Gymnastics team says photographer left them hanging

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GILBERT, Ariz. - “I wish I did get them. They were pretty cool.”

Devon Smith has dreams of one day coaching an Olympic gymnastics team.

Until then, it’s baby steps and making memories Devon's mom Marchel wants to hold on to.

That's why she, and as many as 50 other parents on the USA Flairs Gymnastics team, paid Valley business AZ Sport Shots to take professional photos of their children.

“We did all kinds of poses,” Devon said.

Parent and co-president Lori Helton says it was AZ Sport Shots unique photography that won the team over.

“He was more expensive than most but we decided as a group that it was worth it,” Lori said.

Helton says AZ Sport Shots also sweetened the deal by promising to donate 40% of the profits back to the team.

She says it also promised to have the pictures ready by the holidays.

“A lot of the families were giving these as Christmas gifts,” Lori said.

But when December came and went, and the orders didn't arrive, parents began contacting owner Michael Campbell asking, "When we can expect to get the pictures?"

“And then at that point he just started saying that we'll have them within 10 days,” Marchel said. “That was the end of January.”

Since then, all parents say they've seen of their orders are photos posted on AZ Sport Shots website.

Lori says the company refuses to give them the pictures or a refund, so she emailed 3 On Your Side for help.

“nothing, we have nothing, nothing but pictures on his website that make us look like good customers and really what we are is very unhappy customers,” Lori said.

3 On your Side went to AZ Sport Shots business address which turned out to be a home in south Scottsdale.

In a statement, Campbell writes:

“AZ SPORT SHOTS, a local family business, has been involved in youth sports photography throughout Arizona for the past 6 years. In that time, we have gained a reputation for great customer service and providing superior quality photographic products to our customers in a timely and efficient manner.

In recent times however, the difficult economic times have taken their toll on us. Moreover, I personally suffered major health issues that have effectively put our business on hold for weeks to months at a time on several different occasions. To compound the situation some of our third party suppliers themselves have suffered the ill effects of this dire economy and have not always been able to fulfill their obligations to us in a timely manner. Nevertheless, we accept full responsibility for all of these problems.

We sincerely apologize to these organizations and individuals for these long delays but we can say with confidence that it is our intention to meet all of our obligations to our customers - along with added gift products for their generous patience - within the next 30-60 days.”

Parents say nine months is long enough.

They don't want to be left hanging any longer.