Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)
369 reviews from the community
Review of "Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)"
I don't want to alarm any Brides to Be, but just want to raise awareness, so that they are 'pre-warned' and so better able to take action if a similar situation arises.If you are a traditional young woman, your wedding day probably features high on your list of the best day of your life. My 27 year old daughter was over the moon when she got engaged and set the date for her wedding, 10th May 2008. In fact, I was also over the moon, as my daughter (being the eldest of the three girls) was the first to actually set a date for marriage. I looked forward to being Mother of the Bride!
In keeping with the way our family as a whole tend to view consumerism, most of the wedding preparations contained items and services from the local area in Kent: Small businesses that advertised through the various Wedding Fayres that are held; other businesses we had just heard of via word of mouth.The only thing that we were particularly keen to have with no risk, was the Bridal Gown, as it is such an important part of the whole traditional celebration. Having heard many horror stories of companies going into liquidation and the bride losing all the money spent on their dress, we avoided small businesses, and chose to look in the large, well known brand shops.
During our trawl through the local towns in Kent, we popped into Berketex Brides shop in Maidstone, where, apparently they had just had a cancellation, and were happy to close the shop for an hour while my daughter tried on whichever dress she wanted. The sales person did a wonderful job, and 'fitted' the dress with pins, and gave advice and really treated my daughter in a respectful manner and so naturally, she fell in love with a dress, the attention, and the cost was average at just over £1000 plus the underskirt with the hoop at an extra £200. Yes, you can buy cheaper in Debenhams, etc, but they are not fitted specifically to the bride, and are made with much less fabric, and less 'extras' in the design.The order was placed on 25th July 2007, and was fully paid up by 8th September 2007, through their payment scheme. The sales assistant put down the wedding date as being 7th April 2008 ( a month earlier), just to ensure that the dress arrived in time. **Please note this date**
As there was a pink detail in the dress, my daughter was given a swatch of the pink to take away, so that she could match the bridesmaids dresses, the flowers, the napkins, and anything else that needed to be colour coordinated. Over the following months, more preparations were made, and the swatch came in extremely useful in ensuring that we had a very coordinated wedding, right down to the ribbon around the wedding cake!In February 08, my daughter began to get excited as she had been told that gowns generally come in 8 weeks prior to the event, to allow for any alterations to be made. She had been on the website, and had emailed her father the link to the page of the Marc Le Carr gown, as he lives abroad, and wanted to see what he was paying for. She then contacted the Maidstone brance of Berketex Brides, and was told that the gown hadn't arrived as yet, and to call in a couple of weeks.
The weeks ebbed by, and each time my daughter phoned the branch, the sales assistant reassured that the dress would be there in time, and she had nothing to worry about. At one point, only three weeks prior to the wedding, the sales assistant forgot to 'mute' the phone line, and could be easily heard laughing about the anxiety that my daughter was feeling. I visited the shop with the daughter, and again, was told that we were worrying for nothing, and the gown would definitely arrive in time.I went back on the website and found the head office phone number in Lincolnshire, and passed it to my daughter. She was anxious about making a fuss to the head office and getting anyone into trouble so left it a little while. Then when we were just two and a half weeks away from the wedding date, and actually PAST the date that we had given the company for her ceremony, we started to get very panicky. The company had already had all the money for the dress, and my daughter had no more to pay for a new one.
She phoned the head office and spoke to the managers secretary. She was lovely, and it was obvious that my daughter's situation was not unusual. The manager had been on the phone for some time, and would be on the phone for quite a while to come. It was easy to deduce that something similar was being 'discussed' with another customer.The manager in Lincoln head office was unsympathetic to say the least, to my daughter, and had no idea where her dress was. Phone back next week, he advised, and he would definitely have located it and forwarded it to the Maidstone branch.
Unconvinced, but with no other option, we waited another week, but phoned the local branch several times that week to check whether it had arrived. No sign of the dress.A further phone call to Lincolnshire, and a call from her father to the same man, and we were told that he couldn't locate the dress, as it was somewhere in Europe and he didn't know where!!
He did offer her another Marc Le Carr dress, but instead of the pink detail, it had a burgundy one. Does this man have any idea about weddings? Did he not understand that, when you plan weddings, you generally have some kind of colour scheme?At that point, on 29th April, (two weeks after the wedding date, given on the order form) my daughter insisted on a cheque being sent by special delivery, and a fax to say that it had been sent with a copy of the post office receipt. The cheque did arrive the next day, and was put straight into the bank.
This left us with a dilemma. Where to get another dress of that quality, and in that length of time. Both my daughter and I both work full time, and due to the wedding fest, we had already booked as much annual leave as we could for the wedding itself for final arrangements.My daughter and I met one lunchbreak, and (after visiting a couple) we went into Pronuptia. Pronuptia deserve a review in themselves, as they did the most superb job, and revived our confidence in shop assistants again.
When the cheque arrived from Berketex Brides head office in Grantham, the date on the envelope was correctly stamped by the post office as being 29th April 2008 (11 days before the actual wedding, and 22 days past the given date of the wedding).The letter stated inside " …….It is a matter of regret that the delivery that has been arranged is not suitable but we fully understand your feelings at such a sensitive time and offer our sincere apologies that we should have been unable to circumvent the delivery schedule of your chosen design house in this instance." In this instance?? Is there likely to be another wedding day when they 'may' be able to get the dress delivered on time?? To add salt to the wound, the letter was dated 9th April 2008, very clever!! We have the evidence that it was only sent on the 29th, though, from the post office, and we will be seeking some kind of compensation for this.
So, if you have a dress that you are waiting for, please, please, please, chase them over and over until you get the dress delivered. Don't be fobbed off!!I am sure for many, Berketex xx provide a wonderful service, and the gowns arrive in time, along with bridesmaids dresses and all the rest of the paraphernalia that goes with modern weddings. I can only give you our experience, and I hope that this is not as common as it appeared to be!
Head office number is: 01476 593311
Thanks for reading
Product Information : Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)
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Listed on Ciao since: 27/09/2000