Many brides nationwide have been waiting to learn what’s next after the sudden closure of Alfred Angelo Bridal. A statement issued July 17 included contact info for a “trustee.” But a new statement released August 3 is bad news for many AAB customers. In this “breaking news” edition of Peter’s Pointers, what Alfred Angelo’s bankruptcy filing means for you and how I’m helping brides affected by the bankruptcy.
This might sound mean, but it’s not intended that way – to get right to the point: Forget about Alfred Angelo Bridal and move on. Chapter 7 bankruptcy means they no longer exist as a business. Options were already extremely limited when the bankruptcy was first announced in July. With the August 3 update, customers still waiting for dresses now have nearly zero recourse. Long story short, set your frustrations aside and focus on Plan B.
That’s easier said than done, especially if you had your order mostly or completely paid-off. But if you have an outstanding order at Alfred Angelo, you’re also counting down to a wedding day. Every hour you spend looking for your Alfred Angelo dress or a refund is another hour you could instead be looking for a new dress elsewhere. That’s why you need to set emotions aside for now and focus on keeping your wedding day on-track.
Chapter 7: The “really bad” bankruptcy
Chapter 7 means a company is dead and never coming back. (By comparison, Chapter 11 is the kind when a company reorganizes itself and tries to climb out of the hole.)
Alfred Angelo Bridal doesn’t care what happens to the customers now because Alfred Angelo Bridal no longer exists. The company has no reputation to uphold, because there’s no more company. Is that bad business? Sure is. Countless customers are out thousands upon thousands of dollars. Can’t anything be done? Unfortunately, once a Chapter 7 is filed, federal bankruptcy law takes over.
Filing for Chapter 7 converts a business into an “estate.” When Alfred Angelo filed for Chapter 7, the court appointed a “trustee.” Customers were initially told to contact the trustee about their orders. It seemed like the trustee would solve everyone’s problems. But the trustee is an independent party — not connected to Alfred Angelo at all. By law, the trustee is tasked with selling-off as many assets as possible, for as much money as they can get. The proceeds then pay-off the estate’s debts — or at least as much as they can before the money runs out.
Because the trustee is independent — and again, Alfred Angelo Bridal no longer exists — the trustee has no incentive to satisfy brides by getting their dresses delivered. She simply needs to sell everything ASAP so she can pay the creditors and the case can be closed. It could be quicker and easier to sell the entire lot to a single buyer.
A short glimmer of hope… and then none
Shortly after the bankruptcy was filed, the trustee provided a surprisingly optimistic update: access to company records made it possible to match-up dresses with orders. The trustee started trying to deliver dresses to those who had already paid in full. Admittedly, I never expected that to happen. Although this was great news for a select number of brides, the August 3 update was heartbreaking:
The Chapter 7 Trustee greatly regrets the upset that Alfred Angelo’s July 14th bankruptcy filing has caused its customers. While we have been successful in obtaining customer records and delivering many dresses and accessories for customers all over the country, even after the bankruptcy filing date, it has now become apparent that the logistical and financial strain of fulfilling each and every open order makes continuing that course of action no longer possible.
Thus, to the extent any order has not been fully delivered to a customer, it shall have to remain unfilled. If you believe you are owed any money, please use the link below to complete a proof of claim. Please be advised that neither the Chapter 7 Trustee nor her counsel are authorized to provide legal advice to any affected customer regarding their purchase.
Long story short, it’s like the trustee said, “we tried, but helping the customers is costing way too much money, so we give up.”
What’s next? Do you have any more rights?
Sure, you can file a “proof of claim” like the announcement said. News outlets in New York State (and others, I’m sure) say you can also file a consumer complaint with the State Attorney General.
But will that work?
You might get something… someday. But when Chapter 7 is in play, the bankruptcy court puts the creditors with the largest claims to the front of the line. As the trustee sells-off company assets, the biggest debts are paid-off first. That often puts customers at the end of the line… and no guarantee anything will be left for you. You’ll be lucky to recover even a fraction of what you paid, and it could take several months.
That’s why, in the end, it’s better to cut your losses and move forward. Don’t plan on having any kind of a refund in time to buy your replacement dress(es) — just go shopping now and leave the entire Alfred Angelo mess in your rear-view mirror.
Being a Good Neighbor: Up to $150 off Wedding DJ Services
I feel bad for customers who got burned by Alfred Angelo Bridal. To help those affected, I’m offering $50 off DJ services for any wedding in 2017 or 2018.
Double that to $100 off if you add uplighting.
Combine this discount with my ongoing discounts of up to $50 off for following me on social media. (Total Savings: Up to $150!)
You just need to provide proof (a) you had money down with Alfred Angelo for bride and/or bridesmaids dress(es) and (b) you bought new dress(es) elsewhere as a result of the Alfred Angelo shutdown.
- This discount is offered to new and existing customers, but only until August 31, 2017.
And be sure to check out the rest of my Peter’s Pointers series for more wedding planning advice!