How I Saved $1,925 By Picking Up The Phone!

by RJ

in Top Credit Cards

Happy 1st Birthday to Gen Y Wealth. One year ago, I began hitting the publish button. 123 posts later, I’m starting to build a legit blog and business. To celebrate, I have chosen to republish my 5 favorite posts this week. Enjoy!

Since I’m the luckiest man alive, I married the woman of my dreams on April 18, 2009.

We had a perfect wedding day. The Cubs won on a walk off home run, the Blackhawks won to advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs, and the Bulls beat the Celtics to take a 1-0 series lead. Not to mention, our wedding day and night exceeded our expectations

During the planning process we found ourselves a great photographer. His work was exactly what we were looking for. He had his own store, we found great reviews of him online, was local, and most importantly we could afford him.

The total package was around $4,000. The package included not only his services the day of the wedding but for him to produce 3 albums for us. Around September 1st 2008 we signed the contract and paid the photographer the entire down payment via Credit Card.

About a month before our wedding we started to get a little worried, when he sent us an email explaining to us why he choose no longer to have a store in town. He was going to work out of his home. This was easily understood, since around that time the economic outlook was not very bright.

Our Wedding Day

On the day of our wedding, our photographer showed up and did an amazing job. We couldn’t wait to see the pictures.

Once we returned home from our honeymoon, he had the pictures posted online. We were very happy with how the pictures turned out.

However, we started to have some communication problems. Calls were not returned. Emails had to be sent twice. We were a little concerned.

The Email

On October, 5 months after we were married, our photographer sent us an email letting us know he was filing for bankruptcy and he would not be able fulfilling the rest of his contract.

My first thought was to write a long nasty email back, telling him how disappointed we were.

My second thought was we needed to get the images. In his email he said he would be sending out the discs immediately.

After a few days, no DVD’s. About two weeks went by, and still no DVD’s. Instead of contacting him this time, we contacted his lawyer. We finally received the DVD’s about two days later.

Having the DVD’s gave us a big sense of relief. Even though we were out the money, at least we had our images.

The Refund

Now that we had the DVD’s, I wanted to see if we could get our money back. Luckily, I remembered that I paid the entire amount with my credit card in 2008, a Chase Freedom Rewards card.

After talking to a few different people at Chase, I was told to write in explaining what had happened.

I faxed in a copy of my credit card statement from September of 08, found online, the copy of the contract we had with the photographer with the itemized expenses because we had received a portion of the services, and an explanation of what had happened.

About a day after, I got a call from the Chase Fraud Department, asking for a little more information about our situation. The “detective” as I call her, was nice and sympathized with our situation.

Within 24 hours after speaking to the detective from Chase, we were refunded $1,925. All from just one phone call.

Our next step is finding a new photographer who can put together a nice album for us. Without the protection from Chase, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. We’re very lucky.

The Lessons

  1. It never hurts to ask – I thought there was a small chance of us getting any money back. Luckily, I asked.
  2. Use your credit card – As long as you can afford to pay it off each month, pay with your credit card. I would have had no protection if I paid with cash.
  3. Keep your contracts – Especially when dealing with small businesses, keep contracts until 100% of the services are performed.
  4. Keep your emotions in check – I could have easily panicked. I’m not sure if it made any difference, but if we would have asked for our money back from Chase before receiving the DVD’s, our photographer could have been inclined not to send us the DVD’s at all.


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Melissa VurdeljaNo Gravatar November 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

RJ that is so great you guys got your money back!! Lesson #1 is always my motto, I am glad that things worked out in such a messy situation. Can’t wait to see the wedding albums you guys can create now with the money back!

Walter LisNo Gravatar November 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Great lessons learned, thankfully with a happy ending.

Mrs. AccountabilityNo Gravatar November 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Wow, that is too bad the guy ended up having to back out on everything he promised. Great story though, and awesome that you thought to call your credit card company to see if anything could be done. Good job!

Mrs. AccountabilityNo Gravatar November 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

OH, and I meant to say I linked through from the Carnival of Money Stories at Gather Little by Little.

SabrinaNo Gravatar July 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

I admire your self-control. I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep myself from writing him that nasty letter. Oh, wait a second — maybe you did write him that letter … after you got your DVD? ;)

I’m glad everything turned out okay in the end.

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