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A Maspeth bridal photography and video service that bilked customers out of thousands of dollars will be forced to repay them, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Queens Bridal Center, which operated locations at 60-16 Fresh Pond Road in Maspeth as well as Mineola, Lindenhurst and Elmont on Long Island, shut down in 2007 after declaring bankruptcy, leaving many customers without the photos, videos and other services they had paid for.
In some instances, the company, knowing it was going bankrupt, continued to require customers to make large deposits for services it never intended to provide, Cuomo said.
“This is a story of wedding dreams turned into a planning nightmare,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This company promised wedding photos, videos and other services, but ended up taking thousands of dollars from couples who were left scrambling to get photos and albums of their special day. Even on the day they closed down, they continued to deceive customers who paid for their services.”
Cuomo’s office began investigating Queens Bridal Center after the office received hundreds of complaints from consumers. Through a subsequent agreement settling the case, the company is paying $250,000 in restitution to affected consumers and $75,000 in penalties, fees and costs to the state. Cuomo also permanently banned the owners of Queens Bridal Center from providing photography and videography services unless they file a $100,000 performance bond with his office.
Owners Beth, Glen and Mark Ullo and Jack Simon shut down the four studios and declared bankruptcy in late 2007. The company required large deposits from customers and failed to complete work for 550 paid customers, Cuomo said. In one case, the company accepted a $564 payment the same day the business shut down and some customers’ checks were cashed even after the company had already gone out of business, Cuomo said.
Some of the 550 customers had their materials completed by another studio that agreed to take on Queens Bridal Center jobs at wholesale prices, while other couples were able to retrieve their raw video footage. Customers who paid for services for weddings taking place after the company shut down may receive restitution.
Cuomo asked customers whose problems with the company remain unresolved to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office by Nov. 5 in order to be eligible for restitution.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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