Walgreens Doesn't Want You To Print Your Own Passport Photos

Walgreens charges a hefty $7.99 for passport photos. Is it because they’re super fancy, or technically challenging to create, or the paper is strawberry scented? The answer to all of these questions is no. It’s because it’s an easy way to make a quick buck. That’s why they hate it when you find a cheaper online solution and try to print out your own 4×6 layout of passport photos via their stores.

Last year we wrote about epassportphoto.com, a free online service that lets you create your own 5-pic passport layout suitable for printing on a 4×6 photo, which you can then print anywhere you like and save yourself the expense and trouble of so-called “professional” passport photo fees. They started offering a service where, for $7, you can pick up the print at Walgreens—but Walgreens is not happy about this and is trying to put a stop to it. Here’s an email they sent to epassportphoto.com:

We do not allow customers to create their own passport pictures and print them themselves. It would be appreciated if you would no longer endorse our photofinishing services on your website.

Tom, the guy behind epassportphoto.com, told us, “We’ve had numerous customers reporting to us that Walgreens people tried to charge them the Walgreens fee” in addition to the fee they’d already paid epassportphoto.com to print the photo on their behalf.

We contacted Walgreens customer service for clarification, and were told that a passport photo is different than a regular photo and that’s why it costs more, even if you do the work ahead of time and just send them a single 4×6 to print out the same way they print everything. This is pure nonsense—it’s like saying photos of zoo animals are different from other photos, and therefore you must pay an $8 “zoo pic” processing fee.

Tom’s website is still offering the in-store pickup option on their site, but he says epassportphoto is currently looking into using a different retailer for the in-store pickup option.

If you’re really looking to save money, however, you should download the free file and print it yourself. Or, follow Tom’s suggestion and open an online photo processor account somewhere that comes with free prints. Just don’t be surprised if Walgreens gives you trouble if you try to print it via one of their drugstores.

“What’s Walgreens afraid of? (tiny ePassportPhoto.com!?)” [epassportphoto.com]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.