Owner Required to Refund Consumers’ Deposits, Make Significant Business Reforms
ALBANY, NY — January 24, 2020 — New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a settlement that stops the owner of a dress shop in the Capital Region from taking deposits for specialty dresses and then failing to deliver those dresses to customers in a timely manner. Under the settlement, Sindi Saita, the owner of Apropos Prom & Bridal — formerly located in Guilderland, New York and now located in Latham, New York — will provide refunds to individuals who never received their chosen bridesmaid, prom, or wedding dresses, and her business will undertake significant reforms to ensure the issue does not persist in the future.
“Brides, prom-goers, and dozens of others paid for specialty dresses to ring in a special occasion, but, after saying yes to the dress, they were left heartbroken,” Attorney General James said. “Instead of creating some of the happiest memories of their lives, these women were forced to scramble and find other last-minute options. Today’s settlement was tailored to not only provide a refund to all those harmed by Apropos Prom & Bridal, but to also implement substantial reforms to the company’s business practices so that no woman is left at the altar without the dress of her dreams.”
The investigation by the Office of the Attorney General revealed that Apropos Prom & Bridal required customers to provide substantial deposits on special order dresses and would give them an estimated date when the dress would arrive at the shop. However, in numerous cases, the dresses did not arrive within the promised time frame, and when consumers attempted to inquire about them, many had trouble getting through on the phone or left messages that were never returned. When customers did manage to reach a representative at the store, they typically did not receive any specific assurances about when their dresses would arrive. After being strung along for weeks — and as the dates of their special occasions drew nearer — many customers were forced to purchase substitute gowns elsewhere. The store then refused to refund consumers’ initial deposits.
A number of customers also complained that when they did finally pick up their dresses, they appeared to be floor models that had defects or were significantly too large or too small.
The settlement ensures all those who did not receive a dress in time will be refunded their deposits. Additionally, the settlement requires Apropos Prom & Bridal to make substantial reforms to its business practices, including:
- Maintaining an electronic system for tracking customers’ orders;
- Providing consumers who order dresses with a written receipt that includes all pertinent information, including the date when a consumer expects to receive their dress;
- Promptly contacting the consumer when the store learns of a delay in the expected delivery date; and
- Refunding deposits when a dress does not arrive within three weeks of the date promised to the consumer or at least one month before an event date.
In addition to providing refunds to eligible consumers who previously filed complaints, the settlement requires Apropos Prom & Bridal to make refunds to eligible consumers by March 29, 2020. Consumers who think they may be eligible for a refund are encouraged to file a complaint online or call 1-800-771-7755 to be mailed a form.
This investigation was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Emily Auletta and Amy Schallop, Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine, and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia — all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Christopher D’Angelo and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.
SOURCE: Fabien Levy | Press Secretary | Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James