We recently purchased a mountain bike package on Groupon. When we went to cash it in, we were told by the company we booked from that there was an additional $30/bike fee that was not included as part of the package we purchased. We questioned it to which they replied that it was actually not a $15/bike fee. Part of the package was that they were to deliver the bikes to any trailhead in the Phoenix area we requested. When we told them what trailhead we wanted they attempted to dissuade us and instead only recommended trails near their location – no doubt to save them a drive. They chose not to answer or return three voicemails but instead only respond via e-mail.

The result of this charade was a cancellation, refund and a strong complaint filed with Groupon about the company. We were informed by Groupon that there were already several other complaints against this company.

This was a scenario where the company wanted the money but did not want to do the work they promised to earn the money.

I had another situation when I was sponsoring an event to find out after a contract was signed about a few dozen hidden charges that were never shared up front. Essentially it was a bait and switch.

In each instance we were baited with a great offer, then switched for a far less appealing one.

I heard about it constantly in relation to service providers in our industry such as photographers, makeup artists, graphic designers and the like. There is one promise but either that promise is not delivered or something entirely different is delivered.

The solution in these situations is to be an advocate for yourself and to other consumers. You as the consumer have a voice – why be shy about using it? By speaking up about bad services – you may not be able to undo your experience but you may be able to protect someone else.

Lastly – especially as a talent, encourage that the photographers you work with provide you, in writing, a list of what will be delivered to you in exchange for your payment. The more specific the better. This is how you can avoid being trapped by the bait and switch.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto