Friday, September 24, 2010

WEDDING SUPPLIERS REVIEW: Great Image (GI)

Yeah, yeah, I know it's a little late to be writing this but I've actually been avoiding posting this entry for a number of reasons.  First of which was due to the good image (pardon the pun) of Great Image (GI) Photography.  I wanted them to prove their worth before posting my reactions. 

However, in light of recent events (of which I will painstakingly divulge in this entry), GI has given me no other choice but to express my extreme disatisfaction over the service I have been receiving from them in the hopes that other couples might learn a thing or two from our experiences.

I got married last January 2010.  And like all other couples planning for their big day, we, too, wanted to get a really good, relaiable photo/video supplier.  After browsing through the offerings, we finally decided on Great Image

For one thing, my married friends have always advised me to get a good P/V supplier to document our wedding.  And who better to get than a company who's been in the business for a number of years, right?  Rate be damned (as quoted from a friend)!  Get a good supplier for your photos and videos since this will last you a lifetime.

Second reason.  I've heard stories of fly-by-night operations, of couples who didn't get their money's worth on their P/V services, or simply didn't get their photos and videos at all.  And since P/V services would be taking up a big chunk of our wedding budget (we paid 40+K for our Great Image package; the second most expensive item on our supplier's list), we wanted to get one who was reliable and had a good solid reputation already.  Or so we thought.

Everything started out well.  We actually paid their full service fee in advance (if I remember correctly round 5 or 6 months before our wedding) so Great Image was the one supplier I thought I would not be having problems with.  But boy, was I wrong!

In a nutshell, I am SO DISAPPOINTED with the service we have thus received.  You read right!  Present tense!  Because after 8 months of being married, I am still not done coordinating with them regarding our albums, video and the other stuff!

Now comes the excruciating part.  Detailed below are the instances and events that have lead me to write this review:

1. If you're an OC bride who makes it a point to talk to all your suppliers, I suggest you NOT get Great Image.  I made it a point to talk to all our suppliers personally so they could get an idea of Hubby's and my personalities, etc.  The first photographer GI assigned to us to take our pre-nup photos did not contact us after numerous requests that he do so, did not even answer our texts or calls, and the worst part is, he would make a schedule to meet with us and he would not follow though!  They did saddle us up with another more reliable photographer, though.

2. I'm not much of a fan of some of the photos we got.  Call me crazy but I wanted a little ommph.  Not much hope in there.  The image quality was fine; but the creativity, lacking in a way.  We hoped to have gotten a little direction on this as both the Hubby and I aren't social butterflies.  But tough luck.  Just didn't pull through much.

3. On the wedding day itself, Great Image forgot our guestbook. As part of our package, a "glambook", or collection of our pre-nup shots, was to be given to us to be used as a guestbook.  Imagine our surprise when we found out they forgot it completely!  And this was after we had complied with all their stupid rules on ensuring that the book would be given on time.  I even had to ask Hubby, who is working in Singapore, to come to Manila unexpectedly in order for them to complete our pre-nup shots!  Apparently, and this I quote from our contact person at GI, it was the fault of their "Special Events" department that lead to this unfortunate incident.

To make matters worse, our GI account manager had the good (NOT!) sense to use our welcome board as the guestbook.  I had plans on framing that board.  Not only did they ruin our welcome sign, most of our guests were not even able to sign and write their well wishes given the limited space allowed for it (since its not really supposed to be used for that purpose).  Our Great Image account manager even had the nerve to offer the guestbook be delivered to us AFTER the wedding!  What's the use?!  Unless they could locate all my guests and have them sign it, right?  I declined the offer.

After all this pre- and actual wedding bruhaha, I thought everything would be alright.  Complaining about the missing guestbook resulted in GI upgrading our album and a promise to replace the welcome board that was ruined.  However as you can clearly see, 8 months into our marriage and we have yet to be presented a final draft of our album and video.  Why is that?  Well...

1. When they presented me with the CD of our wedding pictures (raw files), I found that it was missing a few pictures, most important of which was a picture of hubby, me, my parents and some principal sponsors posing in one of the VIP tables. 

Add to that we had around 15 damaged pictures that GI did not even know how they ended up that way.  These damaged pictures had discolored parts while some had lines running across the frame.  They were clearly corrupted, damaged files that the company could not longer restore to its original state, as they mentioned.

2. Immediately following the wedding, I wanted to make sure that all our albums, portraits and videos were given to me before I migrated to Singapore in September, a fact that I had made clear to our GI account manager and the rest of the Great Image team since I prefer to tie up all loose ends before leaving Manila.

In line with this, I made sure that I had given them my preferred shots, our song choices and any additional instructions in order to start the drafts of our video and album.  Two months after providing them with the needed information, I had yet to receive word from them that I could already view the initial drafts.  So after texting our account manager, I was promptly informed that the person who handled our chosen shots and letter of instructions regarding the album and video went AWOL on them and that they don't know where my file and instructions were!  In short, they did nothing in those 2 months!  And this I heard only after following them up!

Of course I got mad!  With only 2 months to go before I left for Singapore, our GI account manager made arrangements to have a certain preson from Special Events (apparently the Head of Special Events) in Great Image, talk to me and personally handle my account.  Well, you see where that got me.  I'm now in Singapore and have yet to see any tangible results on this. 

Recently, I requested my mom to call Great Image and follow-up (AGAIN) regarding our account.  Knowing how such superior (crappy) services I've been getting from our GI account manager, she decided to call Great Image's head office and complain there.

And now, I am once again coordinating with a certain Director of their Special Events department who has informed me that they are, once again, sorry for the service I've been receiving on their end.  Apparently, the Great Image head office was not aware of what happened to our account, which I actually find hard to believe since I have filed a complaint to their Customer Service department 2x and have even been informed by our GI account manager that she has raised this up to the proper authorities.

After all of these, Great Image has once again given us an additional product to apologize for the frustrations they've given us.  They have even offered to have our album, portraits (and these are 2 huge ones!), video and other items shipped to our place here in Singapore.  Heck!  If this keeps up, we might even be proud owners of a GI store soon.  Crap!

To cut the long story short, sorry, NOT SATISFIED. They're not worth the headache.  I am still praying that what happened to us is an isolated case.  No one should ever be subjected to this kind of service.  I have written this entry to show my frustrations on Great Image and in the hopes that couples out there would learn from our experiences.

P.S.  I dare anyone in Great Image to contradict everything I mentioned in this post.  I have kept all my correspondences with all of their people from the start.  Am now locating a lawyer to discuss the legal actions I will take against them if they could not send me all my promised items before the end of the year.

Will keep you posted.

***

UPDATE: As of September 2011

Yes.  After being married for almost 2 years now, I can finally close the book on this Great Image fiasco.  Here's a fun (NOT!) rundown of what happened since I posted this entry last September 2010.

1. Great Image FINALLY provided our albums, videos and frames last December 2010, almost a YEAR since we got married.  Yes, it took that long for them to do so.  I have to give them credit, though, for they did have the items personally delivered to our place in Cavite.  After everything, I wouldn't expect anything less.

2. You would think that the delivery of our albums and other paraphernalia would signal the end of it, but no, since in the middle of all of these arguments and whatnot, their "Director" of Special Events promised me an additional glambook free-of-charge.

Since I currently didn't have any need for it, I decided to give it to the Brother as a present for the Favorite Nephew.  So I transferred them over to the "Director" of Special Events to have it done.  They provided her with 20 shots of my nephew and was informed that a draft was to be sent in a few weeks' time.

Weeks turned into months until I came home to the Philippines to give birth and my brother told me that Great Image had yet to get back to them regarding the drafts.  So off I went again, called their head office and was informed that the "Director" of whom I had been dealing with had left the company already a few months back.

I could have left it at that, but I got fuming mad and wanted to teach them a lesson.  So I stuck to it and pestered them every week for months til they were able to deliver the promised guestbook, which they did deliver after I told them I already filed a complaint to DTI (which I did.)

A few days before we were to receive glambook at their MOA branch, their new "Director" of Special Events, called me and asked in a really nice manner if I could withdraw the complaint.  Apparently they just received the letter from DTI regarding my issue and as such, were being asked to explain their side already.  I told them I'll think about it but in the end, decided to continue with my complaint.

I did ask them why it took so long to provide us with the promised glambook.  Apparently, the old "Director" did not turn it over to her replacement hence they had to track her down to ask if what I was claiming was true.  So in short, it took Great Image 9 months and a letter of explanation to DTI before they finally realeased the promised glambook.  Talk about great service!

3.  In the middle of all of these waiting and arguments, our GI account manager also resigned from the company.  All these happened without having our issues resolved nor were we forwarded to another person who could complete our requests.

So what did I learn from all of these?  Well, for one thing, I learned that just because it's a well-known establishment, doesn't mean that they'll deliver good service.  At least now I know I won't be getting Great Image's service anymore.

I have heard from some couples that they had received good service from Great Image for their wedding.  I guess mine was a really bad, mixed-up nightmare.  I hope Great Image learns from this; to NEVER be as careless as they were when they handled our concerns.

You might be a fan of theirs, then good for you.  As for me, I'm NEVER getting them again for anything.

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