Monday, July 28, 2008

Bryn – Alan’s customer service is a joke!!!

Yesterday, Chris and I were trying to place the order online for my son's senior pictures. We wanted to take advantage of the 10% off deal and the deadline to do so was today. We were under the impression that you could not only save 10% by placing the order online but that you could also just pay a 50% deposit and then pay the rest when the pictures were ready. Not so apparently.

When we set up the package we wanted to buy and proceeded to the checkout and after entering the credit card number it came back that it was declined. So… we knew right away that they tried to charge the full amount which we didn't have. No big deal, I thought. I will just take the proofs and my order to the studio in Bradenton and just order in person. I knew that we wouldn't be able to receive the discount but I accepted that. That was until Chris checked our bank account online and found out that the full charge went through and that we now have a negative balance. Even then neither of us got upset because we figured that could easily be corrected. How wrong we were.

This morning I tried to call the local studio in Bradenton and immediately the message stated that their office hours were Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm. If I was getting this message during regular business hours that all reps were busy handling other VALUABLE customers. Ok, I thought. After all it is Monday, I can understand it being busy. So I decided to call the toll free number for order assistance thinking I could talk with a customer service rep and get the situation corrected. This was where it started rolling down hill.

After waiting on the phone for a good 20 minutes I finally got to speak with Desiree. This is the conversation:

Desiree – "Thank you for calling bryn – alan, This is Desiree, how may I help you?"

Me – "Hello Desiree, I am hoping you can help me correct a situation. We tried to order online last night and when we got to the check out it declined our payment. But we have still been charged and now my account is in the negative."

Desiree – "Did you receive a confirmation number?"

Me – "No, it declined."

Desiree – "Well, then you weren't charged"

Me – "Yes we where. My account is in the negative."

Desiree – "Why would you order a package online if you didn't have the money to pay for it?"

Me (and surprisingly I held my cool) "We were under the impression that we could just make a 50% deposit as it stated. "

Desiree – "No, that is if you mailed it in. All credit card orders must be paid in full."

Me – "That is not what the website implies." Anyway… the order was declined but my account was still charged. " I am getting rather angry right now.

Desiree – "No it wasn't, if it was, you would have a confirmation number."

Me – "Do you have a supervisor that I could speak with please."

Desiree – "No"

Me – You don't have a supervisor? Do you have a manager?"

Desiree – "Yes, we do have a manager." Apparently they do not know that supervisor or manager is relatively the same.

Me – "May I speak with your manager then?"

Desiree – "No, he is not in today."

Me – "You must have someone that can help me when the manager is not in"

Desiree – "No we don't"

Me – "Then what I am I supposed to do to get this cleared up?"

Desiree – "You can try and call back tomorrow."

Me – "I can try and call back tomorrow? I think it's important to get this cleared today."

Desiree – "If you were charged, then it would be your banks fault. I would call your bank." She emphasized the If… like I was lying.

She hung up after that.

I called Chris at work and explained it to him. He called the bank and had to conference the call since my card was used in the transaction. She had to verify my identity. It doesn't matter that it is a joint account. That I can understand.

We both talked to our rep and she told me that yes, it was charged and it would be easy to reverse it. I needed to call bryn – alan studios back and have them contact their merchant and have them either call her directly with the 6 digit code or I could call her back with the code. She also insured me since we made her aware of the situation that our account would not be charged any fees. That was a relief.

So I called back again and this time after waiting about 30 minutes, I spoke with Melinda.

The conversation went basically the same way with one exception. She did admit that there would be a hold and that it would take 24 to 48 hours for my account to see the charges refunded. I had a real problem with that. If my account was declined to begin with then why did it charge it anyway? I also said that if she could call their merchant and get the six digit code than I wouldn't have to wait the 24-48 hours.

Melinda told me that she could not do that. That is not their policy and that there was no one there that could and that I would need to wait until tomorrow to speak with Greg Clonts, the manager. IF, he would be in because he has been sick. So the best thing for me to do is what the 24-48 hours. By now I had fumes streaming from my ears people. So…

That is when I decided to drive to the bryn – alan studio in Bradenton. I was going to just tell them what pose to put into the yearbook and return the proofs. And if they asked me if I would be purchasing any photos then and only then would I tell them my displeasure in their company. Now, if they by chance they could have corrected it right there, then I would go ahead and order. I understand that it was not their incompetence and that their customer service reps in Tampa are morons!

However, when I pulled into their parking lot we noticed a sign on their door claiming to be closed and that they are open Tuesday – Saturday from 9-6. That was not what their voicemail said. And now I was livid. So again I called their customer service number to tell them that I wanted to make sure my son's photo gets in for the yearbook, because that was already paid for and that I would be mailing the proofs today and wanted to make sure that I would not get charged for the proofs because it would be after the deadline date. Tekisha assured me that the deadline was only for the online discount. I told her that the brochure has it written in several places that the proofs and/or order must be in by today or his yearbook photo would not be included in time. Her statement: " I know it states that but that's not what it means." OMG! I so wanted to reach into the phone and slap this woman. I was so pissed! Does anybody at that damn place know what they are doing? C'mon people wake the hell up and do your job!

Tekisha informed me to fill out the ala carte order form to choose his yearbook photo and mail back the proofs and everything will be fine. I asked her if I could have some kind of assurance that what I feared would not happen. She told me that I wouldn't need one. Somehow, I highly doubt that!

So I have recorded today's event and the names are their actual names. I will not be ordering any photos from bryn – alan and we will be getting Jeff's senior portraits done somewhere else. And if you are wondering why we didn't pick another studio to begin with… well… apparently bryn- alan has the senior yearbook account with just about every school in Sarasota/Manatee county. They basically monopolized that market. And if anyone has any more suggestions on what I can do, please leave me a comment or email me at Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I've had issues with them too. They are a joke. THey screwed up our order and it took me months to get a live person. They are incredibly stupid up there (Tampa). Never had such bad customer service in my life. I have no clue why the schools use them.

Anonymous said...

I had my senior pictures taken there also... I paid to have a 15 pose package but after about 3 poses, the lady said that I can't take any more pictures because they are too busy and need to get to other customers. I argued with her for a good while (enough time that we could have finished)until she agreed that she would take the pictures... and so I have a lot of pissed-off looking senior pictures. Bryn Alan is worthless. Stupid people = bad pictures.