Image via Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel Launch Brunch
When done correctly, businesses closing can be an exciting time for business owners as they embark on new adventures and great for brides-to-be as closing down sales can provide fabulous bargains. Iconic Australian designer Collette Dinnigan recently announced that she would be closing all arms of her hugely successful business to spend more time with her family. Congratulations go to Collette for becoming such an amazing success in business and we wish her the same success in this new and exciting chapter in her life!
On the other hand, and totally opposite to this, business owners who are in trouble generally don’t have the presence of mind to do the right thing by themselves and their customers. As a result they suffer and the follow on from this is that their customers also suffer. So what can you do if you are faced with a situation where you have ordered your dress, paid your deposit and are now faced with the unexpected closure of your wedding boutique? First of all there are 3 common warning signs that you should watch for.
1. Telephone calls from the boutique asking you to come in and pay the balance of your dress, months before you need to;
2. The shelves/racks seem to be emptier each time you visit;
3. Repeated telephone calls and emails to the store that go unanswered.
The biggest warning sign though, is the telephone call asking you to come in and pay the balance of your dress, much earlier than you are supposed to. If you get a telephone call like this, what should you do? If this happens to you and you actually have enough money to pay the balance off early:
1. Ask if the dress is ready to be collected.
2. Go in and ask to see your dress and insist on collecting it that day.
3. DO NOT (and I cannot stress this enough) hand over any more money until you see your dress with your own eyes and confirm that it is your dress.
4. Try it on to make sure that it is YOUR dress.
5. Once you have confirmed that it is your dress, ask if you can collect it that day (do not be persuaded to leave your dress there to finish the alterations if you have any doubts whatsoever). Yes, you will then incur extra cost getting your dress altered by someone else but at least you will have your dress. You won’t have paid out any extra and then find yourself without your dress at all.
6. If the staff cannot show you your dress or if they make some excuse about it being delayed, do not be pressured into handing over any more money. Just tell them something like “Your agreement says I don’t have to pay the balance for a few weeks/months” and leave it at that but prepare yourself that you may lose your deposit.
If you have tried contacting the boutique and your attempts by telephone or email are unsuccessful, check their website. A business which is no longer operating, will generally have their website account suspended. If possible, visit the boutique to see if they are still open.
If you visit the boutique and it is either closed when it is usually open or looks vacant, or you are unable to visit the boutique, telephone the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) to enquire if the business is still registered. If it is still registered, it has the potential to still be operating.
If ASIC tells you that the business is still registered but you still cannot contact the boutique, do a Google search of the boutique and see if the boutique has advertised in any publications. Give the publication a call and ask if they know if the boutique is still in business. Chances are if they do not know, they should be able to find out. You may even be able to get a contact number for the boutique owner to find out if you can get your dress.
If the boutique has already closed down and you cannot contact the owner, what can you do?
1. Contact the Department of Fair Trading and see if they can help you get your dress (they have been very successful in the past);
2. Do a Google search and contact the designer of your dress to ask if an order has been placed for your dress then just deal with them directly.
Unfortunately, if the business has already gone into liquidation, your chances of recovering your money are very slim. Remember though that news travels fast so if you are in any doubt, do some online research. You can find out a lot through other reviews of a business and hopefully avoid making a bad situation even worse.
Ms Gingham says: We all hope that a situation like this won’t happen to us but it’s great to be armed with information in the unfortunate instance that it does!
About Nicole of A Bride To Be: I am often seen as the “go to” person when it comes to uncovering bargains or offering advice. I love shopping and uncovering bargains. I have been happily married for 12 years to Graeme and together we run A Bride To Be!