Customers of shuttered portrait studios hunt for photos



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Posted on April 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 11:20 AM

CEDAR HILL -- Since her daughter was born, Diane Asad has chronicled her child's life through pictures.

But the shots of the little girl at the age of three, which were captured in portraits about a month ago at the photo studio at the Walmart near Cedar Hill, ran into a negative development.

“I came back several times to pick them up, and there’s nobody answering,” Asad said.

She went to the studio inside the Walmart and found an apparently-abandoned storefront and sign expressing apologies for the closure.

CPI Corp., the portrait company which had set up shop in hundreds of Walmart and Sears stores nationwide, abruptly called it quits recently. The company’s website displays a simple statement, regretfully telling customers the business has shuttered.

“I feel like I got ripped off and screwed,” Asad complained, noting that she was left with a worthless club membership card for future portrait deals, which she said the studio in the Walmart store just sold to her a few weeks ago.

Walmart reports it is “working to help ensure our customers receive the photos they ordered [...] if we are not able to get the photos [...] we will refund the cost." Sears said it is now working to make sure the studio “upholds its end of the bargain with customers."

Thankfully for Diane Asad on Wednesday, after multiple tries, Walmart employees found the latest portraits of her daughter.

She hopes others will be as lucky.

Sears reports the closure of the portrait company shut down Sears Portrait Studio operations at 785 Sears stores. The retailer advises customers seeking portraits or refunds to ask for the manager on duty at any Sears location, or to call 1-800-549-4505.

Walmart reports “less than 20 percent” of its stores were affected by the shutdown of the portrait studios. Customers seeking pending portraits or refunds at Walmart are advised to go to the customer service center at Walmart with their receipts, or to call 1-800-WALMART.