Tips for Buyers:
How to Avoid Online Scams on Used Wedding Dresses - OnceWed
We would all like to think that everyone is trustworthy when you’re talking about love and weddings, but that’s not always the case. The internet can be a place where people aren’t always looking out for your best interests. We want to help protect you from online scammers as you use OnceWed to buy your dream wedding gown online.
There are lots of honest sellers out there, so don’t let this information scare you. We believe that knowledge is power and we love informed buyers!
Unprotected Payment - The Number One Mistake Buyers Make
We can not stress this enough – NEVER EVER EVER send a gift card(s), check, cashier check, money order or wire transfer as payment – NEVER! Not even for a “deposit”. The chances are extremely high that you will lose that money and never receive a dress.
Read more about protected forms of payment here.
Buying Wedding Dresses Online & Questions To Ask
Ask Detailed Questions and for Specific Pictures
Scammers have become very inventive about how they scam people and will contact someone who has a dress for sale and ask for lots of pictures. Then they turn around and create a fake listing using the other person’s images. If you have any suspicion that this has happened, ask the “seller” to send you a picture of themselves in street clothes so that you can compare it to the images of them in their wedding dress. An honest seller won’t mind – a scammer will make up a reason they can’t do it.
When purchasing your used designer gown through Once Wed, there are some key questions for you to ask when you’re starting a transaction with a seller. These are designed to protect you as a buyer as well as get you more information regarding the condition and sizing of the dress.
We suggest you ask the following questions about the dress first:
- Have there been any alterations made to the dress? If so, what types of alterations and how does that affect the size of the dress?
- How tall are you, or how tall were your heels when you wore the dress? This may affect the length of the dress and how it fits.
- Are there any stains, discolorations, tears or any other defects on the dress? These questions are designed to protect you as a buyer:
- Do you have the original receipt or the letter of authenticity that goes along with the dress? (These aren’t necessary, but may help give you peace of mind)
- Can you send me a picture of the dress on a hanger? This shows that they actually have the dress with them and that it is real
- How are you planning to pack and ship the dress? You may also want to suggest that the seller looks at the directions we have written for how to pack and ship a wedding dress. This is also the opportunity to ask in advance that they send you a tracking number and request signature upon arrival.
If you ask these recommended questions, and any other questions you may think are appropriate, then your transaction will be quick, safe, and easy!
Spot the Scammers
We want to share some telltale signs that will indicate whether you’re talking to a scammer. If you run across any of these things please stop all communications and contact us so that we can investigate and block them from the site.
- A purchase should be quick and easy – not convoluted with lots of unnecessary emails back and forth.
- Seller asks for your email to send pictures to - do not do this. They want you to communicate off the site so that we cannot monitor the messages. They can send pictures inside our messaging system.
- If a listing says either of the following it is a scam:
- OnceWed has prequalified them (we don’t prequalify sellers)
- OnceWed is blocking their email so please use the email they put in their listing (if we have blocked their email it is because they are a scammer)
- Scammers have become wise to the fact that we encourage our buyers to only use a payment method that offers purchase protection, and will start out saying that is the payment method they want to use, but late into your conversation they may ask you to send something like an “earnest deposit” via check. The latest scam is to ask people to send Amazon gift cards because there is a problem with their PayPal account. Or to send the shipping fee, or local tax stamp fee, etc. in cash. They will ask for money in any way they can think of to get something from you. Once again, NEVER send gift cards, checks, cashier checks, money orders, or wire transfers as payment for anything. Only use a protected form of payment like PayPal or Escrow for the entire transaction.
- Scammers are most often from other countries (not always, though, so be careful).
- You get e-mails from strange e-mail addresses or get emails from the same seller from multiple email addresses.
- A message has poor grammar and spelling or is awkwardly worded.
- The person trying to sell starts out with all the right answers to your questions. Then all of a sudden they start weaving this tale about their “special circumstances” that require this sale to be anything but straightforward – walk away! They may say they are emailing you on behalf of someone else, they may say they are the mother of the bride, or the wedding planner and they’re coordinating everything for another person. Beware of any story that doesn’t seem entirely right.
Use a Secure Payment Service
We encourage you to use PayPal or Escrow because they are safe and secure online payment services. These forms of payment will protect you if:
- Dress does not show up
- Dress arrives damaged
- Dress is not as described
Paying with PayPal or Escrow means that you are protected and will be able to get a refund. You will not get your money back in the above situations if you paid via wire transfer, gift cards, check, money order, Venmo, etc.
Always Be Careful, Let Us Know If You See Suspicious Behavior
The main thing to remember when you’re buying your used wedding dress online is to be careful. An honest seller is going to be just as cautious as you, but they will be giving you the right answers and not setting off alarms. If any of the above happens to you, or if you’re ever suspicious of an e-mail, provide us with the email exchange at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will block this person from selling on OnceWed if we feel they are a scammer. Just take the time to investigate and ask the right questions to ensure that your transaction will be quick and easy!