ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Georgia Attorney General’s Office is investigating complaints by customers of an Alpharetta bridal shop who say they lost thousands of dollars in deposits when the business suddenly closed its doors more than a month ago.
A spokesman for the agency’s Consumer Protection Unit said he could not comment on a pending case but confirmed the office has opened a preliminary investigation into Atlanta Bride Couture, which until recently operated at 20 N. Main Street.
The matter came up earlier this month when a Milton woman notified Alpharetta Police that she had ordered a dress for $1,444 in April of 2016 and that it was supposed to be delivered to the shop in November.
When the woman drove by the shop in October, she found it closed. The woman told police she knew of at least a dozen other women who were waiting for dresses they had ordered from the shop.
Another bride-to-be said she paid $2,000 for a wedding dress in January but never received delivery. After repeated calls to the store through the summer, she was told to come back in October. But in October she found the business’ doors closed.
One woman reported seeing people loading up the inventory on a late October evening.
Atlanta Bride Couture was registered as a business in March 2011. The Secretary of State’s Office lists the business’ officers as William and Sara Mills Parry of Alpharetta.
Attempts to reach the Parrys were not successful, but their residence, listed on corporate papers filed with the state, 1097 Pine Grove Drive, is listed for sale. Calls to the store are referred to voicemail.
Atlanta Bride Couture has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau and has drawn only a single complaint over the past three years. No complaints have been filed in the past year.
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s Office enforces the Fair Businesses Practice Act, a civil law designed to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive transactions or misrepresentations.
The agency can impose penalties and has authority to issue subpoenas for its investigation in an effort to satisfy victims of unfair business practices.
On the other hand, if the business files for bankruptcy, customers with a grievance would have to pursue their claims in civil court.
This is not the year’s first case involving a sudden closure in the bridal apparel industry.
In July, longtime national retailer Alfred Angelo ﬁled for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed some 60 stores. The company also left independent stores in the dark about the Alfred Angelo dresses they had ordered for local customers.
Following its bankruptcy filing, that company began tracking customer records to fulfill earlier obligations, but announced later it was discontinuing that effort.