1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

JCC Sears Portrait Studio/PictureMe/CPI Corp discussion

Discussion in 'Community' started by TiniTinyTony, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 9, 2003
    On February 2, 2012, I had a 10 AM appointment at Sears Portrait Studio. The picture taking was quick and painless. I spent a few minutes picking out the shots I wanted and choosing the sizes of each. All in all, it was a pleasurable experience where we were in and out in under a half an hour with a scheduled hour appointment. These pictures were to be a Valentine's Day present and the associate assured me that they would be in well before Valentine's Day.

    Prior to February 2, 2012, I came up with the idea to get professional pictures taken for my girlfriend. She has a son and daughter. Her son is going off to college this coming fall, so I thought it would be a great gift and nice surprise since I coordinated with her kids on a weekend that they were with their father. In the five years that I've been dating their mom I have yet to meet their biological father, but I have heard and experienced second hand that he can be difficult at times, so you could imagine my shock that he was on board with letting me borrow the kids for an hour on his weekend.

    On Monday, January 28th, I made the appointment for February 2nd. I received confirmation from the kids' father on Wednesday, January 30th when they had an opportunity to speak to him about it. I also received a call on Wednesday from the Sears Portrait Studio confirming my appointment. Everything fell into place perfectly thankfully to some careful planning.

    As Valentine’s Day crept closer, I began to be concerned. My sister frequents JCPenny’s Portrait Studio (which has zero affiliation to the companies listed in the thread title) and she told me that she gets her pictures from them in a week’s time. So I gave Sears the same courtesy and I was patient. By Sunday, February 10th, I received no call nor e-mail. I called the studio and got their answering machine. An internet search revealed that not only were they closed for the day, but they wouldn’t be open again until this Friday (the 15th).

    The gravity of the situation didn’t hit me until this Monday (the 11th) when I called Sears and they told me that the Sears Portraint Studio is a third party company. The only help the store manager provided was a phone number that should have gotten me connected to the district manager for the Portrait Studio. I called the number and was on hold for 40 minutes. I hung up and called back and was on hold for another 10. The third time I called was past their operating hours (9 AM – 5:30 PM CST) where I received an automated message to call back during normal business hours. I even called Sears and they couldn’t help me. I filed a complaint while I was the phone with them.

    Further internet research revealed that the third party company is called PictureMe which is owned by the CPI Corp. PictureMe appears to be largely associated to Wal-marts that have a portrait studio in them. I e-mailed PictureMe last night and have yet to receive a response. I called PictureMe studios in the surrounding area and all of them are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are open Thursday – Sunday as part of their normal business schedule. A lot of them have reduced hours or so says the automated message after a few rings.

    Today (12th) at 10:30 EST (9:30 CST) I called the number (1-866-292-4949) yet again (from my work phone) and listened to hold music for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, I called 1-888-PORTRAIT on my cell. The hold music was in sync on both my work and cell phone which, I thought, wasn’t a good sign.

    I decided it was time to go directly to the source. I got the phone number for CPI Corp via an internet search. An automated message instructs you to enter an extension and it proceeded to list some options. Since I didn’t know an extension nor which one I wanted, I first waited to be transferred to a secretary that could direct my call. Choosing no extension results in dialtone. The next time I hit zero. That did nothing and resulted in dialtone.

    I called back and I decided to listen to the automated extention options. One of them was for an executive. I dialed the extension and it went to voice mail. I called back and dialed the extension for the legal department. FINALLY! A human being answered! I asked for the District Manager’s phone number for my area. I told her it was the Sears Portrait Studio which helped narrow down her search. I didn’t tell her my name or my problem and I was given the DM's personal cell phone number.

    I called the DM who admitted to be caught off guard. I apologized and explained my situation. She was semi-sympathetic and did not resolve my issue, but she said I would get a call on Friday from the manager when the studio opens. She told me that the studio doesn’t turn the pictures around in that short amount of time and it usually takes 3 weeks before they come in, so it makes sense why I didn’t receive a call because my pictures aren’t in. At this point, who knows where they are, but I was lied to and because of that lie I went to the above lengths for a resolution.

    My advice: stay VERY FAR away from Sears Portrait Studio/PictureMe/CPI Corp. Even if I get my pictures for free on Friday, the whole experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth. I will not deal with this ever again.

    Please feel free to share similar experiences if you have any. Misery loves company.
    Jabbadabbado likes this.
  2. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Did you try screaming? My wife never gets off the phone with customer service until she gets what she wants. I remain curious about what her limits might be in terms of how sarcastic and cruel and outraged she is willing to get, or the brutality of the threats she is willing to make in order to, say, have a $20 late fee removed from a bill or to force a customer service representative to take a return for a product she bought three years ago.

    But thanks for this thorough account of your bad customer service experience. It's truly chilling.