Brides may have been left at the altar when dressmaker Alfred Angelo stopped delivering gowns last week as a result of its bankruptcy filing, but consumer experts say there ways that customers can try to cut their losses.
If they haven't already, for instance, brides can stop payment on the dresses. Or they can get in line to seek a refund directly from the company, said Jack Gillis, spokesman for the Consumer Federation of America.
Still, it's a difficult situation for brides who had counted on receiving their dresses as their big day looms.
Alfred Angelo Bridal, which suddenly closed and filed for bankruptcy liquidation last month, told customers last week that if they haven't received their dress already, they won't be getting it. That move left some brides in a lurch, having paid for dresses that won't delivered.
A national chain with 60 of its own stores and 1,400 locations that sell its merchandise worldwide, Alfred Angelo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 13, immediately closing its stores without advance notice even to employees.
At first, it appeared that brides might get their dresses. Patricia Redmond, a lawyer for Stearns Weaver Miller that handled the bankruptcy filing, told USA TODAY that she had received "thousands" of e-mails from concerned women and that the company would work to fulfill all orders that had already been purchased.
But then last week came the worst news yet -- no more dresses.
“ “While we have been successful in obtaining customer records and delivering many dresses and accessories for customers all over the country, even after the bankruptcy filing date, it has now become apparent that the logistical and financial strain of fulfilling each and every open order makes continuing that course of action no longer possible,” the statement read.
The statement — the first public announcement by the company since its bankruptcy — also advised those who wanted a refund to submit a proof of claim.
There are ways to move forward, consumer advocate Gillis said.
•Keep in touch with the company and keep an eye out for liquidation sales.
•Contact the bankruptcy representative, Margaret Smith, at email@example.com. Give details of the wedding date, the order and order number and the payment amount.
•Contact Alfred Angelo's credit card company to dispute the charges.
"If you paid by credit card, call your credit card company immediately, explain the situation, refuse payment and take a deep breath, you were lucky," he says.
On the other hand, If you paid by check or cash, he says you can try and get in line for bankruptcy proceedings, but consumers are "generally last in line and rarely, if ever, get anything back."
Earlier in the month, women across the country took to Twitter to provide support to panicked brides, offering to loan their wedding dresses to those left dress-less.
Other bridal companies also lending a hand. David’s Bridal said on its website that it would take 30% off wedding dresses and 20% off bridesmaid dresses for Alfred Angelo customers who did not receive their order. And The Bridal Boutique of Naperville, Ill. tweeted an offer for 20% off wedding apparel for affected brides.
But, even with the good samaritans out there, Gillis does caution brides to look out for scammers who might be trying to capitalize on the chaos.