Bride wants to warn others of metro photographer who bailed at last minute, setting off frantic search

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- The day that Taylor Lathrom considers the best day of her life, didn’t start that way.

“My jaw hit the floor,” said Lathrom of Lee’s Summit, who was talking about the day she was married on August 12.

Just two hours before her wedding, Lathrom said she got a text message from her photographer informing her that the photographer wouldn’t be able to make the wedding because her car had broken down on the side of the road.

“ She (told me) she's on the phone with AAA,” Lathrom said. “I said my husband and his groomsmen are coming from that direction. They can pick you up.”

But her photographer declined the help, telling Lathrom she didn’t want to leave her car. Lathrom was devastated.

“I was holding back tears,” she said.

Although part of her wasn’t surprised that the photographer had bailed. Ever since Lathrom hired photographer Jenny Pizana of Jenny Benn Photography, there had been problems.

“I was supposed to get two photographers and a make-up and hair artist,” said Lathrom.

The total cost was $850, but that price turned out to be too good to be true. For starters, the make-up and hair artist wasn’t available when Lathrom tried to book her. But Pizana agreed to drop the price by $100, so Lathrom wasn’t worried.

Plus, previous customers appeared to be satisfied with the service.

“I looked up her page and she had five-star reviews,” Lathrom said. “All the comments were wonderful comments.”

For weeks photographer Pizana stayed in regular contact with Lathrom – although Pizana’s emails and text messages were always concerning the remaining balance of the bill owed to her – not about the wedding.

“She was sending me PayPal notices saying I needed to pay, I needed to pay -- about twice a week,” Lathrom said.

Lathrom and her now husband did pay on time – a week before the wedding. Lathrom didn’t hear from Pizana again until the morning she was to be married. The news wasn’t good.

“She said her second photographer canceled on her when she was going to pick her up,” Lathrom said.

Pizana told an upset Lathrom not to worry, she would shoot the wedding alone. Except, of course, she didn’t.

Two hours before Lathrom was to walk down the aisle, her entire family started frantically searching for a new photographer.

“I had my uncle, my aunt, my mom, my grandma, all three of my sisters,” Lathrom said.

Amazingly they found one. Lathrom even showed us a beautiful photo of her father walking her down the aisle that the last-minute photographer took. However, Lathrom can’t see the rest until she pays for them. That could be awhile because she’s still waiting on a refund from Pizana, of Jenny Benny Photography.

She’s starting to lose hope.

“She hasn't returned any of my phone calls, emails, text messages,” said Lathrom.

That’s why Lathrom called FOX 4 Problem Solvers. We paid a visit to Pizana’s last known address in Lee’s Summit. When no one answered the door, we tried to reach her by phone. She has yet to return our call.

The day we started looking into Jenny Benny Photograpy, Pizana took down the company’s Facebook page.

But there is good news. Lathrom paid the $750 Jenny Benny Photography bill with her debit card. Problem Solvers told her that she can file a fraud dispute with her bank to try and get her money back.

The bank is required to help her (under Regulation E), if it determines she was defrauded, and if the debit card purchase was made within the last 60 days.

Lathrom is hopeful she’ll get her money back, but wants to warn others not to their wedding day at risk with a photographer who she says can’t be trusted.