(WSVN) - Sometimes when you have a special occasion — a birth, a wedding — you want a professional photographer, but what happens if you pay the photographer and they don’t deliver the pictures? You can’t take them again, for sure. One mother called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Five years ago, Andrea and her husband had a baby.
Andrea Molina, waiting for photos: “We loved him, loved being parents.”
Loved being with their son so much that they decided to have another child.
Andrea Molina: “We had a big surprise. We found out we were having twins.”
Then one more baby was born, giving the Molina’s four children.
Andrea Molina: “Suddenly we were child centric and now we have a large family and loving it. We’re done, we have closure.”
Right after each child was born, the Molinas hired a photographer to snap those precious newborn photos.
Andrea Molina: “They are never going to be that tiny again.”
This time, they hired the woman who had taken pictures of their first child.
Andrea Molina: “With a cushion and blankets, where they take the beautiful newborn photos of the child sleeping, lying in different positions with cute little hats on.”
There was no written contract. Andrea paid the photographer the $800 fee up front with the understanding of when she would give them the pictures.
Andrea Molina: “Verbally she had told me, ‘I want to get your proofs up right away, and I’ll get the pictures to you within a few weeks.'”
A few days later, a preview of the pictures were posted on the photographer’s website.
Andrea Molina: “They were beautiful. We told her we wanted to order some birth announcements and the digital photos.”
Her little son started growing. Unfortunately, the wait for their pictures started to grow as well.
Andrea Molina: “This was the end of May, so we were expecting the photos by the time he was a month old. ‘I’ll have them by the weekend.’ I’ll have them to you next weekend.'”
Five months passed. The preview pictures of their baby were removed from the photographer’s website, and Andrea started reading about other parents who hired the photographer.
Andrea Molina: “People complained that their child was 8 months old, their child was a year old, and they never got their photos.”
Andrea now worries she will never receive her newborn photos either…
Andrea Molina: “I feel robbed, because it’s not something I can go back and replace.”
No pictures and no way to replace them. Howard, what should Andrea do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “This is a simple breach of a verbal contract. Even though the delivery was not specified, the law says it must be within a reasonable time. And five months is extremely unreasonable, so the photographer has to deliver the pictures immediately or return the money.”
The day we interviewed Andrea, she let the photographer know we were doing a story on her attempt to get the pictures.
That same day, the pictures were electronically sent to Andrea.
Andrea Molina: “She sent me the photos right away. Out of the blue, so I guess you guys have the secret sauce. You know how to get people into action.”
The photographer told us she was going through a custody battle and having a hard time. She then hung up on us.
Howard Finkelstein: “If you hire anyone to do a job, you never pay all of it up front. Photographers want their money before they start. Don’t do that. Negotiate with them, and if they want all their money up front, find someone else.”
Andrea Molina: “I love the photos. I think they are beautiful.”
Andrea got the beautiful pictures of her baby, finally.
Andrea Molina: “I’m so thankful to my friend that recommended me that I reach out to you guys. A thousand thanks!”
Howard mentioned not giving the final payment until the pictures are delivered. Also, pay with a credit card so you can have a better chance of getting you money back if they don’t deliver.
Fortunately, Andrea got those precious newborn photos ’cause you can’t recreate them.
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