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Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 55699
Experience:  32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
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A photography customer of mine was not happy with the price

Customer Question

A photography customer of mine was not happy with the price of the prints I was selling her from the photography session I did for her and her family, a session which she has already paid for. She refused to pay full retail price of the prints and wanted to pay material cost instead. I said no but she was still more than welcome to purchase the prints at the retail price I originally offered.
She has now decided she wants a full refund of the original photography session, (which is separate from the print order and is non-refundable) claiming that she will destroy any digital watermarked files she has received and cut ties completely. She has also publicly posted a negative review (which was previously a 5 star review that she has changed) that she will inform potential clients that I will rip them off and that she can give them my true cost of goods. A price that is not publicly accessible.
We feel that she intends to breach the copyright of the images and have them printed without my authorization, something which she has already done with a previous photograph that we didn't know about until recently. We also feel that she intends to actively harm the good reputation my business has.
Unfortunately fellow photographers have seen the review and have tried to correct her understanding of business practices. This was done against our wishes; we had no knowledge or intention for this to happen.
What do you feel is the best course of action?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you with this. I would take a very proactive approach with this customer to let her know she has some skin in this game she's playing. Given the facts, your facts, you have a cause of action for defamation. Let me first explain what constitutes defamation. I am going to provide you information on both slander and libel since they are so closely related and so often confused with each other. They are civil injuries that harm reputation, cause a reduction in respect, regard or confidence, or cause disparaging, hostile or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The laws regarding libel and slander are the same. To prevail in a defamation suit for libel or slander and recover damages, a person ("Person A") must prove 4 things: (i) another person ("Person B") conveyed a defamatory message they knew or should have known to be false; (ii) the material was published (i.e., conveyed to someone other than Person A); (iii) Person A can be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and (iv) Person A suffered an injury to Person A's reputation as a result of the communication. Your situation satisfies the foregoing elements. Typically, before actually filing the suit, you would send a letter detailing the situation and demanding that she: i) retract all prior defamatory statements made, ii) pay you a specified amount to compensate you for the past defamatory actions, and iii) cease and desist from making any in the future. In my experience, the letter is generally sufficient as the offending party will comply with your demands rather than risk the costs of a suit they are sure to lose, the actual and possibly punitive damages that may be imposed by a court, and the judgment being on the record. Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!