How to avoid counterfeit dresses and other prom disasters

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – At Sonya’s in Cranston, it’s prom shopping season.

“Every year we’ve noticed that it gets earlier and earlier,” said store owner, Sonja Janigian.

Janigian has been in business for 34 years. Recently, she’s helped several customers find their dream dresses after online shopping nightmares.

“They may come in a little late, or eight inches shorter,” Janigian said, describing some of the knock-off online dresses she’s seen. “There would be beads in a bag and you would have to sew them on yourself, and the girls would be coming in and they would be nervous wrecks because now the choices are slimmer.”

According to the Better Business Bureau, hundreds of online shopping scams have been reported to the organization’s scam tracker in the past few months, so the BBB is reminding prom dress shoppers to buy dresses from a reputable retailer.

“It’s just buyer beware,” Janigian said. “If they see a dress in here for $298 and they see it online for $119 – same name, same season, same product, you know something is up.”

Of course, there’s more to prom than just the dress.

“Teenagers and their families can drop hundreds of dollars during prom season,” said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “BBB advises shopping with accredited businesses to avoid scams and hidden fees.”

Transportation

For transportation, the BBB says the typical cost of a limo for prom night is between $200 and $500. Make sure you have a written contract that includes:

  • hours of service
  • required fees, including gratuities
  • maximum capacity

Flowers

For corsages and boutonnieres, the BBB suggests you get your order in writing, including your delivery or pick-up time and the specific types of flowers you want.

Hair, Nails & Makeup

Prom day is a busy day at the salon, so the BBB suggests you schedule in some extra time in case the salon is overbooked or running behind schedule.