Expression Sessions slammed by ACCC

The Federal Court has found that Lifestyle Photographers Pty Ltd (trading as Expression Sessions) engaged in unconscionable conduct in breach of the Australian Consumer Law and has imposed a punishing $1.1 million fine.

Company principal Jesse Baravykas headquartered the business in the northern Sydney suburb of Castle Hill. Source: Expression Sessions.

Company principal Jesse Baravykas headquartered the business in the northern Sydney suburb of Castle Hill. Source: Expression Sessions.

Between 2012 and 2014, Expression Sessions sold photography packages, including baby and child portraits, through kiosks and pop-up stores in shopping centres around Australia. They were also operating in a similar fashion in New Zealand. We first covered this story in 2015.

The ACCC instituted proceedings against Expression Sessions in 2015, alleging Expression Sessions had used unfair tactics and undue pressure in seeking to sell photographic products, failed to provide clear and accurate information about contract terms, had unfair contract terms and targeted vulnerable consumers. Expression Sessions admitted liability and the parties made joint submissions to the Court in relation to penalty and other orders.

The Court ordered Expression Sessions to pay a penalty of $1.1 million and to offer refunds to all customers who purchased photographic products from the business between 2012 and 2014.

As a result, Expression Sessions must write to all customers who entered into a contract between 2012 and 2014 to advise them that they are entitled to receive a refund. Customers who wish to receive a refund will not need to respond to the letter.

‘In many cases, Expression Sessions’ customers were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or were financially disadvantaged. Pressuring vulnerable or disadvantaged consumers into buying products they cannot afford is clearly unacceptable,’ ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

‘Businesses have a responsibility to be upfront with consumers and clearly explain the total price of the goods and services they are offering. The ACCC will continue to prioritise consumer protection issues impacting on vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers,’ she said.

In December 2015, Lifestyle Photographers Pty Ltd sold the Expression Sessions business to a related company, Easy Payments Pty Ltd and Lifestyle then entered voluntary administration. The ACCC subsequently joined Easy Payments to the proceedings. The Federal Court made orders against both companies.

However, it may be a shallow victory for the Australian Consumer Law. It’s not clear whether Easy Payments is in a financial position to pay the fine or offer refunds to Expression Sessions customers.


8 thoughts on “Expression Sessions slammed by ACCC

  1. So how would I get my refund totally ripped us off no letter at all, my daughter is now 6yrs old and got photos done when she was 6months+ old totally conned my partner for crap photos that we didn’t even receive so angry need a response asap!!

  2. Hi how can I get my refund. As I got my childrens photos done through them. My sister told me last night that she got hers back and I would like mine back

  3. I would like to know how I can either get my Grandson’s photos (taken in May 2015, he is now 2yrs old) or a full refund ($1033)……..Hoping I can find out who I should contact to assist?

  4. SERIOUSLY WTTFFF !! My daughter is now 3 turning 5 and I only wanted the pics they took and the lady who worked from this company had put down I wanted the rest of pics worth $3000 I WANT MY MONEY BACK!! Cos I still have no photos!!!! And I refused too pay it!! It’s been ongoing and this is from 2013!!! How the heck am I supposed to call?

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