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Wedding Dress Scams On The Rise

BOSTON (CBS) - For many brides, the gown is the most important detail of the entire wedding. It can also take a considerable chunk out of the budget. That is why a lot of women go to great lengths to find the best deal they can.

When Maria Ray fell in love with a designer dress she knew the $1,200 price was way out of her price range. She decided to look on line. She was thrilled to find one for less than $400 and ordered it immediately. "I loved that dress. I could not get that dress out of my head," she said.

But when she opened the box that came in the mail she was deeply disappointed. What she got was a cheap replica of the dress. It was a mish mash of unglued lace, a floppy corset with missing supports and a rusty pin left in the fabric.

WBZ-TV's Paula Ebben reports

"I emailed them back and said 'Are you crazy? Do you think I am going to wear this dress on my wedding day?" she said. The site promised a seven-day money back guarantee but when she sent the dress back, she never got her money. "I was very heartbroken," she said.

Hundreds of brides have been ripped off in similar scams. Online consumer review site reports a huge spike in wedding dress scams and the Federal Trade Commission says it has also received scores of complaints.

Bridal shop owner Frank Hamicki bought a replica dress to show his customers the difference. "The reality is [they are] a very, very cheap imitation," he said. The beads on the replica dress were made of plastic and the lace detailing was poorly done. The hemline was not sewn correctly, and the trains were completely different. Hamicki says he pulls out the dressed when brides insist they can find what they want cheaper online. "They're thinking maybe the boutiques are charging too much for it," he said.

Some brides have dresses that never show at all. Natasha Dennisuk fell in love with a $6,400 designer dress. She found it online for $1850. Natasha wired the money but never got the dress. She believes brides who get caught up in wedding planning are easy targets. "It's the one thing we've always thought about and it's the most important think for our wedding day," she said.

It is possible to get a good deal online; you just need to be careful. Check out company's reviews and be particularly careful when considering a dress from an individual seller.

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