This week, Kaira’s Bridal in Phoenix, Arizona caught some heat from the local Channel 12 News “consumer unit” advocate Veronica Sanchez. According to the story, Stephanie D’Amato bought a dress from Tammy Malone, the owner of Kaira’s Bridal, with the understanding that “ALL SALES ARE FINAL. ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS WHATSOEVER.” Did I say “understanding?” Because apparently Ms. D’Amato didn’t. Two months later, her wedding was cancelled and she went back to ask for a refund. (The reason for the broken-off engagement is not mentioned in the story. However, I presume that if it was a ‘pull at the heartstrings’ situation, we would have heard from Ms. Sanchez. But, it’s probably safe to assume that the relationship just ended. Like tons and tons of other engagements. Hence the no-refund policy at Kaira’s Bridal).
Breaking their own policy, presumably in the name of customer service, Kaira’s Bridal gave Ms. D’Amato store credit to pick out something else IN THE STORE’S INVENTORY.
So what did Ms. D’Amato do with this kindness? SHE SOLD THE STORE CREDIT TO SOMEONE ELSE! I don’t care to get into the legalities of whether store credit is assumed by the parties to be transferable in a situation like this. But still, distorting this good faith gesture was a lame move by our “frustrated” customer. Sometime later, the “friend” that bought the store credit attempted to purchase a dress that was not in the inventory of Kaira’s Bridal (though, was in the store). When the store credit was refused, Ms. D’Amato decided to just “pick a dress, any dress.” (Hopefully the “friend” got her money back from Ms. D’Amato).
Unfortunately (according to Ms. D’Amato’s account), an associate refused to honor the store credit. The story does not indicate whether Ms. D’Amato attempted to speak with Tammy or Tammy’s daughter (the other manager at Kaira’s Bridal- I sense a little nepotism) to resolve the situation. So what happened next? Ms. D’Amato called News Channel 12 for Action to get on the case. Presumably after the President, Senator McCain, and Congressman Ed Pastor.
In my opinion, the story was very unfair to Kaira’s Bridal (I particularly enjoyed the “This person is lying” close-up at 1:15). And of course, the story contains the cliched, self-congratulatory declaration that Kaira’s was being unresponsive, “But shortly after Call 12 for Action got involved, D’Amato got a call from the shop.” UGH!
Buried deep in the accompanying article and absent from the above clip, is the explanation of why Kaira’s Bridal cannot issue refunds:
“When bridal shops like Kaira’s order dresses from manufacturers, they typically are responsible for the payment on that dress, even if the bride backs out.”
Wouldn’t it have been more informative to include this in Tammy’s interview? Wouldn’t that have put the situation in better context? Instead the story ends with Tammy calling Ms. D’Amato a “Bridezilla.” That’s weak.
There are lots of consumer reporters out there doing great jobs. I think that this particular story attempted to ‘shock’ viewers at the expense of a wedding business. Or maybe I’m just being real pissy right now. Whatevs. My gut reaction to this story is that Kaira’s Bridal attempted to do the customer a solid, and then got spanked for it. That’s all I have to say about that.