TL;DR

Who: French Toast Productions

What: Poor service recovery, lost customer's photos and videos

Production Company Loses Photos and Videos of Newlyweds, Twice

Memories of once-in-a-lifetime milestone event gone with the "virus".

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost cover
Published:   |   Updated:   |   Posted in ,

A wedding is one of those important life events that will not have a second take. Unfortunately, for a pair of newlyweds, their beautiful first take will never be recovered.

The worst nightmare of every couple befell Domenica Tan and Goh Wei Hao when they engaged the services of creative production company French Toast Productions to document their wedding. The couple got a package consisting of an overseas photoshoot in Hokkaido, a photo and video shoot of their local wedding banquet and a golden hour local photo and video shoot at Coney Island. According to Tan, French Toast Production has been nothing but disappointing.

Editor’s note: Skip the screenshots if you just want the gist.

Tan begins her post expressing regret and disappointment.

We apologise that we will not be able to share a majority of the table photos which were taken during the wedding banquet, as a result of the failure of the photography company we engaged, French Toast Productions. It is very disappointing that you will not have photos as keepsake of our wedding, especially to those who had travelled far and wide just to be with us on our wedding day.

She acknowledged that the company does great work, but her experience were far from expectations.

To start, we must acknowledge that there are successfully delivered photographs that were decent, but even these could not make up for the team’s repeated mistakes and poor attitude towards us.

4 strikes

Tan went on to list down the company’s points of failure.

Strike 1

Shawn Yip, one of the members of the production team, realised that the price of $3,500 that he quoted the couple was not enough for him and the makeup artist.

Shawn Yip, one of the members of the production team, realised that the price of $3,500 that he quoted the couple was not enough for him and the makeup artist. According to Yip, after deducting $2000 for photography and makeup services, $1500 could not cover flight and accommodation.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 4

Yip went on a defence which Tan felt it sounded rude, but eventually, Yip apologised. The couple decided to help the team out by paying for their two-night stay in Sapporo.

The couple decided to help the team out by paying for their two-night stay in Sapporo.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 11

Strike 2

The couple was promised fifty pieces of photos, but Yip revised it to thirty, claiming that he informed one of the newlywed. Yip decided to honour the contract.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 12

Strike 3

Jonathan Han, the videographer for the local golden hour shoot, wrote a message of apology to the couple, saying that he had lost the footage and is unable to retrieve it after several failed attempts.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 13french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 14

Tan kept her cool, expressing her understanding, but also her frustrations with the hiccups that had been happening. Han proposed a reshoot at Coney Island, but Tan counter-proposed that the replacement shoot to be the banquet shoot, and the paid fees to be refunded. She also warned the company not to mess up again. Both parties reached an agreement.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 15 french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 16

Strike 4

Six weeks after the banquet, Tan received a link to download her banquet photos. But to her horror, French Toast lost their photos, again.

But that’s not the end. Six weeks after the banquet, Tan received a link to download her banquet photos. But to her horror, French Toast lost their photos, again.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost 23

Halfway through the conversation, Yip jumped in and made the darndest statement:

I wouldn’t state this as the second time that we fail on [sic] you guys, we did our best and we over deliver [sic] above our own capabilities.

Han offered to do a baby shoot for free as a form of compensation, which Tan felt was presumptious.

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In their text message exchange, Goh also revealed that he caught three out of the four-man crew slacking on the job –

We as customers have to guide you as chief photog[rapher], literally asking your team to wake up and do your job – 1 was editing the video, 1 was playing hp [handphone], the founder and assistant was found sleeping.

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Yip and Han went on to defend themselves, stating that a virus had wiped their data, and they have exhausted all avenues to recover the photos.

While I do apologies [sic] for causing the animosity caused [sic], I would like to remind you that no amount of shaming/scolding or rudeness can help bring back the lost photos.

At some points, Yip and Han also interpreted Goh’s communication as rude and shaming. Han said:

While I do apologies [sic] for causing the animosity caused [sic], I would like to remind you that no amount of shaming/scolding or rudeness can help bring back the lost photos.

Tan’s collection of screenshots ended with Goh giving the company an ultimatum.

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Testimonies. Bad ones

One comment came from a member of the bridal party who witnessed the unprofessionalism of the team first-hand.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost experience 1

Another one seems to be the driver for the production team for the same wedding.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost experience 1

Baby shoot compensation presumptious

Some commenters agreed with Tan that French Toast’s assumption that the couple wants to have kids and engage their services further is ridiculous.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost baby

Couple lauded for their patience

There were people admiring the way the newlyweds handled the situation.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost patience

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost patience 2

Photographer gives advice

One photographer talked about how he handles data.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost photographer

French Toast Productions Facebook page ratings went down

Over the course of the day, the company’s Facebook page rating fell from above four stars to 2.1 at the point of writing. Many reviews expressed dismay in the way the company handled Tan’s case.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost photographer review

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost photographer 1

Still worth recommending

“Very very bad review and I think I’ll recommend this company to my enemies.”

But at least one person still highly recommends the company after reading Tan’s ordeal.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost review 2

Here’s the original post:

In case you can’t see it:

To Family and Friends who attended the wedding celebration of Wei Hao & I:

We apologise that we will not be able to share a majority of the table photos which were taken during the wedding banquet, as a result of the failure of the photography company we engaged, French Toast Productions. It is very disappointing that you will not have photos as keepsake of our wedding, especially to those who had travelled far and wide just to be with us on our wedding day.

Here, we would like to share our negative experiences about French Toast Production, and warn other couples to be wary if you are considering their services.

To start, we must acknowledge that there are successfully delivered photographs that were decent, but even these could not make up for the team’s repeated mistakes and poor attitude towards us.

We engaged photographer and videographer Shawn Yip Chee Keong and Jonathan Han after chancing upon their firm’s Instagram page – @frenchttoast.

We first engaged their services in late 2017 for actual day photography and videography, and an overseas photoshoot in Hokkaido, which came as a promotional package that was offered to us along with a golden hour local photo and video shoot.

After discussion about terms of agreement – where both parties were agreeable on price and deliverables – we signed the contract in late 2017.

We went for our golden hour shoots in the first half of 2018 at Coney Island, and during the shoot everything went smoothly, and we decided to engage the team for our ROM photo and video shoots too (this was to happen in October 2018).

Strike #1

Then, leading up to the Hokkaido trip (which happened in July 2018), when Shawn was due to purchase air flight tickets (which he had contractually agreed to purchase on his own accord as the price we had committed included his and our make-up artist’s flights and accommodation), he suddenly told us that he had misquoted us; he basically panicked after checking flight prices. This came to light to us, that he had not done sufficient market research before quoting and committing the prices to his clients. On top of that, he accused us of not informing him of the location we were flying to, which we had mentioned several times — during meet-ups, over tele-conversations, on WhatsApp and even a detailed plan was done and sent to him via e-mail about our suggested shoot locations.

After a string of accusatory WhatsApp messages from him — where he had communicated rudely, and insinuated that we were to blame for his mistake — he wanted to withdraw from the contract. Shortly after, he then acknowledged that it was his fault and that he would like to proceed as planned.

Wei Hao and I, in view of the situation and in wanting to maintain a working relationship as we had already engaged French Toast Productions services, offered out of goodwill, to cover their (Shawn and make-up artist) hotel accommodation costs for this trip, which they accepted. The trip went smoothly as planned.

Strike #2

Then, when it was time for delivery of the overseas shoot pictures in hard copy (which in contractual agreement was 50 pieces to be delivered in a wooden memento box), he suddenly told us that he would reduce the number to 30, without informing us beforehand. Again, he assumed he had mentioned to us about the change, which he did not. Only after further questioning, did he decide to abide by the contractual agreement of 50 pieces.

Strike #3

Then, in early October 2018, a long WhatsApp message was sent to us by Jonathan (videographer at French Toast Production), informing us that video footages of our local shoot at Coney Island had all disappeared.

We were so disappointed. Jonathan was sincere in trying to rectify the failure and as compensation, offered a refund of the overseas hotel accommodation cost, and agreed to shoot our ROM video in replacement of the lost footages.

We let the matter rest after we came to a mutual agreement; it was also too late to look for a replacement photographer and videographer as our wedding banquet was just two months away.

The team promised that similar mistakes will not happen again, in view that our wedding banquet was nearing. They assured us that they “will spare no cost” to ensure that they deliver without failure.

Unfortunately, this was NOT the case.

And that led to, Strike #4

On 19 Jan 2019, 6 weeks after our wedding banquet (the contractually agreed date of photo and video delivery), we received our photos and videos via a Google drive link sent to our emails. Along with it was a message informing us that some of our photos were corrupted and cannot be delivered.

We found out after going through the set of photographs that we were missing a significant bulk of the table shots we had taken with all our guests (more than 80% of the table photo shots were missing!).

What followed was even more ridiculous, with Shawn denying that this mistake was a failure on his part, repeatedly mentioning that it was a virus that had attacked the files.

We were appalled by Shawn’s bad service recovery and rude replies. We even tried many ways to ask if he would seek professional help to assist with retrieving the lost photographs, but he had seemed to stop trying.

Despite our repeated asking for further possible solutions, we were flatly told that nothing could be done to recover the images and that the software he had used didn’t work. This just left us with more frustration and exasperation, especially since Shawn’s service attitude has been very unsatisfactory, with many of his replies very curt and insincere.

As a result, a good part of photographs with all our guests, are missing and irrecoverable (according to Shawn from French Toast Production).

Even when we suggested to engage an external company in attempt to recover the photographs, he was unwilling to try and said that our suggestion was unreliable and continued to harp on the point that nothing could be done, claiming that he had already exhausted all options — how is it exhausting all options if he doesn’t wish to try another alternative? Neither did he offer any other recovery company options after shooting our suggestion down, and rather easily conclude time after time that nothing else could be done.

French Toast Production’s failure to deliver on this once-in-a-lifetime event has left us at a loss as photo memories of our wedding day, which were supposed to be captured, have not been delivered in entirety, and this event can never be recreated.

The least we would expect is a fair compensation after all these mistakes French Toast Production had made. But instead, we got an offer for a baby photo shoot, which:
1) is a gross assumption of what married life is.
2) means we have to wait for however long we decide to have a baby, before we can get a compensation?

Also, why would we continue to entrust another milestone photo/video shoot with this company again after they have failed us so many times? It just wouldn’t make sense, would it?

What made it worse was Shawn’s continuous defensive replies; they were often curt, and many times he insinuated that we were being difficult. We tried hard to stay calm and rational throughout our conversation, but if your wedding photographer only notified you of this failure on the date of delivery (and wouldn’t even admit it was a failure on his part), would you be?

I believe there are clients of French Toast Productions who have suffered the same plight, as Shawn did mention that there were footages of other clients, which were lost too.

I hope that with us sharing this experience, no one else would have to go through the trauma of losing pre-wedding and wedding footages like we did.

Update

French Toast Productions posted a statement on their Facebook page:

In case you can’t see it, here is their statement in full:

French Toast Productions would like to apologise in view of the recent feedback by our clients Domenica and Wei Hao.

We are in touch with the couple to resolve the matter in the best way. We recognise the failure on our part and deeply regret that we could have handled this better. We truly believe in what we do and still aspire to meet our commitments ahead for all the couples who have signed with us. We are devastated that things have come to this juncture and are trying our best to improve the situation.

This is a matter of utmost importance to the company and we recognize the matters which we should improve on. Rest assured that we will work on improving our processes and service quality to ensure this does not happen again.

We have also tried to reconnect with the couple in a discussion to resolve the issue in the best way possible.

We at Frenchttoast would like to take a moment to thank all our clients past and present for entrusting us on your special day. We have never and will never take this trust for granted and do all we can to maintain it.

Thank you for letting us be part of your journey and helping us find inspiration to keep pressing on. You have kept us going and we are thankful for every step we get to take on this journey.

We realise that a fuller explanation is due and are working on it asap.

Meanwhile, we seek your understanding and would appreciate if you could give us some time to work with the couple and those affected.

Update 2

Sources pointed out that French Toast Productions’ ACRA record reflects their business status as “cancellation in progress”.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost ACRA

An independent search by SBO found that their status is “live” as at 16th February, 12.20pm.

french toast productions wedding photos videos lost ACRA live

French Toast Productions responded to SBO’s queries and denied any attempts to dissolve or “cancel” the business. They also declined to disclose how many of its customers were affected on grounds of privacy.

Screenshots from Domenica Tan’s post. Emphasis ours.

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