Here's the dress I tried on:
I thought it was simple, yet lovely, nice lines--beautiful! Actually, I had tried on this dress at another store, but the sample was way too small for me. So I decided to try a dress closer to my size.
When I tried on the gown, the sales associate made comments like, "Oh, this dress is just so plain," or "I don't know if I like this one on you." Well, true the dress didn't look great on me, but the sample was about 8 sizes too big, and the girl didn't even make an attempt to clip the back so I can see how it should look on me! When I asked how much they were selling the gown for, the sales associate ignored me and said she wanted me try on other gowns that would "look better on me."
She brought back a couple, and the first one she brought out was, I admit, gorgeous. It was v-neck, A-line with straps. Oh, how the sales associate gushed over this dress. She even grabbed a veil and put a hair clip on me. She kept saying how much of a great deal she can give me for the dress.
$599. It's a good price! Better than what other stores will sell it to you for!
When I asked who the designer was, she hesitated.
I can't tell you the designer. It's against store policy.
Whaaa???? I can't know the name and brand of the dress I might buy??? Then how the hell am I supposed to know if I am getting a great deal? When I checked for tags on the dress, I found that the store had simply replaced the tags with their own store tag, eliminating the manufacturer's name.
Shady? Um, yeah! It's ILLEGAL!
Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act of 1963, retailers must disclose pertinent information, including the manufacturers name. Usually, this info is included on dress tags, but some shops will go through a loophole and simply replace the tags with store tags (as Bella Sposa did). You can read more information on this law here.
But it is still unlawful and extremely unethical for shops to refuse to disclose information before purchase of a gown. You don't after all, walk into a car dealership and purchase a car not knowing if it was a Honda or Kia.
So how do you protect yourself? Well, I simply walked out of the store, refusing to do business with them. But what if you found your dream dress? Now the shop really has you cornered! Well, I think there are definitely ways to track down the dress without succumbing to them. I was reading a WeddingBee board post about a girl who had gone through the same thing. She simply had a friend snap a few photos of the dress on the DL even though the shop wouldn't allow photography (hey, all's fair in love and war, right?) and posted the pics on the WeddingBee forum. With fellow Bees' help, she found her gown!
My visit with Bella Sposa has only pushed me further into being completely jaded with the dress shopping experience. I feel like shops are out there trying to scam and steal from me whenever they can! I know that not all shops are shady and I shouldn't be so paranoid, but it doesn't make me feel empowered at all. So, what did I do? I filed a report against Bella Sposa with the FTC and the BBB. I wrote cautionary reviews on Yelp and Project Wedding.
Yes, this is the wrong bride to mess with!!!