Ab
Master October 2011

Let's list vendor red flags.

Ab, on August 7, 2011 at 11:37 PM Posted in Planning 0 20
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So that other post about the shady photog made me realize we haven't had a post in awhile listing out warning signs..I know when us brides start planning our excitement tends to take over! I'd hate to see any of our WWers get duped! So here are a list of red flags to watch out for, feel free to add more! :-)

*go with your instinct

*If you feel pressured, run!

*do your homework, if you find other bad reviews, find another vendor

*compare that vendor to other vendors. shopping around is so important!

*if prices don't seem to match talent, find someone else

*saying you can just sign a contract later (and first asking for a down payment)..sprint!!

Some of these are def common sense, but there are some suave people out there..this isn't meant to scare anyone, the majority of vendors aren't con artists..but it's always better to be safer than sorry! :-)

20 Comments

Latest activity by Karen Guyt, on August 8, 2011 at 9:04 PM
  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·
    • Flag

    Here are a few more

    *When there is no address or contact information on the site.

    *When you cannot find ANY reviews at all, anywhere

    *When all the reviews are from the company's site

    *Better price does not mean better service. It is often a reason why their prices are so low!!!!

    *Make sure you "click" with vendors! You will have to deal with them this entire process and you want it to be pleasant.

    All of my issues have come from not listening to your first and my last bullet! My gut told me no on two occasions and I did not listen. I wanted to give people a chance (the Social Worker in me I guess) but I would have saved about $800 if I had gone with my gut!

    • Reply
  • JJ
    VIP October 2011
    JJ ·
    • Flag

    They return your phone calls at odd hours and slam other professionals in their field.

    • Reply
  • Mrs. S™
    Master October 2011
    Mrs. S™ ·
    • Flag

    If the vendor is unfamiliar with all necessary documentation and permits to conduct their business. This is also fairly common sense, but!

    For example, DC requires a permit to do commercial (anything you pay for) photo shoot around the monuments. If you don't have it, the park ranger will ask you to leave. A few photographers we talked to were unfamiliar with it, and got defensive when we asked them about it. One even tried to convince me it's not true.

    So do your homework, and if they don't know the answer or are defensive about it, move on.

    • Reply
  • Matt Potvin
    Matt Potvin ·
    • Flag

    Of course everything Brian said.

    @Sanja - that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't legit. However the reaction is inexcusable. If they aren't aware of it, they should say, "Thanks for the information, I'll have to research that and get the permits if necessary." I wasn't aware of that.

    1. If they ask YOU to carry insurance to cover THEM.

    2. Vendor isn't registered in their home state as a legitimate business.

    3. In the case of photography, there are a lot of red flags. Inadequate gear, look at photos (easily stolen, shot in full auto, are they all staged shots from models?), pricing model - too low.

    4. References - dicey subject. Most people won't give them due to confidentiality, but there should be some reassurance (although I have several that don't care and say feel free to have people contact us).

    5. Their day job is as a used car salesman. JK!

    • Reply
  • Melissa
    Devoted June 2012
    Melissa ·
    • Flag

    If they will bad mouth other couples - run!

    We had a meeting yesterday with a vendor who not only trash talked other vendors in their field (not by name, just generalizations), they trash talked couples who purchased lower packages in an effort to save money and not shell out a down payment on a car for their services... I understand everyone feels their services are superior, but still.

    Also, don't base any decision only on online reviews - the one we met with had awesome reviews and a ton of them.

    I think FH is scarred after that appointment.

    • Reply
  • Shannon S.
    Master March 2011
    Shannon S. ·
    • Flag

    If their "portfolio" is a bunch of images pirated from Google.

    If the advice they give is dramatically opposite from the advice given by other vendors in the field ("Buy a dress from China and your photographer from Craigslist!").

    If you question their legitimacy and they become hostile and defensive.

    • Reply
  • jennifer
    Dedicated April 2012
    jennifer ·
    • Flag

    We called a venue one day to ask if we could come in to look at the place, and instead they suggested they mail me the price list and if i'm interested, I can come. I suggested they email it to me so I can see sooner rather than wait for the mail. They told me they didnt do that because the price list is "too confusing"...WHAT is the difference if i look at it on paper or on email?! They SHOULD have had me come in so they could explain it to me and show me the place first! They ended up closing down a few months later. I wonder why!

    • Reply
  • digiscrappy
    Super July 2010
    digiscrappy ·
    • Flag

    If a vendor plays bait & switch. I had a vendor who:

    1. Claimed that he & his wife were the only photographers, and led me believe in our communications (all email, due to distance) that one of them would photograph our wedding. When we finally met two days before the wedding - and I had to force that meeting because I hadn't heard again from the photographers at all once I emailed to let them know I was in town, we were informed that one of their assistants would be photographing the wedding. We couldn't see her portfolio, didn't meet her until she showed up at the house where I was getting ready to start shooting the prep process.

    2. Claimed that they only did ONE wedding per day - HUGE lie. As our wedding was ending - guess who showed up to shoot the wedding after ours? The husband and wife team (the owners).

    Both of those items are still on their website.

    And while I'm mentioning it - Many thanks go to Brian Cesario and to Steph of EmInDee Photography for helping me stay sane.

    • Reply
  • digiscrappy
    Super July 2010
    digiscrappy ·
    • Flag

    Also... hair stylists who are an hour late for their hair trial because they overslept. Do the hair trial plenty early so you can switch, if you have to. I wasn't able to, but thankfully it all worked out the morning of the wedding.

    I'd also had a MUA flake out on me, didn't show for the trial, then cancelled a week later because she decided to go on vacation. Thanks, in that situation , also go to Steph of EmInDee. Steph wasn't one of my vendors at all, but she was an incredible help to me. She researched MUA in the area for me (she was a couple cities away) and put me in touch with one who did a fantastic job.

    Now that I think of it, maybe I should fly to FL to have Steph do boudoir photos for me for next year's anniversary present. ;-)

    • Reply
  • Karen Guyt
    Karen Guyt ·
    • Flag

    Vendors who insist that "they've always done it this way" who won't even listen to your ideas and discuss the merits & pitfalls.

    Vendors who are inflexible with things that should be flexible (like length of table cloths or floor plans.)

    • Reply
  • digiscrappy
    Super July 2010
    digiscrappy ·
    • Flag

    @studio-g-occasions: I had that problem with my photography "team," too. I put together a list of my "must-have" shots and they dismissed them out of hand, claiming that they were standards that they always take. And then my bait-and-switch photographer didn't take most of them. I mean, come on, she didn't get clear shots of the ring exchange? The shot of the ring being placed on my husband's hand is too far away. You can't at all see him placing the ring on my hand. How does that get missed?

    • Reply
  • Karen Guyt
    Karen Guyt ·
    • Flag

    Well, sometimes they are prevented from getting close enough by the officiant (some don't want the ceremony being disrupted & don't allow the photographer to be within a certain distance) or the shot can be and often is blocked. Yours likely just ignored your list & didn't get it, based on your comments.

    My feeling is yes, some things are done a certain way for a reason, BUT if y they can't think of that reason and there is no reason that athe new idea can't be used, then new can be good.

    • Reply
  • Carlos Molina
    Carlos Molina ·
    • Flag

    In my experience, the majority of vendors I've dealt with have been top-notch professionals... but it always pays to check them out. Here are some suggestions for hiring a DJ specifically. Some stated before, some not quite the same way.

    1) Research online, confirm in person. Meet at least three of each type of vendor IN PERSON.

    2) Listen: does your vendor speak about the HOW or the WHAT? Does your vendor listen to what you want? does he genuinely care about your wedding or does s/he just want to make a buck?

    3) Is your vendor legitimate? does s/he have a business license? insurance? tax ID?

    4) Can your vendor show you some samples of his/her work... and/or do some sort of mockup?

    5) Can you see/review their contract before you sign/offer a deposit?

    6) Does your vendor have experience working at your venue?

    7) Ask: What are some of the most difficult challenges you've ever had at a wedding?

    8) Ask: Can you tell me about your favorite wedding?

    9) Why should I hire you?

    • Reply
  • digiscrappy
    Super July 2010
    digiscrappy ·
    • Flag

    @studio-g-occasions: Yes, in this case, there were no restrictions by the church or the pastor - there was no videography being done, so the photographer shouldn't have had any excuse for a blocked shot.

    • Reply
  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    I would also caution against yelp; it's a real melee with no qualification of the reviewers. BBB is no better; lots of reports lately about how they are very much pay for play.

    Which brings up another of my faves. Don't assume that because your vendor is referred by your venue that it's because they are actually 'preferred'. They might have just paid to be on their list or website. It's a good question to ask of BOTH the venue and the vendor. It doesn't make them necessarily unworthy, but it does shed a little light on just how 'preferred' they are.

    If they are boring and uninterested on the first call, they will NOT get any better.

    • Reply
  • Karen Guyt
    Karen Guyt ·
    • Flag

    Good point Celia. I know that a popular venue near me has a pay to play preferred list for caterers. Word of mouth is the best source for referrals imo

    • Reply

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