Studio ‘fee’ has seniors riled
September 15, 2010
Filed under News
Despite warnings from the school and a clearly defined contract, a photography studio has been falsely telling seniors that they needed to purchase a photo package to be included in the Tomball High School yearbook, according to several seniors.
Senior portraits for the yearbook have always been free, and the contract Prestige Portraits has with the school district clearly states that senior photos are free to the student.
Prestige is owned by LifeTouch Photos, which has the contract to take student ID photos at the high school as well. In addition, many students do purchase extra photos when they get senior photos taken.
School administrators say they had reports of students going to studio in August, but other students have reported hearing they had to buy a package for yearbook photos as recently as two weeks ago.
“They said it would be a $20 sitting fee, and I told him no, it’s not,” said Justin Clarabut, who is on the yearbook staff. “He got an attitude and kept trying to argue. I haven’t been back.”
Even the editor of the yearbook editor was told there would be a fee.
“When I went in to take my yearbook picture, they tried charging me $20 when I obviously knew it was supposed to be free,” Rebecca Whiteman said. “I told them no, and after 10 minutes they let me go take the picture.”
The concern, of course, is that most seniors won’t know that the photo is supposed to be free, and may either pay an unnecessary fee or decide to skip the photo.
Tomball has more than 700 seniors. Last year, about 150 seniors skipped having their senior portrait done. If faced with a fee, there could be hundreds more this year.
When contacted by the Cougar Claw, a Prestige manager said they have had no complaints and that any unhappy clients will be dealt with on an individual basis. She did note that Prestige is aware that the senior portraits are free, and additional photo packages are optional, and not presented as mandatory.
In a meeting with administrators, studio managers said they believe some seniors were confused about what they were ordering. They noted that the “cap and gown” photo is not the yearbook shot, and students who came in and asked for “cap and gown” shots were the ones who were charged for the sitting and prints.
If you have been charged for your senior portrait and want to ask for a refund, contact Prestige Portraits at 281-897-8300.
EDITORIAL: Prestige should do the right thing