(WSVN) - Your wedding day should be magical, but some couples experienced heartache after the company they hired to take pictures and videos suddenly dropped out of sight. 7’s Robbin Simmons has the story of “Bride and Gloom.”
Every bride-to-be wants their wedding day to be perfect.
Ashley Mendez, bride: “I got right into it. I started looking up vendors, started looking up venues — everything.”
To take her wedding pictures, Ashley found a company called 5 Star Production on a popular wedding website.
Ashley Mendez: “I read through all the reviews, and everything was literally five stars.”
She put down a deposit.
Ashley Mendez: “I gave them $1,099 with change.”
Carolina Martinez saw the same reviews.
She put down a $599 deposit, but just weeks before her December wedding, she knew there was trouble.
Carolina Martinez, bride: “We kept booking phone interviews, and they wouldn’t call me.”
The same thing happened to Ashley.
Ashley Mendez: “Then I started calling. Called, I called — no response.”
Worried, she and fiancé Alec went online. This time, they saw very different reviews.
Alec: “There’s like 30 one-star reviews.”
Ashley Mendez: “Everyone’s saying, ‘Didn’t show up, been paid, disappeared, vanished…'”
According to Florida business records, 5 Star Production, LLC is based in Pompano Beach.
The company status is listed as active, but when 7News tried to talk to someone there, no one returned our calls.
Michelle VanTine, photographer: “I think it’s unfortunate.”
Michelle VanTine is a wedding photographer who was hired by 5 Star Production. She said she’s one of many vendors still waiting to be paid.
Michelle VanTine: “On their Instagram page, they’ve now blocked comments, so angry brides, angry photographers, videographers that have worked and not gotten paid, they can’t leave comments. I realized I was just another person who got the short end of the stick.”
The Better Business Bureau has also been flooded with complaints.
An alert was recently posted on its website saying it received information that 5 Star Production is “closing for business” and “preparing to file bankruptcy documentation.”
Carolina Martinez: “I don’t know what’s going on with this company.”
Carolina cancelled 5 Star Production’s services and disputed the charges through her credit card company. She was able to get her money back.
Ashley paid her deposit with a debit card. She doubts she’ll ever see her $1,100 again.
Ashley Mendez: “I filed a police report. They said there’s not much I can do. I can file a small claim with the courts.”
Both couples say they’re just grateful they were able to find new wedding photographers in time for their big days.
The Better Business Bureau says you shouldn’t pay in cash up front for services like wedding photography. It says paying with a credit card will give you protection in the event of a problem.
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