5 On Your Side

Complaints mount against Raleigh bridal store

Posted October 8, 2013

— Complaints are piling up against a Raleigh bridal shop. More customers and even people who've worked at Victorian Rose Bridals are raising concerns about what's going on at the Cameron Village shop.

Right after 5 On Your Side reported on complaints about bridal gowns coming in a week before the wedding, and bridesmaids dresses that were three sizes too small, others came forward. We've heard from multiple customers who complained about dress delays and problem orders. Now, a bride and her mother say Victorian Rose tried to sell them a floor sample as a brand new designer gown.

"It took me a while to put the pieces together," said Jane MacDonald, the mother of Gloria MacDonald Hart. "Cause in my mind, I couldn't imagine someone being that deceptive. I really couldn't."

The MacDonalds say they ordered a wedding dress in June of last year.

They say after they regularly called for updates, in late December, they were told it had arrived.

When her daughter went in to try it on, MacDonald said she realized, "something's not right."

She said the dress was way too big. And her other daughter said "Mom, there's stains on this dress."

Jane MacDonald told us she asked the shop employee two or three times, "Are you sure this isn't the sample that we tried on?" She said they were clear with their answer: "No!"

Not convinced, that night MacDonald called the designer, Heidi Elnora, and texted a picture of the dress just to verify their order.

MacDonald told us, "Elnora said, yes, that is our dress,” and added, "I hate to tell you but we haven't done business with them in over a year and a half."

MacDonald confronted the store manager.

Bridal problems Complaints mount against Raleigh bridal store

"I said, 'I have a signed contract with you and I now know you haven't done business with Heidi Elnora in 18 months,' and her face just dropped and she just started sobbing."

MacDonald said owner Kathy Purser refused to talk with her, but the manager quickly gave a full refund.

5 On Your Side also talked with four people who have worked at Victorian Rose Bridals. They described questionable business practices. Two said it's why they left the business.

We went back to Victorian Rose Bridals, and asked Purser about the accusations that she tried to pass off a floor sample as a new dress.

Purser said, "No, no, no Monica, we do not do that," and then added, "I need to ask you to leave."

Purser then had her attorney contact us. Alan Parry reiterated Purser denies the accusations, and insists the MacDonalds knew they were buying a floor sample.

The store provided a copy of a receipt. Comparing that to MacDonald's receipt though, the store's version has the word "order" crossed out and "out of stock" added. MacDonald's receipt doesn't show any of that. And neither receipt specifically references the dress as a floor sample.

When we pointed that out to Alan Parry, he called the whole ordeal a "misunderstanding."

Jane and Gloria MacDonald ultimately worked directly with designer Heidi Elnora. They were grateful to get Gloria’s wedding dress in just three weeks.

Now, like many of the other customers and former employees who contacted us, MacDonald wants others to know about her experience.

"I don't want it to happen to anybody else," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ILSW13 Oct 17, 2013

    A friend of mine used to be an employee there... She said the same thing. They would tell brides that they were ordering dresses and having them shipped, yet they would just give them the sample dress that was on the floor. Terrible business....

  • seeingthru Oct 17, 2013

    This is a witch hunt it could happen to any business lay off, get a life...jeez

  • dtcone14 Oct 14, 2013

    I posted about a terrible experience my wife and I had the first day this story came about. We were waiting on a refund from over a year ago when the alterations we paid for were not completed. I spoke with Megan over the phone who put me in touch with the manager, Karen. She apologized, got a card number from me and easily reimbursed my card for the alterations. Great customer service this time, don't know if this is simply because they are in the negative spotlight or not. Either way, they have resolved the issue I had with them.

  • rachel Oct 11, 2013

    bbmom18- knowing someone socially is no indication of what they are like as business people-lots of folks have a "good appearance"-right up until they get caught.

  • gobbledygook Oct 11, 2013

    @bbmom18 Sooner or later you will move past step 1 - Denial.

  • superman Oct 11, 2013

    Brides should find a dress they like that is on the rack. Maybe it wont be the dress of their dreams but it is better than a dress in a nightmare. She wont have to go thru all the aggravation and the wait to see what it looks like if and when it does arrive. Problems can occur when you special order anything and it doesnt have to be a wedding dress. It be better to spend a lot of time and find something you like that to wait on "pins and neeedles" for several months. Our daughter was lucky--she was able to wear my wifes wedding gown. We have it cleaned etc and it is in a nice box for our 18 year old granddaughter and her two sisters.

  • atheistswillrule Oct 11, 2013

    My cousin shopped there and said it was a nightmare. The dress was 3 months late and it turned out that "someone" had done the alterations not with needle and thread, but with cheap stitch-witch iron on glue. When my cousin pointed this out, she was denied a refund. Thankfully, her bank simply reversed charges and my cousin went to a reputable shop instead. Tacky.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Oct 11, 2013

    This store should just shut its doors. Anyone who does business with them will be taken advantage of because they know it's just a matter of time before they can't afford the rent or the payroll to keep that store open. Even new ownership and new management won't convince shoppers to trust this store for one of the most emotional purchases they'll ever make.

  • bbmom18 Oct 11, 2013

    No I am not the owner of this shop but I am a fair person and I do think that the owner does need to have her side heard whether she is right or wrong. Apparently everyone here has nothing better to do than hang a person. Do you people know how many businesses in Raleigh/Wake County/NC/US have made mistakes and taken one by one could make the business look horrible. Maybe there were some extenuating circumstances in the instances with VR maybe there wasn't, I don't know and neither do you!! And I do know the owners personally and have for many years and I will tell you that they are good people and do not deserve this.

  • sharifarless Oct 10, 2013

    We had a horrible experience as well when ordering bridesmaids dresses. They were all ordered and paid the first of March, due in August and did not get them until 10 days before the wedding that was the first weekend in October. From what I have heard, we were lucky in that we got them at all but I would NOT recommend doing business with this store. It was stressful to say the least and I had to call every day for weeks to even get the dresses. DO NOT even entertain the idea of finding the dress of your dreams at the Victorian Rose...there are too many other bridal salons that will provide you with Fantastic service. If this store goes out of business, it would be probably a good thing,