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.

UPDATE: If you are eligible for a refund, but have not yet been contacted by Expression Sessions, here’s what the ACCC has advised us to do:

For customers who purchased photographic packages from Expression Sessions during 2012-14:
– Consumers who made payments prior to 29 December 2015 to Lifestyle Photographers may wish to lodge a proof of debt with the liquidator at:
-Consumers who made payments on or after 29 December 2015 should contact Easy Payments:
Ms Zelda Baravykas
Proper Officer – Easy Payments Pty Ltd
Registered Office: Quantum Corporate Bank
Level 1, Unit 62/5 Gladstone Road
Castle Hill NSW 2154
PO Box 5304 Turramurra NSW 2074

23 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?

  5. how do i get my money back i have paid just under $1000 and im a single mother of 2? i got them done when my daughter was 3 she is now 6 and havent received any letter or anything to tell me anything about this

  6. They keep taking payments from my account and I finish paying them months ago I over $1000 dollars and i still haven’t got my things from them.

  7. How do I go about my refund ? I had my sons photos done in 2014 at 6 months old & am still paying for them now. Is there someone I can contact ?

  8. I got my daughters photos done when she was 1 years old & she is now 6.. I paid $1300 for the photos and have not received any.. I have tried calling over the years but never got through too them.. I would like a refund! The last letter they sent me was 3 and a half years ago saying the photos will be here in 3-6 weeks.. never arrived.

  9. I want to know what they done with the photos they took of me on the 07/03/2014 I still haven’t received my order till today

  10. Just reading this makes me sick to my stomach I have spent $3400 on my sons photos and nothing but this heart wrenching story I have tried millions of times to contact these people and nothing now to only read I was ripped off, I’m struggling as it is and these people make it harder to live


  12. Took the photos with my 6 months old son in 11/13. Did not bought the photos becoz it’s too expensive. Only bought a key ring with a small photo on it n a small photo. They offered me some few photos that would cost less which I’m still refused, the decisions that I’m still felt regrets becoz it meant I missed those precious photos of my son!

  13. I am a solo parent doing it hard in Auckland NZ, I would be lucky if my gross earnings are more than $45,000 per annum. I was charge just under $4,500 to purchase all copies of my sons photos.
    My son was born in 2011, his photos were taken in March 2012, and he won the monthly competition for month of July 2012. The company that financed my order, is Flocash, I have only ever moved addresses once since the purchase was made.
    I need to be reimbersed not only for the payments made but also for the stress and grief that it caused my young family. Not to mention the only time I was contacted was when I had missed a payment. I am not in anyway happy with either companies. I look forward to your reply
    Thank you for listening
    Regards Hazel

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