SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA.com) — For bargain hunters, online clothing discounts can sometimes prove irresistible.
That’s why CBS2/KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo recruited Christina Lemon of Sherman Oaks, a fashionista who has also starred in a series of plays by celebrity designer Octavio Carlin.
“I want these sale prices; I want them,” said Lemon. “I want to look fabulous and pay nothing.”
It’s not quite “nothing,” but with prices as low as $8, the TB Dress website comes pretty close.
“It’s a dress for $8,” Lemon said. “It does make me say, ‘Let’s try it out.’ ”
You’ve probably seen them on your Facebook timeline, offering the latest styles at rock-bottom prices.
We wanted to know if the company would deliver what it promised.
Lemon liked what she saw, so she added it to her online shopping cart along with a coat and a dress for $66.21, including shipping costs.
But when the package arrived a few weeks later, one of the dresses she ordered was missing, while another one was a bit on the small side.
And as for the sky blue coat she ordered?
“It definitely doesn’t look like it looked in the photo,” she said.
In an email, TB Dress said the coat could be returned with this caveat: “Shipping fee and custom duty on our local custom is really a little high. … We just want to save money for you.”
A combination of a quirk in international law and a deal between China and the U.S. Postal Service makes shipping from China to the U.S. dirt-cheap, but the reverse isn’t true.
Fajardo reported returning the coat through U.S. mail would cost $24, more than the price of the item. Other services were even more expensive.
As for the missing item, the email told Lemon to be patient. When it finally arrived three weeks later, it was missing a button.
Steve McFarland, president of the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles, said his agency has received dozens of complaints about TB Dress.
The BBB has even given the company an “F” rating after repeatedly trying to get customers a refund.
“We have sent over 30 complaints to TB Dress recently,” McFarland said. “Twenty-seven are unanswered, so reaching them is nearly impossible.”
Very angry brides and unhappy customers are venting their frustrations on a Facebook page called TB Fail, posting pictures of clothes that look nothing like the photo, were too small, had holes or never arrived.
One mother even posted a YouTube video of her daughter’s prom dress.
McFarland says whole wedding parties have been left with nothing to wear, even prompting one customer who received the wrong dress to write to the company.
“TB Dress answered, ‘We understand it’s the wrong dress, but the cost of China it’s going to exceed the price of the dress so we suggest donating the dress,” he said.
It’s not just TB Dress that’s based in China. Several other popular online retailers are based in China and Southeast Asia, sell directly to people in the States and get similar reviews.
One blogger wrote, “This is what happens when you order ridiculously cheap clothing from Singapore” after her order was missing items, and those that did arrive didn’t quite fit even though they were labeled as “large.”
McFarland says when the company is based overseas, there is little recourse for unhappy consumers.
“Before you buy, research them, look online at BBB.org and see if there are complaints or a pattern,” he said.
For Lemon, $62 got her three items she says she’ll never wear and a lesson that the “satisfaction guaranteed” symbol on the TB Dress website is no guarantee at all.
“I would save my money and go to a reputable store,” said Lemon.
TB Dress did not respond to requests for comment until Fajardo live-chatted with a customer-service representative. A supervisor asked how they could help those who complained to the BBB and added they are “improving our product quality and the customer’s satisfaction all the way.”
Have you had an online shopping nightmare with TB Dress or another company? Share your story in the comments section below.