Blacklisted! (Places and businesses in Slovakia to avoid at all costs)

I’ve lived in Bratislava for 8 years.  I must say my overall experience of living here has been a positive one.  Sure, there are always things that are less than satisfactory but in general, I find that services and businesses in Slovakia are getting better, albeit slowly.  Having said that, once in a while I come across some businesses that are just plain nightmares.   I’m talking about private businesses that treat their customers like crap, have zero professionalism,  probably have never heard of ‘customer service’ and brazenly rip their customers off.  It’s baffling how such businesses in Slovakia are able to run for many years and sometimes, thrive.

I know there’s little I can do as a person to change this situation.  The thing is, I do love Bratislava.  It is my adopted city, my home for the last 8 years and I want the city to prosper and develop.  For every bad business owner, there are tons of other good and professional owners.  I’m only one person but I have decided to make a conscious decision to support good, ethical and professionally run businesses.  By that I mean businesses that don’t treat you like a piece of shit when you walk into their stores or premises.  I will spend my hard earned Euros on businesses that really want to earn their customers’ trust.  And that is why I started a new column on my blog called Blacklisted.

I will add businesses that are on my blacklist here and also tell you why you should avoid them at all costs.  Feel free to pass this list on to your friends so they are informed and will hopefully choose to spend their hard earned money on a better business.  Also, if you have any horror stories regarding any businesses in Slovakia, do send me a message or post a reply below.  Together, we can change the quality of services here for the better, one business at a time.

Hon’s Blacklist

Business name: Foto Studio Video Sopko

Address:  Marianska 12/14, Bratislava

How it earned a spot on the list:

This place is dodgy and dishonest. I went in for a passport photo.  They charged me 10Euros for 4 passport sized pictures.  A bit pricey for Bratislava? Definitely.  But it was urgent and I desperately needed the photos done.  I paid and then I noticed on a sign in the shop that the price for 4 passport photos was 4Euros.  Too late for me.  That wasn’t even the worst part.  My passport picture turned out awful.  I looked stressed and shocked in the picture and I didn’t even get to say if I want the picture or not.  The photographer, who is probably also the owner, chose the picture and had it printed out without first asking me to check the quality of the picture.  Of course, then the sizes came out all wrong even though I told him the exact specifications required by my embassy.  I even handed him the sheet which shows how the exact picture should be.  It was at that point that he got very aggressive and started yelling at me in Slovak.  He refused to print out a new set of photos which conform to the specifications required by my embassy.  After some argument in Slovak, and some mediating from his wife (I assumed that was his wife), he finally printed another set but still with the wrong sizes.  When I told him the sizes are still wrong, he screamed and said the people from my embassy are stupid and some other things which I didn’t understand.  He then proceeded to open the entrance door of his store to signal that I should get the hell out of there.  So I told them thank you very much and enjoy the 10 Euros (in Slovak of course).

New Doc 4_1The actual receipt from the store showing the 10Euros charge for 4 passport sized pictures (That’s more expensive than in Vienna which costs 9Euros).

2013-11-11 11.54.48-1The blacklisted store. Beware! This business is run by walking nightmares.

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16 thoughts on “Blacklisted! (Places and businesses in Slovakia to avoid at all costs)

  1. Hi,
    I had the same issue with the same shop last year. I had to make pass photos for the greek embassy who are really specific in order that most shops in BA centrum are refusing to shoot. I had from the embassy the exact specification of the picture with a template photo. However i needed also a picture from my son who was that time 1 1/2years old. The outcome was that i had a fight with him because i told that he’s pics are not matching what i need. he made new pictures with a better outcome. The bill was to high(i do not remember the amount) and therefore i asked what exactly i have to pay. When he told me that i have to pay both shootings i got really bad. I paid only this what i had to pay and i left. in the embassy they told me that the quality of pictures are again bad.
    Best regards,
    T.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. This is the reason why I started this black list. So that people are aware of bad businesses and to share common knowledge. I am taking this case to the local authority. Obviously you and I are not the only victims of this business. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us. Best of luck.

      • same experience for me with the photos. list of “friendly places” like that is kinda big here in Bratislava.

      • Hi Hon,

        Please share your email address so I can share with you in detail about 2 more sick companies, for you to upload in your blog.

      • Hello there!

        My email is b o r i c 9 8 at y a h o o dot c o m. No spaces of course. 🙂 Talk soon!

  2. Hey Hon,
    I’m sorry for your bad experience, I wish I had told you before about my experience there before. I got some passport photos made there about 5 years ago and I didn’t really know Bratislava very well then and of course my Slovak was poor also. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the quality, but I only needed them for my Pobyt and they didn’t complain too much about them in the foreign police in Petrzalka. What I was shocked about was the price, I think I payed 200Sk in 2008, which was more expensive than in the UK at the time! Obviously I never went back there again for anything and I didn’t advise anyone to go there either. I’m not sure where else in Bratislava you can get passport size photos done, but certainly there has to be a better place than this.

  3. I am Slovak and I have to say this is SO true. I went to this shop just once (and definitely for the last time) in my life when I wanted to buy a roll of film. The owner, fat and impolite man pissed me off so much that I haven´t forget it till today:D My boyfriend had the same experience:) Next time you need a photo go to Aupark where is Fuji Photo and it won´t take longer than 1 hour to get your pictures in size you need.

  4. I had the same issue with this shop about 8 years ago. The old guy took a picture of me, didnt even show it to me and printed them out.They were for the police, so the size didnt really matter… As you can guess, it sucked. I remember he was also very rude. When I needed the pics again, I went to the shop opposite to it, the guy was a lot more friendlier. I cant believe that old fart still has that shop….

    • I am very sorry that you had such a bad experience and I am really ashamed when I´m hearing things like this as I am from Bratislava. The next time if you need some photos done or graphic/printing job, on the other side of this street almost right across this shop is a bigger photo studio, they have good customer services and are very professional and the prices are fair. They have a good photographer who always lets you see your photo on the screen before printing it and you can retake the photo if you´re not happy with it. Also they can cut the photos to every sizeyou wish so the photos are pretty well done and right for whatever document you need. I think they even put your picture on a disc so you can use it again in the future or for electronic purposes. I hope that in the future you will have far more great experiences than the unfortunate one like this, enjoy Bratislava, bye

  5. There is another place across the street from this shop. I’ve gone there three times for photos. They always do a good job and don’t rip you off. Go there instead

  6. I totally agree with the article – horrible photos, horrible service and it’s overprized on top of it all. I NEVER go there anymore.

  7. It deserves to be good places in a useful site. I will visit often. Thank you.

  8. Name and shame .. about bloody time too , I look fwd to future posts

  9. Thanks for this, Hon. These places need to be called out for sure.

  10. I had the same experience a number of years ago – he assured me he knew the specifications for Canadian passports but didn’t, and was not pleased when I pointed that out. And my daughter’s photos had toy rabbit ears in it that he gave her to hold. Added to that, the lighting was so bad the embassy said they wouldn’t accept them. Poor guy, he must be such a stress case if he’s like that with all his customers.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with us Naomi. I really appreciate it. I’ve received so many similar stories from other readers about this horrible store. Take care!

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