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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 3201
Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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My daughter and I went shopping for a wedding dress on 8/27/2013.

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My daughter and I went shopping for a wedding dress on 8/27/2013. Her wedding date was 9/20/2013. We went to David’s Bridal where she found a dress. She tried on the dress but it was 3 sizes too big. (That was the smallest size they had in the store). The alterations people did the best that they could by clipping the dress to make it as small as possible. David’s Bridal said they would have to order the dress in my daughter’s size, (size 2), and they said it would be in, in approximately 2-3 weeks. They required us to pay for the dress in full in order for them to place the order. The dress came in 2 ½ weeks later (9/6/2013), and we went in for a fitting. When my daughter put the dress on, within 15 minutes she had a reaction to the lace that was touching her chest and under her arms and her skin became bright red. The woman that was helping us noticed this and we all agreed that my daughter would not be able to wear this dress. The sales associate then informed us that D.B. had a “Final Sale” policy and told us that she couldn’t refund any monies. She pointed out the statement on the credit card receipt that my daughter signed acknowledging the charges for the purchase that reads “I ACKNOWLEDGE THIS PURCHASE IS A FINAL SALE” She said that we would have to find another dress, in this store because there would not be enough time to place another order. We spent over 2 hours looking but any of dresses that my daughter liked, were not anywhere near her size and wouldn’t be able to be altered to fit her. At this point, both my daughter and I were beginning to stress, as the situation seemed hopeless. I asked the associate why a size 2 dresses couldn’t be picked up at another David’s Bridal store and she said it is because David’s Bridal stores are separate from one another, making it impossible to do. After a lengthy discussion the associate told me the only time they are allowed to get stock from another store was if there was a “customer service issue”. I expressed that the situation with my daughter seemed to be just that. She excused herself and left. She came back and said that under these circumstances, she would be able to get a dress in my daughter’s size from another store. At this point, we had tried on all the dresses that we could but my daughter really wasn’t happy with any of them. We were, basically forced to choose a dress. The original purchase totaled over $1,600.00 and the only dress that my daughter remotely liked was $800.00.By now, my daughter and I both were in tears and we spent another 2 hours in the store trying to gather up enough items to bring the total to $1600.00. The 2nd dress was ordered but I knew my daughter was not at all happy that she was being forced to wear a dress that she didn’t like or want on her wedding day. I couldn’t let that happen so we found another dress that she loved 10 days before the wedding. I called the credit card company and disputed the charges. On 9/12, I went to DB to return all of the items we were forced to buy but they refused to take any of it back. We never picked up the $800.00 dress that they had to get from another store and I assume it still in their store. Today, the credit card company called to say, they are unable to follow through with the dispute because my daughter signed the original receipt that had the final sale notice on it. My thoughts are this: isn’t there any protection from a company that puts such a policy on a receipt that MUST be signed in order for the credit card to accept the charges? Isn’t that something like entrapment? Also, wouldn’t their final sale policy be voided when they agreed to do an equal or greater amount value exchange? I do have a second receipt that does not have the final sale notice on it. The receipt begins with a credit of the amount of the original dress minus the tax, and then each item we were forced to buy is added to the credited amount until the balance showing was $11.10 that we had to pay because we went over the exchange amount. How do businesses get away with things like this? Had they had the proper size dress in stock for my daughter to try on, we would have known that she wouldn’t be able to wear the dress for medical reasons and the purchase would have never happened to begin with. Had they had something she loved this wouldn’t be an issue but they didn’t, so are we forced to spend $1600.00 for something we don’t want? I was told that this could be considered “breach of contract” on their part. If this is true, please explain how that is and what my options are at this point.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 9 months ago.

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I have extensive consumer law experience and will use this to assist you with your issue today. I am so sorry to hear this. That is a horribly sad and frustrating story. The good news is that California law requires the return policy to be posted at both entrance/exit of the store,in a conspicuous manner. If they failed to do this, then a refund is required. California Civil Code 1723. If they fail to provide a refund, you can file a complaint with the attorney general's office, or you can sue them in small claims court. Small claims information is accessible here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm and the AG's office is located here: http://oag.ca.gov/

Customer:

So doesn't an exchange void the final sale policy, it doesn't say no refunds.

LegalGems :

Final sale would imply no exchanges, no refunds. The thing is - it's void if they did not have proper posting. Merely stating it on a receipt is not adequate.

LegalGems :

One could argue that they acquiesced, by virtue of permitting an exchange; but if a stronger position would be that it was never a valid policy in the first place.

Customer:

Ill be right back,im just finishing dinner

LegalGems :

No worries. I'll wait.

Customer:

Im not sure about the signs. I think I did see one on the counter where you pay.

Customer:

Since the credit card company isn't going to follow through with the dispute, what are my options?

LegalGems :

Here's an excerpt from the AG's office: "The policy must be displayed either at each entrance to the store, at each cash register and sales counter, on tags attached to each item, or on the company's order forms, if any. A return policy printed only on a receipt, for example, is not sufficient."

Customer:

There should be a clear law than there is. Putting the policy on a receipt that you must sign anyway seems decieving

LegalGems :

It needs to be conspicuous, so if the store did comply with all the signage requirement but the receipt was in "tiny" type (in relation to the rest of the receipt) then it is not conspicuous.

Customer:

The dress is still there. I bought a dress from there as well. It was not printed on the reciept

Customer:

It is in upper case on the rec'pt

Customer:

what does AG stand for?

LegalGems :

Your options are to sue them for violating the return policy, notifying the AG's office and filing a complaint (their involvement depends on number of complaints received though), contacting the BBB as they have a mediation program. You are in California - the small claims limit is $10,000 and they offer free mediation. -sorry Attorney General

Customer:

Where do I go to read what you are reading from?

LegalGems :

One would think just from a goodwill perspective they would work with you on this...

LegalGems :

Let me get you that- I just found it a moment ago when I was skimming through the complaint process.

Customer:

I haven't spoken to anyone yet. We played phone tag all of last week and the wedding was this weekend . Im just now getting back to the problem

Customer:

I want to be educated about this before I speak to their customer service, It just seems dishonest to make someone pay when they didn't have the right dress in the store to make a decision on

LegalGems :

I see. You may want to fax a letter over to the owner detailing the situation (the owner of that particular store since it sounds like a franchise); then perhaps to the headquarters of the franchise.

LegalGems :

As far as the issue of having customers sign the receipt with the return policy- that actually is not entrapment as the customer still has a choice to walk away from the transaction. The reason it cannot just be on the receipt though is because most people don't read the receipt!

Customer:

ok. I think they are connected and just trying to discourage me to go further with this

LegalGems :

You can find out by googling it; but also the secretary of state lists the person authorized to accept service on behalf of the store. Let me check something.

Customer:

ok. I will check the location of their signs and go from there. I appreciate your info. Thank you nicely

LegalGems :

You're welcome-can you hold on a moment?

Customer:

yes

LegalGems :

Thanks.

LegalGems :

I can't get any results on the secretary's webpage - I'm not sure if it's my computer or their system- but you can try it on yours: http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/ Under Business Search, it will list the person authorized to accept service of process (legal matters) - they will be able to tell you if the stores are individually owned, that way you can go to the person in charge, rather than dealing with a clerk that probably does not have a whole lot of authority.

Customer:

Ok. Thanks.Can I save this chat page for future reference?

LegalGems :

Yes, when you close the chat there should be a "save" option; otherwise you can copy and paste it into a word doc; or you can copy the URL and come back here at your leisure (or link from your email as the site sends the customer occasional emails).

Customer:

ASgain, thank you so much

LegalGems :

You are welcome. I'm glad you waited til after the wedding to deal with this! Good luck on taking care of all this.

Customer:

: )

LegalGems, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 3201
Experience: Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
LegalGems and 5 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LegalGems replied 9 months ago.
I wanted to be sure and thank you for using JA/Pearl.

I hope you found the information I provided useful. I found some additional information - it's similar to the attorney general website but provides a little more detail: http://www.saclaw.lib.ca.us/pages/returns-exchanges.aspx

If you would like to request me for your future legal inquires, please put TO LEGAL GEMS in front of the question, and I will do my best!
Take care.

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