1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Being sued and not reimbursed for bad review Consumer Law, Warranties

Discussion in 'Consumer Law, Contracts, Warranties' started by USMC37, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. USMC37

    USMC37 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Alabama
    What type of lawyer do I need to find? And does the photographer have grounds to sue or is my case and actions completely legal?

    Is this even worth fighting (doesn't look like he is giving me a chance to get out of it anyway)

    Background:

    1) I hired a wedding photographer on wedding wire in 2019 for a 2020 wedding

    2) COVID hit and wedding rescheduled to March 2021 with no issue with photographer

    3) Day of wedding photographer never showed. Myself and friends/family members tried calling repeatedly. I emailed. I even messaged in Wedding Wire.

    4) Very late that night one of my friends got a angry call from someone claiming to be wedding photographers brother. Told me my photographer was in a bad wreck and his son died. I offered condolences and told him that I will be going on honeymoon for a week. Have him reach out to me next week to work out reimbursement.

    5) Got home from Honeymoon and let a week go by. Photographer never called.

    6) Following week I called Monday, Wendsday, Thursday and Friday. No answer or reply. On Friday I got a subscriber can not be reached message.

    7) Today, I decided to check their website to see if that was gone too. It was there and called number on their site. Noticed it was not the same number as before. This time I could leave message.

    8) Several hours go by. I now leave a negative review (but wedding wire said I already left one, but somehow still posted). Photographer calls me almost immediately finally.

    9) Phone call:
    - He asks if someone has been calling him
    - I tell him I am calling about my refund
    - He tells me I signed a Acts of Nature clause making either party not responsible & says that he will not issue a refund until I have my wife's negative review removed (I wasn't even aware she left one)
    - I tell him that I do not feel comfortable doing that because at the very least there needs to be a emergency number we can contact and have a chance at getting a new photographer quickly
    - He tells me if I don't take it down he will sue me
    - I told him that was unfortunate and will do the same if that is what he wants to do

    10) To de-escalate, I had wife alter review to only focus on them not having an emergency number. I believe her original review stayed the photographer was a no show due to "family reasons" and no one contacted us.

    11) He emails me later tonight
    - Now claims I electric signed a Force Majure clause and explained that my wife's review and now mine are going to be in his lawsuit
    - I told him that we have altered my wife's review and is no longer bound to Acts of God and I remove mine that I did not realize even posted. I again asked for a refund.

    12) He sends another email saying he will be seeing me in court.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  2. USMC37

    USMC37 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Sorry for double post. But a few more things:

    His story keeps changing about the car wreck. On the phone today he again sold me his son died. But in email he tells me it was a coworker. And on the response to my wife's review he said it was a 7 car pile up in which 2 died.

    Although I know I cannot prove it, but the "brother" I spoke with on the wedding night is definitely actually the photographer when I spoke to him today. Absolutely without any doubt.

    He even admits this in a way in his email claiming to be on heavy drugs due to the accident when he "talked to ME about calling me in a week after the wedding".

    I have checked the news and not found anything about an accident. Was thinking of reaching out to some friends in the BPD to see if they can find out.

    Their Facebook page still has the old phone number I had been using. I took a screenshot.

    I went back through all our emails and cannot find the contract. I'm sure there was one and a Act of God clause would be something very reasonable in that line of work, but it is not available for review since I can't find it anywhere.
     
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,035
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If he sues (and my guess is he'll have a very hard time finding a lawyer to represent him on this) then you contact a civil litigation attorney to help you with your defense. Bad reviews are not defamatory so long as they contain only statements that contain only (1) true facts and (2) statements that are purely opinion. It is the communication of false facts about the business that would potentially make you liable for defamation.
     
  4. welkin

    welkin Active Member

    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    How much money was the deposit and what was the total price of the contract? If the amount of the deposit is under the limits of a small claims action in your state, you may be able to simply sue him for the deposit refund.

    And you need to get a copy of what he alleges you signed as a contract either having him send you a copy or going to the website and searching for the terms of use that you may have agreed to. Acts of God are natural disasters and acts of war unless the specific language in the contract includes pandemics and epidemics.

    Force Majeure clauses deal with performance in contract law. They do not give someone a blanket license to not pay under the contract. An example would be that Co. A has to deliver 100 parts to Co. B by a date certain. Co. A can't deliver by that date and is therefore in breach of contract because their manufacturing plant was flooded out by a hurricane (an act of God). Co. A delivers 60 days late and Co. B took delivery but refused to pay because of the breach. Co. A would win because of the FM clause in the contract.

    I don't know of any court that has yet to rule on Covid-19 being ruled a natural disaster for the purpose of FM.

    What the courts will look at is several factors.
    1. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as a force majeure under the specific contract language
    2. Whether the party seeking excuse from performance could have foreseen or mitigated the impact of the pandemic
    3. Whether performance is actually impossible under the COVID-19 crisis
    In your case, the photographer could have mitigated the damage by referring you to another photographer and refunding your deposit or he could have hired another photographer to cover the wedding in his stead. Or he could have just offered you a refund and left you to find a new photographer. He did none of those.

    FM is not applicable from what you have described. He owes you a refund.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  5. USMC37

    USMC37 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you for letting me know which type of lawyer to get. I will set that up today. Total paid to the photographer was $1,408

    I do want anyone else reading this to know that this is not a COVID related issue. I only added that because in his later email on point #11, he told me that he had "graciously" accepted a reschedule of our wedding which I did respond to stating...or asking actually... how can he be targeting me with Force Majeure and then reference that he had to make accommodations to reschedule a wedding that was originally planned at the height of unforeseen restrictions and pandemic.

    I forgot to add that because I am as you can imagine very angry about everything. I gave this guy so many chances to just simply refund me which I believe is being generous I did not seek more, but take a negative review because well...he deserves one. Not of course for missing the wedding (which TBH, I'm really not even thinking there was wreck now that he was involved in), but it is with his lines of communication. I should note also that I found and took screenshots of other angry customers of his when his company had a different name and they referenced very similiar tales of caution. One was stating that he missed their event and told them he was in a car wreck, only to find he was at a event in Washington DC on social media. And others about how he would act like he never saw your phone calls or emails for very long periods and then get upset when they hired another photographer.

    If my cable TV went out and I needed it for a very special once in a lifetime occasion (maybe I'm being interviewed on TV or something with 100+ guests I invited over at the expense of 15K+) and their repairman got in a accident, but they had NO other number to call to check on him and make the call to another repairman - who in their right mind would not give them a bad review???

    Guys this was not some random person I met on Craigslist. He is on wedding wire and the name of his "company" when you search it looks exactly the same as three other studios using the same name all over the country. In his correspondences, him and I guess his wife who uses a different last name, sign their job title signatures to give appearance there are more people in the company than just them to. They even charge extra for bringing on an "extra" photographer (his wife) to again give that illusion. Even their phone number was attached to a Google Voice system that gave you the impression it was a large company because it required to to state your name and you will be directed. They took extra steps to appear larger and piggy back off other/larger and more established studios by the same name (should note that the one in Alabama - not registered with the BBB I found out yesterday). I had every reason to believe I would have contingencies if some unforeseen event occurred like this for my wedding.

    What is all happening now is further strengthening my position to leave a negative review.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    9,597
    Likes Received:
    3,214
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You're over thinking this.

    You have documentation of the rescheduled date. He didn't show up. That should be enough for you to sue him in small claims court and win no matter what kind of hot air he is blowing now.

    If his contract gives him a defense, he will present it in court and you can address it at that time.

    Lesson learned: You sign a contract, you keep a copy permanently. Scan it to your computer, back it up on a second hard drive, keep the paper copy in a file folder. "I can't find my contract" are dangerous words and often spells doom.

    As for your review, all you should need to say is that he was scheduled for such and such a date and didn't show up and hasn't refunded your money. Period. Anything else is irrelevant.
     
  7. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    846
    Likes Received:
    256
    Trophy Points:
    63
    This sounds like a great case for Judge Judy... Just saying it might be time to call the show. :)
     
  8. USMC37

    USMC37 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    It's crazy brother lol.
     
  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,078
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Trophy Points:
    113

    At this time, none.

    No one who hasn't read the reviews you and your wife left can answer this question intelligently.
     
  10. USMC37

    USMC37 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I didn't even read it myself. All I know is, it laced with all facts. It would had been something along the lines of:

    "I never leave negative reviews, but I must do so with this photographer. He was a no show for our wedding. We made ever attempt to contact anyone for answers or a ETA. We called, emailed and even messaged on Wedding Wire. His brother finally calls us after the wedding ended telling us he could not make it for a very serious family issue.

    While we understand the circumstances, we are still very angry over our day being ruined as well. We had no other contact to find out what was going on. To make matters worse, he has been ignoring calls from my husband trying to get a refund."

    The big thing here is "family issues". I do know she wrote that and even though it is laced with the truth, I just don't know if that can be wrote in a public review or not. Reminder - His "brother" told us that the photographers "son" died in the wreck. My wife didn't want to say that in the review for obvious reasons.

    And another reminder, we have not found anything about a wreck. In his email to me he now claims to be the one we spoke to on the wedding night and was all drugged out. Very fishy. And has other reviews from his old company with extremely similar tales.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    9,597
    Likes Received:
    3,214
    Trophy Points:
    113

  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,078
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Nothing actionable there.
     

Share This Page