Complaints from brides and grooms are piling up regarding a Miami Valley wedding photographer.
More than 20 people have come together on a Facebook group to share their stories and complaints in the hopes of keeping others from becoming victims.
One of them is Madeleine Secrist of Mason. Her wedding troubles started when she hired Kelsea Hopkins of Dear Tomasine Stills and Films, based in Eaton.
“It’s just been a nightmare,” said Secrist. “When she was getting hard to get a hold of for the engagement session I started looking her up and that’s when I noticed that she had terrible reviews online.”
Secrist said Hopkins was paid in full in August 2017 and did take photos and videos of her October 2017 wedding in Lebanon, but after the wedding, Secrist said Hopkins ghosted her — no pictures, no video.
“It’s a roller coaster. You know? You are angry, you are upset, you are mad,” Secrist said.
She reached out to Hopkins in multiple emails and then finally complained on social media.
More than one year later, that is apparently what finally worked.
“She started communicating with us and I got the pictures on Dec. 7, 2018,” said Secrist, adding she is still waiting for her video.
Now, more than 20 people have come forward online, many using a Facebook group titled “Victims of Dear Tomasine Photography SCAMS,” which has over 100 members.
Some know Hopkins’ business as Blue Boots Photography.
“The company does have an ‘F’ rating with the BBB, “said Sheri Sword, BBB VP of communications. “There’s a lot of information you can use from a BBB profile before deciding to do business with a company, which can save you a lot of headaches.”
The BBB recommends:
- Making sure the business is BBB accredited
- Reading online reviews and complaints.
- Ask the business to provide recommendations from past clients.
- Interview the candidate
- Get a least three estimates.
Kelsea Hopkins said she is sorry and she’s fulfilled Secrist’s contract.
“I completely understand her anger, or her unhappiness with the timeline. There was a lot of back and forth. I think that there were times I took long to respond—she took long to respond,” Hopkins said.
As for other complaints?
“I know that I did put too much work on myself at times in my business and that is something I have improved on,” said Hopkins.
Documents filed in Vandalia Municipal Court last year show Hopkins pleaded guilty to attempted theft and was ordered to pay nearly $1,000 in restitution in a complaint filed over her photography business.
There are also four small claims cases in Indiana in which Hopkins has lost, according to the blog Ish Mom.
Hopkins said she wants anyone with unresolved complaints to reach out to her using her email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secrist said she is glad to finally have her pictures, but she does have one regret – not doing her research.
“The facts were there on the website, on the Better Business Bureau, on Yelp, on social media, before we even booked her,” said Secrist. “I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
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