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For Immediate Release
July 14, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION SETTLES WITH SELLER
OF DESIGNER WEDDING GOWNS

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached a settlement with a Hagerstown business that sold designer wedding gowns over the Internet but failed to provide the specific gowns after accepting payments from consumers.

The Division signed an Assurance of Discontinuance with Melody and James Row of Hagerstown, Maryland, who had operated a business through the Internet under a variety of names, including Bridal Elegance, Heavenly Accents, Elegant Creations and The Bridal Suite. Under the settlement, the Rows have agreed not to conduct any further business selling consumer goods until and unless they post a surety bond with the Division and comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act. The settlement requires them to pay restitution to consumers who did not receive the gowns they had paid for and pay the costs of the Division.

“ It is unfortunate that these consumers did not receive the wedding gowns they were promised as they prepared for such an important event in their lives,” said Curran. “Businesses cannot advertise and offer to sell specialty goods such as designer wedding gowns if they do not have the ability to provide these goods.”

Weddings can be very expensive, and brides-to-be may look for designer wedding gowns at bargain prices through Internet Web sites and chat rooms. Attorney General Curran advises consumers to understand the risks of dealing with and doing business with individuals in cyberspace. Attorney General Curran also advises consumers to:

  • Check out the seller–make sure that you are dealing with an established business;
  • Have a written agreement with a detailed description of the goods;
  • Know the return policy–ask the seller if the policy is not clearly posted on the Web site.
  • Pay by credit card, even if you use third-party payment services. It is easier to recover your money if the seller doesn’t deliver as promised;
  • Document your transaction–keep record of e-mails exchanged between you and the seller and keep a copy of the listing for the item;
  • Dispute a charge with your credit card company within the required time period to protect your rights.

Consumers may file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division by calling (410) 528-8662, or by going online at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm or by writing to Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General, 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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