Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Picture drama

So a long, long, time ago, back in July 2011, when Lucas was 3 months old, we got pictures done by a photographer I found on Craigslist. Big, huge, massive, epic mistake.

We purchased a first year package which was supposed to include a couple prints from each session, a 3x5 album of prints from all the sessions, a keepsake disc, and 4 photo sessions- 3 month,6month,9month,1 year. We paid half upfront and were going to pay part of the rest at 6 months and 9 months. She told us our pictures would be on her website in 7 day, a month later they finally were. She kept avoiding my questions about the disc and the 3x5 album (was it a disc after each session or one altogether?--she never answered at all.) And we were very underwhelmed with the pictures (although I was nice and did tell her I liked them. I liked them as much as I would have liked a random 16 year old "photographer" at Walmart or JCPenneys or BabiesRUs.) Anyway, since she started getting pretty sketchy/evasive early on, I asked if we could change our package to the one time basic package (which included 3 prints and a disc of all purchase images- per her website) and use the remaining $100 to just order prints a la carte from her website. We ordered 10 extra prints at $10 each. She agreed to this and told us the order would be in, in 4-8 weeks.

So eight weeks go by with no word from her. At nine weeks, I email her. No response. I email her again, no response. I try to call her. No answer, plus her voicemail is full and won't let me leave a message. I post on her facebook photography page, a nice comment "just wondering where our pictures are that were taken in July, since it's November"...she ignores this message too. FINALLY, when I email her threatening to make a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and take her to small claims court if necessary, she replies THAT DAY, within hours. She claims that she has had my pictures for "weeks" and has been trying to contact me to get my address. Her emails must be getting sent to my spam folder. I check my spam folder every couple days so I knew that wasn't the case, plus, when I filled out the "contact me" form through her website it included all of my information including my address, phone number, etc. So she says she will be sending the pictures THAT VERY DAY via priority mail and she will email me a delivery confirmation as soon as she has it.

No delivery confirmation came. She says there has been a death in her family and will get the pictures out next week. Fine. We finally got our pictures (from July) the last week of November. (In the meantime, we had Luke's 6 month pictures taken and back already from our new photographer.)

Except there was one huge problem. On her website, every image was in color and black and white. So for example, image number 1 was color, image number 2 was black and white. I ordered them by number, and we ordered them all in color except for one of his hands in ours we got in black and white. Every print that received was in black and white, EXCEPT for the one that was supposed to be in black and white came in color. (So basically they were the opposite of what we ordered.)

I emailed her about this immediately and gave her a week to respond before I started filing claims. She responded with an apology and that she would send a "rush order" to fix the pictures and that the pictures would be fed ex'd to us directly when they were done. I also mentioned in the email that the disc we were supposed to get with our package was not with our prints and to please send us that at least. In early January, we received the disc. (I think I had to email her again about it but I would have to go back and check.)

Life got busy and I figured the pictures might take 8ish weeks so I didn't try to contact her again until towards the end of January. (I think. I have every single email I've ever sent to her, and she's ever sent to me, so I can check the exact date later, but for now that's not really important.) I received no response. Here we go again. A couple weeks ago I made one more attempt, telling her all we really want is our correct pictures, and to at least please respond so I know what is going on with that. Still no response, so I emailed her once again giving her a week to reply or that I would file a claim. Still nothing, and I gave her two weeks because things were busy, but I finally filed a claim with the better business bureau this weekend.

I guess she received it because today I received an email from her saying that all of my descriptions were completely false. That a disc was never included in the package. (Her website now has different packages, the one we bought has the same name but now offers much less for the same price, luckily I took a screenshot of it and printed off every package.)  That she sent it as a courtesy. And that she had no idea what I was talking about with black and white and color pictures, they are all in color. She was going to be very nice and offer me a $25 refund to resolve this. Oh, and she also mentioned that I "publicly criticized her" in her response. (I assume she's talking about the facebook thing, which is just funny, because she has no idea how much "public criticism" she is going to get once we finally have this resolved.And it will go well beyond Facebook.)

I replied back that I had saved and submitted her email about her rush order of pictures to the Better Business Bureau (true) so they know she is lying. Her options are to refund us the entire amount we have paid (because I figure by now at this point our kid is 10 months old- we have much better pictures of him from 6 and 9 months I'd rather get prints of and display anyway.)  Or she can just send us the correct pictures, which is really been my goal all along, just to get the freaking pictures that we ordered.

She replied back that she "is not going to argue", she will "submit a 3rd order on our behalf" or refund the $25, but since we have the disc, we really should just take the $25 and get our own prints.

I told her that it was interesting that she is now saying that there will be a "third order" when earlier she said there was nothing wrong with the first prints. (Admitting that she was supposed to send the 2nd CORRECT order, in her previous email, remember, she said she had no idea what I was talking about.) And the way she worded "submit on your behalf" about the "third order" makes me think that she will put the order in and then tell us to pay it (again.) So I reiterated that her options were to send us the correct pictures (whether she has to reorder them or not, I don't really care, the point is I want the pictures and I do not expect to pay a dime more than we already have for them.) OR she can refund us $150 for the prints- ($100 for the a la carte prints we ordered, plus $50 for the prints that were supposed to be included in our package.) If she can't agree to either option, we will gladly take her to small claims court. We have never spoken in person except for the photo shoot. I have every single email I have ever sent her, and every single email she has ever sent me, and exactly what the package we purchased was supposed to include, as advertised on her website. So this will be easy to prove, and she has backpedaled on so many lies already (that I can prove), she has only helped my case. All she had to do was take our pictures and actually give us what we ordered, and all of this drama could have been avoided. I guess she thought she could evade us and lie enough that we'd just go away. She thought wrong.


Tiffany said...

yikes. i hope you get this resolved ASAP. i hate having to deal with unprofessional people. such a pain. but it's great that you have kept everything documented.

Brooke said...

I'm thinking maybe you missed your calling as an attorney, Angie. You are formidable! I LOVE that you printed off screen shots of her packages. Brilliant. But what it all comes down to is how much it sucks that you're not getting Lucas's great little pictures yet. Hope it works out--I know you'd rather have the pics than your money back, but you really deserve both.

Kimberly said...

I've been having a very similar go-around with a seller from Etsy from whom I ordered a personalized cooking apron for Amby back in December, intended for his birthday in January. I'll spare you the details but suffice to say, I hear you!!

Kim said...

Wow, that is unbelievable! She should refund your money AND send you the correct order! I would harass her on her fb page more just to piss her off!:)

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