Left at the Altar: Videography Business Sued for Allegedly Scamming Newlyweds, Refusing to Deliver Wedding Footage
AG’s Lawsuit Seeks $75,000 in Restitution, Recovery of Existing Footage; Injunction to Prevent Future Business in Massachusetts
BOSTON – The operators of a videography business, known as SureShot, have been sued for allegedly failing to deliver wedding videos to dozens of newlyweds after receiving advance payments collectively worth more than $75,000, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
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The AG’s Office has obtained a temporary restraining order in Suffolk Superior Court that prohibits the defendants from soliciting or accepting future deposits for their videography business, freezes all of their assets and prevents them from destroying any records including any footage taken of weddings.
The suit seeks more than $75,000 in restitution, civil penalties, and the recovery of all existing event footage. The AG’s Office is also seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the defendants from accepting deposits for any type of business in Massachusetts, and to disclose the names of employees, customers and independent contractors they worked with through SureShot.
“A wedding day is one of the happiest days in a person’s life,” AG Coakley said. “Yet sadly, we allege that SureShot took advantage of dozens of newlyweds, robbing them of thousands of dollars and priceless memories. We are working to recover the videos and money lost by these couples, and to prevent this from happening again.”
SureShot owner Jesse Clark of Fiskdale operated the business from a storefront in Millbury with his wife, Veronica Clark, and employee Keith Morin. According to the complaint, customers allegedly paid between $800 to $2,000 each for their video package before their weddings, expecting to receive a short highlight video two days after their ceremony and an edited 90-minute DVD approximately two months after their wedding date.
The defendants allegedly had a long list of excuses to keep customers waiting for wedding videos that never came, including claims that wedding footage was destroyed during Hurricane Irene, that a power surge delayed production, and that a back-ordered DVD case prevented delivery of the final product. Eventually, the defendants stopped responding to customer calls and emails without ever providing the prepaid wedding videos.
The AG’s Office has received 84 complaints from consumers who gave deposits or paid the defendants in full for wedding videos that were never delivered.
Some of SureShot’s disappointed consumers posted reviews of their experience on business ratings websites. The complaint alleges the defendants responded to the negative customer reviews by changing the name of their business at least twice to Magnolia Films and InFocus Studios. In some cases, Clark allegedly threatened to hold overdue wedding videos hostage unless customers removed their online reviews.
The defendants also allegedly used their control of consumers’ wedding footage to make additional demands, including requiring one customer to pay an additional $100 for a copy of the raw footage from his wedding and then failing to deliver.
The AG’s complaint was filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court. A hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the defendants from accepting new business of any kind will be held on Jan. 17, 2013.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Mychii Snape, of Attorney General Coakley’s Consumer Protection Division, with the assistance from Deputy Chief David Monahan, paralegal Yolanda Kruczkowski, and Civil Investigator William Mackay.