Now I'm sure that almost everyone reading this has a story of someone they knew, heard of, came across, who got a beautifully designed gown practically for free on Ebay. Let me tell you two things...first that does indeed happen, and second, for every positive story you have, I can come up with 10 negative ones.
There is, in my mind, only one legitimate reason to buy a wedding dress on Ebay...cost. And only you can decide if the money you are saving is worth the potential headache you may be creating for yourself.
Now I'm going to tell you why you shouldn't buy your dress on Ebay....And, for those of you who, after reading this article do decide to buy your wedding dress on Ebay, here is what to watch out for:
will have something close you can try on before you order. Also, remember, not all manufacturers’ sizes
are the same. What is a medium with one manufacturer, might be a small with another...a size 14 in one dress style might be equal to a 12 in another dress style. You can only determine that by trying it on.
•The dress may cost more than you think...Make sure you take all costs into consideration when buying a dress on Ebay. This includes the cost of the item, the cost of shipping, the cost of any insurance if required, an up charge for a larger size, possible customs fees if the dress is coming from overseas and the cost of alterations which are typically more when you bring a dress in vs. purchasing from the same shop that will be altering the dress for you.
•The dress may take longer to get than you think...Read the auction description very carefully, and look at where the dress ships from. Many of the dresses on Ebay ship from China (which is where the majority of wedding dresses are made) and shipping times from overseas can vary greatly. Also make sure you read to find out when it will ship....many of these dresses are sold on speculation, meaning they are not made until sold, which can add
weeks or months to the lead time. For example, 15 - 21 days to make the dress and another 21 - 30 days in transit.
•Make sure you understand the condition of the dress....many dresses sold on Ebay are floor samples, overstock or outdated stock. You have no idea what a floor sample dress has been through, nobody might have tried it on or 100 people might have tried it on. Dresses that are older stock might have sat on the racks for several years...dust and yellowing can occur from fluorescent lights.
•Make sure you understand the sellers return policy as well as Ebay's buyer protection policy...many sellers of wedding dresses will not allow returns. That doesn't mean that you absolutely won't be able to return it, Ebay does a lot to help you there, but even if you do have to return it you will have to pay the return shipping charges and wait until the seller gets the dress back before a refund will be issued to you...especially with an overseas transaction that can take a while.
•Know how you are going to handle alterations....you will need to find your own seamstress, get the dress to them and have them handle your fittings. This will often cost more than having the alterations done at a shop where you purchased a dress.
•Understand the difference between an Ebay auction and a Buy It Now (BIN) listing...with a BIN listing, when you click “buy,” that is the sale price you will pay. With an auction you need to determine what your maximum bid is and enter it...Ebay will then bid for you up to your maximum amount. The problem with bidding is that people often get emotionally involved and will end up bidding more than they wanted to. Sometime they will pay more
than they would have from a traditional bridal store. Know ahead of time what your maximum bid is (the amount you are willing to pay, which includes shipping, insurance, and any other costs; this is your maximum - the total price you are willing to pay) and do not change it at the last moment.
•Be prepared for the worse...odds are that the transaction will go smoothly and you will get the dress you expected
and wanted. You need to be prepared for the worse though and have a backup plan. What is the worse thing that could happen...the seller takes your money and never delivers and you have to wait weeks or months to get satisfaction. What is more likely to happen is that the dress will not be everything you expected or wanted. What I
recommend is that you have a back up plan, or a back up dress in mind at a local shop. The good news is that you might get the dress on Ebay so cheap that even if everything goes wrong you are not out of pocket much.
•On Ebay you need to buy your dress far enough in advance....If a traditional bridal store takes 6 months, I'd buy on
ebay at 9 months...that way if things go wrong you still have time to order your wedding dress without the added rush fee.