Wedding dress disaster averted

By Tony Statz, Ruth to the Rescue producer, @RuthToTheRescue
Published On: Sep 26 2013 05:31:15 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 26 2013 05:49:55 PM EDT

A local young woman was in a bridal panic over her beautiful wedding dress. On Local 4 News at 11 on September 25th, she shared her story.

A local young woman was in a bridal panic over her beautiful wedding dress. On Local 4 News at 11 on September 25th, she shared her story.

Stephanie Allen had ordered her dress from Sarah's Bridal and Prom Boutique in Milan a year and a half ago. On September 19th, she went to pick up her dress, but she says the owner wasn't there. She kept trying to get in touch with the owner, Christine Marquardt to arrange a new time to pick up the dress, but could not get any answers.

Ruth to the Rescue started following the story and arranged to meet Allen at the shop on Redmond Road in Milan. Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer stopped by the store, and she was surprised by what happened.

Dress Delivered, Bride Thrilled

Boutique owner Christine Marquardt was inside the shop and said she had Allen's dressed wrapped and ready to go. A few minutes later, Allen and her mother showed up to pick up the dress. Allen tried on her gown, very excited and surprised things had gone so well.

"I didn't have any expectations. I wasn't sure if I was going to get my dress. I didn't know if I was going to get any phone calls. I didn't know anything," Stephanie Allen told Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer.

Owner's Apology

"I guess I didn't handle it the way I should have and I'm just glad I got Stephanie her dress," Christine Marquardt told Ruth to the Rescue.

The bridal shop said she's being going through a tough time personally and professionally. "I had some issues where i had some employees working for me and I was away more because my mom passed and a lot of things went wrong," she said.

Marquardt said she had a busy day giving brides their dresses and answering questions from customers. Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer asked Marquardt if there were other brides in the same boat, she said no.

It was an emotional scene filled with regret and apologies as Stephanie Allen tried on her dress.

"We didn't want anything negative for you. I know we all have problems honey," said Vicki Allen, the mother-of-the-bride told the boutique owner.

Can Stephanie forgive and forget? "Absolutely, yeah, all that matters is that everything worked out well and happy in the end!" she said.

Bridal Advice

Ruth to the Rescue is hoping all the customers of Sarah's Bridal and Prom Boutique will be able to work out any issues with the owner. If you're still having a problem, Marquardt says you can email her at sarahsbridal@hotmail.com.

If you need a hand, please contact Ruth to the Rescue at ruthtotherescue@clickondetroit.com or call 313-298-WDIV.

We checked with the Better Business Bureau Serving Northwestern Ohio. The shop in Milan actually falls into the jurisdiction of that agency which covers 21 Ohio counties and 3 in Michigan (Monroe, Lenawee (including Adrian) and Hillsdale).

The BBB has issued an alert about doing business with Sarah's Bridal and Prom Boutique on September 26th. The agency will be reviewing the
company's response to recent complaints and decided what to do next. Because of that investigation, the company is currently not rated.

For anyone planning a wedding, the Better Business Bureau Serving Northwestern Ohio also shared these pointers.

•BEWARE of online sellers from "out of town" who want to sell you their dress. Sellers who use craigslist and other such services might often be
looking to scam you. Proceed with caution. t's best to deal only with local sellers where you can actually see the dress before you pay.

• Check with online reviews and the Better Business Bureau to get our report. BBB reports include complaint detail which will tell you what consumers complained about.

• When ordering a new dress, try to order as far ahead as possible. Special order dresses can routinely take 6-9 months and you don't want the dress to arrive and need alterations at the last minute.

• Know what the store policy is regarding special orders, refunds and cancellations. Because these dresses are often special orders, store policies
frequently do not permit cancellations or refunds of deposits. Know the policy!

• Do your homework. Look through the bridal magazines or web sites to get an idea of what you want. The sales clerks at bridal shops are much better able to help if you have an idea of the kind of dress you are seeking.

• However, keep an open mind and let the clerk offer suggestions. They may have some really good ideas that look better than you had imagined.

• Watch the budget! Look only at dresses in your price range. Yes, Princess Kate looked fantastic in her dress, but you probably can't afford one like it and will only be disappointed if you try on a $25,000 dress first.

• When looking at dresses, you may feel pressured to make a decision too fast, either because of family/sales clerk pressure or a sale price. Take your time. If you would rather take a picture of the dress and think it over, explain this to the store. Most are fine with you thinking it over. They want you happy!

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