Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing an Eaton wedding photographer in response to complaints from newlywed couples who say they paid for photos and videos but never received them.
“These couples tied the knot and now they’re tangled up in a dispute with a dishonest photographer,” Yost said in a statement Thursday.
The consumer protection lawsuit accuses Kelsea Hopkins, 27, of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by “failing to deliver promised goods or refunds to customers who paid for her services,” the attorney general’s office said.
Yost said five consumers complained to his Consumer Protection Section, saying Hopkins photographed their weddings but did not give them all the items included in their wedding packages. Among the missing items were videos, black-and-white photos, photo albums and canvas prints, Yost said.
WHIO reported in April that unhappy customers of the business were coalescing in a Facebook group to share their stories.
One of those customers was Madeleine Secrist, a Mason resident.
“It’s just been a nightmare,” Secrist told WHIO. “When she was getting hard to get a hold of for the engagement session I started looking her up and that’s when I noticed that she had terrible reviews online.”
Secrist said Hopkins was paid in full in August 2017 and did take photos and videos of her October 2017 wedding in Lebanon, but after the wedding, Secrist said Hopkins ghosted her — no pictures, no video.
“It’s a roller coaster. You know? You are angry, you are upset, you are mad,” Secrist said.
She reached out to Hopkins in multiple emails and then finally complained on social media. More than one year later, that is apparently what finally worked.
“She started communicating with us and I got the pictures on Dec. 7, 2018,” said Secrist, adding she is still waiting for her video.
“The company does have an ‘F’ rating with the BBB,” Sheri Sword, a vice president with Dayton Better Business Bureau, said in April. “There’s a lot of information you can use from a BBB profile before deciding to do business with a company, which can save you a lot of headaches.”
Hopkins has operated under the names Dear Tomasine Stills and Films, Dear Tomasin, and Blue Boots Photography, according to Yost. She has not registered any of the business names with the Ohio secretary of state’s office.
The lawsuit — filed in the Preble County Court of Common Pleas — requests an order requiring Hopkins to reimburse affected customers and pay civil penalties, as well as court costs, Yost said. It also requests an injunction ordering her to stop violating the state’s consumer protection laws.
A phone voice mailbox for Dear Tomasine Stills and Films was full Thursday and would not accept messages. An email address returned as undeliverable, but a message seeking comment was sent to Hopkins on Facebook.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive business practice should contact the Ohio attorney general’s office at (800) 282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.