Photographer ordered to pay $200,000 after not delivering images to 54 clients
While many photographers struggle to pick up clients, some photographers have no shortage, but struggle to deliver. And some intentionally don’t deliver, as seems to be the case with Arkansas photography company Jonathan Funk Photography, LLC.
After failing to deliver photographs to clients who had paid upfront for his services, circuit court judge Tim Fox ordered Jonathan Funk Photography, LLC to pay $96,625 in restitution, $100,000 in civil penalties, and $1,135 in filing fees and service costs.
The suit alleged that the company would pressure consumers to pay upfront in order to receive a discounted price, with packages still costing around $2,000. When clients would contact Funk, they were then simply presented with excuses and never received what they paid for.
According to a press release from the AR AG’s office, the lawsuit began in 2018, when the Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge filed a suit against Jonathan Funk Photography after receiving 54 complaints from clients who’d been misled by his deception.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the judgment against Jonathan Funk and his company Jonathan Funk Photography, LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Order states the LLC is to pay $98,625 in restitution, $100,000 in civil penalties, $1,135 in filing fees and service costs and to transfer images to consumers. After the initial lawsuit in 2018, Rutledge received two hard drives containing thousands of digital files belonging to a few of the affected consumers.
“Photographs of some of life’s most precious events will finally be given to their rightful owners where they can be appreciated and shared,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans who pay for photography services at their weddings or other special events expect to get what they pay for, but companies like Jonathan Funk Photography who act dishonestly will not be tolerated in Arkansas.”
In 2018, Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Jonathan Funk Photography after receiving 54 complaints from Arkansans impacted by Funk’s deception. The business advertised in many local Arkansas magazines offering photography services and professional portraits of newborns and special events. Consumers paid in full after their photography session and waited patiently for several months, never receiving the portraits Jonathan Funk Photography promised to deliver. As a result, Arkansans lost money and, more importantly, lost the memories they sought to capture.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court. The LLC defaulted and Judge Timothy Fox granted the Motion for Relief against the LLC. The State also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against Jonathan Funk that Judge Fox also granted.
It’s sad that these things happen at all, but they seem to pop up in the news with alarming regularity. In 2017, “crowdsourced wedding video” company, WedReel, was targetting brides and couples, in 2018, Utah photographer, David Bowe Jacobs was no-showing on clients on their wedding day, and last year, Wisconsin wedding videographer, Scott Socket was delivering substandard work to a number of clients, or not showing up at all, and a judge ordered him to pay out over $14,000 to clients.
Always do your homework when looking for a photographer.
[via Arkansas Times]
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.