A Surrey bride-to-be is out hundreds of dollars and scrambling to find a new gown after a local bridal shop closed its doors without warning.

Amy Grant fell in love with a dress at Vows Bridal last September, and paid almost $1,800 for it. She went back for a first fitting and was told alterations would take just a few weeks.

“It made me look great. I loved it,” Grant said of the gown. “I was trusting them to alter the dress and call me when it was complete for another fitting.”

Months passed and there was no word from Vows Bridal. Grant made repeated visits to the store but was told high school graduation season was approaching and she wouldn’t be able to get her dress until July, two months before her wedding.

Grant said she was suspicious, but the panic didn’t set in until she was driving by the store last Friday night.

“The store was empty, there were ‘For lease’ signs up,” Grant said. “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do.”

A notice on the shop’s window indicated the company was almost $2,000 behind in rent. CTV News learned Vows Bridal has an F-rating from the Better Business Bureau, and there have been three other customer complaints.

Owner Darlene Gail Patterson also had another bridal shop, Heart to Heart, that went out of business in 2005 after a number of complaints.

CTV News tried to contact Patterson at her home in Surrey, but no one answered the door.

The Better Business Bureau said it’s not a crime to go out of business, but consumers can protect themselves by paying for big purchases with a credit card.

“A lot of times, if you have non-delivery of goods or services you have protection in place with your credit card company,” said spokesman Mark Fernandes. “Contact your credit card provider as soon as you are suspicious that you’re not receiving any goods.”

Grant paid with a credit card, so she expects to get her money back – but that won’t help her find a fitted dress less than three months from her big day.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jina You