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Buyer Beware: disposable cameras

(Columbia) Feb. 5, 2003 - Weddings can cost a lot, from flowers to clothes, food to pictures, but some couples turning to disposable cameras for candid pictures are finding out their cash and pictures end up gone in a flash without pictures of special memories

Rich and Sharon Burgoine were planning their wedding, "The cheapest photographer we found was like $1600, so we tried to cut the cost down a little." They tried to save money by passing on a professional photographer and using disposable cameras.

Rich says, "Everybody had a good time, but there were people complaining that a lot of the flashes weren't working."

When the pictures were processed, Sharon says even more problems developed, "When I saw the bad pictures, I cried. I mean, we did seven, eight months of planning for this wedding."

The Burgoines say the reason for blurred and double exposed pictures was expired film. Sharon says the camera "had black permanent marker covering the expiration dates of these film."

Some cameras appear to be new, but underneath the pretty packaging are just re-loaded versions of the original; cameras once used and bought by re-loaders, essentially middle-men who stick film back in the case and put it back on the market.

Recently Fuji won a lawsuit against Jazz Photo, one of the biggest reloaders out there. Jazz plans to appeal.

For newlyweds Rich and Sharon the honeymoon was over, and by the time they found out about reloaded cameras the damage was done. Sharon says, "There were memories of that wedding that I would love to have pictures of. ... There are none."

The president of Jazz Photo points out the $25 million verdict could still be modified by the judge in this case. Jazz has said in the past it provides a quality product at a bargain price and has sold "millions" through its relationship with major retailers.

by Judi Gatson

posted 6:00pm by Chris Rees

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