Wedding photo woes

October 7, 2008 8:42:41 PM PDT
Karen and Tim Winters paid Renaissance Studio 26-hundred-dollars to capture the memories and the moments on their special day.

"They had to be paid a week before the wedding, fully paid."

The Winters have their proofs but they're still waiting for their professional album two years after they tied the knot! Karen and Tim got married on September 30th of 2006.

"And I just can't believe someone could just take a young couple's money, starting out, important day in their life and just run with it," Karen said.

Karen said the owner of the South Jersey based business won't return her calls and she's losing hope.

"I'm thinking I'm not getting my photo album."

A lot of couples are afraid of the same thing.

The Better Business Bureau gives Renaissance an "unsatisfactory rating" and our Call for Action volunteers have received five complaints about the company, so has the Burlington County Consumer Affairs Office.

"This office is investigating right now."

Renaissance Studio also goes by the business name Weddings Unlimited LLC.

"I have no money. There's absolutely no money to do anything," said Jack Holton, owner of Renaissance Studio.

Holton admitted to Action News he owes thousands of dollars to photo labs and other vendors.

He also admitted he owes albums to as many as 100 couples.

"Toward the end of September, September 15th, I really decided I'm going to close the doors."

Holton said his business slowed and digital technology changed the industry as he knew it.

"I just couldn't manage. I wasn't making enough money coming in to pay everything that was going out."

Holton told us he isn't booking new business but will do the few remaining weddings he has scheduled.

He also promised to make good on all his contracts by the end of next year.

"The customers I owe albums to I will be doing albums for everybody."

Potentially good news for the Winters.

But here's how to avoid this situation altogether:
* Contact your local consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau to get the history of any wedding vendor
* Make sure you have a detailed written agreement that includes a date your photos and albums should be completed.
* And do not pay in full up front.
* Make your final payment after you get all your pictures and your album

For those Renaissance customers who don't want to wait for their albums Holton also said he's willing to give you your proofs, image disks, and a copyright release that way, you can get everything done right away.

Holton's contact information:
Jack Holton, email jchphoto1@yahoo.com.


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