Planning a wedding ? Shop smart and read the fine print before the big day

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Couples planning their big day need to be on their guard against rip off merchants, as consumer complaints rise, said NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox.

“A wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life but each year NSW Fair Trading receives hundreds of complaints and enquiries from consumers,’’ said Mason-Cox.

“Complaints in the last financial year increased to 893, around 400 more than the previous year, largely due to the failure of two large bridal stores in 2013.

“It just shows just how far reaching an incident of this kind can be on so many people.

“It’s important that couples research the companies they are entering into agreements with and read the fine print before handing over large deposits.

“Nearly half of all the wedding complaints received in the last financial year related to clothing, footwear, accessories and jewellery.’’

Complaints received by NSW Fair Trading ranged from faulty wedding rings, date changes or cancellation of bookings due to the wedding not going ahead to paying the wedding venue for extra time but being asked to leave early.

“The wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and unfortunately some dishonest traders see it as an opportunity to prey on couples.

“If anyone has any concerns, they should contact NSW Fair Trading.  “NSW Fair Trading has fantastic results in dealing with consumer grievances, with 93 per cent of complaints resolved without the need for recourse to a Tribunal or court.’’

In order to minimise problems on the big day NSW Fair Trading advises people to:

Make sure you confirm all arrangements in writing. If you only rely on verbal instructions you leave things open to misinterpretation.

Shop around and don’t rush or be pressured into committing to purchases.

Read the fine print of any contracts you sign and pay particular attention to the terms and conditions.

Research the companies you are proposing to purchase products and services. Do they have a good track record? Do they have any negative comments about them online?

Beware of handing over large deposits before the final delivery.

Be careful when buying products from overseas retailers, as it can be difficult to apply Australian Consumer Law to secure a refund, replacement or repair.

If you’re buying online, check the terms and conditions before making the purchase and always use secure payment methods to prevent fraud.

Remember that if you use a credit card, you can apply for a chargeback, if goods or services are not provided.

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