Consumer Protection, the West Australian government’s fair trading and consumer rights body, has told couples to exercise caution when hiring a wedding photographer, citing 55 consumer complaints lodged in the past 12 months. That’s about one a week, and only in Western Australia.
Yep, it seems not just ProCounter has noticed the recent spate of complaints against wedding photographers.
The most common complaints submitted are unacceptable delays in receiving photo packages, dissatisfaction with the quality of images, over priced and binding contracts, and misrepresentations and bullying sales tactics. It adds that event photography and personal/family portrait also receives numerous complaints.
And there’s little that can be done to remedy the photographer’s client, who paid to have their priceless memories recorded.
‘The problem with resolving these complaints is that offering a refund is not an acceptable outcome in most of these cases,’ David Hillyard, Consumer Protection acting commissioner, said. ‘Consumers really want the images of their special event which they can’t recreate, many consumers feel compelled to put up with this poor service as they see the only acceptable resolution to their complaint is to get what they paid for.
‘While the vast majority of photographers and videographers in WA offer a professional service and deliver in a timely manner, there are some people working in the industry who do not comply with consumer laws which require goods and services to be delivered within a reasonable time.’
He said newlyweds should not wait over three months for wedding packages, and to ensure time frames are clearly established within a contract. Additionally only paying a 10 percent deposit reduces the bargaining power of a shoddy photographers and doing some homework can help.
‘Our advice is to get recommendations from family and friends about their experiences with a photographer, get a formal written quote which sets out exactly what is included in the price and set reasonable time frames for delivery,’ he said. ‘Ask to see the photographer’s portfolio of previous work as well as testimonials from previous customers. Remember, this is usually a significant event so use a professional and insist on professional standards. Don’t use someone who is operating as a paying hobby.’
The media release suggests hiring an AIPP photographer.
Consumer Protection was driven to issue the release after a Perth wedding videographer, Amir Mohammad, trading as Enchanted Films, received 15 complaints lodged against him.
The premise was that he failed to deliver within a reasonable or specific time frame, with some waiting up to 18 months.
Mohammad told the watchdog that he has 40 outstanding orders to fill but continues to accept new work, and refused to cooperate to resolve the complaints.
‘We strongly recommend that consumers consider other providers of these services when organising special events,’ Hillyard said.