Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a lawsuit against a wedding videographer alleging he failed to deliver wedding videos to a Waltham couple among others despite taking their advance payments.
Ryan and Lauren Baldner, of Waltham, are among the 84 alleged victims, Coakley said during a Jan. 10 press conference. The Baldners said the exeperience left a wrinkle in their in their special day.
“It was devastating ... It really sent us on an emotional rollercoaster," Lauren Baldner told reporters.
The suit alleges SureShot and its owner, Jesse Clark, of Sturbridge, took more than $75,000 in advance payments from customers but failed to deliver wedding videos he promised, according to the AG’s office. When customers would contact Clark, who operated out of a Millbury office with his wife Victoria, the company would say the videos were destroyed during Hurricane Irene, that electrical difficulties and delays in DVD cases were holding up video deliveries, according to the AG’s office. SureShot never delivered the videos and stopped returning customer inquiries.
Now, Coakley’s office has obtained a restraining order prohibiting SureShot from taking any further payments, freezes their assets and prevents them from destroying any records, including wedding videos. The AG is seeking a separate court order to require SureShot disclose the names of its customers, employees and independent contractors to the AG’s office
The lawsuit also seeks $75,000 in restitution and civil penalties as well as any undelivered wedding videos. Coakley said getting the videos to customers is more important than getting their money back.
The Baldners believe their wedding video is somewhere and hope to get it back. A week before the wedding, the company called her and told her they would not be able to shoot the wedding, said Lauren Baldner. SureShot referred her to another videographer, but never gave her the contact information. The night before the wedding, the replacement videographer informed the Baldners he would not be shooting the ceremony. Much to their surprise, the replacement showed up at the wedding the next day, Lauren Baldner said. The couple, however, never got their videos.
"I just hope we can eventually get our wedding video back," said Ryan Baldner.
The Baldners, however, have already had some exeperience negotiating with SureShot. The Baldners, as did other customers, went on consumer review websites to leave negative feedback about SureShot. When the couple asked for their videos again, Clark told them he would deliver it only if they removed their reviews, the Baldners told reporters. In one case, the firm asked a customer to pay an extra $100 to for a copy of the raw footage from a wedding, but never received it, according to the AG’s office.
SureShot and Clark have allegedly attempted to evade the negative publicity. According to the AG’s office, Clark stopped operating under the SureShot name and later switched the company name to InFocus Studio and Magnolia Films.
The negative experience was a surprise to the Baldners. The couple said they researched SureShot before hiring them and found good reviews.