Sunday, November 25, 2012

Buyer Beware, Must Read before ordering Counterfeit Gown

The ABPIA, the US entity won in Fed Court today against the internet knock off pirates. There is a TRO which is a temp restraining order against 40 Chinese knock off sites that steal the photos from US wedding gown and prom gown sites and represent that they can make the same dress much cheaper.  "Nationwide we have seen literally thousands of very sad consumers thinking that they were getting a dress similar to what they tried on in the store only to receive a Halloween costume quality item sometimes only days before the wedding and sometimes not at all". said one retailer.

This is very illegal because the intellectual property, design, and investment by the original creator of the item is being used without permission.  If the owners of the websites were in the US the issue would have been addressed years ago but since they are out of the US their hands were tied until now.

In the recent past if there was a judgement against one site it would be removed but five would pop up in its place.  The judge opened the door so ABPIA can add sites at will which will greatly improve the process.  This isn't just about customers being prohibited from getting cheaper dresses.  However, it will discourage anyone from buying copies of dresses based on designers' photos and designs.

Doing business with the offending sites will be very risky because US Customs and Homeland Security will seize the sites and all contact with the counterfeiter will be lost as well as money paid.  The funds on deposit with Paypal and other payment methods will be seized and others in the supply chain will be affected. UPS, FEDEX, PAYPAL, VISA, MASTERCARD and others have been served notice of the court ruling

Any funds on deposit with Paypal will become property of ABPIA. 

Many retailers are unable to recover from the damage caused to their businesses.  "This is just like a thief coming in here and stealing our cash register." said one retailer.  "After we have invested in the dresses that cost us more than these counterfeiters are charging, employees, insurance and overhead the customer is lured away with empty promises and horrible dresses that often don't fit and bear little resemblance to the original dress.  So many girls come in for an emergency replacement dress.  We feel sorry for them."

There have also been reports of the dress counterfeitters actually cloning entire websites, stealing logos and more in order to make you think you are doing business with a legitimate retailer.  Don't be fooled.  Do your home work.  If you are asked to provide more than just bust, waist, hip, and length measurements or are told your dress will be made to your measurements you are most likely dealing with a counterfeitterl.  If you are asked to wire money, don't!  Your credit card companies will not usually protect you if you get duped by someone outside of the US and if you do get a dress that looks even a little bit like the picture you are sunk.  Also, don't be fooled by the money back guarantees.  They are sneaky, dishonest and half way around the world.  If you can afford to travel there to collect you can afford to buy from a legitimate retailer in the first place. 

This new ruling is serious and we are going to see some real changes in the near future.