites is often free of charge to the purchaser. What these Chinese factories are trying to avoid is detection by custom officials for shipping counterfeit goods into the U.S. Normally, there are customs and duty taxes that you would have to pay, and avoiding these taxes is a violation of Federal Law.
The text on the website is mangled, broken English.
An example: “We have honored to employ the most experienced designers and tailors in creating every piece of clothing for you according to your marvelous body shape. It not only provides your ideal-made wear as soon as possible, but also can ensure you a best gesture at any occasion.
How long will be the parcel arrived our country?”
If everything on the website is listed as “on sale”, the dresses are counterfeit. American Prom Dress Retailers are not permitted by the genuine designer to discount their dresses.
If you see a dress on an auction site, be aware that most American Prom Dress Designers forbid retailers from selling their dresses on these types of sites.
9. Style Numbers
Often, counterfeit dress style numbers differ from the authentic dress style number. Sometimes, style numbers don’t even exist on these counterfeit dresses. Style numbers are created by the prom dress designers and are utilized by all retailers to reference the dress.
10. Custom Services
Genuine Prom Dress Designers have specific size charts that they use to construct dresses and they do not make custom dresses for prom. Retailers use the designers’ size charts to help you determine the best size for you. If a site is offering to make a custom dress for you, it’s a counterfeit dress.