SOLON, Ohio - Jeff Schaffer Photography of Solon has completed hundreds of successful wedding shoots and even earned honors from the wedding website, TheKnot.com in 2010.
However, in the past month, a group of northeast Ohio brides turned to 5 On Your Side with a variety of complaints.
Back on Feb. 12, Michelle Bell of North Ridgeville contacted 5 On Your Side Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis. Bell paid $1,800 to Jeff Schaffer Photography for a wedding album she had been waiting on for eight months.
Bell was married in June 2012 and claimed she called the company two dozen times with no results.
"I called him everyday for four weeks and he won't return my calls," Bell said. "Finally, I had to call pretending to be another customer wanting to get a bridal package and then he called me back."
Bell said she was told her wedding album would be completed in three months, but now nine months later, she's still waiting. The NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter unit contacted Schaffer, and in five days, Bell had her wedding album in hand.
It was the same story for Sandy and Jim Decker. They paid the Solon-based photographer more than $2,000 for a package that included a video and a complete wedding album.
The Deckers said they were given their wedding video on DVD, but told NewsChannel5 they have been waiting more than 18 months for their daughter's wedding pictures.
"I'm absolutely heartbroken after the wedding. The only thing you have left are the pictures and I have no pictures of my daughter's wedding," said Sandy Decker.
But the Deckers and the Bells aren't the only families having a problem with Jeff Schaffer Photography. The Cleveland Better Business Bureau has nine complaints on file, and issued the company an "F" rating for not responding to consumers.
Then on Feb. 15, NewsChannel5 was contacted by Neo Pro Imaging owner David Eggert.
Eggert told 5 On Your Side he took Jeff Schaffer Photography to court and was awarded a $1,247 judgment after he claimed Schaffer failed to pay him for a series of wedding jobs.
"It got to the point where he got so far behind, we just completed all jobs that were in house and we refused to take anymore work from him," Eggert said.
5 On Your Side contacted Schaffer and he responded immediately. Schaffer quickly called the BBB in an effort to rectify all complaints.
Schaffer agreed to make good on all wedding album problems presented to his office by telephone, and insisted he would contact Neo Pro Imaging and make good on what he owes.
"I'm sorry that this has happened, but the photo lab has not been getting the job done," Schaffer said. "I shoot 100 weddings a year and in a few cases I can get behind."
Schaffer promised all the wedding albums would be sent to the families involved within a week.
Meanwhile, Neo Pro imaging turned over the digital wedding photo disk the Decker family had been waiting for and printed a few pictures from her daughter's wedding of free of charge.
Sandy Decker was overwhelmed by the effort of both Eggert and NewsChannel5.
"You're awesome, you're all awesome," she said " Thank you to NewsChannel5 for getting me out of this situation and returning the pictures of my beautiful daughter."
Consumers must do their homework when selecting a photographer for that special occasion. Just because a photographer has a booth at a popular bridal fair, doesn't mean the company has instant credibility.
Consumers should check a companies record with the Ohio Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau. Brides should carefully check for reviews and comments on photographers posted in online forums and reviews.
It's important that consumers insist on a written contract, specifically listing the number pictures, the type finish and size, and well as specific information on how the wedding album will be constructed. Consumers can also have a completion date written into the contract.
Always look through a wide variety of a photographer's most recent work, ask for references and contact information. Call other brides and ask them about the experience they had with the photographer you are considering.
More tips that will help you select the right photographer can be found on this website .