Marriage Scam Victims Share Stories to Protect Others

With the province continuing its reopening plan, in-person weddings are now back on the agenda. As wedding plans develop, it’s important to avoid vendors who can’t deliver and potential scammers who are just looking for your money.

With the province continuing its reopening plan, in-person weddings are now back on the agenda. As wedding plans develop, it’s important to avoid vendors who can’t deliver and potential scammers who are just looking for your money. Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​can help by providing valuable information on wedding suppliers, from caterers and florists to musicians and photographers.

BBB receives numerous complaints every year related to wedding suppliers, including wedding supplies and services, cakes, venues, caterers, limousine services, consultants, photographers and videographers.

“Many complaints about wedding services relate to the difficulty of reaching the business and the late delivery of products or services,” said Karla Laird, senior director of media and communications at BBB serving mainland British Columbia. “Consumers tell BBB that they ordered products like wedding dresses and wedding gifts in the hope that the products would arrive in time for the wedding, but found there were delays. delivery, without acceptable refund or other remedy. “

BBB is also seeing reports of wedding vendors shutting down their businesses with little or no notice to their clients. When the business goes bankrupt, it can be very difficult for consumers to get their money back, even if they will not receive the products and services purchased.

There is also the issue of buying rings and other jewelry from an online retailer who turns out to be a fraudster. A victim shared on BBB Scam Tracker:

“They sell tungsten wedding rings online. I asked my best friend from New York to buy me the ring and then ship it to Canada. They billed him for Visa, but no product was delivered and there was no confirmation. It turns out that if you Google Map the address, it shows an empty building that is not rented. The phone number on the site is not connected. We tried emailing and nothing. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.

BBB shares the following tips for avoiding common marriage issues:

  • Research companies before you hire them. Before falling in love with a vendor, read customer reviews and check out company profiles on Ask the company ahead of time what their plan is to deliver their product or service on time. Do they have guarantees, and if so, which ones?
  • Check how long a business has been in business. This will help to give an indication of their level of experience in the industry. Also find out how many people are still using their services, to avoid paying a business that may close before you can deliver your order.
  • Check the prices. If you’ve heard from a vendor at a wedding show or other special event, be sure to ask if the prices are the same after the event. Beware of pressurized sales tactics to commit to a product or service on the spot.
  • Unexpected fees. Some caterers, hotels or reception venues may charge a supplement for “plate splitting”, “cake cutting” or “cork”. Ask if any charges apply beyond the cost per person, tips or room rental, if applicable.
  • Dresses that are not up to par. Brides have complained to BBB of bridal shops ordering the wrong sizes and colors for the dresses, as well as dresses that arrive too late to be changed in a timely manner. Make sure your order is sized for you and your bridesmaids. Remind the store of your schedule in advance.
  • Wedding transportation issues. Complaints about limo companies include poor customer service and rigid cancellation policies. Get the details in writing. Ask how the company handles issues if you are not happy and what they will charge if you need the vehicle longer on your wedding day.
  • Musician switch. Couples should avoid relying solely on a website, demo tape, or phone conversation when hiring a band or other music service. Find out where you can hear the musicians playing live before you hire them. Ask who will actually be performing at the reception and get a written commitment from the band or musician, including the time they will play and the costs to extend the time on the evening of the event if necessary.
  • Photographer problems. A common complaint is that the photographer does not show up at the wedding or deliver photos until months after the wedding. Find out when and how the photos will be delivered, whether you will be able to get digital copies of all the images, how much time you will have to choose the photos, and if other members of your family or marriage will have access to the pictures.
  • Floral changes. Fresh flowers are a perishable commodity, and the final bouquet or arrangements may need to change depending on what is available on the wedding day. Be sure to specify a minimum size or number of stems in each bouquet or arrangement. Ask how the florist will handle substitutions and last minute fees, especially if the value of the flowers actually used is significantly different from what has been agreed.
  • Get it in writing. Get all sales promises and verbal agreements in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, and brands. Cancellation policies should also be included.
  • Pay with a credit card. Avoid paying cash in advance for products and services. If you pay by credit card, you’re protected if something goes wrong.

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