Customers Tell BBB: Faller Photography Group Delayed Delivery Of Pictures

  
     
February 25, 2014
Faller Photography websiteSt. Louis, Mo., Feb. 25, 2014Faller Photography Group of Edwardsville, Ill., faces criticism from frustrated customers who say they have waited months for photo orders that were promised in two to three weeks, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.

BBB advises caution when doing business with the photo studio, which has worked extensively with newborns and their families in Missouri and Illinois. The 10-year-old business also has used the names Faller Inc. and JDA Imaging. Ed Faller is the owner.

“It was an absolute nightmare,” said a woman from Belleville, Ill., who waited nearly four months for photos of her daughter that the studio promised in two weeks. The experience was so frustrating, she said, that she wants to get out of an agreement for a future studio shoot and photo collage.

“We’d just like to know where our daughter’s pictures are,” said a Maryville, Ill., customer who says she has been trying for more than two months to get information on photos taken for the girl’s third birthday. “No one has contacted us at all; nothing.”

BBB has received more than 20 complaints involving the business in the past year, 12 of those since Jan. 7. The company has an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said that Faller Photography appeared to have a good record with consumers until recently.

“Everything seemed to be running smoothly, and then the wheels came off,” Corey said. “Customers should not have to beg and threaten a business to get their photos.”

In response to questions from BBB, Faller blamed the company’s problems on his staff, an unusually snowy winter and explosive growth.

“I recently had to let go of my entire production staff for not doing their jobs,” he said. He also said Faller Photography “went from a small business of three employees and one portrait studio to two locations and nine hospital newborn contracts overnight. We are a small company that grew very fast and is now trying to downsize back to where we were.”

Faller said he recently closed a Brentwood location and now operates exclusively out of the Illinois studio.

Two of Faller’s employees who left the business last month said they were not fired, but quit because they were not being paid. One of the employees said the large number of angry customers also contributed to her decision to resign.

“We had people calling all the time,” the employee said. She said that on some occasions, she listened as Faller fabricated stories for consumers to try to escape responsibility for delays in delivering prints. Faller, she said, was “stretching himself too thin and not taking responsibility.”

A former St. Louisan, now living in South Dakota, said she first met Faller when she gave birth to her son at Missouri Baptist Hospital in October 2012.  At that time, she paid for a program of four additional photo shoots of her son between age three months and one year. As part of the agreement, the firm promised her a separate photo panel of four photos. She said the first shoot went well, but nearly seven months after the second shoot she has yet to receive the prints she ordered. She has been unable to contact Faller since then. “Nobody seemed to have any idea what was going on,” she said.

A woman from Columbia, Ill., said she ordered a similar package from Faller in November 2012. “Picture quality was never an issue,” she said. Problems began after the second session when it took six weeks to get photos that were promised in two and a half weeks. She said she has never received photos from the third sitting, two weeks before Christmas. “It is so sad,” she said.

A woman from Nashville, Ill., said she finally got her photos more than three months after they were taken, but only after threatening to contact law enforcement.

The business has registered in both Missouri and Illinois, but records with the secretary of state’s offices show that both registrations have been dissolved.

BBB offers the following tips for consumers interested in hiring a photographer:

  • Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.  Ask for recent references and contact them about their experiences.
  • Read any agreements carefully.
  • If possible, withhold full payment until you have received everything you have ordered. By paying up front, you have little leverage with the business if it does not keep its promises.
  • Pay with a credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge.
  • Check BBB Business Reviews by contacting BBB at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.