SOLON, Ohio - After a wedding day is long over and the wedding dress is safely packed away, all a family has remaining are great memories and their wedding pictures.
But some northeast Ohio brides have been left frustrated while their wedding pictures are held in limbo for months.
Michelle Bell of North Ridgeville contacted 5 On Your Side Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis after paying $1,800 to Jeff Schaffer Photography of Solon for a wedding album she has not yet received. Bell was married in June 2012, and claimed she's 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.
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 the 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.
5 On Your Side contacted Schaffer and he responded immediately. Schaffer blamed the long delays on a California photo lab that's been delinquent in processing the pictures.
"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, Bell urged all brides to check on a photographer's BBB record and not just rely on ratings and recommendations issued by bridal shows, and bridal magazines.
"I would say do your homework, ladies," Bell said. "This has been a nightmare, an absolute nightmare."
NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will keep you updated on this developing story.
Practical advice on how to pick a wedding photographer posted on this website .