Michelle Pearl Gee - Wedding photographer kept $1500, and didn't show up on the wedding day
We hate having to spell this out, but this was a shocking lack of respect, professionalism and care by a wedding photographer. We hired Michelle to be our Wedding Photographer for our September 2011 wedding day. She gave us a generous discount off her packages if we pre-paid the entire amount for her services beforehand, which we were happy to do. She set us up with an Engagement photoshoot for a summer evening, and we were excited about it. Our first red flag was when she texted us a few hours before our shoot time and asked for a ride. What? We would have had to gone very much out of way to go pick her up, take her to the shoot location, then double back to take her home and then back to our own place. Michelle said she would rent a car instead (which made us wonder, where IS your car? How can you run a business without being able to ensure you can make it to your appointments?) She arrived an hour late to the location. And then, she said "oops! I thought this was somewhere different! Let me run around and see where I can find places for us to shoot around this park!" Major red flad number 2 - she hadn't taken the time to properly find a shoot location for us, her paying clients. It really made us feel that she didn't care about us, our time or or photoshoot to not have properly prepared for it. The shoot itself was rushed because the sun was setting and we were running out of natural light. We hoped for the best that the pictures would pull through and be fabulous. The Engagement photos arrived in our email over 3 weeks late, with no return phone calls or emails to the inquiries we sent - and only half of them were there - 75 were promised in the agreement, and only 40 came. They were mediocre at best. It showed that they had been rushed, and that they weren't her best work - which is what we paid her to do. Because of the tardiness of the photos, we were only 3 weeks away from our Wedding day and knew we had to make a decision. We couldn't trust Michelle to arrive on time, and take our Wedding day pictures with the overall lack of care and professionalism she had shown us. I finally got her on the phone, and she seemed very kind and understanding about our unhappiness with the photos. She said she would refund our payment but that she didn't have it at the time - it was spent. Another BIG red flag - a business should never spend the payments from a client until the event is complete!! Michelle said she would have the money by next week and would mail it to us. I thanked her for being so understanding. The next week, we received an email saying she would only give us a partial refund, and that it was dispresectful of us, her clients, to expect more. Apalling and rude to say the least! We knew then we were going to have to give her a list of all the facts noted above of why we expect a full refund back and that she had till the end of the month to repay it or we would have to take her to court. No replies, no emails or phone calls. Our Wedding day came and went, we went on our honeymoon, came back and still nothing. September 30th came and went and we were shocked that she was so blatantly disregarding our email response. On October 2nd, a Sunday, she sent the text "Check in mail". Why would she send that on a Sunday, mail doesn't send out on a Sunday? We knew it was fishy, but we waited the entire week to see if anything would show up. Nothing. She still wouldn't reply to our messages, so we sent her another stating that we were moving forward with court if she did not respond or we received a refund. Another week later as we were starting to file with our attorney, she sent an email saying that she had sent a money order last week, and that if we don't receive anything by this coming weekend, she would cancel it and send another. We have not seen anything, and it's obvious she's been lying about sending a refund. It does not take the postal service more than 2 days to deliver an envelope to the same city! Deceit is not a way to run a business. Overall, it's been a horrible, disappointing experience. We felt it was only fair to let others know our story, and that there are photographers out there who will run off with your money. Michelle's purposeful disregard for a customers needs, time and money was the worst we've ever seen. It's very sad that we had to have this blight on our wedding experience.
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