Dress debacle for bride following New Westminster fire

With only a month left before her wedding, Ross purchased a new dress, but now, she's stuck with a $1,500 bill because Golden Brides won't issue a refund.
Several wedding shops were destroyed when a huge fire destroyed several buildings on New Westminster's Columbia and Front streets last month. (CBC)

When the New Westminster fire devastated a city block on Oct. 10, Donna Ross believed her wedding dress laid among the ashes. 

Golden Brides, the shop where she had purchased her dress and dresses for her daughter and two flower girls, was destroyed.

She says she called the number listed for the shop, but received no reply.

With her wedding only one month away, Ross sprang into action. That weekend, on Oct. 12, she went shopping and purchased new dresses.

"I had never shopped in a wedding dress store before. I believed the dress I tried on and bought was my dress," she said. 

A week after the fire, Ross says she discovered that Golden Brides has an affiliated Vancouver location. She called the store and was instructed to e-mail Golden Brides in New Westminster.

Ross says she e-mailed the wedding shop and did not receive a reply until four days later. Then came a phone call.

Ross says a Golden Brides associate told her she could come in for a dress fitting later that week. She says the staff person assured her there would be no refund for the dress.

"How was I to know my dresses were not destroyed in the fire?" Ross said.   

"The warm, friendly ladies at Golden Brides showed that they were only interested in being friendly to get my money. This is so much more upsetting to me than the fire itself."

For now, Ross is stuck with a $1,500 bill for the wedding dresses that will go unused. She has contacted a lawyer to explore legal action. 

Ross says if she does not receive a refund, she'll donate the dresses to a bride in need. If she does receive the refund, she and her partner will donate the money to charity. 
"I am not a happy bride at the moment and thinking my dresses were lost in the fire was upsetting, but not devastating," she said.   

"What is devastating is having the staff of Golden Brides and their affiliate store in Vancouver tell me 'too bad for me'."

Golden Brides declined to be interviewed when contacted by the CBC.

CBC is "In Your Neighbourhood". Join us for a live remote broadcast of CBC Radio One's 'The Early Edition' and 'On the Coast' in New Westminster at The Shops in New West (888 Carnarvon St.). CBC News Vancouver will also be on location and broadcasting live from around the city. 


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