Report: #1072928

Complaint Review: Rachel Stephens Photography

  • Submitted: Sun, August 04, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, April 12, 2014
  • Reported By: royallyrippedoff — El Mirage Arizona
  • Rachel Stephens Photography

    portland, Oregon

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

 First off, kudos to all the women out their who had a wonderful experience and love their pictures. Awesome sauce for you.

My experience is totally different.  I have been a fan of RSP for over a year, I love the pictures posted on her Facebook page. My husband and I had glamour shots done whe we were first married and I wanted to get glamour shots done again. And since I recently had lap-band surgery, I thought wouldn't it be awesome to get some budoir photos done? So when I read that RSP would be in our area, I immediately emailed for more information.

What I got was a an automated email telling me to fill out a reservation form and afterwards I would be sent three emails detailing Rachels progress from mom to photographer. The form basically asked which dates I would like to attend, my email address and my CC information. I didn't hesitate to fill it out because I erroneously assumed that it would be like reserving a room at a hotel. If I couldn't keep the reservation, I could cancel no questions asked.

The emails basically listed the services, the prices and they had links to the FAQ etc. I was also sent an email with a contract form that did state by filling this out I agree to the terms and understand this is non-refundable, etc etc. But I DID NOT fill out the contract. I was also put off by the wording, they pretty much stated that they didn't care if you didn't like your pictures, you could look like the elephant woman, you were still going to buy them or they were taking you to small claims because they put a lot of time and effort into the pictures, the session, the expensive setting, etc. So? Weddings are a lot of time, effort and are generally held at expensive venues, and if the wedding photographer sucked, you don't pay for the pictures. End of story.

They also don't mention that you have to pay for the hair and makeup, which I thought was part of the package. Also, you have to buy at LEAST $250 dollars worth of pictures. And they run up to $2500. So you're basically paying a MINIMUM of $500 bucks for the session and one or two shots. And for those who are going to say, that's a great price for great pics, well golly gee, not all of us have thousands of bucks to burn on pictures. And if I had known it would cost more than the $250, I sure as heck wouldn't do it. My last glamour session cost $300 for the shoot AND a book with 4 different poses and three costume changes.

The next email I got was, SURPRISE!,  a receipt for my order. Whaaaatt?? All I did was fill out an inquiry form. In fact, I even got an email saying thank you for your inquiry, now I'm being charged? AND I was charged BEFORE I even got the other emails. In fact in one, they even said they hope I choose RSP for my "budoir photo experience". Well guess I have no choice, since you went ahead and CHARGED me!

At first I was like, well yeah, I DID want to have a session, but my niece just had a baby, my first great-nephew and my mom's first great-grandchild and we were invited to CO for a "welcome baby" BBQ. So I called up Sean and said, "Sorry, but I have a personal family event I need to attend, so I cannot make it to that session". No response. I emailed all the emails listed on their business site and their Facebook page. No response. A legitimate company would respond for no reason than to at least tell me my options. I don't care if they think I'm "dumber than a box of socks and should have read the fine print". I'm a customer and you're not doing your reputation any good by ignoring me.

I wouldn't have minded a phone call saying "oh, wow, congrats, maybe we could reschedule, or give you credit towards the next time we're in Phoenix since we don't refund. 'Cause you know, we photograph ALL THE TIME but a new great-nephew/grandson is only born once!"

Finally I just filed a fraud report with my bank, because sorry, if hotels ran their business the way you two do, they would be OUT of business. People would be afraid to book, afraid the hotels would take their money even if they called and cancelled the reservations days in advance. And the session I chose is over THREE WEEKS away, so plenty of time to get another RSP groupie to take my spot.

So, nope. All I want is my $250 back. I don't need to work with people who take your money than bully you into paying for more services. As other people have stated, there are other reputable photographers out there.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/04/2013 10:47 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

RCP Completely Undeserving of This Report

AUTHOR: Sherry Williamson - ()

Granted, I can only speak from my own experience, as a fan and consumer of RSP since 2010. Yes, my experience with RSP was amazing from start to finish. In fact, when I completed the inquiry form, filled it out, Rachel Stephens called me at home to discuss the details- (at that time as they were developing their website and further building a client base and Rachel was able to do this.) However, the details were also on the website. I knew about the $250 minimum, I knew about tipping the hair and make-up artist. I was fully aware of the "no refund" policy. For the amount of work Rachel puts into each session, the fees were more than worth it. I was completely and fully aware of all charges going into the session. And, when I had a question, I called and Sean promptly responded. 

My photo experience itself was professional, Rachel was amazing, patient, kind and dedicated to providing me with an amazing finished product. She had my best interest as I discussed what the photos mean to me.

RSP is a company grounded in professionalism, personalized services, and providing a high quality product. Their terms are clear. I do not understand how the woman above felt she was "charged" unlawfully- when you inquire, you are not immediatley charged or asked for this information. When you read the terms of the agreement, choose your date and enter your cc information, you are, in fact agreeing to said terms, ensuring your session.

If you realize after the fact you cannot make the date- the bulk of that responsibility is on the consumer. It looks and sounds to me like RSP, as I have come to know the company, extended an offer to you to comensate for your losses in a way that still allows you to have a session. I would expect nothing less from RSP.

Comparing a service like that of RSP and a "hotel" is apples to oranges, frankly. A professional service, requiring Rachel and staff to plan in advance the number of sessions, the time needed for those sessions in advance, etc. is nothing like reserving a hotel room from a nationwide corporation that has some expectation that folks will and need to cancel. No big deal for a hotel. A hotel is NOT a "professional service" requiring travel, advanced planning, staff needs, equipment planning, etc. It is imperative for any such professional service to be informed and to be able to plan. Cancellations will cause issues- especially when the artist is flying to a city, renting an amazing venue and counting on the income from session fees and orders. Like I said, apples to oranges.

I have followed Rachel for the last four years- her work, her outreach, her personal connections with her clients, the dedication of this husband and wife team to clients nationwide. The company does not deserve this when it is evident they offered to work with you.

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#2 Consumer Comment

100% positive experiences

AUTHOR: Sara - ()

I am saddened to see this report as it appears to be from someone who suffers from nothing more than buyer's remorse and was looking for someone else to blame.  I have been a client of Rachel's for years and have used her for various special occasions in my life.  I have had nothing but POSITIVE experiences with Rachel and her husband as her business manager.  This is a very professional business run by two people who take great care to be as clear and up front as possible, as well as deliver a top notch product.  It is so hard to find quality businesses, which is why I keep coming back to Rachel Stephens.  This is NOT 'glamour shots'...this is professional, magazine quality work.  

From the very moment I inquired about Rachel's services, it was clear what I was signing up for.  Her policies are clear and fair - to include a very bold line that reminds me that I am accepting the terms when booking a session. Forgive me, but my assumption is that when I put my credit card number in a form and hit submit, I am booking AND paying for it?  (Maybe that's just me..)  What's more is that I would never assume a refund is owed to me, but would be thankful that they would be willing to do it if they could fill my session.  I have used professional photographers for various reasons (family portraits, pet portraits, baby portraits), and Rachel's policies are not only industry standard, her prices are more than competitive.  Please take this 'report' with a grain of salt.  Her fans and sold out sessions could not be wrong.   I could not even get in the last time she was in town because she's THAT GOOD and THAT FAIR.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Information for the Ill-informed

AUTHOR: MrsShindig - ()

As a three-peat client of Rachel Stephens and having already booked a fourth session for 2014, I'm nothing short of a top supporting fan of the work this brilliant woman does. Due to this overwhelming support I possess, I'll admit I'm often quick to offer these criticismal posts the deepest and most putrid vitriol of my own hashing...but this time I'm approaching this differently. Before proceeding I will however, remind you of the lovely banner atop this wretched web page that states simply: Ripoff Report protects the right of consumers to free speech. Remember this. You took advantage of this banner. Now it's my turn. Only YOU take the hot seat now. 

First and foremost, your complaint's title alone can land you on the business end of a lawsuit for defamation, libelous slandering, or fraud. Why? Because you used the verbiage "steal." You are not implying, you are not suggesting, you are ACCUSING this business of committing a legitimate federal crime. When making a statement such as this--most especially in the court of law--it is expected that you provide sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that this business forced you into coughing up money against your will, and furthermore, kept it. Because stealing is not taking and then returning of own free will. Stealing is stealing. Period. You also admitted to being "erroneous and assuming" of the form you filled out and WILLINGLY supplied credit card information...but that's the business's fault for you making I'll educated guesses at what you were about to submit?

See it's people like you, with the characteristics that you possess in regards to actually READING FAQs, or READING the policies & contracts, that companies everywhere now have to put warning labels of the most ridiculous cautions due to the epic proportion of STUPIDITY that your pea-sized brain decides to act on (Don't ingest the shampoo, you say? but it looks just like Mayonaisse! Mmmmmmmmm Mayonaisse...).

I have watched Rachel and Sean repeat OVER AND OVER the importance of reading a policy IN ITS ENTIRETY before agreeing to any terms or providing payment information. When you are clicking that lovely little "submit" button upon providing your Credit Card info, you are ACCEPTING terms of a CONTRACT. Didn't read the fine print, you say? That's the problem with you people out for instant gratification. Act first. Beg for mercy or cry wolf later. Pathetic. This is the prize you reap when you don't perform your due diligence. And then you childishly point the finger at anyone but yourself. 

I also find your reasoning for bashing the pricing outline utterly laughable. Would you like to know how far my $500 investment went when I did my first session in 2009? 8 wallets (same photo), 3 8x10s (different photos), a 10-image leather bound photo book (different photos), and 3 4x5s (different photos). If my math is correct (I mean who knows, I'm only a Commercial Banking Administrator), that would be 17 images, and 24 total prints. And not some one-hour-print-off-the-roll CVS bull$&@# either. Quality backing, high grade resolution PERFECTION. Oh, and that also included a gorgeous hotel suite backdrop with professional makeup, hair, and 4 wardrobe changes as well. 

Side Note: I pity your wedding photographer. Past, present or future. Really. 

And THEN you have the nerve to whine that you weren't coddled enough when you cancelled a session? You wanted a congratulatory phone call with a full refund?! Did you expect cards, flowers and a fuzzy teddy bear? Please get a GRIP!

As someone in the banking industry I will regretfully inform you that your quick-trigger-draw on filing a fraud report to your bank may actually cause you more grief instead of relief. You see, when a fraud report is filed, it's investigated. When it's investigated, contract agreements are reviewed (remember that submit button?) and evidence of any coercion or misleading tactics are assessed. However, if that business being reported refunds the amount during the investigation, the report is classified as premature, resulting in a method of you being "black listed" for certain online transactions. The bank doesn't trust you to make certain purchases online because CLEARLY you don't know what you're doing, nor do you have the patience to pay ATTENTION to what you're doing, and so, you are considered a liability. Had any trouble with online purchases since filing a report? Just wait. It'll happen. Don't you worry. See this is the bank's way of making it's  own "warning label." :-)

It's too bad that you're too compulsive and ignorant to simply admit you didn't read all of the information, you made a split second decision, then tasted the ugly bile in the back of your mouth that is buyer's remorse, and did everything in your small knowledge base of power to reverse it at someone else's expense. Too. Stinking. Bad. 

I once accused another nay-sayer of wearing black because it matched her soul. But since then I've found black is too becoming of a color to offer that kind of compliment. I think you must wear brown. Dull. Boring. Associated with poo. much like your brain matter. Hey, you're the one chanting that you're dumber than a box of socks...I'm just agreeing with you. 

I guess my statement still contained plenty of vitriol...I really did try to refrain, but idiots have a way of bringing that out in me I guess!! Hope you end up in court paying legal fees out the you-know-what!! I'm going to go back to happily drinking my "awesome sauce" now. You have a nice day. 




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#4 REBUTTAL Owner of company

False and Libelous

AUTHOR: Sean O'Riordan Co-owner - ()

Your 'Rip Off Report' on us contains multiple errors of fact.  You stated you weren't responded to with regard to your situation, you and I both know that is untrue, you also state you filled in an 'Inquiry Form' and were charged out of the blue.  Wrong again our shopping cart is done by Big Commerce, one of the largest cart companies on the web, and it is clear that you are purchasing. Here is your invoice

Thanks for Your Order

  Your order ID is #459.

Shipping Address

Aimee Martinez
United States

Billing Address

Aimee Martinez
United States

Your Order Contains...

Cart Items



Item Price

Item Total


Saturday August 24th Siren Afternoon Session




$250.00 USD

$250.00 USD



$250.00 USD



$0.00 USD


Grand Total:

$250.00 USD

Rachel Stephens Photography for Women Store

Rachel Stephens Photography for Women Store is powered by BigCommerce. Launch your own store for free with Big Commerce.


This is obviously a financial transaction and to say otherwise is laughable.  Why are you filling out forms over the internet with your credit card information and hitting purchase?  Our inquiry forms never ask for anything other than your Name and Email. 

You state you contacted us multiple times to get this taken care of and it seems from your story like you did it in a reasonable manner.  However, my records show the following. 

You called once at 9:27AM on 8/2/13 and left the following message, 

'Hi yes. My name is Amy Martinez. My order number is 459. I had recently placed an order with you for a **** session on August24th with the Rachel Stevens photography and I am not going to be able to do that session. In fact, I don't believe I'm going to be able to do any of the sessions. We have a family event coming up. My mother just had her first great grandchild and we're all gonna be traveling up to Colorado for that event and it happens to be right around that time period so if you could please call me back at (((phone number redacted))), I'd appreciate it. Thanks. Bye. ' 

Every voicemail that comes in is transcribed and time stamped.  I even have the recording of your voice.  Which I am happy to provide in court. 

Also at 9:27 AM you emailed the following from, aimee martinez <(((email redacted)))> 

' Hello, I need to cancel my order for the Sirens session on Aug 24th. My nephew just had his first baby, my moms first great grand baby, so we will be traveling to Colorado later this month.... 

You then emailed again at 9:33AM 

' I need to cancel my order. I have a family event coming up later this month and I will not be able to attend any of the Phoenix sessions.

Thank you, Aimee' 

And for a final time at 7:38pm 


Hi, I've tried emailing and calling you several times. I CANNOT make it to the Siren Session I booked on August 24. I have a family event I am attending. I need to cancel my order and be issued a refund. Thank you so much. Hopefully, I will be able to attend the next time you are in Phoenix. ..... 

We had been away from the office as our outgoing voice message indicated, but you were replied to on the same day. 

As to you not being responded to: on Friday 8/2/13 at 9:57 PM my records show this email I sent you the following. 


It has been a crazy day here and I am sorry that I am just getting to this.  I will open this session back up for someone to book, once it sells I will credit you back your session fee.  We normally don't refund clients, but this sounds like a very special occasion and we would not want to sour it in any way.  Congratulations to your family!' 

All of these records are prepared to present in court to prove trade libel as you are clearly lying and defaming our business, all because you did not get an immediate refund, even though we were going to disregard  the policy and refund you when I filled the spot. 

You never replied. 

You claim that we say hair and make-up is included and turn around and make clients pay for it.  This is untrue. Hair and makeup is included and we suggest clients tip as is industry standard. Just like you tip a hair stylist at a salon.  This is a transaction between the client and the makeup artist.  We do not collect money for this. 

Our policy, which you agreed to by purchasing a session is on every page of our store and linked throughout emails and our website and clearly states there is an order minimum and the session fee covers time and talent of the photographer and makeup artist as is industry standard. 

You state you had been a 'Fan' of Rachel's for over a year.  If this is true you were very well aware of how we conduct business.  We are upfront in all aspects from booking to pricing.  You want a price sheet?  Ask.  

We are not a Hotel, we are a husband and wife business with 3 children.  Like most photographers, we don't offer refunds on session fees and require you order a minimum amount. If we offered refundable  sessions,  it would hurt our business because clients who do not value  our business will  treat it with disrespect. Non refundable sessions require per agreed to policy requires clients to make a solid decision they have to stand by when they book. We invest 100% of session fees into the events we invest thousands of dollars per event to service and pamper our clients. If a client cancels, it comes out of our pocket, that's  food off our children's table. 

The troubling thing is that despite  the sessions being non-refundable, we were happy to bend that  policy for you, told you so the same day you contacted us and offered you a refund on the same day you requested one, you never responded to us and instead chose to file a Ripoff Report two days later on a Sunday to hurt our business and our family by accusing us of theft.  You didn't event give us a business day to take care of this.  

We are happy to provide your voice mail, our email and copy of refund in full receipt to anyone who wishes to have it as proof of  these lies if it is making them question their decision to book with us. 

Your session fee was refunded in full however you never gave us a chance to do it before you filed this report which can never be taken down. 

You don't even have the common decency to update the report to let everyone know that you were fully refunded and not out a penny.  Instead you let your libelous report stay without adjustment.

Shame on you.

Sean O'Riordan



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