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Photography - Whaley & Associates word of advice

I just wanted to give everyone on here a word of advice about Whaley and Associates.  My FI and I didn't end up going with them so I don't know how they are on the actual wedding day, but for anyone that is going to meet with them be prepared for a HARD SELL!!  We felt almost like we were in an informercial while meeting with them and felt very pressured to sign up right away.  In the end, we were glad we didn't because when we read the paperwork more carefully at home we were shocked by the fine print.  For example, an engagement session was "included," but we later found out that this was only a 15 minute studio session, not a typical 2-hour on-location engagement session.  That's just one of the many examples of the "fine print" surprises we got when we read through the information more carefully.  They might be a great photography company to go with, but if you choose them make sure to read through everything very very carefully to be sure you know exactly what you are getting.  Ultimately, FI and I felt uncomfortable going with them because of how our meeting went (high pressure sell) and because we felt some things were misrepresented during the meeting, but they could be a wonderful wedding photographer.  I'm posting this only because I would have wanted to be prepared for the type of meeting it was.  Hope this helps somebody.

Re: Photography - Whaley & Associates word of advice

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    edited December 2011
    I agree. If anyone tries to pressure me, I'm out of there! I like to take my time and go over things, sleep on it and get other options. I have ran into a few vendors who acted like used car salesmen. Not good!
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    disneyfan0511disneyfan0511 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm an old knottie but I saw this post and had to comment.  I did end up using them and honestly can't even tell you all how much I regret it.  From the first moment after we signed our contract we were disappointed.  There is SO much they don't tell you at the initial meeting.  DH and I thought we had got a great deal, but in reality we just were getting ripped off.  The mislead you when you are picking out your albums, they tell you the digital negatives are included in your package but we had to pay for our engagment negatives and we won't get our wedding negatives until ONE YEAR after our album order.  I would avoid them at all costs.  They also left me alone for one hour during our actual wedding - I know that seems ridiculous to complain about but it really bugged me.  They missed pictures of me putting my veil on and garter.  Oh - and we had two photographers.  So yes, avoid them at all costs.
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    edited December 2011
    I have to say I have had the complete opposite experience with them.  Bill (the one that will be our photographer) has been very forward and communicative through the process thus far.  I have yet to have any surprises, including my engagement pictures, which turned out beautifully.  I was told ahead of time there would be extra cost if we wanted on-site pictures taken, but it was included in the cost of product, so we used the cost towards our Guest Sign In book.  I have spoken to some other knotties who used them, and they were thrilled!  Unfortunately, with larger companies such as these, it can be a toss up, as I had some issues like you mentioned with other larger companies like you guys did, and didn't go with them because of it.  I'm sorry you girls had such bad experiences, but so many times it is about the person you are working with, not the whole company...
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    edited December 2011
    what is their standing on the BBB and yelp?
    image
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    edited December 2011
    Their Lisle location has done poorly on Yelp.  The reviews are either great or 1-2 stars. 

    I went to their Schaumburg location and felt like I was dealing with a sleazy salesman.  They throw alot at you, bonuses and specials, and if you order now you get this this and this.  We hated that we didn't meet our photographer or even know our options for a photographer.

    It was very impersonal and we decided against it.
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    edited December 2011

    I did some research:

     

    Weddingwire.com - 74 reviews 4.6/5.0 rating

    Onewed.com – 19 reviews 5.0/5.0

    Projectwedding.com – 12 reviews 5 stars/5 stars

    Ourweddingday.com – 1 review 5 bells/5 bells

    Yahoo Local – 4.0/5.0

    BBB – A+ rating (I think that is the highest a company can earn)

     

    I personally know of several people who used this company and were very happy.

     

    Sounds like they have a sales guy there that is too pushy.  Did you contact them to communicate your experience? Being a small business owner myself, I would want to know if I had an employee like this.

     

    HTH

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    edited December 2011
    Some other reviews that are not so positive are out there too. These are some I found when I was doing research for hiring a photographer: 


    And, under their BBB rating, it says: "The BBB processed a total of 5 complaints about Timothy Whaley and Associates within the last 36 months..."

    I had contacted them about going in for an informational meeting. I was very turned off that I would not be meeting with a photographer, just a salesgirl. So I decided to forgo meeting with them. I got phone calls for weeks asking when I wanted to come in, and still receive junk mail from them weekly. I have told them I hired someone else, so I am not sure if they are too unorganized to take me off their mailing list, or they just don't care...
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    edited December 2011

    You have to be careful about these type of review sites.  The reviews are not verified and anyone can say anything.  A lot that is out there are from competitors trying to make a top company look bad.  That is why I try and limit my review searches to sites that actually verify the reviews (all but one of the sites I just posted). 

     

    In regards to the BBB, whaley still has an A+ rating so I would guess that the complaints may have been unfounded after the BBB investigated.

     

    FYI - I heard Yelp is under federal investigation for its alleged bogus review practices and in a class action lawsuit.

     

    http://www.yelp-sucks.com/

    http://twitter.com/YELPcomsucks

    http://digg.com/odd_stuff/The_SAD_Truth_About_Yelp_and_Why_Yelp_Sucks

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    edited December 2011
    I would take any reviews with a grain of salt, not just listen to good ones. Companies are just as likely to post their own fake praise reviews to increase their rating. Wedding Wire and Project Wedding have had their fair share of fake reviews as well, as has been documented in the past on this site.  And those sites don't "verify" reviews. If a review becomes flagged for being inappropriate, it is investigated, but that is the same process yelp uses. 

    I think listening to fellow brides on these boards is probably the best first hand reviews you are going to get. 
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    edited December 2011
    i agree with the above posters. take reviews with a grain of salt. listen to knotties and double check with the BBB and other consumer complaints sites before booking anyone. if you have a pushy salesman look elswhere. wouldn't the photographer meet with you? i would not want a photographer or florist or even a makeup artist selling me something they didn not have an active part in doing. salespeople are just trained to sell and are less passionately involved in weddings. that is just my 2 cents.
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    ErinC85ErinC85 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    For those of us who are already committed to TWA, does anyone have advice about ways to avoid disaster? I was fine with the sales pitch and was very impressed with our photographer when we met, so I'm proceeding with caution, but unsure where to expect problems. 
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    edited December 2011
    Yeah, we felt very pushed into signing with Timothy Whaley but ultimately signed with GeorgeStreet PV instead.  I still get emails from TWA even though I've sent numerous emails telling them that we decided to go another route.  They did have an amazing portfolio, but just like some other knotties out there, I don't like being pressured into parting with so much of my money!
    image "Always love. Don't wail til the finish line."-Nada Surf
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    edited December 2011
    ErinC85,

    I signed on with TWA, and have been happy since the beginning.  I have found that continued communication has been the most effectve.  Ask an many questions as you have when you have them.  I am continuously in contact with my consultant, primarily via e-mail, to make sure if I ever need verification of something, I will have it documented.  Same with the photographer himself.  HTH!
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    ErinC85ErinC85 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks Bubbula! I have definitely done that-having it in writing is golden!
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    disneyfan0511disneyfan0511 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Erin -

    I used them for my Sept 2009 wedding.  Up through the wedding everything went really well.  H and I love our engagement pictures and we love our pictures from the wedding - we had great photographers (DeAnne and Wally).  However, our problems were after the wedding.  We still have yet to receive our proof book because they've been booked through the end of January.  They only want to give us a month to look at the proof book (contract states we get 2 months) so clearly we'll get this resolved as I also have it in writing.  Be sure to read your contract clearly so you know what category of wedding book you'll need to buy.  Their albums are quite pricey, especially for a designer book.  GL! 
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