Newlyweds jilted by photographer and videographer (Amir Mohammad / Enchanted Films)

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Consumer

Consumer Protection is warning newlyweds and other people organising special events to avoid using a Perth photographer and videographer due to issues of non-delivery.

Fifteen customers of Amir Mohammad, trading as Enchanted Films, have lodged complaints against the photographer/videographer who has failed to deliver images within a reasonable time, or timeframe specified, as required by the Australian Consumer Law.

Customers have been waiting up to 18 months longer than expected to receive their photos and video of their wedding or special event. Some fear that they may never get them at all.

Mr Mohammad has told Consumer Protection that he currently has 40 outstanding orders to fill but continues to accept new work. He failed to meet a request to provide details of the outstanding orders and timeframes for their delivery.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said Mr Mohammad has refused to cooperate in the process of resolving the complaints.

“Our concern is that Mr Mohammad and Enchanted Films continue to accept work, potentially putting others at risk of being in the same situation of waiting far too long for their photos and video products, or not receiving them at all. Understandably this creates enormous anxiety for the consumers involved,” Mr Hillyard said.

“We strongly recommend that consumers consider other providers of these services when organising special events.”

In the past 12 months, a total of 55 consumers have lodged complaints with Consumer Protection about wedding photographers. Unacceptable delays in getting their photos or videos, dissatisfaction over the quality of the images or wanting to cancel contracts due to high prices, misrepresentations and even bullying sales tactics are the most common complaints.

Apart from weddings, complaints also relate to other special events and personal/family portraits.

“The problem with resolving these complaints is that offering a refund is not an acceptable outcome in most of these cases,” Mr Hillyard 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.

“In this scenario, consumers should not have to wait more than three months for their photos or videos. It is important to agree on timeframes before entering into a contract and taking longer to supply clearly create grounds for a complaint.

“We recommend that consumers don’t pay the full amount up front for these types of services, as this reduces their bargaining power should there be a delay in delivery and also takes away an incentive for the trader to complete the job on time. Only pay a small deposit, certainly no more than ten per cent, and pay the full amount only when all material has been delivered as agreed.

“Also consider paying by credit card as there may be an option of requesting a charge back if goods are not delivered.”

Mr Hillyard said consumers need to do their homework before engaging the services of a photographer or videographer.

“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 timeframes for delivery.

“Ask to see the photographer’s portfolio of previous work as well as testimonials from previous customers and it’s worth checking those references.  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.”

Consumers having issues with photographers/videographers should contact Consumer Protection by email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54. Consumers may consider visiting www.aipp.com.au when looking for a professional photographer.

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
09 Jun 2016

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