Hi my name is Ella Howell I am the mother of a disabled daughter and I say that only to emphasize that I do live on a limited income. It is rare that I can splurge for anything that is not a necessity! Last year around August or July of 1999 I had a friend call and ask me if I would like to have a picture of myself done by Hierloom Studios in her home. This is the kind of picture where they put make up on and do your hair and you dress up in fancy clothes. She told me that it was only ten dollars. I ask her again, you mean its only ten dollars? She assured me that ten dollars was the cost of the picture.
I thought and though about doing one and finally I discovered that I could scrap up ten bucks. I am not a fan of having my own picture done but I though that I could give this picture to my two children to keep and remember me by when I am no longer on this earth. I went about a mile to the girls house the day they were doing the photos. The time was about six pm. I left my disabled daughter to run up and have the picture made.
When I arrived there was at least three people ahead of me. I sat and talked and waited. Soon it was eight pm and I said ok I am going to have to run home and check on my daughter and they said to just stay at home and they would call me when they were ready. Keep in mind that they only had about five people to do. At eleven pm they called me to return. I went back to the house and still had to wait! Finally they gave me something to put on and sent me to the kitchen where the girl was doing makeup. THe make up girl had not graduated from costomology yet and she talked instead of doing make up and hair.
Finally one of the other customers who was after me came in and grabbed the curling iron and said lets get this show on the road I have to leave. I ask her if she knew how to fix hair and she said no but we had to hurry becasue she had to go home! Finally I got the picture taken. In about a week they called me to come back to the girls house and pick out a picture from the proofs. I went and looked at the pictures they were in a big hurry so I was hurrying trying to decide which photograph to choose. Then the girl with the pictures ask me if I was going to pay by check? I said politely, oh no I have already given you the ten dollars the night you did the pictures. THe girl was not nice and she said oh no this ten dollars and ninty five cents if for mailing you the photograph!
I was so angry and I said no one told me about paying for shipping? THe girl said that I was suppose to have gotten a slip of paper telling me that first night about the shipping. Well I did not get anything! I told the girl that since I did not expect to pay anymore I had not brought my pocketbook with me. Truth is I did not have any money anyway! She said that I had three choices, one not pay and loose the picture and the money I had already paid or pay now or pay c.o.d. So either way I went I was going to loose so I said send it c.o.d. By the time the picture arrived I had accumulated the ten dollars and ninty five cents. I was really angry that now I had paid twenty dollars and ninty five cents for a picture that was suppose to only cost me ten dollars---but --wait, it gets worse, I opened the package and the picture itself was not so bad of me but it was (and is) so bleary its unreal! I could not believe my eyes! The stupid picture sits on my dresser and hidden behind other things as you would think your eyes were going bleary if you looked at it.
I wrote the company and explained the situation and they finally called me a month or two later and said they were in town near by and could I come by and do the picture over for free. I said FREE are you sure??? I ask how long they thought it would take and they said not long but who could be sure? After all it took half a night to take the other one. I said ok but after I hung up I looked on my calendar and discovered a prior engagement on that same day so i called back and told the girl that I could not come that day and she said well they would be back in town again sometime and she would call me. Ha, it never happened.
AFter a few months I wrote another letter to Heirloom Studios and told them again how unfair they were and how they had never contacted me to do another picture and so I wanted all of my proofs for free! I think since they took twenty dollars off of me and I got a lousey picture that that is the very least they could do is give me my proofs. I don't know if they have them now but I would like to have my proofs and if that is not possible then I would like my twenty ninty five sent back to me.
They did tell me that they had had a lot of complaints and had fired the girl who took the pictures that night. I went to another one of my friends who had the picture taken to look at her picture. Before I could even tell her what was wrong with mine she said she did not like hers and it was blurry! She took me into her living room to show it to me and also showed me one she had had taken a year or so ago from another company.
The other company did a good job but this lousey company made the pictures blurry. I also sent a copy of the letters to the Better Bussiness Bureau and they never even acknowledged that they got my letter ever! THe name of this company is Heirloom Portrait Studios a division of Trans-world Marketing Systems and their address is 729 Cosby hwy Newpport, Tennessee 37722. Their number is 1-(423)-623-9151.
I have to say in closing that I did state in the last letter to them that I would not ever let them make another photo of me, but I still would like my proofs or the money returned! Well thats my story, I know there are a lot worse but loosing twenty dollars and ninty five cents to me could have fed us for a week. Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.
Sincerely Ella Howell email [email protected]