Then they close fast, stranding customers. If you just can't resist the temptation of such a sale, use a credit card, which may help you get back your money if the vendor folds. Think twice about ordering a knockoff. That economic alternative could wind up crushing dreams instead of fulfilling them. In 2013 a bride from Indiana paid $221.79 to a manufacturer in China to copy a $1,375 Justin Alexander design. Consumer Reports compared the counterfeit and original versions and saw that what she received had different fabric, a too-short train, and no tulle underskirt, among other flaws. The company offered a partial refund, and she wound up purchasing the real thing from her local bridal store. The takeaway: If an online company claims to sell a certain label, go to the manufacturers site to make sure. Do your homework online.

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