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Online prom dress shopping can lead to disappointment rather tha - KOAM TV 7

Online prom dress shopping can lead to disappointment rather than a discount

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With high school prom approaching, some are turning to online shopping.  However, sometimes what you see online is not always what you actually get.
As many search for the perfect dress, others are seeking alterations.
AdornAble Inc. in Joplin averages 1,200 dresses per prom season, half of which are bought online.
"Of course, you don't get to try it on, so inherently it has some difficulties," said Chris Moos of AdornAble Inc.  "Every website seems to have a different way of providing measurements."
The most difficult alterations involved major sizing changes and fixing poorly constructed seams by an unauthorized retailer.
"You can't really tell online whether it came from a factory in China, a factory in Malaysia or Betty Sue's garage down the block," Moos said.
Sometimes the dress looks so drastically different from the online picture that the buyer will end up buying a whole new dress all together.
"We've had many local customers order dresses and then they come in shopping for a real designer dress once they get their copy," said Roanna Rose, Owner of TJ Formal in Joplin.
Rose is on the Board of the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association, which has worked to shut down 1,100 counterfeit domains.
"We have a lawsuit going on with many of these counterfeiters," she said.  "We just keep turning the sites over to the judge, to be prosecuted"
Rose says a majority of those sites are based in China, so most girls either cannot return the dress, pay high costs for shipping or even worse.
"They may never get the dress," Rose said.
While some sites are legitimate, Rose advises shoppers to do their research.
"Look at the name of company on the website, go to the designer's website, check the store locator and make sure they're an authorized dealer before you order," she said.
Also, leave some room for alterations.
"Probably the best thing to do, if you're buying clothes online, is to add some money to whatever price is online for what it's going to cost you to have the dress altered," Moos said.
The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association warns that the first red flag warning is the price.
Retail prices should be consistent across authorized retailers.
So the lower the cost, the greater chance the quality of the dress is also lower and possibly even counterfeit.
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