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Attire and Accessories

It is NOT illegal...

for a bridal salon to remove the designer's tags. It is illegal to remove tags that say the country where it's made and the fabric contents, but stores are well within their rights to remove a designer name and replace it with their own. If it was illegal there wouldn't be so many stores doing it. They are simply protecting their investment so brides can't use them, damage their samples, waste their time and go shop them around. Seriously, can you blame them? I would hate to have a customer meet with me, have me give them design ideas for a brochure then have them take it someplace else to get a better price. It's all the same. None of us work for free, why should a bridal salon?Rant over.

Re: It is NOT illegal...

  • Well stated.
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  • A bridal salon may remove the designer's tags and replace it with their own, but they may not withhold designer information when requested.  You're saying that they can protect themselves by keeping that information; but what about the manufacturer?  If I design a wedding dress, I want my potential customers to KNOW I designed it.  It's inappropriate for salons to withhold that information to 'protect' themselves.  If they don't want people shopping around, they should offer competitive pricing.  You're right, none of us work for free; does that not include the designer?http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/textile/bus39.shtm
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  • For example, a retailer who wants to remove a label identifying the manufacturer, must substitute it with a label that lists the shop's own name or RN, or the name or RN of someone else in the gown distribution chain. In addition, the substituted label must contain all the information that is required on the original label. All substitute labels must be properly attached to the gown -- either sewn in or on a conspicuously placed hang-tag. Finally, a retailer must not remove the sewn-in care instructions.Directly from the website you just linked, proving that indeed they can withhold manufacturer info as long as all the other info is there.
  • And might I add....just because a practice is common doesn't mean that it's not still illegal.  Prostitution is insanely common; does that mean it's legal?  No. 
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  • I guess you failed to read further: In addition, any business that substitutes a label on a textile product -- such as a wedding gown retailer -- also must keep records for three years that show what information on the label was removed and the name of the party from whom the product was received.
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  • Are you really comparing removing tags to prostitution? That's a little melodramatic.
  • Yes, lala, they have to keep records of it. They need to know what gown it is in order to order it from the manufacturer, nowhere does it say they need to tell the bride this if she asks. Nowhere.
  • If a bridal salon says they don't have the information when asked (which is what they say when asked; they will not say "We will not tell you"), they are either (a) lying, or (b) in violation of the FTC.  If they have it and refuse, they are in violation of the record-keeping requirements.  Sure, that webpage doesn't say that - because it's a bare-bones fact sheet provided by the government for people with general questions about the Act.  It's in the Act.
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  • When buying lala, not when shopping.
  • When shopping too, Jilli.
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  • I don't care if it's illegal, or what the quotes are, or who has them and who doesn't.  I care that the shop I purchase my dress from gives me all the info I want on my dress before I purchase it.  If they don't it is shady as pp says.  I disagree with the original poster view on the store protecting thier investment.  This is a free enterprise, fair market society - we have the right to shop around.  If every shop didn't "waste" thier time on customers unless they knew for sure they'd purchase they wouldn't be in business long.  A customer coming in is providing the opportunity for the shop owner to win them over.  It's a competitve world and if they have to withhold info to be competitive then they aren't a store worth visiting.
  • Whether it's illegal or not, I still think it's dishonest, and I walked out of several stores for that very reason (several of the stores ripped out tags and flat out lied to me about the designers of their dresses).  If they're worried about brides buying their gowns off the internet cheaper, well then it's their own fault for not keeping their prices competitive.  That's the nature of doing business. 
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  • Lindz,The problem is that many of the places that are undercutting brick and mortar stores are profiting off of the work that those stores did. Basically, consider a bride who goes to a shop and works with a consultant for 2 hours during which time the consultant helps her find her dream dress. The store has to pay the consultant as well as the designer of the dress. Now, if that bride goes to another actual store and purchases the dress for less, then that is a simple case of the first shop not having competitive pricing. They lost the sale on fair terms.If, however, the bride goes and buys the dress from an online vendor (like Pearl's Place or RK) then the original shop never had any chance of competing for the sale price wise. Those online vendors don't have to pay consultants for their time and effort, all they have to do is make a marginal profit off the wholesale price of the dress. Therefore, the first store did the work and helped the bride but the second store gets the sale without having to do anything at all. I'm not saying it's not OK to buy from a place like Pearls or RK, but places like that almost force the bridal stores' hands when it comes to trying to keep dress information private. The brick and mortar store CANNOT afford to sell the dress for less, it just isn't possible. I don't really agree with cutting the tags off of dresses, but I understand the mindset behind it. I myself was a consultant at a bridal shop and I can't tell you how maddening it is when you spend hours with a girl finding her the dress of her dreams only to have her go buy from a wholesale store. Of course everyone is perfectly in their rights to buy from whomever they choose, but it does really stink for the girl who is denied the commission they earned. Anyway, just a bit of explanation from the other side of the counter. :-)
  • Once again I am NOT defending the practice, but just because it's dishonest doesn't make it illegal. It's not. I walked out of RK Bridal for this exact reason, but it's still legal.
  • Brides should also be aware that more often than not the bridal designer states in their vendor contract that the salon is not allowed to remove the designer's label and replace it with their own.  Even if the bridal salon is not breaking any laws with regards to FTC regulations, they are most likely still in violation of their contract with the vendor...which ALWAYS leads to the designer disallowing a salon to carry their gowns.  The designers have to rely on bridal consultants to Sell their gowns...to convince the bride why she should pay that kind of money for that particular dress.  If the salon is disguising the designer, how are they supposed to sell the unique traits of that line?  I absolutely hate it when salons remove labels...they should be able to have the salemanship skills to help a bride understand why she should buy from them - the benefits of purchasing from a salon as opposed to online - instead of hide behind poor business practices.  If they have poor customer service and treat a bride badly, then they deserve to lose the sale because of that reason and none other.  :)  My two cents!
  • How do you know the designer's don't allow their tags to be removed?What is the difference between a bridal salon putting their name in a gown or another type of store? For example, I bought an evening gown under the designer LaFemme and saw exactly the same dress at Cache under their own name. When I questioned the store where I purchased it, they said Cache buys dresses directly from LaFemme and puts their own name on them. Is this being dishonest?
  • Nope, not dishonest...just two different agreements.  Cache buys dresses from companies that have lines specifically for that purpose...the original "private label" concept.  It's different with bridal gowns.  There are lines that will produce private label dresses so that the bridal salons can put their tags in them, but those dresses should be labeled "such and such Bridal Private Label" and the other labels in the designers' gowns should remain from the designer.  Not many salons purchase private label dresses unless they are shameless knockoffs that will trick the bride into thinking the dress is a desginer gown.  It is much more common for these stores to conceal the designer by taking out the label...usually you can get around this by looking at the fabric label way down inside the lining..about half way down the dress. 
  • The thing you are not taking into account is that most brides don't order the dress without taking the time to try it on. Talk about being dishonest... brides knowingly waste the time of consultants and lie to the stores about possibly buying from them then orders online. Then they wonder why local bridal salons are closing their doors. I bought a Justin Alexander Couture at a bridal salon. Not all designers allow their product to be discounted and sold online. This is from Justin Alexander Couture's website:Can JA Couture bridal wear be purchased over the internet? No. We do not authorize our products to be sold over the internet. All of our registered dealers are carefully screened as being highly reputable bridal retailers with established locations throughout the world. Should any of our products appear on any website other than those of our registered retailers, we will not guarantee the authenticity or quality of the products offer.
  • Aggie, I understand that the overhead of an online store is much less than for a brick an mortar salon.  However, there will always be clients that come in and browse and don't buy.  It's not just because they will buy online. It's also because like find something else they like better, or had a better experience somewhere else, or changed thier mind, or found a better price at another STORE.  So is there outrage for the bride to be for wasting a consultants time because she liked the dresses somewhere else better?  Just like there will be the brides who won't buy for whatever reason, there will also be the brides who wouldn't think of buying online. (like me)  I have been to 7 different bridal salons and still haven't found a dress.  Are you saying that I'm rude for shopping around to find "the one"?Those customers that will shop online will be lost regardless of whether shops disclose designers or not.  Shops may make it more difficult to find the dress they want online but a bride who wants to find it will find it.  Shops who don't disclose designers also risk losing customers won't be buying online as well.  I just think they're shooting themselves in the foot.I understand the frustration of competition, especially competition that is not on a level playing field (ie online shops) but like Kappa says the internet is a tool and if these shops are so sure that it is getting so much of their business maybe they should be marketing to the internet buyers as well.Like I said before, I don't care if it's legal or not, I don't agree with it regardless of what justifications one might make for the practice.Another thing - on one hand we commend each other for finding great wedding deals and shopping around.  Now people are calling brides rude for trying on dresses they intend to find a lower price for.  I don't get that??!
  • Kappa,I suppose that is one way to look at it. Luckily there are still some brides out there who choose to reward good service by giving their business to the stores that took the time to help them. Also, you really can't say that any company COULD cut prices the way those stores do but they choose not to. PP and RK employ enough consultants to manage their in-store business. Most of their orders come from work that was done by other shops who have their own consultants. For that business model to be applied to every store there would not be enough bridal consultants anywhere to actually work with brides and help them find dresses. My point still remains that PP and RK profit off of other stores work.Again, I'm not saying it's wrong and I'm not saying brides are "evil" if they buy from one of those stores. I'm just pointing out that it really isn't realistic to say that everyone should be able to have those kinds of prices. It just isn't, or else everyone WOULD.
  • Lindz,Wait, what? I very specifically stated that I was talking about online stores. I even said that if a store loses business to another store due to lower prices then that is all part of the game. I know that people can and will shop around for the best price...why wouldn't they? I'm not saying that people who shop around are bad people, I'm giving a reason as to why shops can't necessarily compete with the prices created by one specific business model used by stores like PP and RK. In addition, I said that I don't agree with taking out tags. I was just giving a possible explanation for the practice.
  • Luckily there are still some brides out there who choose to reward good service by giving their business to the stores that took the time to help them.Wha???  I don't understand that argument at all.  That's actually one of the reasons why I ordered my bridesmaids' dresses from Netbride.  I talked to them several times and thought their customer service was excellent (they were extremely helpful) so I rewarded their good service by placing an order with them.  I guess I just don't see a distinction between online stores, brick and mortar shops, or bridal shops that operate BOTH online and in person.  They're all in the business of selling gowns regardless of the "format" so to me, they're the same thing.  I really don't care what a store's overhead costs are.  All I care about is that I'm getting a good deal.  If they can't compete with other companies then, again, I don't care lol.  It's not my problem.  For a business to survive, it's crucial that they innovate and stay on top of the latest trends, etc.  Some stores have done that by setting up a storefront online as well.  Should they be penalized just because they were smart and employed a little ingenuity?  No.  Actually, other shops should follow in their footsteps if they want to keep up.  Many of the bridal shops in my town have gone out of business recently which does kind of suck but, hey, that's capitalism in action.  Some brides are working with seriously tight budgets and don't have the luxury of paying several hundred dollars more to a local shop when they can get the same thing a lot cheaper online.  
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  • First, no it's not illegal to remove designer's tags from dresses. Skeevy, yes. Illegal, no. Yes, some designer's do prohibit such a practice, but not many. Yes, it absolutely sucks when you devote several hours to helping a bride find the perfect dress only to find out she intended to purchase it online instead, but it's just one of the risks of owning a bridal boutique. Is it possible to compete with the online discounters? Not even remotely. Their overhead is SO much lower than a brick and mortar store. One of the biggest costs of owning a bridal boutique is samples. Imagine how many thousands and thousands of dollars go into maintaining the selection of sample dresses. An online discounter doesn't need to stock anything. Even online discounters attached to brick and mortar stores don't have that expense in a comparable way because they need only have samples for in store, but are able to and make the majority of their profit from dresses sold from throughout the designer's line regardless of whether or not they have a sample.  And, of course, you need way more staff to act as proper bridal consultants than to answer phones and fill orders, not to mention everything else that goes into running a retail store. So, it's virtually impossible for individual retail stores to compete with large Internet sellers.That all said, I still absolutely do not agree with preventing people from comparison sopping.I believe that the sale should be made because the store has offered the best customer service, environment and selection. My philosophy is that the bride is paying not just for the dress but the experience.
  • There's nothing preventing other brick and mortar shops from setting themselves up online too.  Aside from paying for the website itself and maybe an extra person on staff to handle the internet orders, it really wouldn't cost them very much to add that on as a service (I can think of two places here in Florida that have done that- Jay's Bridal in Gainesville and Modern Bridal Shop in Orlando... They charge less for purchases online so you can actually go there, try on the gowns, and then buy from their website for a cheaper price).  I predict that in another 10 years or so, brick and mortar stores will become more scarce and online shops will become the preferred choice for brides.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of these internet companies started offering a "sample at home" service or something similar (where brides can pay a small fee to have dresses shipped to their own house to try on, etc.).  I can see brides, especially brides that live in rural areas, totally going for that.  They'll continue finding ways to improve service while simultaneously offering lower prices.
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  • I'm not saying it's not OK to buy from a place like Pearls or RK, but places like that almost force the bridal stores' hands when it comes to trying to keep dress information private. The brick and mortar store CANNOT afford to sell the dress for less, it just isn't possible. I don't really agree with cutting the tags off of dresses, but I understand the mindset behind it. Aggie,I know that you said that you don't really agree with cutting off the tags.  I also understand and agree that there are reasons that bridal salons may charge more than an online retailer.  Where I disagree with you is that the bridal stores' hands are not tied when it comes to trying to keep dress information private.  Regardless of thier overhead or what they need to sell a dress for to break even or turn a profit I don't think it justifies the practice.I just think that they can't use the fact that people try on thier samples with intention to buy elsewhere as a justification to withhold the info.  For every bride that intends to go online there is one who doesn't.  And they can't act as if all their profit is walking out the door to buy online when in fact there are many reasons brides don't buy from them.  And thye have the ability to change thier business practices to be more competitive or be online if that's where they feel the brides are buying instead.  Thier hands are certainly not tied.That's the point I was trying to make. :)
  • Actually, there is a LOT keeping brick and mortars from setting up online....again, designers won't allow it.  Before a salon is allowed to sell a designer's gowns, they sign a very strict contract that will not allow them to do ANY type of online sales...it even says that they are not allowed to discount unless at a trunk show.  I completely agree with the argument that good service at a bridal salon should be rewarded by a sale.  And...why aren't you brides asking the salons for more of a discount.  Even though they aren't supposed to discount special orders, they do it all the time!!  I'm certain they would try to price match to hold on to your business and keep you from buying your gown online!!  They still make a profit and the bride benefits from a more personal experience of buying her gown. 
  • Many of the bridal shops in my town have gone out of business recently which does kind of suck but, hey, that's capitalism in action.Wow. Nice attitude. I guess you don't need to use them to try on dresses anymore since you are married.
  • Many of them were already out of business when I was shopping for my gown!  So yes, it did affect me somewhat.  But if I had to order a dress online without trying it on first, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.  I'm sure that in the coming years, these online bridal shops will find a way to fill this niche (like the "sample at home" idea I posed above... I really wouldn't be surprised if they start doing that soon).  I bought my gown from an actual store (David's Bridal) because I found a dress there that fit my budget and had all the features I was looking for.  I just don't understand why some people get all up in arms when brides choose to purchase their gowns online.  I think the competition is a good thing because it will force brick and mortar stores to keep their prices fair.
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  • And just in case you aren't aware, that is how the free market works whether you like it or not.  Customers aren't obligated to purchase from a shop just because they try on dresses there.  They have the right to shop around and find the best price they can.  If a certain store doesn't like that, well then they can make their prices more competitive to prevent losing that sale.  If their overhead costs are so extreme that charging less would cause them to go out of business, then they're doing something wrong.
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  • Um, Kcam, for your information, it's my responsibility to check every post on this board because I'm the moderator.  It's my job to weed out the vendors and ban them.  Also, I'm not employed (I do my own freelance work in my spare time) so I don't have to worry about a boss looking over my shoulder.  Lucky me :).
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