APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Couples have filed complaints and lawsuits against an Appleton wedding photographer after he failed to deliver their photographs. In some cases, he never showed up for the I Do's.
Several people reached out to Target 2 Consumer Alert about the business Say I Do Wedding Services.
Taylor Miller chose the Appleton-based business for her wedding, but encountered unexpected stress just weeks before she was set to walk down the aisle.
"This is supposed to be the best day. It really turned out to be so stressful when it didn't really need to be," the Seymour native says.
Miller says she thought she was getting a great deal when she hired Say I Do Wedding Services. She learned about the business from an ad on Facebook.
"It looked like a fantastic deal. It was if you bundle, you get money off. And I contacted Scott Sockett, the owner of the company," Miller says.
That deal was $1,500 for DJ services and videography.
"We met with him. We gave him the check for the full amount. Signed a contract, all good," Miller recalls.
Leading up to the wedding, Miller and her fiance say they had trouble getting in touch with Scott Sockett. When they did get hold of him, there was a change in plans. They were informed that they would not be getting the DJ and videographer they were promised.
"This was three weeks before our wedding. We had never seen anything this guy had shot," Miller says.
They started researching and found a pattern of complaints.
"We have 11 complaints, and over $15,000 is what people are seeking from him," says Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.
The BBB has received complaints saying Sockett never showed up to a wedding. Some couples have been waiting months for their photos.
Wisconsin online court records show several clients have sued Sockett and won.
The Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection has received three complaints. One bride writes, "I was supposed to receive four services. On the day of my wedding, the only thing that showed up was the DJ."
Target 2 reached out to Scott Sockett and asked him specific questions about the court cases, money owed, and Taylor Miller's situation.
He sent us an email with this statement:
"I am trying to get all refunds out asap, with it being the slow season, money is very tight, but I am working diligently to get people paid back. I take pride in my work, and I am doing everything I can to fix mistakes I have made in the business. I am learning that without being properly educated on how to run a business there was quite a learning curve. I love being a photographer, and work everyday to learn something new. It is my plan to have all refunds issued and taken care of by the start of summer, barring any unforeseen circumstances." - Scott Sockett
The Millers canceled their services with Sockett before the wedding. They say Sockett promised a refund and said the check was in the mail. They're still waiting.
They had no choice but to hire another videographer to capture their special day.
"He did a fantastic job, saved the day. But it didn't come without a price," Taylor Miller says.
"I don't want anybody else to get put in the position that we were put in, so I hope somebody that is looking for services does their homework like I didn't. I didn't look him up. I wish I would have."
A search for Scott Sockett shows that he's now operating under the name "Magicfocus."
PROTECTING YOUR SPECIAL DAY
Wisconsin Consumer Protection has an extensive guide to help you avoid wedding catastrophes and find reputable companies for your big day.
Here are some must do's for your I do's:
--Ask for references
--Making sure names of the photographer and DJ you've been promised are in the contract
--Do some research. Check the company on the Better Business Bureau website
--Don't pay in full up front. Follow the rule of thirds: Pay one-third as a deposit; make a second payment on wedding day; and make a final payment when you get your photos and/or video.
"They can never recapture that day, so that's why it's so important to choose that wedding photographer very carefully," Bach says. "To do your research first to make sure there aren't any issues."
If you have run into problems with services or businesses, file a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau at https://www.bbb.org/
The state recommends filing a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Homepage.aspx