This is a long story, so I'll shorten it via bullet points.
- Wedding is coming up on October 1st.
- Bridesmaids and Bride went to bridal store to find dresses for the bridesmaids. They chose one and each went to get fitted and put down half the cost of the dress as a deposit.
- Store said the dresses take up to 6 months to come in. This was in February. We're now on month 8.
- Beginning of July, Bride calls about dresses. Calls never answered. Emails never answered.
- Mid July, Bride and I go into the store (half hour away) and are told because of the postal strike (Early July in Canada), dresses were delayed, but they'll be in shortly and we'll hear from them in a couple weeks.
- End of August, calls not returned. Emails not returned.
- Beginning of September, a bridesmaid and her sister go to the store, doors locked, sign on door: "Closed for Inventory." No one is inside.
- Got ahold of the 'manager' today, who says she is working at home while the store is going through a 'transition.' She'll be in touch with us "soon." Very fishy vibe.
- Called another bridal store today who knows a rep for Alfred Sung (make of the dresses) and he called him to inquire about getting the dresses from that store instead. Rep calls back and says that the original store already ordered them, they've been sent, he isn't going to sent another set of dresses or he'll be out money for the first. But, he confirms the original store is indeed out of business.
- Bride gets in touch with original store's manager, who says she was in a car accident, store owner put everything in her lap, and now she's working out of her home. She has been working through client's orders, going on priority based on which weddings are sooner.
- Manager says the dresses are in the warehouse in Toronto (45 min away from us, 1h15m from her), but she can't get them shipped until she pays the warehouse the remaining balance, which she needs from the bridesmaids.
- Bride says she won't be paying more money to a delinquent store and she wants another alternative. Manager says she'll call right back. Never does.
Now what? I'm going to be making some calls tomorrow. I have the number for the manager who is working at home (it's a cell), I have the number for the other store Bride called today, and I have the number for the Alfred Sung rep.
Right now, there are 5 dresses and just over $600 already paid as a down payment. The manager wants the other half in order to get them out of the warehouse and shipped. She's putting on a huge sob story, wants to give us the number of other brides she just dealt with to vouch for her, her address, etc. In my opinion, it sounds like she's trying to get as much money out of clients as possible and then just skip out. So far, it's like pulling teeth just to get ahold of anyone at this store. We can't even get in touch with her, we've been lied to about the dresses, lied to about the stores, lied to about delays, and now she wants us to pay another $600?
Here's where it gets even more ridiculous, the store is actually owned by a television celebrity who does wedding planning. She is often featured on wedding shows on Slice, TLC, etc. This is part of the reason the Bride went to that store for these particular dresses. Now, she's nowhere to be found, as you would expect.
Now what? Part of me wants to find out this woman's address and drive down and knock on her door, demanding a refund of the down payment so we can go to some random store and get something
for these girls to wear, but if she is telling the truth and the business is broke, that's obviously not going to happen. Right now, I'm pretty sure only two of the five girls actually paid with a credit card, and I'm not sure they can even do a charge back on something from eight months ago.
I'm going to try to call the Alfred Sung rep and the other bridal store owner and see if there's a way I can go to the warehouse and pay the remaining balance for the dresses directly, but that's likely not going to happen since the sale was from the designer to the store, and I'm sure I can't just walk in and take over.
Any ideas? There's very little time to get this sorted out.