Store Orders A Different Dress Because The One You Want "Won't Work For Someone Your Size"

Reader Brad says his friend was “shafted” by a bridal store in St. Louis, so she wrote to the local paper about her issue. The paper wrote up her story and is now asking readers to offer their opinion on the issue. Brad’s friend, Tia, went to a bridal store to buy a gown for her sister’s wedding. She was instructed by the bride to get a dress that was shiny and either black or red. Tia found a gown she liked and ordered it. When she got the gown, she looked at the tag and noticed that it wasn’t by the designer that she thought she’d chosen. When she asked the store what was up with the dress, they told her that the store ordered another dress because they thought the one she’d chosen wouldn’t “work for somebody of her size.” This, of course, made Tia cry.

Now she wants a refund of half of her costs but the store says no. They’re offering $75 as compensation, which is not half of the $230.50 she paid for the wrong dress.

On that day of departure, she looked for the tag, found it and noticed something odd. It didn’t say Bill Levkoff. It said Eden Bridal. Tia thought that perhaps Eden Bridal was part of the Bill Levkoff line. Maybe Eden Bridal did the larger dresses. So she went to the computer and looked up Eden Bridal. It did not seem to be connected to Bill Levkoff.

Had there been a mistake? Had she gotten the wrong dress?

She rushed to Ultimate Bride. If there had been some kind of a mistake and the seamstress had been given the wrong gown, would there be time to do the alterations on the right gown? She explained to the seamstress that they had been working with the wrong dress. The seamstress went to talk to the store manager. She came back and said, no, this is the dress we ordered for you. The manager didn’t think the other one would work for somebody of her size.

Tia started to cry. She took the dress and left.

She told the story to her mom in Iowa. It was humiliating. By the way, she now hated the gown. The sash was long and embroidered. Way too frilly. It wasn’t shiny enough. She called the store from Iowa. She spoke to the manager. I want my money back, she said. The store manager said she couldn’t do anything because Tia had taken the dress.

When Tia came back to St. Louis, she called the owner of the store, Ann Rafferty. She offered Tia a $25 refund, but overall, the discussion did not go well. Tia then spoke with general manager Richard Craig. That conversation was better, but resulted in the same $25 offer. Tia asked for half her cost back. In all, including shipping and alterations, she had paid $230.50. Craig continued to offer $25.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is asking readers to decide what should happen. What do you think?

OK, jury, you decide the Case of the Wrong Dress [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Chryss says:

    What the…? Ordering a different dress without talking to the customer? Listen, if the manager had called and said (GENTLY), “We have some concerns about ordering this dress…can you come in and we can discuss different options,” that would be one thing. But the store arbitrarily decides to order a different dress and then demand that Tia pay for their choice, not hers.

    Full refund, thank you very much–the store can take the dress back and choke on it, for all I care.

    • Benny Gesserit says:

      @Chryss: I was thinking Anne Rafferty can shove it up her … no-no hole (euphamism thanks to dlisted.com)

      Dear Zod, does Rafferty hate other women THAT much – she really has to seek therapy and get a new line of work.

    • vdragonmpc says:

      @Chryss:

      I agree, how rude and horrible to do that to someone.

      • EyeHeartPie says:

        @Chryss:
        +1.

        “Hey, we thought that the car you ordered was too small for someone of your size, so we arbitrarily decided to order a bigger one for you.”

        Just another question: do we know if the price of the new dress was charged, or did they just charge her the price of the one she actually ordered? Also, was the one she got cheaper than the one she ordered?

  2. urabl says:

    She didn’t get what she ordered. Full refund – end of story.

  3. Bladefist says:

    uhh full refund. She got something different then what she ordered.

  4. hills says:

    This girl deserves nothing less than a FULL refund – Bad enough not getting the dress she ordered, but to be given a different one without being told beforehand, and then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they insult her size?!!! Holy moly, this shop better hope she doesn’t sue them for emotional distress as well!

    • SybilDisobedience says:

      @hillsrovey: Not to defend the store AT ALL – but is it possible this was a badly worded claim that the dress she wanted wasn’t available in her size and the order had been subbed with another model that was?

      Naaah, probably not. These guys suck. Full refund and an apology would be mighty nice. Maybe with enough attention from the media and the public Tia will get one.

  5. gigisinatra says:

    This is the kind of story that reaffirms my belief that anyone in anyway affiliated with the Wedding Industrial Complex is a complete know-it-all assface.

  6. bananaballs says:

    Refund plus damages. Are they kidding? What awful people.

  7. Darkkeyboard says:

    Seriously? This kinda stuff happens in real life?

    Listen here, store staff- we pay you for things we order, and want. If my clients wants John Denver at their reception (and they did recently) I learn John Denver. Even if I think it’s a big mistake. I take pay for what I offer that the client wants.

  8. Sudonum says:

    Full refund and an apology. She didn’t get what she ordered and was insulted by the store management.

  9. kimdog says:

    Full refund. But I’m glad they held out, because now they can have a big steaming pile of bad press to go along with the full refund.

    • PølάrβǽЯ says:

      @kimdog: No kidding. The only thing better (read=worse) than making such a mistake and not realizing when and how to fix it is making sure the whole damn world knows about it by the time you do.

  10. Lucky225 says:

    Full refund all the way, she only took the dress in reluctance as she was already being humiliated and ridiculed.

  11. B says:

    She should get 2/3 of a refund, and 2/3 of a couch. Wait, wrong post.

    • ep5760 says:

      Don’t forget she should only return 2/3 of the dress.

      And no argument here, full refund for item not delievered as ordered.

  12. kaizoku80 says:

    Let me see if I have this right:

    Girl orders dress.
    Store gives her wrong dress.
    Girl accepts wrong dress.
    Girl takes wrong dress to seamstress for alterations.
    Girl has wrong dress altered, THEN figures out she accepted the wrong dress.

    It seems to me that although the store switched her order without her consent, which is unacceptable, she never should have accepted the wrong dress from them in the first place,…half refund sounds perfectly reasonable to me, as it was the fault of both the store and the girl.

    • Sinflux says:

      @kaizoku80: It sounds like the alterations were preformed before she got it.

    • bobert says:

      @kaizoku80: Read carefully. The seamstress worked for the store.

      That’s the deal with menswear. You go in, you pick your suit, the tailor takes your measurements, then you go back in and pick it up after the tailor has done their thing. At the better stores, they’ll have you try it on and the tailor makes any minor adjustments needed.

      It sounds like that’s what happened to Tia. She ordered the dress and they took her measurements. She didn’t find out the store had changed dresses until the store’s seamstress had already altered the dress. What’s she going to do – refuse the dress, and either skip the wedding or show up inappropriately dressed?

      Tia’s being really nice to offer to pay half – I’m sure she must be young.

      I’m an old fart, and if a menswear store pulled a swap on me with a suit like that the day before a business trip… well, yeah, I’d take the suit, what else am I going to wear on the trip? But they’d better have the right new suit when I got back, ready to swap for their used wrong suit, or they’d either land a chargeback or see me in court.

    • Nofsdad says:

      @kaizoku80: No your brilliance… she picked out a dress and left it there for alterations. The wrong dress was substituted AFTER she had left the store, some time between when she ordered the dress and when she received it too late to obtain the right dress, have it altered and make it to the wedding.

      There are some people so anxious to blame the OP that they go totally out of their way to invent some way to do it.

  13. jwarner132 says:

    chargeback

    • Ein2015 says:

      @jwarner132: seconded

      • lauy says:

        @Ein2015: @jwarner132:

        Sorry guys, chargeback won’t work her because the dress was altered. Chargeback would only work if the dress was returned in the same condition as it was sold, and they might even deny it because she accepted the wrong dress (if it was a face to face transaction).

        • Sidecutter says:

          @lauy: Reading is a useful thing to do sometimes.

          The dress was altered before she ever laid hands on it. She ordered, they changed her order to another dress without asking, altered that dress, and then she received that incorrect dress. She made payment before she ever received the dress and was given no chance to object to the swap. So yes, she certainly COULD chargeback.

  14. ARPRINCE says:

    HALF REFUND since she took it home with her and I guess she should lose weight too. ;)

    • shorty63136 says:

      @ARPRINCE: HALF of a jack-assed comment!

    • Cyclokitty says:

      @ARPRINCE: duh, not quite. The dress wasn’t the dress she bought, just because she left with it doesn’t mean the store has completed the sale. It’s not the item the customer paid for, and they felt the dress was inappropriate they have to give the customer the ultimate choice.

      And as far as weight loss is concerned, your comment needs to lose some weight: “HALF REFUND since she took it home with her.” There, that looks better on you.

    • thelushie says:

      @ARPRINCE: What about full commenting privilages taken away for being negative just for the sake of being negative?

    • mon0zuki says:

      @ARPRINCE: Totally inappropriate comment.

      For starters, why should she have to lose weight for a bridal shop who have no right to judge what dress she “should” wear? There’s no telling if they actually have any good experience with what dresses “work” on different people – considering they obviously don’t have any concept of consulting customers before they change orders.

      Secondly, who are you to judge? For all you know, she was too THIN to wear a certain dress style in the eyes of the bridal shop.

      Thirdly, why the HELL should she have to conform to some idiotic concept of “beauty” unless her weight (whether too heavy or too light) causes her health problems or interferes with her life? We’re inundated with messages that models are “healthy,” nevermind that they’re airbrushed.

      Fourth, don’t be a jackass. Seriously. I think your energy would be far better used trying to understand why you need negative attention.

  15. shorty63136 says:

    Anyway – full refund. You should not play with weddings like that. If people CAN be accommodate, then accommodate them. If the dress doesn’t come in her size, SAY that and give her other options. This stunt was unnecessary.

  16. theysaidwhat says:

    I voted for half the refund after I read the full story. This young lady picked up the dress and tried it on for alterations, not noticing it was a different dress. So the dress had to have been very similar to the one she originally ordered, and very similar in price to the one she originally ordered. She only noticed the tag was different, then she wanted a resolution for a dress she had ordered months before and had altered and worn.

    The store absolutely should have discussed their concerns about the original dress with her before doing anything, and no one should have insulted her. She proposed a reasonable solution.

    • joopiter says:

      @theysaidwhat: I agree It seems like if there were no tag at all, she wouldn’t have even realized that it was the wrong dress. She tried it on twice before the alterations began, so if she hated the dress that was the time to speak up. The dress didn’t get suddenly more frilly and the sash suddenly embroidered through the course of alterations. Definitely a boneheaded move on the store’s part, but I think a half refund is more warranted here than a full refund.

      • P41 says:

        @joopiter: So what if she didn’t notice the swap immediately? Four things are irrefutable: She didn’t get the dress she ordered, and it was deliberate, and they made no effort to inform her of the swap, and she did eventually find out and decide she was unhappy with it.

        Being the experts is a legitimate justification only until the time the customer places the order for a specific item. They were negligent in not checking the dress didn’t come near her size. They clearly knew how to reach her, they could have called to say, Oops turns out the one you picked won’t work, should we just order this other one or would you like to come back? Or when it came in, they could have explained the problem and got her ok.

        But a well meaning deception is still deception, and not getting caught as soon as you could have been caught doesn’t mean that what you’ve done is ok. A small credit is what they should have offered before the alterations, as an apology for helping her pick out the wrong dress. Full refund is what they should give now for ruining her experience.

    • BStu says:

      @theysaidwhat: Who would have thought that they were being given a completely different dress. If I were in a situation like that, I’d probably have assumed I was remembering the item of clothing incorrectly. It would never occur to me that the store would ignore my order and substitute their selection for mine.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @theysaidwhat: This is not her fault. This is like saying that people who are fooled by the “Folger’s Switch” are responsible for what they got.

      She looked at pictures and dresses and chose one. She didn’t memorize the picture, nor would anyone with reasonable intelligence believe that a picture of a small-sized dress would look exactly like the picture. The manager even chose a dress knowing it looked very similar to the one she wanted. Her not being an expert in this dress, having not seen it since she ordered it out of a catalog, and not knowing what it would look like after it was altered is a very reasonable argument that she would not have known. It was only until she saw the label that it would be obvious.

      I also take issue with the comment in the article:

      “You can’t have it both ways,” said Craig. “You can’t say you’re not into dresses, and then complain that it’s not quite the same dress.”

      No one should have to be “into” the product they purchase in order to get what they ordered. Imagine if car dealerships did this: “I know you ordered the four-door sedan, but you have 10 kids in your family, so we ordered you a conversion van,” or restaurants: “We saw you ordered a double cheeseburger, but brought you out a salad, since it seems like you’re about 20 lbs overweight.” The store screwed up here, and because they know she’s not going to be a repeat customer, they’re being jerks. They’re only offering a minor sum so she goes away.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @theysaidwhat: I couldn’t pick the tux I wore at my wedding out of a police line up, even the day after the wedding…

  17. KyleOrton says:

    I’m glad the owner was involved. Then she can’t blame some lackey when no one ever shops there again.

    Seriously, NO bride would ever shop there after hearing about this. It’s not like bridal stores are even special, from my wife’s experience they all order the same crap.

  18. sarahandthecity says:

    how about this: the store manager changed the dress because tia was black and she didnt think it would look good on her skin tone. oh wait, we’re only allowed to be rude to fat people and then claim it’s their own fault.

    full refund + whatever you think the scenario above would get in a lawsuit. especially since all they had to do was ASK before they changed the order if they thought it would be a problem.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @sarahandthecity: Thank you, that’s the point that needs to be made. If a dark skinned black girl had ordered matte finish black dress and they gave her a different color because she’d “look nude” in it, what store would be closed by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.

      But a fat girl goes and gets her dress changes because she’d possibly look like trying to invent muffin shoulders and muffin thighs, people just sort of shrug their shoulders. Being big is unhealthy, and it’s hard to get clothes to fit, but it’s not a crime or a social faux pas. If she felt she looked good enough in the dress, that should have been good enough for the store.

      For god’s sake, maybe she didn’t hate herself as much as the store hated on her and actually liked the way she looked in it.

  19. sir_pantsalot says:

    If that is their policy then they need to post a “No Fat Chicks” sighn at the front of the store.

  20. NightSteel says:

    Chargeback.

    • lauy says:

      @NightSteel:

      Chargeback won’t work here because the dress was altered. Chargeback would only work if the dress was returned in the same condition as it was sold, and they might even deny it because she accepted the wrong dress (if it was a face to face transaction).

      • NightSteel says:

        @lauy: I don’t buy the alteration argument. She paid for one thing and got another. Why does the fact that the store went on to alter the dress matter? Does that give them license to intentionally order the wrong dress for any customer, alter it, and then throw their hands up and say hey, we altered it, you can’t return it now! That’s BS. As for ‘accepting’ the wrong dress, she might’ve shot herself in the foot by taking it out of the store, but I wonder if she actually signed for it? If she didn’t sign for it, and she didn’t sign off on anything authorizing a change of the original order, then the deal is not done until the promised merchandise is delivered in the promised condition and signed for.

  21. Eoghann says:

    I don’t normally advocate going to court to fix a situation that can easily be fixed without going to court, but in this case, since the management cannot give her what she paid for, then she should just file the papers and take it to a judge. Let the store manager get served with papers and show up in court and defend his actions.

  22. b612markt says:

    just lovely.

    Email: info@theultimatebride.com
    Address: 1512 S. Brentwood Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63144
    S. E . Corner of 1 – 6 4 / 4 0 & Brentwood

    Telephone: (314) 961.9997

  23. pixiegirl1 says:

    Not only should she get a full refund she should also be financially compensated for her time & energy she’s wasted trying to get what shes fully entitled. She should also file a complaint with the BBB and the FTC. Its not up to the manager to decide what she should wear to a wedding if the dress comes in her size then order it plain and simple, its not like they are the fashion police.

    She should have checked her dress before she left the store with it.

  24. freelunch says:

    it is quite generous of her to only ask for half the value of the dress back…

    I think she would have better results if she demanded a full refund and threatened a law suit for discriminationa and selling her a different dress than ordered without providing the information.

  25. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This is a ridiculous situation. The store should have never ordered a different dress that the woman did not choose, and they did so knowingly! And they insulted her weight! First, they’re not doing anyone a favor by insulting their customers, second, they should have consulted with the girl to see whether she could find a dress that fit her better – and that’s something that even remains to be seen, because according to a lot of bridal shops, if you’re not a size 4, you’re imperfect and not deserving of anything you actually spend money on.

    And $230 is just too much for a dress and alterations! One of my bridesmaids was just a tad on the large side – no one dared tell her she was bigger, or should not have been wearing x dress. A store is simply to provide a service, not to give opinions.

    I did laugh a little bit, though, at the bride’s instructions that the dress was to be shiny. Shiny dresses are horrible for wedding photography. Think disco ball. Satin shiny can be elegant, but not so flattering for larger people. Sequins should be banned at all costs.

    • bria says:

      @IHaveAFreezeRay:
      No one asked you about whether shiny dresses are good/bad.

      • Superawesomerad says:

        @bria:

        No one asked you to be snotty, but here we are.

        Shiny dresses look glamorous on the rack, but satin is the most unforgiving fabric known to man. You’d think Tia’s sister would be a little more considerate, unless she’s one of those crazy brides who deliberately makes her bridesmaids wear unflattering outfits so that she can be the prettiest girl at the event.

  26. tortcat says:

    Full refund and she should never have taken the dress but forced them to deal with it then and there on the spot.

  27. nagumi says:

    You know I called the store and spoke with the manager. She was very polite and just took what I had to say (that I have a wedding coming up and that she’s lost my business) and said thank you and hung up. I figure if people call and (politely) say that they would never shop at a store which speaks to customers in such a degrading way, the store might try to do some damage control and compensate the poor girl.

    The trick to manipulating a business into giving you (or anyone) what you want is to convince them that it’s bad for business. Do this WITHOUT being rude, WITHOUT being threatening (I’M GONNA TELL THE WHOLE INTERNETS! gets you nothing) but just informatively. You can even say something like “I think you need to call me (or the customer from x article) and try to make things right in order to get my business back.”

    • NightSteel says:

      @nagumi: Or, whoever answered the phone listened politely and hung up, confident that your call meant absolutely nothing.

      Some businesses have to be shamed into providing the service that they should, and by shamed, I mean very publicly, on the news, etc. This sure seems like one of those. A few phone calls are worth a hundred bucks of profit.

      • nagumi says:

        @NightSteel: Sure, but for every person that calls like that, there are more that just say to themselves “well, I won’t shop there” and put it aside. My point was that to show said business that said bad publicity was working against them.

  28. floraposte says:

    So do we think the dress she really wanted wasn’t actually available and the store did this rather than lose her business? Or that there’s a kickback/higher profit from the Eden Bridal line? Because I am utterly unconvinced that it had anything to do with a taste call.

  29. bohemian says:

    It isn’t up to the store to decide for someone else what they will wear. As long as the customer loves it that is what matters.

    I have to wonder if this other dress was considerably cheaper to the store and they pocketed the difference.

  30. nagumi says:

    Yeah, so I’m a small business owner. When I make a mistake, or screw up royally, or hell, a customer screws up, I make a snap decision: do I want to lose this person’s business and if I do (in the case of a disliked customer) how can I do it in a way that offends them the very, very least so they don’t tell people about me.

    I own a dog boarding service/kennel. When a dog gets sick here, I spring for medications, call in favors from vets et cetera in order to make the clients happy – that way, even though the dog getting sick wasn’t my fault (generally) the customer still feels that I take responsibility for all that goes on. The customer knows that a fungus on the dog’s nose isn’t my fault but just normal kennel stuff, but I give them my spare tube of antifungal stuff anyway because it makes them happy.

    ANYTHING to make a customer happy. You never know where a story of your screw up is gonna land. It might even hit Consumerist!

  31. MyPetFly says:

    “I’m sorry, my credit card won’t work with a store of your type.”

  32. PDX909 says:

    Lecter: So tell me about Miss Bridal Gown. Was she a large girl?

    Clarice: Yes.

    Lecter: Big through the hips? Roomy?

    Clarice: They all were.

  33. It’s very far in the comments to bother … but I have to say this lady deserves 2 things.

    1: A FULL Refund.

    2: A public, and sincere apology from the owner/manager involved.

    Poor girl

    If a business did this to my wife I would ruin them as much as I could. At that point it is so far beyond a monetary issue.

  34. fjordtjie says:

    the fact that they refused to give her what she ordered and humilitated her, now that deserves a full refund and a written apology. $25 is a joke. if they treat any of their customers in that manner, i sure as hell will never be a patron.

  35. Zyada says:

    I decided to do a touch of research so I set out to see how comparable the two dresses are by way of a web site that sells bridesmaids dresses. The article doesn’t describe the dress beyond the sash detail, so I chose two dresses from the two different brand lines with a sash, and otherwise the same general construction.


    Bill Levkoff – MSRP = $239


    Eden Bridal – MSRP = $169

    These may not be the dresses in question, but this gives a good example of the higher price that a designer label will command.

    The store may still be making a profit with even with their $75 “offer”.

    Isn’t this fraud?

    • Roclawzi says:

      @Zyada: That’s the very essence of fraud, and I think that’s a point that needs to be researched further, because if the “weight” comment was an excuse to pawn off a cheaper dress because it looked similar on a prepaid order, it makes it worse in my opinion.

  36. HalOfBorg says:

    I hope that store is a bakery or something in a couple days. AFTER a full refund.

    I hope EVERY customer that they have currently is in the store RIGHT NOW demanding a refund and going elsewhere.

  37. CrazyMann says:

    Her contract with the store was for X dress, they gave her Y dress. This is a no brainner. They owe her the money. Chargeback

    • lauy says:

      @CrazyMann:

      Chargeback won’t work here because the dress was altered. Chargeback would only work if the dress was returned in the same condition as it was sold, and they might even deny it because she accepted the wrong dress (if it was a face to face transaction).

      • RocktheDebit says:

        @lauy: @CrazyMann: It’s a simple breach of contract. The store, by shipping the client the wrong dress, both accepted the retail contract and breached it. The fact that the store can no longer sell the dress is irrelevant.

  38. Outrun1986 says:

    If the original dress came in her size, then they should say nothing and just order it. They should have taken measurements before hand so they would know what size to get.

    Any reasonable woman would expect that they are getting the dress they ordered, and not have the old switcharoo played on them, especially if she was paying extra for a dress from a certain designer. I wouldn’t even think to check the tag, I would just assume I was given the dress I ordered. If the dress didn’t come in the right size then they should have told her before ordering the dress in a polite matter, since I am sure this happens a lot in bridal shops they should have it down how to politely tell a customer that the dress they want doesn’t come in their size.

    As a customer she is spending money at their place of business, they should not care if your a size 0 or 24 everyone should be treated the same. As a bridal shop when they went into business they should have known that they would have to deal with woman of all sizes.

    Regardless of the industry the business is in a good business treats every customer that walks through the door equally. A hairdresser doesn’t go insulting every customer that has gray hair, when they go to work they have to do everyone’s hair that comes in regardless of color or thickness.

    She deserves a full refund at the very least, and if the shop doesn’t comply then she can have the pleasure of likely watching them go out of business.

  39. juri squared says:

    It’s very important to note that the article says her original dress is not made in her size.

    This does not in any way excuse their treatment. Why didn’t they know this right off the bat?? I’m a large size, and I am very aware of that when I shop for clothes.

    So basically, the store didn’t know what sizes were available, and then didn’t bother to even CALL her about making a substitution. What are they smoking there??

  40. Shappie says:

    How could she get anything BUT a full refund?! It just doesn’t make sense!

  41. chrrey103 says:

    A good tailor can make any dress fit well and look nice. These people should not only refund her money but give her a free tailored dress as well. Not many women are size 2 so if you can get into this “market” of imperfect women you will make some money.

  42. sabrinad says:

    If she had been a skinny girl, this wouldn’t even be a question. It’s bait and switch, and the rest is irrelevant.

    The entire staff involved in justifying the bait and switch — because she’s fat and they judged her chosen dress wouldn’t fit, when it’s none of their damned business — should be fired. Full stop.

  43. Sarcastikate says:

    The bridal industry is really unique, and not in a good way. They take your measurements, a dress enormously too large comes in, then the round of “fittings” takes place. I’m not even talking about just the bride’s gown, but the entire wedding party’s. Then they pin, pin, snip, snip, sew & then re-fit, refit, refit. My best experience was with a bride who wasn’t into the whole nauseating experience and we just walked into a very nice store and bought dresses off the rack. Fit better than the other fitted garbage that cost double or more.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @Sarcastikate: While the industry as a whole is annoying, the dress clearly has to be too large. It’s significantly harder to make a garment larger, so the only option is to make it smaller. By making it a size (or 2) larger than needed, they don’t have to re-order when bride’s maid #1 has gained 10 lbs between ordering and fitting.

  44. Roclawzi says:

    Actually, this was the manager being considerate, by switching the dresses. His original impulse was to give her the original dress and a “portable wall to hide your beastly butt behind”. Thank heavens good taste prevailed.

    But seriously, how could making a comment about a customer’s weight EVER seem like a good idea?

  45. The_IT_Crone says:

    “He said the store manager talked to people at Bill Levkoff and was told that the necessary alterations would ruin the look of the gown.”

    I fail to see how the store “insulted” her for telling her the dress wouldn’t work, when clearly the original dress would not have been alterable to her size. So if she is “insulted,” then there is clearly something wrong with her attitude. If you’re over-weight, live with it or do something about it. Don’t go blaming everyone else.

    HOWEVER. As a consumer, she was not given the product that she paid for. So unless that store has a “terms and conditions” clause that says that they may substitute items, then she is entitled to a full refund. However NO additional compensation. It is not the store’s fault that she thinks a size 6 can be altered into a size 26. (Estimated sizes, obviously).

    • @The_IT_Crone: “clearly the original dress would not have been alterable to her size.”

      That’s bullshit. Bill Levkoff comes in up to VERY large sizes (and charge quite a premium for it). I WANTED to get a different Bill Levkoff dress when a friend of mine chose it for the bridesmaids’ dresses, because this dress would CLEARLY not in a million years alter to fit my properly (because the top and bottom were in such weird proportions compared to MY top and bottom; it was also remarkably unflattering to women with breasts, and mine aren’t that big). Bill Levkoff ASSURED her that ANY of their dresses could be altered to fit ANY body and it would look GREAT on me!

      The dress almost made my tailor cry trying to fit it, and he grumbled in Lebanese through most of the fittings about the problems in fitting THAT style dress to MY style body. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything less attractive, and ol’ Bill assured me it’d look great.

    • thelushie says:

      @The_IT_Crone: OMG. The shop ordered a dress that she didn’t want and told her that it was because the other dress would not work for a woman of her size. And then when confronted by the press, explained that the dress didn’t come in a size that would fit Tia. Why could the explanation not been given to Tia. What the manager needs to do:
      1) Full refund. It still stands that she paid for a dress that she didn’t receive and (going off what some other posters have commented) received a piece that may be less expensive.
      2) Sensitivity training. Making comments like the one made=completely inappropriate. Perhaps some probation and being thankful that they still have a job. If it had been my store, all involved would have been immediately relieved of their duties. But perhaps this individual was born in a barn and needs to be taught.
      3) Apology to Tia with witnesses. The manager was wrong and needs to admit it.

      A sad aspect of our society is that it is still ok to be rude to plus size individuals especially women. And many plus size women are taught early on to not say anything back. It is really sad. Plus size women need to empower themselves. They don’t have to take it.

  46. Jetgirly says:

    This is the saddest story. I used the “Book an Appointment” form on their website to express how horrible I felt their actions were; I figured they deserved a little inconvenience.

  47. kathyl says:

    I’m with the people who say “chargeback” (leaving the dress on the store’s doorstep, of course, to deliver back the unwanted merchandise) or “full refund”. Screw that store and the manager. Who does she think she is? Tim Gunn?

  48. Mr_Burmie says:

    She should pay them five bucks, and tell them that this is the payment appropriate for their service and product.

  49. ShariC says:

    I’d wager that the excuse about the dress not working on someone her size was concocted to cover up a mistake or not having stock.

    This is appalling and this store deserves to go out of business. Obviously, Tia not only deserves a refund, but a sincere apology and compensation for emotional stress.

  50. ShadowFalls says:

    Interesting question here, I looked for it, but did not see it. What was the value of the wrong dress? They say they charged her for it, did they charge her for the one she originally ordered, or was it the amount of the actual one?

    There is no excuse for not delivering the product as the person ordered it. If for any reason you can not provide the said item, or you as a business thought this item would not work, talking to the customer first would be the correct move.

  51. no.no.notorious says:

    she’s probably a size 6 or something

    either way, i’m really starting to hate the retail fashion industry. i’ve worked in it for years (now i’m in restaurants. w00t.), and i always liked helping people find the exact thing they’re looking for. but most of the sales people are grossly obsessed with image. they just talk about how fat the people in the store are, or how fat they are, or how fat another employee is, etc.

    i’m sure the person who did the ordering was having a “fat” day so they had to take it out on someone who maybe had confidence in their shape.

  52. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If the store’s excuse was that the dress she ordered didn’t come in her size… how in the world did she just pick a dress? I don’t go into stores and find something that looks nice on the rack and order it without trying it on. She must have purchased the dress without trying it on, because there wouldn’t have anything to try on – the store shouldn’t have ordered her a different dress, but they should’ve explained that the one she liked didn’t come in a size larger than X. Personally, I’d never just pick a dress and order it, but they should’ve told her that it didn’t come in a size larger than ____.

    • @IHaveAFreezeRay: Bridal shops don’t give you a choice. The bridesmaids dresses (and wedding gowns, for that matter) are there in one or two “trier” sizes, and if you’re any other size, you just have to kind of hold it up and guess (or, if you’re too small, stand inside it and have two friends pull it back around you).

      And Bill Levkoff, as stated above, comes into sizes basically up to infinity. (My friend who chose Levkoffs had maids ranging from a size 2 to a size “8 months pregnant” and it was one of the lines with the largest range of sizes. The upshot was that it looked rotten on most of us, but oh well. It’s a bridesmaid’s dress.)

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: I guess my difficulty in understanding why she wouldn’t try on a dress first was that I used David’s Bridal (bane of any bride’s existence) and they had dresses in every size up to 24 in their stores. One of my bridesmaids was a size 18 and was able to try on several dresses, including the one she ultimately chose to wear. Cost was one of the reasons why I chose David’s Bridal, but also their availability of try-on sizes was another. It’s not enough that a dress fits, it has to be comfortable and it has to be flattering, hide the areas you want to hide and highlight the best features. I’m a firm believer in working as a group, rather than the bride leads the pack and the bride gets the only say. I originally wanted my bridesmaids to wear the same dress – but it turned out that two of my bridesmaids looked much better in one dress, and the third was not comfortable with that dress. I guess I could’ve insisted, but she wouldn’t have been happy, and I wouldn’t have been happy because she wasn’t comfortable, so I compromised. And everyone had a good time, and wore comfortable dresses.

  53. AldaFlop says:

    @jurijuri: The article doesn’t say that the dress didn’t come in her size, it says that the manager made a subjective determination that the style she chose wouldn’t work for her size.

    In her shoes (if I weren’t a trembling 18 year old) I’d tell the manager he had three choices: 1) full refund 2) chargeback 3) small claims court.

  54. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If I want to pay good money for a dress that’s going to look like crap on me, that’s my right. Does anybody stop people from buying stirrup pants or short-alls?

  55. Dr.Martha_Jones says:

    She absolutely deserves a full refund. First they had no right to make that call, especially since they violated the contract inherent in the purchase – she paid for dress A, they took her money and gave her dress B. Second they insulted her needlessly. Third, from the sounds of it their decision went against the bride’s wishes and there was no time to correct the problem.

    Also, Bill Levkoff makes lovely dresses which look very well made and flattering. Eden Bridal gowns look like cheap and frumpy – in a completely different league. So they didn’t even order something remotely comparable.

  56. SD9302 says:

    full refund – it’s not the store’s concern whether or not the dress looks good on her. if she wants it and she pays for it, that’s what you give her. totally ridiculous. if they concede acting in error sufficiently that she deserves a 10% refund ($25), then she deserves a 100% refund.

  57. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    from the article:
    “Tia and the store manager looked at dresses and pictures of dresses. They needed something they could have by August for alterations. They selected something from the Bill Levkoff line. It was a black, shiny, strapless, floor-length gown.”

    um.. so THE MANAGER who later changed the dress on her HELPED her pick the original dress and didn’t check to see what sizes it came in? regardless of opinion, if the appropriate size was available, that’s what they need to get.
    the manager needs to be fired incompetency, to say the least.
    FAQ from the bill levkoff website:
    “Q: What sizes are your dresses available in?
    A: Dresses are available in sizes 0 – 26.”

    doesn’t say SOME dresses – the FAQ applies to the whole collection. and i scanned through the site to be sure and actually most of them appear to be listed as coming in up to a size 28.

    and why would the folks at bill levkoff decline a sale because of the way a dress will look? i think tia needs to get bill levkoff’s people to back her on this because they lost a sale and somehow i doubt they told the store manager not to sell their product.

  58. RunawayJim says:

    I don’t have a very popular opinion here, but I don’t think a full refund is in order. She obviously didn’t notice the dress was different through her fittings. She didn’t notice until she had to leave. Her first mistake was not checking the dress the first time she tried it on. By accepting the dress and then having it altered, she obviously had no idea it was different. She didn’t notice until she saw the tag. They are both at fault, however. The store should have never switched dresses without consulting with the customer. They should have called her to inform her that the dress she wanted did not come in the proper size (it’s not unreasonable to suggest a different dress when the only alternative is to make it larger).

    Tia, however, may have a lawsuit on her hands if the store charged her the price for the original dress (assuming the new dress was cheaper). She’ll get at least a full refund if that’s the case (and she can prove it).

    Let this be a lesson… don’t accept anything and alter it without making sure it’s the correct item. When I got fitted for a tux for my wedding, I made sure I questioned the suggestions of the girl at the tux shop. She was wrong on a couple points.

    Also, to the guy who thinks that you can buy a suit and the store takes your measurements and tailors it for you… that doesn’t happen without you trying the suit on before they do any work. All brands fit differently and all people are sized differently. They only take your measurements to know what size you need. From there, they have to take pants and coats in differently for everyone, even if you have the same waist and chest size as someone else. No matter how good the tailor, they mark the alteration points while you are wearing the suit. To suggest otherwise is just silly. And it’s even more work to do a dress. She had to have tried on the dress before the alterations were made.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @RunawayJim: She didn’t notice until she had to leave. Her first mistake was not checking the dress the first time she tried it on. By accepting the dress and then having it altered, she obviously had no idea it was different.

      Kudos to the OP for only asking for half her money back…sounds like she is taking some responsibility for not checknig the tag in the first place. If the switch-a-roo had been an honest mistake on the part of the store, compounded with her not checking her tag and not noticing the different dress, I’d be with you on not supporting a full refund here.

      Unfortunately, the store did this deliberately, and basically tried to hide it. There was no “Sorry your dress couldn’t be ordered, but we substituted it with this similar one” phone call, or even any mention of the switch until she brought it up. That brings the switch into full-out fraud, which I think definitely means the OP deserves a full refund.

    • Tannen Van Horn says:

      @RunawayJim: She obviously didn’t notice the dress was different through her fittings.

      Tia admits to not knowing about dresses. You will find, I think, that most big girls do not LIKE dresses, because the majority of them made for us make us look like we’re wearing festival tents. Honestly, if it came down to it, if it was even just the same color and cut of dress, I’d have probably mistaken it for what I ordered, unless I looked at the tag.

  59. chemicalx9 says:

    bait and switch law?

  60. DH405 says:

    Charge!! (back)

  61. julieannie says:

    I got married in St. Louis a year ago and used the Bill Levkoff line. There’s definitely a quality difference between the line she ordered and the line she received but considering she ordered based on a catalog and not from a fitting, this would be hard for a bridesmaid unfamiliar with the bridal industry to notice.

    The Ultimate Bride has quite a poor reputation on a local St. Louis wedding planning community. They often provide poor service to a bride whose price range is lower than what they think she should be paying and they often provide better service to brides they find to fit that stereotypical bridal look.

    St. Louis brides would be better with Bridal Connections, Clarice’s, Elite Bridal or better yet, ask someone you know.

  62. AkiraKnukka says:

    Did she use a credit card? Get them to help.
    At my job I have the power to make the customer happy. This is how you have happy customers. How is it that the owner of this business doesn’t understand that? Did she imagine this web page??

  63. laddibugg says:

    If they didn’t make the dress the OP originally ordered in her size, I can understand the shop ordering a different, but similar style of dress to show her. However, they most definitely have to inform the customer, and be prepared to eat the cost of the dress if she doesn’t like it.

  64. theblackdog says:

    Did she pay with a credit card? If so, CHARGEBACK! This totally falls under “Item was not as ordered”

  65. Mythandros says:

    She did not get what she ordered, plus she was insulted by multiple people in the store.

    Full refund, PUBLIC apology, and a gift card to the store, in hopes they can retain a customer.

    If not, EECB the execs untill something gets done.
    If not, go to the media, they love this stuff.

    Best of luck to you, OP.

  66. synergy says:

    She did not get what she paid for, end of story. Whether or not it would look on her was for her to decide and live with if it looked like shit.

  67. Sabbadeus says:

    Hey folks, I’m going to go take my break right quick and make a couple of calls to some local bridal stores to get rough prices on two dresses that are roughly the same design aside that the eden bridals is a bit more ‘frilly’ from what I can see. Just to see if there really is a bait-and-switch going on here since there is a lot of speculation, myself included.

  68. Sabbadeus says:

    Okay, the results are in.

    I spoke with Angela at Bridal Boutique, and she was rather helpful on the matter at hand and she told me that for a size 18-28 style 7178T it’s sitting at ~$118 as the suggested price.

    I then called and spoke with Tina at Christina’s and after a few minutes of being on hold while she pulled out the book for me, i found out that the Bill Levkoff style 936, size 18-28 will cost ~170

    Looking online I found both dresses at a slightly lower price, but thats understandable since these are companies that have direct-drop more then likely right from the distributor so therein they can get the better prices on things, but you wouldn’t get the fittings as part of the deal, you’d have to find a seamstress to do that for you unlike the local stores which have them on-hand to do any alterations/fittings.

    Right off to bat its obvious that there -is- a significant difference in price between the two($52). So it looks like not only did the management deal with it in the least proper manner, they also pocketed the additional profits. Not a smart way to do business.

    • zeitguess says:

      @Sabbadeus:

      Great detective work! I had been looking around online myself checking out that brand and pricing. Per my post below, it’s all about the Benjamins!

  69. zeitguess says:

    It was probably more of a case of the store getting a larger % of the profit from the wrong dress THEY ordered over the one the customer wanted. For $230, she could have ordered what she wanted from the JC Penney Bridal catalog for half the price and no humiliation.

    If the original dress was unsuitable for her size, wouldn’t this conversation have happened BEFORE the order was placed? Again, I think this is about profits.

    • Sabbadeus says:

      @zeitguess: You couldn’t be more right that it was all about the profits, and thats exactly the situation, if they knew the dress wasn’t going to be fittable to her, something should have been said instead of going and ordering something cheaper and pocketing the profits and telling her after the fact.

  70. analyzed says:

    Definitely ask for a refund or something and possibly some kind of a reimbursement for the humiliation they incurred.

  71. chilled says:

    Girl should stay away from doughnuts and ice cream (see Krispy kreme story)

  72. bairdwallace says:

    Full refund because they didn’t deliver what she ordered, and it wasn’t even a mistake. They gave her something different, without her knowledge, on purpose. IANAL, but that sounds fraudulent to me…

  73. Tannen Van Horn says:

    Amen to what biardwallace said. Good job to those who looked up price differences as well. I’ve been through plenty of bridal boutiques as an “above average size” gal, with her “above average size” sister-in-law. In each and every case, if something didn’t come in our size, they stated it clearly and politely without making us feel like huge-arse cows. We have some sense, which we used, to determine whether or not something we tried on made us LOOK like huge-arse cows. This is where a bigger girls self-consciousness has a benefit — she’s not going to wear something she think she looks hideous in. Someone was just looking for a way to increase her profit margin to look good with the owner, and I wouldn’t doubt if this was the first time it’s actually happened. If it were me, I’d definitely be demanding that full refund and probably talking to the media (no fat girl’d ever shop there evAR!) as well as finding out what legal actions I could take. Then again, I have serious big-girl pride.

  74. verdantpine says:

    Are a lot of the folks saying only “half refund” either dudes or gals who have never been bridesmaids?

    The deal is, your friend (or sister or whatever) the bride often picks out a dress for you, or a general color scheme. It’s just your job to get fitted for a possibly ugly dress your friend likes , or to find something innocuous that matches your friend’s color scheme. You’re not making the same kind of aesthetic purchase a bride is – often, you’re just looking for something that doesn’t suck bullets.

    That’s how this young lady could not notice which dress it was after it was ordered and delivered. She wasn’t picking the dress of her dreams, just something that her friend would be OK with. And the store probably noticed that, which is why they thought they could pull a switcheroo.

    It was unfair for them to do that without her consent. For all we know, the dress they ordered for her was more expensive than she initially agreed to.

    Another scam that’s common with these shops is for them to order a much larger size than the customer needs, so that they can make money on alterations. All you need to do is pipe over to Indiebride.com to see how often this sort of thing happens.

  75. nerdychaz says:

    She should have a full refund. It was not the product she ordered, therefore she has no responsibility. I would take this to small claims on principle.

  76. RocktheDebit says:

    Basic contract law. Restatement of contracts: if a consumer orders a good from a merchant, the merchant is said to have accepted the order and thus created a contract if they ship back either a complying or non-complying good. If they ship back a non-complying good (e.g. the wrong dress), they’ve simultaneously accepted the contract and breached the contract. The only way they can avoid a breach of contract if they could not comply with the consumer’s order is by sending the consumer a note offering the non-complying goods as a convenience (e.g., the consumer can send it back and owe nothing, or can send it back for the other dress, or can accept it if she likes)

    Sorry. By shipping the wrong dress, the bridal shop created a contract and breached it. Judgment for plaintiff in amount of dress plus attorneys’ fees.

  77. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Full refund. I can’t believe they have the audacity to switch the product on someone and expect them to take it.

  78. ELC says:

    There are a LOT of women out there wearing clothes that don’t look good on them, but it shouldn’t be the store’s decision to make. They are making money, why should they care?

  79. narq says:

    This should have more attention and punishment for the store. Can you imagine the backlash if they had said, “we didn’t think that dress would work for someone of your color”.

  80. Mysterry says:

    I agree that you should contact Visa or whatever card you use to purchase it and ask for a chargeback. They did not give you the product you bought, and instead replaced it with something else.

    I say full refund. to the max.

  81. cerbie says:

    She came back and said, no, this is the dress we ordered for you. The manager didn’t think the other one would work for somebody of her size.
     
    Tia started to cry. She took the dress and left.
     
    She told the story to her mom in Iowa. It was humiliating.

    OK, she deserves the full refund, but what is up with her crying and taking the dress? No, no, no. See, that is when you get the stony eyes and demand a full refund that instant. If not, call the police and make sure everyone in the store can hear that the word fraud, loud and clear.
     
    @nagumi: but you don’t want to get their business back, after the manager insults you, do you?
     
    @floraposte: doesn’t matter. If they couldn’t get it to her in time, she should have been notified and refunded. One lost sale, good customer service–oh, the horror. Better yet, give her similar looking options in that case. But, ordering something different without consent is not cool.
     
    @chilled: is there a “report” button in the new comments interface that I’m not seeing?

    • geckospots says:

      @cerbie: People behave irrationally when they’re stressed or upset, or humiliated. Put yourself in her shoes – the staff of the store have told you a) they think you have no taste, b) they think they know better than you, and c) they think you’re too fat and/or ugly. I imagine Tia probably felt like she didn’t want to cause any more of a scene than had already happened. Plus, who wants to cry in front of complete strangers? The fastest way to get out of there was to take the dress and split.

      That said, I’m totally on the side of ‘full refund’ along with some good-quality ‘humiliate the store owner for being a gigantic asshole’.

  82. OneMHz says:

    Isn’t bait and switch illegal? Cuz that’s what this sounds like to me. Worse since the usual bait and switch, you at least know before you paid.