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MINNEAPOLIS — A Bismarck-based photography company, which does a lot of business in Minnesota, is under investigation by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office after it abruptly closed this week without offering any refunds.
Glasser Images has been the subject of 172 official complaints as of Friday evening, according to a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office.
Although that spokesperson did not specify where those complaints came from, it appears to have impacted many Minnesota customers, including Zach Lucas and his fiancée Hannah. After setting a December 2021 wedding date, Lucas said they paid $4,293 dollars in full this spring, working with a local photographer as the subcontractor.
That subcontractor informed them on Thursday that Glasser Images had decided to close without warning — and that nobody would be getting their money back.
“My first thought was, this can’t be real. Complete shock,” Lucas said. “The more we were looking it up and searching, the worse it got. That did not help our ability to sleep last night at all.”
New today: The North Dakota Attorney General's Office reports 172 complaints against Bismarck-based photography company "Glasser Images," after it abruptly shut down without refunds.
The company does weddings in Minnesota, and couples here have been caught up in it. @KARE11 pic.twitter.com/2ExR5Sy1CM
By Friday evening, more than 1,000 people had joined a “HoldGlasserAccountable” Facebook group, airing complaint after complaint about the thousands of dollars they were losing. Administrators for the page included Lucas, as well as other Minnesotans from towns like Rosemount and Mankato.
“We are currently out $2200.00,” one member wrote late Thursday in a desperate search for a new wedding photographer. “Of course I will dispute the charges with my bank, but getting this news at midnight leaves me feeling helpless.”
Tim O’Keeffe, an attorney representing Glasser Images, told KARE 11 on Friday night that owner Jack Glasser “feels terrible for all these people.” According to O’Keeffe, Glasser wishes to find a way to “do everything we can” to help customers, but it does not appear he has 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 up until Covid-19 hit, we were successful and growing, but then things drastically changed for the worse,” Glasser said. “We pivoted and made changes, but simply couldn’t keep up with our ongoing costs, debt repayment, salaries, rent and other business expenses. These factors have caused irreparable damage to the business and has forced us to make this decision rapidly. Closing our doors is extremely heart wrenching for me.”
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Bao Vang, the Vice President of Communications for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, said her organization received 10 complaints Friday about Glasser Images. Although she said she does not believe this was a case of maliciousness on the part of Glasser Images, she urged people to file complaints with BBB and the attorney general.
“This is a moment for us to be empathetic as consumers, and also see it from the business perspective as well,” Vang said. “There are creative solutions for everyone to feel like they are winning in this situation.”
Vang suggested customers dispute the charge with their credit card company to receive reimbursement.
In fact, that’s how Zach Lucas and his fiancée Hannah got their refund on Thursday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, we’re getting a lot of notes on our (Facebook) page about a lot of people not getting the same help from the bank that we got,” Lucas said. “With COVID and everything else, it’s just not a good time for anyone to do anything like this.”
The attorney for Glasser Images said the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office had not contacted him as of Friday evening.
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