Chloe Matthews
Chloe Matthews
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Wedding dress nightmare story

So what exactly do wedding dresses and legal recruitment have in common? Well if you would be so kind as to read on, then all will be revealed…

I am due to get married later this year (whoop whoop!) and whilst it is a wonderful and exciting time, those of you out there who have been through this before will probably agree that it can also be a bit stressful. I like to think I am pretty organised, I like a good “to do” list and enjoy organising events and getting jobs done but even I couldn’t foresee what has happened in the last couple of weeks.

Picture the scene. Last October my mum and I visited a wedding dress shop that had been recommended to me in Birmingham. The shop had been there for years and stocked a good range of wedding dresses by a number of highly regarded designers. The lady we met with on the day (who I now know to be one of the owners) was really helpful. The first thing she did was to explain to me the 4 different shapes of dresses. We worked our way through all the shapes until we narrowed it down to the shape I liked the most. We then tried on a number of dresses in that shape until I found one that I absolutely loved. There were tears (my mum) and smiles (me and my mum) and the decision was made. Happy days! So what next? I had my measurements taken and then paid a 50% deposit (nearly £800) and was told me dress would be ordered from the designer – Pronovias in Spain and that I would need to book in for my fittings 10/12 weeks before the wedding, so that alterations could be made in time.

Fast forward 9 months. I called the shop to book in for my alterations appointment but couldn’t get through. I emailed but heard nothing back. I thought this was a bit odd but I put it down to being wedding season and very busy. I tried to call the following week but still couldn’t get through. As I worked near the store I decided to pop down one lunch time. Imagine my absolute horror to find the shop locked up, completely empty of displays and dresses and a pile of unopened post by the door. There was no notice or sign in the shop window and when I checked the website and Facebook page for the shop – they were still live. It was only later that day that I come across a Facebook group set up by another bride to be who had bought her dress from the shop and had discovered it was closed down the day she went for her fitting. When I managed to speak to Pronovias they confirmed that my dress had never even been ordered. This was the same for many others in the group. So the shop owners were taking money off brides, telling them that the dresses were being ordered, but then doing nothing and just keeping the money.

The business is allegedly on the verge of going into administration. So where does that leave us? The investigations are ongoing and whilst I hope that Trading Standards will be able to get some answers for us, I have resigned myself to the fact that I won’t see my money again. Sadly I did not pay on my credit card so cannot claim the money back via my bank. I interviewed with the BBC local news last week, along with a couple of other brides to be, in order to help raise awareness of the situation in case there were others out there who had ordered their dresses but unaware of what has happened to the shop- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-birmingham-41012481/mood-of-brides-is-something-blue-over-lost-dresses. The BBC even managed to speak to one of the directors – although she was unable to provide any sort of coherent explanation as to where our money has gone and why they felt it was acceptable to take customers money of them and not order their dresses. So what is the moral of the story? There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there! Be aware! Plus when making big purchases, pay on your credit card and be protected!

In hindsight I wish I had done more homework into this business before I bought my dress. Whilst this shop has been around for a number of years, what I did not know at the time I visited was that the directors/owners had changed a couple of years before, this seems to be where the problems regarding cash flow and lack of good business practice started to creep in but it has taken two years for them to run a established business into the ground through poor management.

So let’s bring this back to legal recruitment, what lesson can we learn? As part of my day to day role I work closely with candidates to help prepare them for interviews. As part of this process I always ask candidates to do their homework on the firm they are interviewing so that they can attend the interview and ask the right questions to find out what they need to know in order to decide if the role and firm are right for them. If they do not do their homework they will never be able to ask the right questions and so will not really know if the role is the right fit. If they do their prep, ask the questions and are not happy with the answers they get, they can walk away from the process knowing that it wasn’t the right opportunity for them.

As a professional I am used to conducting myself and undertaking my work in a professional manner and have high standards for myself and expect the same of the clients and candidates I work with. Sadly I have learnt a hard lesson, which is that there are far too many people out there in the world who are not professional and have no regard for how they conduct themselves or the consequences of their actions. I will, not, however let this effect the way I conduct myself.

I specialise in placing candidates into the top firms in Birmingham so if you are considering a move and want a confidential, impartial and professional discussion then please call me on 0121 237 5611 or email me at chloejones@bcllegal.com.

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