12 ON YOUR SIDE: Photo shop goes out of business, leaves customers high and dry

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.--A photography shop in Wal-Mart is coming under fire after they close up shop, leaving a lot of people without their pictures.

Picture Me Studios housed in Wal-Mart has closed their doors, but for the past month or so, they've been selling $20 memberships, supposedly good for a year.

Now, folks are asking, where's our money, or our pictures?

After buying a membership at the North Augusta Wal-Mart, Richard Carpenter got a few surprises. He used his $20 membership card for Easter pictures with his God children, and the photo session left a lot to be desired.

"Had our appointment at 10:00, I think we were finally able to take our pictures around 11:10, somewhere around there," he said.

He was also told the membership card would be good for unlimited pictures, but they charged him an extra $20. But, his biggest surprise came Thursday. He says, "My sister-in-law went up there, and she said they went out of business."

And Carpenter wasn't the only customer surprised to learn the company was out of business.

Jamal Hayward says, "I was in the process of scheduling it to have a family portrait done, but I guess we can't do that now."

Hayward is a director at News 12, and he found out the company was out of business while working on this story. He just bought his membership about a week and a half ago.

"I was like, well this is awesome. I have up to a year I can get as many photos as I want for just $20," he said.

The company's website says if you've had a recent photo session, to go online to myonlineportraits.com, but there's no mention of what to do if you've paid for a session that you haven't used yet, something a lot of people aren't too pleased about.

"Oh, I was very upset because usually I don't fall for scams like this," he said.

And when you call the the phone number listed on the membership card, it rings off the hook.

"It's not about the money at all, it's about the principle of the thing," he said.

Hayward says he's upset because he knows he isn't the only person who is out $20.

"They were just set up in the front of Wal-Mart and they were getting people coming and going," he says.

We reached out to Wal-Mart, and they released this statement:

“CPI informed us of their decision to close their photo studios in Walmart stores. We are currently working to ensure customers receive the orders that they have placed.”

We asked them if they would cover the $20 membership fees that were never used. So far, we haven't received a response. We'll be sure to keep you posted as we continue this investigation.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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