Consumers say ‘no, thanks’ to Thanks for the Memories Wedding Photography
BBB warns about Norman Garrett after receiving a dozen complaints
AUSTIN, Texas - Apr. 26, 2012 — Many brides dream of their wedding day for years. When it finally arrives, they want everything to be perfect, as this is a day they will remember forever.
A good wedding photographer can immortalize a wedding in beautiful pictures that can be passed down for generations. Unfortunately, some brides are telling Better Business Bureau that Thanks for the Memories Wedding Photography has scarred the memory of their wedding day.
“He wasn’t getting back to us,” Kim Williamson said of Norman Garrett, owner of Thanks for the Memories Wedding Photography. “He said he just got married and his dogs had died, just a bunch of different things.”
BBB has received about a dozen complaints about Thanks for the Memories. Most allege that Garrett did not deliver their photos in a timely manner.
BBB investigators tried twice in March to contact Garrett about the pattern of complaints, but received no response to either letter.
Williamson said she found Garrett at a bridal show in January 2011 and hired him to shoot her daughter’s wedding in May. After putting down a $1,000 deposit, she said she did not hear from Thanks for the Memories until just before the wedding.
“We hadn’t heard from him in a while and I was getting nervous,” she said. “I wish I would have gone with my instincts.”
She said the package she purchased included an album, a large wall-hanging print, a DVD of the photos and a second DVD with video clips. So far, she said, they have only received one DVD, though they sent in their choices for the wall print and the album in September.
“We sent (our choices) to him and we pretty much didn’t hear from him,” she said. “Then in December, we called him and he said he was having health issues; but I haven’t heard from him since then.”
Garrett has not responded to Williamson or BBB about her complaint.
Robert and Miriam Almanza said they did not have any problems with Garrett until months after their wedding. Like Williamson, they put down a $1,000 deposit. Miriam said the contract stated they would get their pictures 30 days after the wedding.
The original proofs took three months, Miriam said.
“We contacted him and it turned into a big argument,” she said.
At the wedding, the Almanzas said Garrett had equipment problems after the ceremony and did not get any usable photos of their walk out under sparklers and the horse-drawn carriage they hired to end the evening. They got those pictures from a family member.
Robert said Garrett wanted to charge them an additional $200 for the extra time he spent after the reception, which the Almanzas refused to pay.
“We told him that we were not going to do that because he didn’t get any good pictures of the sparklers or the horse carriage,” Robert said.
Once they worked out that issue, the Almanzas chose the images they wanted for the albums included in their contract. Once Garrett sent back the proofs, the Almanzas requested a few changes, then heard nothing from him for months.
When he finally contacted them, Garrett told them that his assistant now had all their photos and that the changes would cost extra because the assistant was now doing all the work. Once again, the Almanzas refused to pay the extra money and they still do not have their album, or the high-definition CD they were promised with all their images.
They said a family member of Garrett’s sent Robert a text message in March saying that Garrett was recovering from surgery, living in Florida and filing for bankruptcy.
“I’m most likely going to call him every day,” Robert said.
Williamson said Garrett’s former assistant told her he was living in Chicago. She paid Thanks for the Memories $2,300 for the photography package, and now wishes she would have done things differently.
“I think I would definitely talk to people more and maybe get their recommendations,” she said. “Or I would have used the photographer that the venue recommended.”
When hiring a wedding photographer, BBB offers the following tips:
· Research photographers. Ask for recommendations from family, friends and co-workers, and then check with the BBB for Business Reviews on the photographers you are considering.
· Schedule multiple interviews. Schedule interviews with two or three different photographers to get a feel for the types of services they offer, the quality of their work and related fees.
· Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask the photographer if he/she is the one who will photograph your wedding, and/or if the photographer works with an assistant. If so, is that included in the price? Ask about the difference in packages to find the right one for you and your needs. Make sure everything talked about and agreed upon is included in the contract.
· Pay with a credit card. Whenever possible, pay with a credit card rather than cash, check or debit card. This includes payment of deposits. Credit cards offer consumers added protection in the event of a problem.
· Obtain a written contract. Your contract should detail every service to be provided and the name of the photographer who will shoot your event; the location, date and time of all events; the type of package; and a list of guaranteed prices for enlargements and any additional charges, like taxes or travel fees. The contract should also specify what happens if your photographer doesn’t show up, how long the proofs and other products will take to deliver, as well as the cancellation/refund policy.
· Consider wedding insurance. Wedding insurance can help consumers gain peace of mind with the knowledge they can recoup funds when something goes wrong.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
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