5 On Your Side

Going, going, gown! Bridal dresses auctioned to pay back taxes

Posted October 4, 2010

— Brides to be – along with some future grooms – crowded into a defunct north Raleigh bridal shop Monday in search of wedding bargains.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue seized Diamond's Bridal in August because of delinquent taxes. After some customers picked up dresses they had ordered, the remaining inventory, including dresses and accessories, was auctioned off Monday to help the state recover the taxes owed by the store owner Sharon Hipps.

"I honestly didn't look at any beforehand. I just grabbed it," Jessica Tennant said of buying her wedding gown at auction.

"I got it for $600," Courtney Jones said of her dress, which normally would have cost $1,300. "I feel really good about it. That's $700 I can spend somewhere else."

Hipps said she bought Diamond's Bridal "on a whim" last year and got in over her head by growing too fast and offering too many discounts.

Instead of ordering dresses for brides, she used deposits from new customers to pay the previous owners for the business and to pay off other brides who didn't get their dresses.

During a 5 on Your Side investigation last month, Hipps said hundreds of orders were still outstanding.

Some brides eventually got refunds from Hipps, while others got their dresses directly from manufacturers. Some had to pay another shop to get their dresses, losing the deposits they had already paid Hipps.

Bridal auction Something old, something new, something auctioned

Zack Rogge said he heard about the auction Monday morning and told his fiancee to meet him at the store.

"It's awesome, sweet," Rogge said, noting the couple is paying for their wedding themselves and reveled in a chance to save money.

Four days after she got engaged, Meredith Schwane said she was excited about getting a $1,300 wedding gown for half price.

"It's kind of exciting because you don't get to try it on," Schwane said, referring to the rules of the auction. "I get to put it on for the first time (Monday) afternoon and see what it looks like for the first time. It's as big of a surprise to me as everyone else."

While plenty of people walked away with deals, some bargain hunters left empty-handed and disappointed, saying the auction took too long.

If the auction ends up bringing in more money than Hipps owes in taxes, the state will pay the additional amount back to her corporation.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Eduardo1 Oct 6, 2010

    Did they give Ms Hipps the opportunity to sell these items at a lower mark-up and get the tax money? After all of this, she might have been able to stay open after the debt was paid. Giving the state a taxable business

  • Scare Crow Oct 5, 2010

    any money left over should go to the deposits these young women paid, NOT

  • MomOfTwins Oct 5, 2010

    "Then again, I am sure a dowry (engagement ring) is a frivilous, ridiculous thing to you too, and its just another waste of money." --jkparrish

    um... an engagement ring is not a dowry. A dowry is what the wife brings into the marriage, not what the husband give to the wife...

    dow·ry   /ˈdaʊri/
    –noun, plural -ries.
    1. Also, dower. the money, goods, or estate that a wife brings to her husband at marriage.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 4, 2010

    I just bought a gown off some girl out back, 20 bucks and a soda. She was happy to part with it.

    And thirsty.

  • grayboomerang Oct 4, 2010

    Amen MikeH!!!!!

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 4, 2010

    exactly right macharsam,

    can't wait for the Monica Goes After "em story in a few months when the girls figure out 1/2 the dresses won't be able to altered to fit them or that there is a stain that won't come out. or a rip in the fabric. or that the state wants more money from them because it wasn't sold at fair value.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 4, 2010

    thanks mom!

  • ifgraceisanocean Oct 4, 2010

    They took down the comments because they were offensive. Everything you said was offensive. Be glad they didn't get rid of YOU.

  • snowl Oct 4, 2010

    It was reported that these dresses were "samples" and had been on the racks for some time. I don't feel that any price is worth it when you cannot try it on first. Good luck with that. I just don't agree this was a good purchase to make on impulse.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 4, 2010

    Post the comments then take them down golo? Is that the new policy?