• Report: #316117

Complaint Review: PictureMe Walmart Portrait Studio

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  • Submitted: Sat, March 08, 2008
  • Updated: Thu, November 26, 2009

  • Reported By:Wilson Michigan
PictureMe Walmart Portrait Studio
pictureme.com Escanaba, Michigan U.S.A.

PictureMe Walmart Portrait Studio Unskilled Photographer, High Pressure Sales, Bait and Switch, Overcharged, Refused Refund Escanaba Michigan

*Consumer Suggestion: From a frequent shopper

*Consumer Comment: WAL MART PORTRAIT STUDIO

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: People who love to complain

*UPDATE Employee: Picture Me is not a part of Wal-Mart

*Consumer Comment: PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

*Consumer Comment: PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

*Consumer Comment: PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

*Consumer Comment: PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

*UPDATE Employee: companypolicy may be to blame not associate

*UPDATE Employee: apologies

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I brought my newborn to Walmart's PictureMe Studio on 03/05/08 at 6pm. In the first pose his face was falling forward. I told the photographer, Melissa, she needed to try another pose. She did but used the first pose (the worst one) for the advertised $6.99 package and refused to change it. If I wanted better poses I'd have to purchase expensive packages to get them.

The rest of the session was frustrating. Part of the baby's face was blocked in most of the photos by the angle or the cushion he was on. His foot or the top of his head was cut off on full body shots. I had had an exhausting day prior to coming to the studio and just wanted to get out of there. I asked for just one copy of each of the six poses she'd saved. I was told I'd have to purchase a package; I could not buy individual sheets
When describing the packages she pointed to the middle of a computer screen showing a dollar amount and package contents. I reluctantly agreed to the smallest package she insisted I had to buy to get the sheets I wanted.

When I paid her she kept saying I hadn't given her enough cash. I was exhausted, figured I'd miscounted, and gave her more money. As I walked away I counted the money left in my pocket and realized I'd overpaid her. I looked at my receipt and realized she'd overcharged me. I had reluctantly agreed to spend $80 on the crummy photos. She'd charged me $113.40!!!

I returned to the studio. Melissa had gone into a storage area; I waited but she didn't come out. I picked up my film developing from the back of Walmart and returned to the studio. I told Melissa she overcharged me. She said, "You were looking at price in the middle of the computer screen weren't you? That explains why you didn't give me enough money." I agreed, that's where she'd been pointing when explaining the packages. She said that dollar amount was the savings for that package; the price was at the top of the screen.

I said I hadn't been comfortable paying $80 for these photos. I couldn't spend over $100. I wanted her to change the package or cancel the order and refund my money. This was minutes after the session ended. She said she could do neither. She said the order had been placed and paid for and there was nothing she could do. I was shocked.

I called the store manager who said PictureMe rents space from Walmart, there was nothing she could do. I called PictureMe's Customer Service three times. They said they don't do refunds. I asked where no refunds is written on their adds or receipts. They said it's not written. I was told I had the following options: a 50% refund, their advertisement said no sitting fee. I can't understand how they can keep half my money if I get nothing, no photos, in return. I could get retakes but only at the same studio.

I want my money back, I was pressured into buying a package I didn't want and overcharged for it. I get no money back if they retake the photos. I asked if I could go to another of their studios since I was not happy with the photographer's skills at this one. I was told I'd have to return to the same studio. The final option is to have my package reduced to an $80 package with considerably less photos and fewer poses. I was not happy when I thought I was paying $80 for the silver package, I'd be even more upset paying $80 for a bronze package containing much less. There was nothing more they would do.

This is my fourth child. I'd taken my first three to Walmart's Portrait Studios many times. They always had excellent customer service. I had been very happy with the photos taken and my children and I enjoyed the sessions. In the past their customer service was excellent. I'd always been able to choose the pose for the advertised package.

I'd also been able to choose which poses were purchased for an additional fee. I'd never been pressured into high price packages like this. Never had they done a bait and switch on me before. If a photo came back out of focus or with closed eyes they'd redone the session and thrown in a few extras. They were wonderful to work with.

I could not believe this new photographer's lack of skill;, turns out she's the manager of this Walmart's studio!!! I could not believe the terrible customer service I experienced at the local studio and then from their Customer Service Phone Number. After this experience I don't want to take any of my four children back to a Walmart Studio. I don't even want to go back to Walmart I'm so upset with the whole experience that took place in their store. I'm warning friends and family to beware of Walmart's Portrait Studios.

What was supposed to be a special event with my newborn, having his first photos taken, has turned into an absolute nightmare and a big regret; neither Walmart where it happened or the PictureMe Portrait Studio they rent the space to will do anything about it.

Anonymous
Wilson, Michigan
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Wal-mart

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/08/2008 07:02 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/PictureMe-Walmart-Portrait-Studio/Escanaba-Michigan/PictureMe-Walmart-Portrait-Studio-Unskilled-Photographer-High-Pressure-Sales-Bait-and-Sw-316117. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

From a frequent shopper

AUTHOR: Reyesuela - (United States of America)

How it's supposed to work:

The cheap-o package used to be supposedly the first picture that you okay to keep, not the first photograph snapped.  However, I haven't had an employee try to do that with me in years.  Guess they realized that that's a great way to get parents to be SUPER picky about the first photo!  These days, they let me pick any single photo.

Additional sheets, of any pose, are about $10 each.  They can be bought a la cart or combined into any of a whole bunch of collection prices--two-pose, three-pose, unlimited-pose, etc.  There is a cheaper collection than the ones presented to you, too, BTW, by a fair amount.  You just have to say "That's too much, and it's more photos than I need."

The ability of the photographers vary enormously.  If I have a crappy photo shoot, I walk out with the cheap-o package and no more and come back when a better photographer is on duty.  Locally, the good ones are on on the weekends.

If you weren't happy with the photos, you shouldn't have bought any--and you certainly should have refused to accept the first, bad photo she snapped, as it has never been the studio's policy to have the cheap-o package be of a bad shot.

My worst experience has still be decidedly "okay," and in the best, my kids look like the cover to a children's magazine!  Even with the prices going up (sitting fees now???), Wal-mart may remain the best bargain in the business.  We homeschool and so take our "school pictures" there, and I guarantee that the worst we end up with is far, far better than any of my school photos!
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#2 Consumer Comment

WAL MART PORTRAIT STUDIO

AUTHOR: M@d @$$ Hell - (U.S.A.)

I had a similar event that happend to me . I took my daughter to go take pictures at the walmart studio. first of all my pictures can back very crappy. they picked the worst pose of all. When i got them back they had dents in the pictures like someone had stuk there nells into them. When i ask for my money back the girl who was helping me said they do not offer refunds. I then had a fit becaude first of like i said my pictures was crap. After arguing long enough with the lady in the portrait studio. A manager from wal mart then came down only to tell me they are not responsible for what the picture studio. They are contracted with an out of state company anfd that i would have to contact them to do a complaint report. Despite that the portrait studio carry their name. Long story short the out of state company was hard to reach and did not help. Do not use this company it is crap.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

People who love to complain

AUTHOR: Serina - (U.S.A.)

I am a former employee of this company. I had to quit because I could no longer handle the crazy mom syndrome. What I mean is the moms with newborn babies who want pics with eyes open and big smiles. This kind of picture is just not possible. As others have stated above this Melissa girl seems to have been going by the company policy. I would also like to say that it is the photographers job to sell you the pictures she takes. If you dont like them it is up to you to say no. I also know that every photographer I ever worked with was trained to tell their customers how the session works and that they can not change the package picture. As far as the girl who calls the employees white trash, are you just biter because they didnt think you were good enough to work there?
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Picture Me is not a part of Wal-Mart

AUTHOR: Chan - (U.S.A.)

Any complaints of picture me is not delt with wal-mart! Their people are hired through their own company.
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#5 Consumer Comment

PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I applied for a seasonal second job last Christmas at the PictureMe in our local Walmart Supercenter. The place is run by snotty, bratty girls who look (and act) like they are still in high school if they have even made it that far. I had to wait nearly an hour before being interviewed, during which I saw customers ignored, these girls trash-talking another employee who wasn't there, and another customer refused a refund over the phone just as described.

When it got to the interview, all it consisted of was a test in high pressure sales with their stupid computer samples. As mentioned in this ROR, the prices are very confusing and misleading. I was supposed to memorize a long high-pressure pitch this girl who looked 14 demonstrated so fast that I doubt anyone could pick up much of it. I admit, my auditory learning is terrible, (I zone out if I just have to sit and listen without doing something) but the whole "interview" seemed set up to make job-seekers look foolish for these brats' entertainment. They don't give the slightest crap about photography background or interest. All they are interested in is salespeople who can rip customers off, yet they walk around with their snot noses in the air like they are Annie effing Lebowitz. Hope they enjoy going home to their trailer parks and popping out kids if they haven't already started that! I'm glad I passed it up and stuck with my real job.
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#6 Consumer Comment

PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I applied for a seasonal second job last Christmas at the PictureMe in our local Walmart Supercenter. The place is run by snotty, bratty girls who look (and act) like they are still in high school if they have even made it that far. I had to wait nearly an hour before being interviewed, during which I saw customers ignored, these girls trash-talking another employee who wasn't there, and another customer refused a refund over the phone just as described.

When it got to the interview, all it consisted of was a test in high pressure sales with their stupid computer samples. As mentioned in this ROR, the prices are very confusing and misleading. I was supposed to memorize a long high-pressure pitch this girl who looked 14 demonstrated so fast that I doubt anyone could pick up much of it. I admit, my auditory learning is terrible, (I zone out if I just have to sit and listen without doing something) but the whole "interview" seemed set up to make job-seekers look foolish for these brats' entertainment. They don't give the slightest crap about photography background or interest. All they are interested in is salespeople who can rip customers off, yet they walk around with their snot noses in the air like they are Annie effing Lebowitz. Hope they enjoy going home to their trailer parks and popping out kids if they haven't already started that! I'm glad I passed it up and stuck with my real job.
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#7 Consumer Comment

PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I applied for a seasonal second job last Christmas at the PictureMe in our local Walmart Supercenter. The place is run by snotty, bratty girls who look (and act) like they are still in high school if they have even made it that far. I had to wait nearly an hour before being interviewed, during which I saw customers ignored, these girls trash-talking another employee who wasn't there, and another customer refused a refund over the phone just as described.

When it got to the interview, all it consisted of was a test in high pressure sales with their stupid computer samples. As mentioned in this ROR, the prices are very confusing and misleading. I was supposed to memorize a long high-pressure pitch this girl who looked 14 demonstrated so fast that I doubt anyone could pick up much of it. I admit, my auditory learning is terrible, (I zone out if I just have to sit and listen without doing something) but the whole "interview" seemed set up to make job-seekers look foolish for these brats' entertainment. They don't give the slightest crap about photography background or interest. All they are interested in is salespeople who can rip customers off, yet they walk around with their snot noses in the air like they are Annie effing Lebowitz. Hope they enjoy going home to their trailer parks and popping out kids if they haven't already started that! I'm glad I passed it up and stuck with my real job.
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#8 Consumer Comment

PictureMe = stuck up white trash who only see or care about money, money, money!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I applied for a seasonal second job last Christmas at the PictureMe in our local Walmart Supercenter. The place is run by snotty, bratty girls who look (and act) like they are still in high school if they have even made it that far. I had to wait nearly an hour before being interviewed, during which I saw customers ignored, these girls trash-talking another employee who wasn't there, and another customer refused a refund over the phone just as described.

When it got to the interview, all it consisted of was a test in high pressure sales with their stupid computer samples. As mentioned in this ROR, the prices are very confusing and misleading. I was supposed to memorize a long high-pressure pitch this girl who looked 14 demonstrated so fast that I doubt anyone could pick up much of it. I admit, my auditory learning is terrible, (I zone out if I just have to sit and listen without doing something) but the whole "interview" seemed set up to make job-seekers look foolish for these brats' entertainment. They don't give the slightest crap about photography background or interest. All they are interested in is salespeople who can rip customers off, yet they walk around with their snot noses in the air like they are Annie effing Lebowitz. Hope they enjoy going home to their trailer parks and popping out kids if they haven't already started that! I'm glad I passed it up and stuck with my real job.
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#9 UPDATE Employee

companypolicy may be to blame not associate

AUTHOR: Angie - (U.S.A.)

There aren't too many poses you can do with a newborn baby the camera will not allow you to do horizontal poses until three vertical poses have already been taken. The first picture you say yes to automatically becomes your advertised special. This is
the one that is 6.99. In addition this package is a very basic pose. It is an advertising gimmick to draw in customers. You get over 3O portraits That is a price that no other company comes Close to. If this package was the best pose captured during the sitting the company would go bankrupt like the last company that owned it did. A lot of people would lose their job and the cheapest place to go to get family portraits would be gone. Not to mention the expensive portrait Companies would get more expensive because of lack of competition.

I always advise parents to get pictures when they and the baby are rested and not hungry. It can be frustrating and tiresome for you as well as for us. It's hard to get a perfect picture when the subject can't even hold up their own head.
If you want more than one pose, you must buy a package. for 3 poses you get 7 sheets for 5 poses you get 11 Sheets. For all poses you can get 16 27 or40. The computer will not let us do it any other way.
As Far as pointing things out on the screen,that is our job. We are told we must point out the uses benefits and savings on each package. If you were already frustrated before you got there maybe you weren't understanding what she was trying to say.
Now for payment if it is a film Studio then 60 percent is due at the time of the sitting. if it is a digital Studio then full payment is required.

As for the ''crummy" pictures. You see them while she is taking them and you can say yes or no. You can also deny buying them at the sales table. If you said yes in both places and wanted one of each pose then you must have liked them. If not why not go somewhere else? Why say yes twice then pay for them? Now if you were giving her a rough time She can save decent pictures. She doesn't need your permission. We only have 24 Chances to get 7 decent sellable pictures. Maybe the reason melissa needed to go to the Storage closet was to take a break and relieve some Frustration. You get to leave but she might have another appointment and need to refresh for that upcoming sitting.

Our refund policy is, we can refund one hundred percent if There is Something wrong with the pictures. If you just don't like them or don't want them then we can refund 50 percent. that is company policy associates do not make up the rules. We just have to follow them. This is because we took our time to take your pictures and took our money to print them. If you bring them back the money is already spent and what can we do with your pictures? We can't sell them to anyone else. No one will want pictures of someone else's Kids.
Our sales technique seems to be a hot button issue with you too. Well, we are trained to sell pictures.just as a car Salesman sells cars or as real estate agent sells houses. The company drives us to get more customers and sell more pictures. Our sales average can mean the difference between us being employed and us losing our jobs. If we don't average selling sixty dollars to every customer we will be written up and fired.
Finally one more time the computers do not allow us to switch the ad package pose. It upsets me to hear customers say well they used to switch it for me. The company did allow us to switch it so that if we needed to we could do that in very rare Situations. For example a child with cerebral palsy. You can't get a great picture right off the bat. The associates abused this privilege to accomodate customers complaining because they didn't want to spend any more many than 7 dollars. Now the company has updated our computers witn a new Software that doesn't allow us to do that.
In conclusion to this whole complaint as a manager myself, I believe their manager Melissa has done everything she could do according to our company policies. I am not saying that this is true in this circumstance but there are plenty of instances when customers will do anything to get something for free. We See this all the time and so does our customer Service. if you see the pictures and order them then it's on you. If you don't like the way she does the pictures then next time request a different photographer trust me you will be doing you both a huge favor.
And the next time you get your pictures done remember photographers are people too and we are just out there trying to make a living like everyone else. I want to thank this site for giving me and everyone at PictureMe an opportunity to stand up for ourselves! ,,
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#10 UPDATE Employee

apologies

AUTHOR: Alley - (U.S.A.)

I am a current employee of the PictureMe! Studios. I would just like to say that I am confused by the actions of both the studio associate and customer service. First, you can buy individual sheets at $10 a sheet, however the better VALUE is the silver collection for $99.99. On the screen it says two dollar amounts, $99.99 and $80. The $99.99 is the amount of the collection and the $80 is the savings that you recieve for getting the collection rather than getting individual sheets at $10 each. Many people are confused by this and this should have been explained, obviously it was not.
Second, the order could have easily been changed if you came back right away. Technically you were not overcharged for what you had order. But if there was a misunderstanding on the package ordered a change order and refund could have easily been changed. The only way that we could not have changed it at that time is if the ordered had already been submitted. At that point, we do have to wait until the order arrives at the studio. Our normal refund and return policies are that you only recieve a 50% refund if there is nothing wrong with the portraits. We have this policy in effect for the customers who order hundreds of dollars of pictures and then decide after they have come back that they don't want them, for no apparent reason. If there is something wrong with them there is a different policy.
However, in your situation it could have been changed easily.
As far as the quality of the photos, there are certain things that make it difficult. Small children are not always easy to photograph. While I wouldn't be as concerned about feet being cut off(I'm not saying they should be) as I would be the head or the face. This should not happen.
The introductory offer is always the first photo that is taken and said yes to, after it is accepted, it can not be changed. This is policy. If you don't like you should have the option to say no and retake it, but keep in mind any picture you delete is gone.

If you were to do a reshoot, it does have to be done in the same studio, however, a different associate can do it.
Customer service should have assisted you with having the order changed, but I personally have had the unfortunate experience of them not being very helpful. As I understand, they are working on changing the customer service center.

Another note, while the bronze collection is smaller, it is not that much smaller. For a $20 price difference, what you get is alot.

As far as Wal-Mart's involvement, there really is nothing they can do. We do just rent space from them. Asking them for help is like walking over to the nearest store and asking their management to help.

I guess my suggestion would be to choose another Picture ME! location in your area and try that studio. It appears that you have been going there for quite some time now with your other children. While the situation is not a great one, would you be willing to try and give us one more chance to make it right at a second location.
If you were to have problems in the future, ask for a district or regional managers name and for them to be called while you are there. We are not allowed to give out numbers for privacy reasons. If they are unavailable, make sure the associate leaves a message with your name and number for them to call you.
Also, if you are not happy with the pictures, ask to reschedule. But do this in the beginning.. not once they are all done. Don't purchase the pictures. I personally would rather try again and have you be happy than take pictures you don't like and don't want and get stuck with them. Far less costly for us and you to try again another day. It happens all the time. Rescheduling for a child or parent that is unhappy is common, just speak up. After all they are your pictures and you should be the one that is happy.

I would hate to see you lose faith in a company that has done so well in capturing your family memories for so long over one bad employee. Doesn't make it right, but every company has them and we need help weeding them out. :)
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