Photo via Google Earth.
ALBANY — The owner of a Latham prom and bridal dress shop will be paying back some of her customers, according to a settlement (see below) with state Attorney General Letitia James, and change how the business operates.
The owner of Apropos Prime & Bridal, now on 897 Troy Schenectady Road and formerly on Western Avenue in Guilderland, will pay customers $4,778.58 and an additional $5,000 to the state in penalties. The latter will be waived should Sindi Saita make restitution in a timely fashion.
According to James, in 2016 and 2017 many customers of the shop got the wrong dress, dresses of shoddy workmanship, dresses off the shelf that were supposed to be specialty ordered or they didn’t receive the dress in a timely fashion and were forced to purchase another despite putting down a deposit.
“Brides, prom-goers, and dozens of others paid for specialty dresses to ring in a special occasion, but, after saying yes to the dress, they were left heartbroken,” James said in a statement. “Instead of creating some of the happiest memories of their lives, these women were forced to scramble and find other last-minute options. Today’s settlement was tailored to not only provide a refund to all those harmed by Apropos Prom & Bridal, but to also implement substantial reforms to the company’s business practices so that no woman is left at the altar without the dress of her dreams.”
In addition to restitution, Saita must keep better records of business transactions, in particular the acceptance of a deposit for specialty dresses, timely place orders, in a timely fashion inform the customer of any delays and if the delays are not satisfactory to the customer make a full refund in a timely manner.
According to James, a “majority” of the shop’s customers had ordered specially dresses and were required to pay a deposit of half the total cost.
Many, she said, were given dresses off the rack instead of one made especially for the customer. Other dresses had zippers that did not work and seams that did not hold together. Some were the wrong size despite getting measured by staff at the dress shop for a perfect fit.
In 2016 and 2017, according to the settlement, there was a small, part time staff at the shop but since 2018 Saita was the lone employee. Employees told the AG during the investigation that Saita did pass off floor model garments as specialty dresses tailored to the customers dimension and liking.
When customers inquired about delays in their order, many had difficulty getting through to a person on the phone and messages were rarely returned. When they did make contact with Saita, they were given excuses such as “the lace was being shipped from China,” but never given a refund even when they were forced to go to another retailer and purchase another dress.
According to the settlement, Apropos Prom & Bridal must make restitution to eligible consumers by March 29.
Consumers who think they may be eligible for a refund are encouraged to file a complaint online or call 1-800-771-7755 to be mailed a form.