Post # 1
Alright hive, I’m usually not a big poster, but I don’t know what to do here. I’m hoping you guys can help me out. Brace yourselves, it’s gonna be a long one…
Way back when I was naive and newly engaged, I hired my photographer – a contractor at my work who did photography on the side, both as a hobby and to make a few bucks occasionally. Between when we hired him and my wedding, he finished his contract at my work and took another job.
Well, my wedding was back in early June, and I still have no pictures from him. No proofs, nothing. I got a hold of him in September, and he apologized for being unreachable and said that he had been out of the country for work for a while, and was still on the other side of the country, but had sent me a CD of the pictures in early July. I hadn’t received them. He apologized and said he hadn’t gotten tracking on them, but when he got back in the state he’d make a new disc and either mail it to me or meet me somewhere to give it to me. That was the last I heard from him.
I’ve been calling and leaving voicemails on his cell phone, which is the only real contact I have for him. It’s definitely still him – it’s his voicemail message and everything. I recently found his home number in the white pages and tried that, and it sounded like him on the answering machine, but I couldn’t leave a message because it was full.
I looked him up in our local BBB, and he has an "unsatisfactory" rating, due to not responding to a complaint (placed after our contract was in place but before my wedding).
I don’t know what to do at this point. I can’t get a hold of him. Should I get a lawyer? Would they be able to do anything? I don’t really want to fork out a bunch of money for a lawyer if I’m not going to get my pictures anyway. There isn’t really anything in the contract about *when * he has to deliver the pictures by, but isn’t there some kind of understood reasonable time period? He agreed in September that three months was too long to wait – does that count for anything legally? Do you all think I’m freaking out too soon? Should I try to go to his house (the address I found in the white pages)? I’m not sure what that would accomplish, especially if he’s not there, but I feel like I’m running out of options here!
Post # 3
To me that sounds like an unreasonable amount of time, but I have no idea what the legal steps you could take are. Even more concerning to me is his lack of accessibility- I would be freaking out. Sorry, I have no experience with law, and I don’t have any good advice, I just thought I’d tell you how sympathetic I am.
Wishing you the very best luck!
Post # 4
I would make a plan, notify him of it, and inform him that there will be repurcusiions if he does not comply. For example, I would send him a certified letter stating soemthing like this:
I have tried in good faith to contact you regarding the timely delivery of my wedding photos but have been unable to reach you. In light of this I am taking the following action:
I will be at your home at (time) on (date), to pick up a high resolution CD of my images. If the CD is not available at that time, and you do not contact me to make alternate arrangements by (date), I will be forced to take legal action. I anticipate that this can be resolved between us and look forward to hearing from you.
Then show up at his house and hope the CD is ready. If not, take him to small claims court.
Post # 5
I agree with snmcdowell again (I agreed with her on another post today).
A certified letter (of which you should keep a copy) would guarantee that he couldn’t say he didn’t get it.
You should send the same text to his e-mail address, and leave it on his voicemail.
Make sure you keep all correspondance in case you do need to go to small claims court (which I don’t think you need a lawyer for).
Post # 6
Definately take the turd to court that entirely to long to be wait for pics! Hope things get better for you.
Post # 7
Sorry you have to deal with this. Yep, small claims court is the way to go for something like this and you won’t need a lawyer. There will probably be some small court filing fees, but nothing like hiring a lawyer.
Don’t go to his house. Just send the certified letter that gives him a reasonable time to ship the CD to you (say, a week) and that if you don’t receive it you’re going to small claims court.
Unfortunately the contract doesn’t specify any time period for delivery of the pictures, which should be a standard clause in a photography contract. But even so, the court would probably look to what is "normal and reasonable" and determine that 6 months (June to November) is entirely too long to wait.
The bad news is the worse case scenario is that you may not get your wedding pictures, but hopefully the court will at least demand that he refund your money. Good luck!
International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers
Post # 8
Hi <span class=”postby”>BucknellBride – any updates? I hope something worked out for you….
Post # 9
Your best bet is the threat of small claims court, then small-claims court. I would recommend the certified letter approach. If he’s not a total loser, he should have the images somewhere. Seems like you have exhausted the "polite but pushy" route and it may time for hardball.
Post # 10
@Natakie16 – No, no real updates to speak of. It looks like we’ll have to do it the hard way.