A photographic business that specialises in taking photos of new-born babies is the subject of a Consumer Protection public warning.
Nine complaints have been lodged against Melissa Sheed Photography of Aubin Grove with some of the parents waiting for more than a year to receive the photos of their babies. The consumers paid at least $1,500 for a package of photos with delivery promised within three months.
Ms Sheed had the parents attend her studio to take the photos shortly after they paid their deposit and then the balance of the monies owing. However the consumers are now having difficulty contacting Ms Sheed or obtaining the finished product. Ms Sheed is also failing to cooperate with Consumer Protection’s attempts to resolve the complaints.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said, while the nine consumers are owed more than $16,000 in total, they would prefer to have their photos supplied rather than getting a refund.
“Like weddings, photos of new-born babies can’t be replicated and there is a huge emotional investment in this type of purchase as well as a financial one,” Ms Chopping said.
“A refund alone is unlikely to completely satisfy the consumers in this case, so we are working to get the outstanding photos supplied as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, we advise parents of new-born babies not to engage the services of Melissa Sheed Photography and look at other providers of this service.
“Consumer Protection received other complaints against this photographer last year which were eventually resolved through conciliation, but these new complaints remain unresolved.
“Many consumers in this case paid the full amount upfront for the photos but we recommend that consumers pay a small deposit and only pay the balance when goods and services are delivered. This reduces the risk of loss and also gives the consumer some bargaining power with the trader if there is a delay in delivery.
“Before engaging a photographer, consumers should get recommendations from friends and family and verify claims by asking to see previous work and speaking to past clients.”
Consumers who have had issues with Melissa Sheed Photography and have yet to lodge a complaint are urged to do so via the Consumer Protection website. Enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.