Videographer disappoints South Bay newlyweds

December 10, 2009 7:44:11 PM PST
Wedding memories are something to be cherished for a lifetime. But newlyweds in the South Bay tell 7 On Your Side an important part of those memories have been stolen from them.

Weddings can take months, even more than a year to plan. It's a pity then when a bride and groom don't get everything they purchased.

Roland On looks back fondly at his years dating his new bride, Sally.

"I've known her for three years and the love has grown over that time," said Roland.

The couple married in July. They enjoy looking at their wedding photos and reminiscing about their special day. But they're still waiting for their wedding video.

"A month went by, another month went by. I'm calling him. He doesn't call back," said Roland.

Patrick McMichael has seen this happen before during his years as a disc jockey for Denon & Doyle.

"From time to time you do hear people speak poorly about the wedding vendors and frankly it hurts. It's my profession, my particular profession as a disc jockey. It doesn't make you feel good," said Patrick.

That's why he's part of the bay area based "Wedding Industry Professional Association or WIPA."

Joyce Scardina Becker is president OF WIPA and owner of Events of Distinction.

"We're here to educate. We're here to provide quality. We're here to have integrity. And we all have knowledge. We want to protect the consumer, the bride and groom as well," said Joyce.

WIPA surveyed 616 wedding planners and found 13 percent did not have a business license and 45 percent didn't have insurance.

Charles Duran is the videographer Roland hired. The city of San Jose says the independent videographer is unlicensed.

Gene O'Neil is president of the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau.

"The wedding industry is not so much an industry, but a bunch of independents you run into. You have some great ones and you have the flakes. And if you do your homework, you can avoid the flakes," he said.

He has this advice:

    Sign a contract
    • Get any cancellation and refund policy in writing
    • Never pay for everything up front
    • Be specific about what you ordered

    "Get everything in writing. Make sure everything is in writing when things happen, you have some recourse," said Gene.

    WIPA is developing a code of ethics and certification program.

    "If you look for a WIPA member, the requirement is three years in the industry. You must have a business license and you must have insurance," said Joyce.

    Roland filed a complaint with the District Attorney and Better Business Bureau, but he didn't have an address for Duran nor did he have a contract.

    His complaint went nowhere, so he contacted 7 On Your Side.

    "You guys are my last recourse. I tried through all the options to no avail," said Roland.

    We tracked down Duran to a home in San Jose. He declined to come to the door, but we relayed Roland's complaint through his parents.

    Roland finally has his video.

    "It means a lot to me to get my wedding video. So I appreciate your help," said Roland.

    "With the help of Channel 7, I was so amazed and was very happy that at least we managed to get something back. We thought it was all gone," said Sally.

    With the economy the way it is, many wedding vendors have gone bankrupt, leaving couples in a lurch.


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