Two Dallas newlyweds claim that their wedding photographer is holding their pictures hostage unless they pay an extra fee for a “cover” for their photo album – even though they already paid for the book itself.
Andrew and Neely Moldovan got married in October.
"This is supposed to be the happiest day of our life and we just want our memories from it, you know,” Neely Moldovan said. “We just want the pictures."
Months before their wedding, they hired photographer Andrea Polito and paid her more than $6,000.
Among the items, the contract included a "40 page 8.5x12 Storybook Album with up to 80 images."
But when they went to order it this month, they said Polito told them they needed to order the album “cover” at an additional cost.
In a series of emails, the Moldovans wrote: "Do we pay extra for a cover? Is there not a standard cover it comes with?"
The response: "Your package includes the 40 pages & 80 images portion of the album, but we leave the album cover to be decided on when you actually order (it)..."
The cheapest cover is $150.
"We can pay the $150, but it's the principle,” Neely Moldovan said. “It's not the money to us. It's the principle of the fact we already paid you."
The contract doesn't mention anything about any additional charges for a cover.
"It just didn't make sense,” Andrew Moldovan said. “An album comes with a cover. It's a component of an album. It's a book."
Dallas wedding planner Donnie Brown, who has organized more than 3,000 weddings over 30 years, said he has never heard of a photographer charging extra for an album “cover.”
"Everything should be transparent and it should have been done up front,” he said. "If you put a proposal on the table and you say this is what it's going to cost you and these are the items you are going to get, that's what you need to do.”
The Moldovans said they also have not received a CD of their pictures, which was also part of their agreement.
In a series of emails the couple shared with NBC 5, the photographer told them unless they pay for the cover or "forfeit" the album, they can't get the disk either.
What's more, according to the emails, if the Moldovans don't do anything by Feb. 18, the photographer will "archive" their pictures. Retrieving them after that will cost another $250, according to the emails.
"It's heartbreaking because these are our memories,” Neely Moldovan said. “Our wedding was over three months ago."
In a statement to NBC 5, Polito said, “We make the utmost effort to consistently provide the best customer service and highest quality of photography in the industry.”
She said she was trying to work with the couple to resolve the issue and that the extra charge was clearly labeled in the order form.
Asked about the timetable and the couple’s claim that they were never told about the extra charge until after their wedding, Polito did not respond.