MILLBURY, Mass. — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has sued a Millbury video company, saying the business failed to deliver wedding videos to the couples who had ordered them.
“A wedding day is one of the happiest days in a person’s life,” Coakley said during a press conference Thursday in Boston. “Yet sadly, we allege that SureShot took advantage of dozens of newlyweds, robbing them of thousands of dollars and priceless memories. We are working to recover the videos and money lost by these couples, and to prevent this from happening again.”
SureShot, a videography business based in Millbury, never delivered the wedding videos it promised after receiving advanced payments totaling $75,000, Coakley said. The attorney general has also filed a temporary restraining order in Suffolk Superior Court that will prohibit SureShot owner Jesse Clark from soliciting or accepting future deposits for the videography business, freezes all of his assets and prevents him from destroying any records, including any footage taken of weddings.
Clark operated the business at the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley with his wife, Veronica Clark, and employee, Keith Morin. According to the complaint, customers paid between $800 to $2,000 each for their video package before their weddings, expecting to receive a short highlight video two days after their ceremony and an edited 90-minute DVD approximately two months after their wedding.
Clark had a laundry list of excuses for not fulfilling his side of the contract, Coakley said. Among them were claims that wedding footage was destroyed during Hurricane Irene, a power surge delayed production, and a back-ordered DVD case prevented delivery.
Clark demanded even more money from one client, requesting an additional $100 for a copy of the raw footage from their wedding and then failing to deliver. The attorney general's office has received more than 84 complaints from consumers who gave deposits or paid the defendants in full for wedding videos that were never delivered.
While many of Clark’s disgruntled customers took to business rating sites to report his practices, Clark responded, according to the complaint, by changing the name of his company first to Magnolia Films and then to InFocus Studios. Clark allegedly threatened to hold overdue wedding videos until customers removed their online reviews.
Millbury Police investigated SureShot in June, and Millbury Police Detective Nick Fortunato described Clark as "untruthful, deceitful and a very poor business owner."
Two of the alleged victims, Lauren and Ryan Baldner, who had hired SureShot to videotape their wedding last spring, were at Coakley's press conference.
“We checked them out online through a few sources before contacting them,” Lauren Baldner said. “We then called, emailed them and were told finally that they wouldn’t be videoing the wedding.”
At the last minute, a videographer showed up and filmed the entire wedding. All seemed well and the Baldners went on their honeymoon.
“When we landed, we saw that all these people on television with SureShot weren’t getting their videos,” Lauren Baldner said. The Baldners never received their video.
The suit seeks more than $75,000 in restitution, civil penalties, and the recovery of all existing event footage.
The attorney general's office also is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the defendants from accepting deposits for any type of business in Massachusetts, and to disclose the names of employees, customers and independent contractors they worked with through SureShot.
A hearing on Coakley's request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the defendants from accepting new business of any kind will be held on Jan. 17.