ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) -- Every young woman looks forward to her wedding day.
It's supposed to be a happy occasion, but sometimes things don't work out, leaving the bride stuck in a situation where she can't get her money back for anything, including her wedding gown.
That's what an Aliquippa woman and her family says happened to them.
The DelTondo family can be best described as old-school Italian.
So, when Rachael got engaged, her mom took over planning a large-scale wedding, including a nearly $10,000 gown, which was to be handmade by a New York designer.
"It was a custom dress, had to be made to her measurements," said Lisa Deltondo, Rachael's mom.
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The family put down a deposit of more than $4,000. The deposit, according the contract, was "non-refundable and nontransferable under any circumstances."
Lisa says she understood that from day one.
"I was told that this is binding," she said.
Wedding gown shopping tip number one, remember the saying, "if you break it, you bought it." Most stores won't give you a refund for a custom dress after they've placed your order.
"I knew what this thing said," Lisa said.
They bought the dress at Anne Gregory Bridal in Dormont. Rachael was measured and the family put nearly half down.
Wedding dress tip number two, when you buy a custom gown, you'll have to sign a contract and you'll have to put down a deposit, which varies but can be 60 percent of the price of the gown.
"It's made to order," said Lisa. "There are no exchanges, no refunds. I understood that."
Four months after the contract was signed, the wedding was called off. Lisa called the New York designer to see if they had started on the dress and ask for a refund.
"I called New York. I did. He told me it couldn't be done," Lisa said.
Lisa said she told the local bridal salon that she would pay the balance and take delivery of the dress.
"I wanted the gown so I could sell it," she said.
Lisa says the salon never delivered the dress and refused to refund her money, so she took the owner to small claims court.
Court papers indicate the salon owner did not appear for the hearing; and as a result, he was ordered to pay the Deltondos more than $4,600.
"He had 30 days to write us a check or file an appeal. He did neither," Lisa said.
Frustrated, the family reached out to KDKA. Get Marty reporter Marty Griffin reached out to salon owner Gregory Cherico.
In an email he said: "December got by me with two deaths in the family. I was in Erie most of the month. We will be sending a certified check out to Deltondo. Thank you for your efforts."
His attorney sent KDKA a letter stating: "Mr. Cherico denies that Anne Gregory owed any money to Ms. Deltondo as she was given the purchase contract, had an opportunity to review the terms of the contract which unambiguously advised her that the custom order for her bridal gown could not be refunded or transferred."
But after KDKA called, Cherico did send the check with a handwritten note attached.
It said: "Please know -- Marty had nothing to do with this refund!! Nothing."
But Lisa says, "You had everything to do with it. If you hadn't a made your calls, we would of never seen that money."
KDKA should make it clear, when you buy something custom-ordered like a wedding dress; chances are there's a no-return policy, so you should read the fine print.
If you'd like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.
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