Brides jilted by the sudden closing of Alfred Angelo stores likely have a better chance of getting their money back if they put their wedding gowns on their credit cards.
That may be little comfort for soon-to-be-wed women who may not get their dream dresses now before the big day. Getting their money back doesn’t make up for the time spent trying on and then selecting the perfect dress for when they walk down the aisle.
A bride’s gown is one of six wedding expenses you should always put on your credit card, for this exact reason. Charging your dress, wedding planner fees, deposits, travel expenses and more gives you a stronger case to fight back against bridal shops and other vendors. Chances are you’ll likely recover your monetary losses.
The Better Business Bureau noted in a list of tips for distraught Alfred Angelo brides: “Contact your credit card company. If your purchase was made using a credit card contact your credit card company and file a chargeback.”
Credit card protections have your back not just when a bridal store chain files for bankruptcy with plans to liquidate, but anytime you make a purchase in stores or online. That’s something to keep in mind especially with big purchases and particularly this year with many retailers struggling and closing stores.
The federal Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right to dispute billing errors, including those for goods and services you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed. Also, if you aren’t able to get satisfaction from the merchant, most credit card issuers will investigate, and may step in on your behalf and issue a chargeback, in essence, charging a purchase back to the vendor.
And some state attorneys general, including those in New York and Indiana, are urging brides left in the lurch to file complaints with their office.
Monetary relief, though, is no consolation for brides and bridesmaids whose dresses are behind locked Alfred Angelo store doors.
“It’s been about 7,300 emails since yesterday,” Miami attorney Patricia Ann Redmond, who is representing Alfred Angelo as it pursues liquidation through bankruptcy, told The Miami Herald. on July 14, the day the Alfred Angelo stores closed. “I’ve been prioritizing them by the dates of their weddings.”
That still leaves thousands of brides without their chosen dress, and they’re angry, frustrated and confused.
Other bridal shops, some seamstresses and even some former brides have stepped in to help.
David’s Bridal is offering customers with an Alfred Angelo receipt 30 percent off wedding dresses, 20 percent off bridesmaid dresses, rush fees waived and alteration services on dresses bought at Angelo’s, The Orange County Register reported. Other bridal stores are offering help to frantic brides as well.
In Columbia, Maryland, seamstress Denise Simmons has held onto 82 dresses in her home, personally tracking down each customer and completing prepaid alterations, The Baltimore Sun reported. She runs her own alterations business and had a contract with the area Alfred Angelo store.
Simmons hasn’t received her last paycheck from Alfred Angelo, so she’s doing the alterations essentially for free.
“It bothers me, but it also gives me great pride because I know these brides are going to have their dresses,” Simmons told The Sun.
In Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin, Lupita Mendoza’s alteration studio has come to the rescue. Mendoza is one of several seamstresses Alfred Angelo’s Austin and San Antonio stores contracted with to alter its wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses.
Mendoza told KXAN she was never paid for the last dozen dresses she was working on, but that’s not stopping her from finishing every one of the dresses for free.
“I want the bride happy and that’s it,” Mendoza says. One thankful bride was so excited to be reunited with her altered dress, she took pictures to celebrate and said of the gown. “Oh, finally I found you!”
And a few brides-to-be may wind up sporting gowns worn during another bride’s trip down the aisle.
While it’s not a happier-ever-after ending, a few “something borrowed” dresses and a few seamstresses altering wedding gowns for free may save the special day for some panicking brides.
See related: Getting your deposit back when a company goes bankrupt, How credit cards cut the cost of your wedding