Glasser Images, which is based in Bismarck but serves customers in Minnesota, will not offer refunds without warning after it closes.
MINNEAPOLIS – A Bismarck-based photography company that does extensive business in Minnesota is under investigation by the North Dakota Attorney General after it abruptly shut down this week without offering refunds.
Glasser Images had been the subject of 172 official complaints by Friday evening, according to a prosecutor general’s office spokesman.
Although that spokesperson did not specify where these complaints came from, it appears to have had an impact on many Minnesota customers, including Zach Lucas and his fiancée Hannah. After Lucas set a wedding date in December 2021, Lucas said they paid $ 4,293 in full this spring and worked with a local photographer as a subcontractor.
The subcontractor informed them on Thursday that Glasser Images had decided to close without warning – and that no one would get their money back.
“My first thought was, it can’t be real. Complete shock,” said Lucas. “The more we searched and searched for it, the worse it got. That didn’t help us sleep at all last night.”
By Friday evening, more than 1,000 people had joined a Facebook group called “HoldGlasserAccountable” and had one complaint after another about the loss of thousands of dollars. The administrators of the site included Lucas, as well as other Minnesotans from cities like Rosemount and Mankato.
“We currently have $ 2,200.00 off,” one member wrote late Thursday, desperately looking for a new wedding photographer. “Of course I will dispute the fees with my bank, but if I get this message at midnight, I will feel helpless.”
Tim O’Keeffe, a lawyer representing Glasser Images, told KARE 11 on Friday night that owner Jack Glasser “feels awful for all of these people”. According to O’Keeffe, Glasser wants to find a way to “do everything we can” to help customers, but it appears he doesn’t have the money at this point to offer refunds.
In an official media statement, Glasser said: “We cannot apologize enough.”
“We’ve been in business for 16 years and by the time the Covid-19 outbreak we were successful and growing, but then things changed drastically,” Glasser said. “We turned around and made changes, but we just couldn’t keep up with our running costs, debt payments, salaries, rent and other business expenses. These factors have caused irreparable damage to the company and forced us to make this decision quickly. Our doors are extremely heartbreaking to me. “
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Bao Vang, vice president of communications for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, said her organization received 10 complaints about Glasser Images on Friday. Although she said she did not think this was any malice on the part of Glasser Images, she urged people to file complaints with BBB and the Attorney General.
“This is a moment for us as consumers to be empathetic and see it from a business perspective,” said Vang. “There are creative solutions for anyone who feels they are winning in this situation.”
Vang suggested that customers challenge the charge with their credit card company for a refund.
In fact, Zach Lucas and his fiancée Hannah received their refund on Thursday afternoon.
“Unfortunately we get a lot of notes on our (Facebook) page that a lot of people don’t get the same help from the bank that we got,” said Lucas. “With COVID and everything else, it’s just not a good time for someone to do that.”
Glasser Images’ attorney said the North Dakota attorney general did not contact him until Friday night.
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