Designer Dress or Knockoff?


Prom season is upon us and for those of you looking for that one-of-a-kind designer dress, the Better Business Bureau urges caution.  That perfect dress may be a counterfeit!

Teens ordering their prom dresses online have been victimized by counterfeit dressmakers and phony online stores.  While they thought they were getting designer dresses, what they actually got were cheaply made knockoffs or no dresses at all.  Knock off dresses are illegal.  Many of them are made overseas using child forced labor.  Another thing to remember is that because this is an illegal industry, the profits can go to organized crime or be used to fund terrorists.

Good Morning America did an investigation and found among other things that the knockoffs were made of poorer quality material than the original, the beading patterns did not match the original, the colors were faded, the sewing was uneven, and the sizing was inconsistent.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming the victim of a prom dress scam:

  1. Check out the store with the Better Business Bureau.
  2. Shop for dresses at a retail store.  Some retail stores actually register each dress that is sold to prevent several of the same dress showing up at an event.
  3. If you’re going to shop online, shop with a store you know has an actual location that you can visit if necessary and make sure it uses secure checkout.
  4. Check out the online store before you give them your money.  Look for the company’s physical address, and read their “About Us,” “FAQs,” and “Customer Service” sections of their website.
  5. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is.  The prom dress industry has minimum prices that all retailers must maintain, so be wary of cheap prices for designer dresses.

If all else fails, you can always try creating your prom dress out of duct tape!  Check it out at Duct Tape Your Prom Dress-Win $5000!

For more information, see

Do You Need a Reminder to Be Cautious When Purchasing Online?

Prom Spending to Reach Record Highs

NY Daily News.com

FTC: 9 Online Shopping Tips


Written by

Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.

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