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Photography Question 
Brent L. Savage

Rip Off!!

In November 2005 I paid over $120.00 for 2 books from international library of photography.
It's been almost a year, I've received no books and can't find a way to get a refund.
Can anyone help me?
Thank you,

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9/4/2006 7:05:35 PM

Danielle E. Rutter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2006
  Do a search for International Library of Photographers on this site and you'll find about a thousand responses.

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9/4/2006 8:08:08 PM

Bill J. Dabovich   If you'd like to read more info on the ILP or refer to these Better Photo forums:
My name is Bill Dabovich and I, too, have been taken advantage of, and Iíd like to take these guys down. Iím actively working with several other BP users to gather as much information on these guys as possible. ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE EFFORT OR LEND A HELPING HAND IS ENCOURAGED TO EMAIL ME AT We need as many people as we can get, ďStrength in numbers!!!Ē Yes, itís great to be able to get your money back and forget that such a thing ever happened, but for those of you whoíd like to help out those who are uninformed about the clever people at or (who actually operate under 13+ company names and websites), I IMPLORE you to email me and join in taking these people out. If you happen to email me, please include something about the ILP and so I do not delete your message.
Back in 2003 I entered a photograph of mine in contest, and just as many of you know, I too received the bogus letter telling me they wanted to publish my photo, but Iíd have to pay for the book. I was ecstatic! This was the first contest I entered, and by golly, I won something on the first try, so I thought. Well, when I didnít receive my book after the initial date, I received a postcard later telling me about pre-publication difficulties and that the publication was set back a few months and therefore, the distribution of the book was set back an additional few months. Well the last Iíd heard I was supposed to have received the book NO LATER than 14 November 2005. Well as many of you folks know, it is now 21 September 2006.

Ok, thatís the history of my own experience. Now, hereís some background info on the company. Since 2004, Iíve spoken with and heard accounts regarding the ILP dating back to 1998. The people have been around since 1989. Iíd done some research on them and found that what they do INITIALLY (by contacting you and telling you that your photo has been selected to be published but you need to pay a fee) IS in fact legal. Itís called Vanity Publishing. A vanity publisher is basically a ďbook printer, claiming to be a publisher. [To put it simply,] a commercial publisherís target market is the general public; while a vanity publisherís target market includes executives, students, and the uninformed.Ē Vanity publishers make their money by tricking the naÔve into thinking their work is going to be sold all over the world, but they just need to pay a small fee for such a GREAT honor. Commercial publishers make their money through profits and print oneís work at the publisherís expense. So, technically, the business practice of asking for a fee for the publication IS LEGAL, however, by constantly telling you that your bookís publication has been delayed and not sending you the item which you paid for, is borderline fraud, as well as questionable marketing strategies.

Now, onto the Better Business Bureau. This company is, also, fooling you. The BBB is NOT, let me say this again, THE BBB IS NOT a legitimate government agency. A key indicator to this is the web address Ďsuffixí (for lack of a better term.)
NOTE: The website is the ď.comĒ indicates that itís NOT a government agency. If it WERE, it would end with ď.govĒ
So, you see, the BBB tricks you into thinking theyíre a legitimate government agency through fancy wording and their name. On that note, the BBB has little to no authority to go after the fraudulant companies, they can only do as much as us..calling them.

Again, anyone who cares to join the effort to take down the ILP, please contact me at and weíll work together to help prevent more ignorant photographers from being taken advantage of. Or, if you have myspace, you can contact Sheena (another BP user who's helping lead this fight against the ILP) at: . Thank you all so very much for your patience in reading through my exceptionally long post. Hope everyone has a great week and good luck to you all in your pursuit of photography.

Bill Dabovich

P.S. Here the websites from the Better Business Bureauís page on the International Library of Photography

ILP profile:
Tips regarding vanity publishers:

Finally, Anyone who hates to wait on hold:
Their phone number is now:
It will ask, "If you know your party's 3 digit extension, you may dial it now"
dial ext. 162 = ILP head of customer service!!

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9/22/2006 2:11:07 PM

Brent L. Savage   I reported it to
and they are looking into it.
I suggest that others do the same.

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9/22/2006 4:15:37 PM

Bill J. Dabovich   The website address is a ".com" they have just as much authority as us. They're a civilian based company. If it says ".gov" they can do a lot more. But email me or contact Sheena and send us your experience so we can collect those together as a basis for our argument.."Strength in numbers"

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9/22/2006 5:29:20 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I don't get it. Thousands of people seem to have been ripped off by these guys and not one single person has contact the local office (in the U.S.) of the United States Postal Inspection Service OR the criminal section of the U.S. Attorney in their district OR how bout just the FBI. Afterall, this does sound a lot like mail fraud, wire fraud (using the internet) and violation of federal law. Anyone? Anybody? BTW, it has to be someone who has been injured in this plan or scheme.


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9/22/2006 6:10:27 PM

Bill J. Dabovich   Well, sir, the reason nothing has happened to these guys is b/c they're ripping people off $60 - $130 at a time, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a miniscule amount money. Each person here, files a complaint as an individual, they settle their claim as an INDIVIDUAL. So, when the FBI, USPI, AG, gets a complaint they settle them as INDIVIDUAL cases. That's why we're trying to organize a GROUP effort to settle the claims. A group effort is much more noticable and much more interesting when one can say, "look at all these people, they've ALL been affected by these scammers." In essence, weíre trying to get enough people involved where the money at stake isnít just $60, its several thousands of dollars. But we NEED anyone and EVERYONE to help out with this effort!! So, if you have any information or just email me your story, we can hopefully get some sort of legal action underway. But itís much more convincing if we have a lot of people, rather than just a handful!! So, please, email me at or contact Sheena at

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9/22/2006 7:06:26 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  What I think is the real reason that nothing has happened is, for one what they do to me isn't actually illegal. And for two, even though I was always aware of what they were, for every person you've heard asking for help on a refund, there's been 5 out there who are actually happy with the whole thing. Book and convention.
Actually, the people don't get ripped off in the usual sense, because they get the book eventually. Takes a very long time, but they get it. You just get it with all kinds of pictures in it, no matter how bad they look.

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9/22/2006 9:31:56 PM

Bill J. Dabovich   Sir, you're making an assumption that there are 5 people who're happy for every 1 that isn't. I have not heard of ANYONE who's happy. Even if that statistic proved to be semi-true, there are still a LOT of people who are NOT happy, and that, my friend, is simply, UNACCEPTABLE. Furthermore, what's illegal is taking the money and not sending the product, that, my friend is theft and fraud, and because it's done to people throughout the United States, it's considered a federal level felony and is punishable by a large fine and potentially prison time in a federal prison. Also, by saying the book is being published and sold in bookstores worldwide, and not actually doing so, is called false marketing. That's illegal, too. When I spoke with the head of customer service and I asked him if their books were actually sold in bookstores world wide as they claim on the all the letters, he could not produce a SINGLE bookstore they sell at neither in the United States, nor in any other country. Sir, I've been jerked around for two years; I'm FED UP!! I'm done with this bullshit!! If you don't want to help that's fine, I understand, but if there's anyone else out there who'd like help in this fight please contact me. Thanks.

~Bill Dabovich

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9/23/2006 11:01:42 AM

Brent L. Savage  

Enough of these dumb excuses.
I haven't heard of anyone who's happy, anything helpful and it's all just a big rip off!!

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9/23/2006 3:53:09 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Like I said in the email, 5 to 1 ratio, not meant literally. Didn't think that would be construde otherwise. And also like I said, it's a sheisty operation, but proving it's actually illegal, and illegal is the key word, may not be so cut and dry. Because have gotten the book, eventually. And some have said so on betterphoto.
The book being sold in store? Maybe that's your best bet to get them. That, I don't know if you can get it in a store somewhere or not. Who knows, maybe there's a store in Beijing that has it. And then they'll say see, it's worlwide.
But you still can't get away from the fact that, even by seeing the kind of pictures they say are photo of the year, people get the book and go to the conventions. And they're happy with it.
So you asked for information and you got a little, just not probably what you wanted to hear. Be prepared to not have such an easy time as exposing them as illegal as just notifying some authorities who aren't aware of them. Because there is a possibility, that you might here "I know you're upset, but it isn't actually illegal, just a waste of money."
In fact, one of the tv investigative news shows(dateline type show) even looked into them, about a decade ago. They're still here, doing the same thing. So be prepared.
And one more thing. You can tell that I didn't reply in this thread to join in. But I have spread the word that it's a waste a time. And actually pissed some off because I said something bad about the ones who bestowed this award they're so honored to get. So those people, and there's plenty, gotta let them be free.

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9/24/2006 12:19:41 AM

Bill J. Dabovich   Sir, in your post, you didnít make it clear that you were being over dramatic. Keep in mind that on the internet, one canít expect for everything one states to be taken the EXACT way one intends. Keep in mind that one canít decipher between whatís sarcastic and whatís serious. Also, in the court of law, one doesnít have to prove that such an act occurred; all one must prove is that there was intent beyond a reasonable doubt. SOME may have gotten the book. But, like I said before, Iím SICK of being jerked around. Iím SICK of being given the run around. Iím taking these guys to court and Iím taking them ALL THE WAY!!! Again, if you donít want to join, fine, but Iím NOT going to sit here and allow them to take advantage of more people.

Sir, I spoke with one of the persons whoís considered to be a ďsurpervisor.Ē I asked him what stores they sold at, and he couldnít produce a SINGLE store they sell out of. Now you tell me, if a company sells to even ONE store, the supervisor of CUSTOMER SERVICE should know that. If not, then that, my friend, is one of the most unorganized companies I know.

Again, sir, Iím fully aware that thereíre people out there who are going to pose as devilís advocate, such as yourself. I understand that SOME of what theyíre doing is legal but YOU sir, must understand that when a company promises a product and takes oneís money without ever sending the product, YOU must be able to comprehend that that is considered theft in the American criminal justice system. Please, sir, do not tell me that what theyíre doing isnít illegal when 70% of what they are doing IS in fact illegal!! I donít care what you say, but in the American criminal justice system, when one promises to send a product to another person, and one takes that personís money without EVER sending that product to the person, it doesnít matter who youíre talking to, it IS without a question ILLEGAL!!!!!!! You can NOT deny that!!!!!! Please donít try to deny that stealing is illegal; because if thatís what you think, then itís obvious to me that youíve not been very up to date on American politics. No matter where you are, STEALING IS ILLEGAL!!!!!!

One can get rid of a company, but the people are still here, theyíre still going to be conducting the same company, believe me, I understand that. Iím not attempting to get rid of them once and for all; please understand, Iím trying to put a giant hole in there finances so that they have to build back up to where they are now. Iím trying to make this profession as DIFFICULT as possible for them. I know they arenít going away, but I can make this a difficult task, the fine, theyíre going to have one HELL of a time getting back to where they were.

Gotta let them be free? Are you kidding me? Sir, theyíre committing, not only a federal felony, theyíre committing and INTERNATIONAL CRIME. WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU WANT TO ALLOW SOME ARROGANT PRICKS WHO STEAL PEOPLESí MONEY, GO FREE? You truly are, trying to be the devilís advocate. You want to be the ONE person who goes against what the norm is saying. Thatís fine, youíre entitled to your own beliefs. But PLEASE, sir, do NOT get facts mixed up with beliefs. The FACT that stealing, fraud and false marketing is illegal can NOT (in any way shape or form) be considered legal b/c you think so. Have you studied the laws? Sir, Iíve studied both federal and state level laws regarding this topic, and I know for a FACT that what theyíre doing is ILLEGAL. Unless you can prove to me that your argument isnít just hearsay, youíre argument has little to NO bearing here. If you want, Iíll provide you with EXACT laws that will prove to you that their activities are everything BUT legal. Please, donít sit there telling me that what theyíre doing is legal if you have never even looked at federal or even state laws regarding theft, fraud or false marketing. If you can provide me with EXACT laws that back up what youíre saying, Iíll kindly admit I was wrong and go on my merry way. Otherwise, do NOT try to stop me from taking these guys down!!!!!!!!!!!!

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9/24/2006 1:43:28 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  I see you're going to need some really good professionals on this because you get lost on points easily.
You keep talking about me not joining in. You know why, because I can tell what that book is all about before hand. The only ones to join in are the ones who got burned.
How'd you get so mixed up when I said for every 1 there's 5, when you come out and say 70% of what they do is illegal? How'd you measure 70%? Also care to point out where I said stealing is illegal?
And those that you gotta let be free, I said it's the ones who bought the book and went to the conventions. If they wanted to spend the money, or even for those out there that don't believe anybody when I or anyone tries to tell them that they pick any kind of photo, no they're not giving you a bowl because your picture was so good. Well those you have to let them spend their money.
So polish your proof reading skills, and get ready because you may encounter more loop holes than a hoola-hoop convention. At least maybe you'll get your money back and further spread the word. But you still may have a judge somewhere tell you that it's a legal, but it's a lousy way to run a company.
And I understand the emotion, but all those capitals didn't help your case.

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9/24/2006 12:06:14 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  "Also care to point out where I said stealing is illegal?"

Meant to say point out where I said stealing is legal.
And by the way, you really think I'm actually trying to stop you from pursuing this thing?(Rhetorical question)

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9/24/2006 12:14:14 PM

Kris    I'm happy! Yes, because I just read what you all said before I paid these guys a dime. The whole things seemed a little fishy and now I see I am one who got away. Thanks for the advice, BTW I have seen similar companies for Poetry or just about anything where someone tries to let people know what they have done. Too good to be true? Yep.

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9/25/2006 6:25:20 AM

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