Brides say Orland Park dress shop almost ruined their weddings

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Several angry brides reached out to the ABC7 I-Team saying one of the most important days of their lives could have been ruined by a dress shop in Orland Park.

Some of the brides said dresses arrived just a day or two before the wedding, leaving little time for alterations. Some of the brides said the uncertainty of waiting that long forced them to buy dresses elsewhere.

"It's a nightmare. I've cried, I haven't eaten, I've distanced myself from people because of the stress," said Jessica Bradtke.

Bradtke said she wasn't able to wear her dream dress at her recent wedding.

"People can look at me and see that I'm very unhappy to where I have cried," she said through tears. "The dress is exactly what I wanted. It was exactly what I planned."

She paid more than $1,100 for it at the House of Brides in Orland Park in mid-January. Now, six months later, no dress had arrived.

"Yep, no dress," she said.

When she got nervous about not having a dress, she said she was forced to buy this other one from a different store.

"Another dress. I had to put down another $900 on another dress," she said.

Then just one day before she tied the knot, she said the dress from House of Brides came in, but way too late.

Several other brides with similar complaints from the Orland Park location also contacted the ABC 7 I-Team

"It's completely stressful. I've been emotionally distressed. I haven't really eaten anything. There's been a lot of tears, a lot of frustration," said Amber Faltynek

Seven months after her order, Faltynek got tired of waiting. She and her bridesmaids made a mad dash to a different bridal shop to find different bridesmaid dresses.

The House of Brides dresses did end up arriving, she said, just a day before the wedding. She said was too little too late, no time for alterations.

"Being in the bridal field, you should understand what the bride is going through - how stressful everything is - and when there is a concern brought up, it should be addressed with compassion and not just with rehearsed answers with no emotions whatsoever," she said.

The Better Business Bureau has seven recent complaints on file in which brides were dealing with delays. The BBB said the orders were placed four to nine months before the wedding date. One complaint alleges the dress never arrived. The House of Brides in Orland Park currently has a "No Rating" as the BBB investigates.

"We're currently reviewing the complaints that have been brought to our attention and the allegations from the consumers and those complaints," said Steve Bernas of the Better Business Bureau.

Bernas said part of the problem is nobody has a promised delivery date in writing and that manufacturer delays in the wedding dress industry can be common.

"The consumers really have to read the Terms and Conditions. Each organization is different," he said.

The House of Brides website says "special orders normally take 10 to 16 weeks for delivery," or up to four months. But brides the I-Team talked to said their orders were placed at least six months prior to the wedding. The website also does warn that: "delivery is dependent on the manufacturer's schedule. Manufacturers do not guarantee their delivery dates since their production can vary."

The I-Team forwarded all of the complaints to the store's customer service e-mail. They did get a reply saying they were looking into them, and shortly after some of those customers told said they or their bridesmaids received refunds.

But after a week of not hearing back about the other delays, investigative reporter Jason Knowles stopped by.

They were told we were in "private property," and not to record so they left. But some customers like Bradtke claim that when they have questions the police are called.

Orland Park Police records show eight calls to the store in 2018 for a "customer dispute" or a "civil matter."

"Day by day I just keep telling myself no bride should ever have to go through this. Why me? What have I done? I just question it," Bradtke said.

Bradtke filed a credit card dispute, reversing her charges but the House of Brides can challenge that.
If you need your dress completed by a specific date you should order extra early; experts say even more than a year before your wedding, if you can.

You can also ask to get the "date of arrival" in writing but the BBB says most stores won't do that

You can also tell a bridal shop that your wedding date is earlier than it really is.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.