The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Lifestyle Photographers Pty Ltd, trading as Expression Sessions.
Expression Sessions sell photography packages along with associated products and operated from pop-up stores and kiosks in shopping centres around Australia between 2012 and 2014.
The ACCC alleges that Expression Sessions made false or misleading representations and engaged in misleading or deceptive and unconscionable conduct when selling photography products.
The ACCC allege that the business offered prospective customers a free photo shoot or free photographs, and in the course of doing so, represented that the photographs would be received free of charge and without entering into a contract. Customers induced to participate in a photo shoot were not in fact able to receive free photographs and were required to enter a contract according to the ACCC.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said “the conduct of concern allegedly targeted some of the most vulnerable groups in the Australian community, including customers who were in considerable financial distress or who had a limited capacity to understand commercial contracts.”
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions and redress for affected consumers. Pecuniary penalties, corrective notices and the implementation of a consumer law compliance program are also being sought by the ACCC.
“It is important that businesses are upfront with consumers and clearly explain the price of the goods and services they are offering. Consumers need to be able to fully understand what they are agreeing to before making a decision to enter into a contract,” said Ms Court.