An early draft of my letter to the credit card company...
On Good Friday, March 29, 2013, I took my three children to Sears Portrait Studio for an appointment to take pictures. During the photo session, the photographer took Easter pictures of my son and two daughters together and separately, and then she took birthday portraits of them using the numbers: eight, six, and five, in celebration of their birthdays. The photo session was something we had been doing since my now eight-year-old son was three-months-old, celebrating his first Easter.
At the conclusion of session - Sxxxxxxxx, the photographer took me to the computer and had me choose which of the portraits I would like to purchase. She had me write down the numbers of the poses I wanted to purchase. She then sat with me once I had selected my poses and entered into the computer the sizes and quantity of the poses I wanted. She informed me of the best deal based on the quantity of photos I was buying, I agreed to the package deal she was selling and she rang me up at the register. I was told my photos would be ready in four to six weeks. I thanked the photographer and my children and I left.
On May 9, 2013, the Friday before Mother’s Day, my eight-year-old son and I went to Sears to pick up our Easter and birthday pictures from the portrait studios so we could put the photos in the Mother’s Day cards we were giving out on Mother’s Day, which was two days away. As we walked through the automotive department and headed towards the portrait studios I noticed the lights were off in the portrait studio. I thought that was odd since I knew they stayed open late on Fridays. As we got closer, I noticed something on the portrait studio’s counters, when we arrived into the department I realized the something I had noticed were envelopes and loose pictures. There were hundreds of loose pictures laying on the counter in piles next to Sears Portrait Studios envelopes. I realized the portrait studios must have gone out of business. I was in a time crunch because my children had a church activity they had to get to, so I quickly stopped the first Sears employee I saw and asked him to call a manager for me. The employee agreed to the request and I quickly turned back to the counter.
I told my son to look for pictures of himself, his sisters, and the three of them together, in the loose pictures on the counter, while I went through the envelopes.
My son found three photos of himself, but none of his sisters or group pictures of them. While I was unsuccessful in finding our Easter/birthday pictures in any of the envelopes. A female manager arrived and explained to me that she came to work one day and the portrait studio department had gone out of business. She said they had given no advanced notice that they were closing, they just closed. She informed me all the pictures they could find and where in the portrait studio’s drawers were on the counter.
I told her I couldn’t find my Easter/birthday pictures of my children and asked what would happen if I couldn’t find them. She told me she would find out. She made a call and explained my situation, and then she turned to me and said I could receive a full refund with my receipt. I told her I had more than likely thrown the receipt away because I couldn’t return the photos once I received them and that all I had given the photographers in the past was my name and phone number and they gave me my pictures. I asked if a copy my credit card charge for the photographs would be enough. She told me to bring it in.
I instructed my son to go through the envelopes and I set him up on the floor to search for the pictures. The manager offered to help me look through the pictures and asked what my children were wearing in their photos. I told her my daughters were wearing matching teal tank top dresses and my son was wearing a brown suit with a vest and a teal color shirt on. Upon saying that, I looked at the photos my son had found and realized the photos were the non-purchased extra copies of the school picture I had him take at Sears Portrait Studios in late November of 2012. I told this to the manager and she nodded her head. She told me the photos she had seen were mostly Christmas pictures and she suspected that my Easter/birthday pictures had not even been developed or printed. She told me they would not be receiving any more shipments of photos from the main Portrait Studios office. I thanked her for her help. She told me to take the photos of my son’s school picture free of charge. I thanked her again and I left.
On Tuesday, May x, 2013, I returned to Sears with a copy of my credit card statement where I was charged for my children’s Easter/birthday photo session. I went into the garden/tools department and asked to speak to a manager regarding the portrait studios. The sales associate called a manager and told me one would be with me shortly. Fifteen minutes later, Mary L. introduced herself as a manager. I explained the situation with her and she took my credit card statement to give me a full refund since I was charged for merchandise I had never received. She tried giving me a refund, but told me she couldn’t; because she needed the salescheck number in order to issue a refund because she could not override the cash register. I asked would my credit card company have ht number she needed and she said possibly. I told her I would go home, call my credit card company, and then call her back with the number. My son and I left the store to do what I had just said.
Immediately when I arrived home, I called my credit card company and spoke to a customer service representative. I explained the situation to the customer service representative and he told me the exact time my card was swiped, the day my credit card was charged, and the authorization number for the sale. He told me if Sears did not resolve my problem to call back and Capital One would handle it because I couldn’t be charged for merchandise I never received. I thanked him for his help and the information. I called Sears and asked to speak to Mary L. She came on the line and I gave her the number and information I had just received. Mary L. told me that was not the number, she needed. I then gave her the portrait studio’s session number to which she informed me that number was solely for the purpose of the portrait studio to differentiate amongst themselves. She told me she needed a number that started with 10. I asked her if my credit card company didn’t have the number who would, she had no response.
While Mary L. was very nice she was not helpful in solving my problem or coming up with a solution to keep a customer, who had spent over a thousand dollars over the past eight years purchasing photos from their portrait studios, satisfied or happy. We hung and I immediately called Capital One back. I informed the customer service representative of the situation and he began the dispute for me.
As of Thursday, June 27, 2013, I have not received the photos of my son posing next to the number eight in celebration of his eighth birthday. I have not received the photos of my youngest daughter happily posing next to the number five or my eldest daughter next to the number six. I do not have in my possession and based on what the first manager I met upon my first visit on May x, 2013, said I will never possess the pictures taken on Good Friday of my three children dressed in their brand new Easter outfits laughing out loud because the photographer did all she could to make sure they looked at the camera while smiling as big as they could.