Buyer Beware

Six years ago, I purchased a Montage by Mon Cheri gown for my eldest son’s wedding. I loved the outfit and received many compliments so now that my youngest son is getting married in April of 2014 in Thailand, I wanted to purchase another lovely outfit by this designer. I searched the Internet and found my ideal dress – Social Occasions by Mon Cheri style 114813 in Blush.

As someone who likes to Internet bargain hunt, I searched to find the best price possible. In the beginning of February, I came across and found the dress listed at the excellent price of $283 / £179. I was advised that if I paid via Western Union, I would receive a 20% discount but could not find the link to pay this way. I was happy with the price as it was so I paid with a Visa debit card.

At the time I ordered the dress, the website listed the dress description as well as a guarantee stating, “TJ Formal is an authorized retailer for every Mon Cheri dress including all Social Occasion dresses. When you order from TJ Formal, you will receive an original, authentic Mon Cheri dress. Guaranteed.” I noticed that the website charged all products in US Dollars and although I had a contact email, there was no indication whatsoever of where the company was based. I was having trouble completing my order but when I emailed to ask if I could order over the phone, I was told that the website was based in China with no phone service.

A couple of days later, I received a confirmation email of my payment and order. I was asked to confirm the date of my event as well as the color – Pink or Blush. I replied Blush as that was the color pictured and that my event was in the beginning of March to ensure it would be received in time. I received an email back stating that they my order would process and that I should receive the dress by the end of February.

Toward the end of February, I sent an email to see if my dress had been shipped. They replied that I would receive the tracking number within a week. A week later, I emailed again to see if my dress had been shipped. I received an email back saying that my order was slightly delayed and to confirm the event date so that I would receive it in time. I emailed them again in early March but received NO reply. I sent another email the following day, as it had been one month since I originally placed my order.

Finally, I received an email back saying that they notified the manufacturer to finish dress as soon as possible. They asked for a few more days for production and offered a partial refund for the delay. I asked why it had taken so long to make and insisted that they should not falsely advertise production times that they cannot meet. I did not receive a shipping notification but UPS delivered a dress to me at work the following week.

I was quite excited to receive the dress until I opened a small 12” x 18” UPS bag and found a bright pink dress inside, completely jumbled up and turned inside out. The dress was not at all what I expected: the color was wrong, the material was wrong, and it did not have a slit in the back as pictured. It was also supposed to include a shawl and tasseled belt however there was no shawl and the belt was just a tiny bit of material with beading that did not match the picture on the website. In addition, it did not fit at all. The lining was cut narrower than the actual dress. I could not get it on without a fight and then could not move in it since the lining was buckled up. I requested a US size 12 / UK size 14 but the width of the lining at the bottom by the hem was just 36″.

I immediately emailed the website and advised that I knew that the dress was counterfeit and a fake. I went into great detail about each flaw and explained that it was not at all like the picture. They asked for photographs and measurements over and over again so I forwarded them photos. They advised that I ordered a size 12 and to lay the dress flat, measure it, and take more photos so that they could see if it was their fault or not. I sent this email at least three times but they ignored me. I asked for a full refund and for UPS to pick up the dress at their expense, NOT mine. I also advised that I would be taking legal action. I contacted my bank; they seem to think that they may be able to help in obtaining a refund through Visa and are sending me the necessary forms.

I recently received an email from the website stating, “We make the dress according to the dress picture, the design will be the same but the difference exists, hope you can understand. And we need you to measure the size with a tape and take pictures for us, there would be no problem with the size as it made according to which you gave to us by our professional tailor. I will check the picture and find if it’s our fault to make the dress in wrong size and give you a best solution. By the way, as all our dresses are custom made, if you want to return it to us, we can accept it, but only 30% can be refund after received your dress in original condition. If you choose to keep it, I will submit your order to the company and ask for a partial refund for you as a compensation for your unsatisfication. Thank you so much. ”

Then I received another email from them:

“We didn’t mark anywhere on our website that the dress is original. We make it according to the dress picture. There are two method to solve your problem: If you want to return it to us, we can accept it, but only 30% can be refund after received your dress in original condition. If you choose to keep it, I will submit your order to the company and ask for a partial refund for 50 USD as a compensation for your unsatisfication. Thank you so much.”

I took a snapshot of the webpage that clearly states that they sell original dresses: “When you order from TJ Formal, you will receive an authentic Mon Cheri dress. Guaranteed.” I contacted TJ Formal in the US asking if they had any connection to Vienna Bridal and was advised that they did not. This counterfeit website is using both TJ Formal’s good name as well as Mon Cheri’s trademarked images.

Since I am usually a very cautious person, I am absolutely gutted that I have been duped in this manner. Now I cannot afford to buy my dream dress and do not have enough time to order a replacement from a reputable store.

An extremely unhappy Mrs. Barbara Emmerton, London, UK, March 2014


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