(Closed) Legal/Photog. Bees: Should I take her to small claims court? Can she sue me?

posted 7 years ago in Legal
  • poll: What to do?

    Take her to court! You'll likely win.

    Take her to court, but you might not win because...

    Don't take her to court because...

    She might sue you because...

  • Post # 18
    Member
    522 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2014

    View original reply
    @OnceUponATime:  Have you tried to going to her bank to cash the check? You can usually cash a check at the bank from which it was issued.

    Post # 20
    Member
    561 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Depends on the state, but it wouldn’t be worth the time for me to file.  I think you could win but it would be all he said/she said without a contract.  the terms would also be in the air.  she could argue “all the pictures were required for the $250” and you’d be arguing over semantics.  It could get messy and complicated. 

     

    You could technically sign the check and endorse to yourself.  most checks are cashable that way but they hold it for like a month.  Sign GE Photography adn then underneath write FOB (first name) (last name).  you are GE photography (though the check is spelled wrong, spelling errors do not invalidate a check) and the check was clearly intended for you.

    Post # 21
    Member
    561 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    View original reply
    @starfish0116:  Not necessarily.  Small claims is very low in cost.  It is not worth it for most people because you need to take a day off work to try the case. Someone who does wedding photography might not have that issue.  It takes way more time to file something like this over $250 and I wouldn’t be willing to invest the time over so little.

    Post # 23
    Member
    4766 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    Don’t take her to court because… It’s 250.  Totally not worth it.  Forget the bitch, ban her on social network and move on.

    And no she has nothing to sue you with.

    Post # 24
    Member
    772 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013 - Dalhousie Castle

    Honestly, for $250 I would not think it would be worth the hassle as going to court is just no fun. I’d chalk it up to experience and never ever work without a contract again. 

    Post # 25
    Member
    310 posts
    Helper bee

    That’s why they call it SMALL claims court!

     

     

     

    OP, take some time to really consider it, though.  Your “friend” behaved very childishly, and I know how upset you must have been.  I’ve been following your previous thread because I was so outraged with the bride’s behavior. 

     

    That being said, think long and hard before you follow through.  Not only will this mean there’s no saving your friendship down the road, for some reason, she strikes me as the type that would file a countersuit. $250 is a lot of money to me!  But, do you want it known that after your first wedding, it ended in you suing the bride?  I’m not saying you aren’t justified, but it’s a grey area and you have to remember that you’re trying to establish yourself in this business.  You don’t want to be seen as litigation happy.  Just my two cents, and I’m not a legal bee!

     

    +1 to the suggestion to take it to the issuing bank.  I do this all the time.

     

    Post # 26
    Member
    220 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    I don’t know much about legal stuff but I have always been told that verbal contracts are binding and you did have a verbal contract with her so she legally she does have to pay you.  You have proof of your verbal contract in your emails.  Is there any way you could get in contact with her husband and let him know the check she wrote you was made out to the wrong person?  Maybe he’ll be more sensable.

    Post # 27
    Member
    864 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    @OnceUponATime:  just wanna mention that at least in Germany, even a spoken agreement is a legally binding contract. It’s just so much more difficult to prove you have a contract. But you even have it in written (email). So of course it’s a different country but check whether it isn’t the same in the us? 

    That being said, I would try all alternative routes first. You had mentioned previously that her parents seemed very reasonable. Maybe you could reach out to them, show them that 85 pics per hour is average if not above and show them a quote from a wedding pro photog from your area. Tell them you really depend on that money and that you don’t see any other way than takin it to small claims, which you would like to avoid. Perhaps they’ll write you a new check? For them it probably isn’t a lot of money and if they’re reasonable they must agree that their daughter is being very unfair. 

    Post # 28
    Member
    665 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I have no legal background but am also a hobbyist photographer. I would put it up to experience and move on…totally not worth your stress. Least then you can cut your losses not bother with showing her unedited pics that could damage your reputation in the future. Its only $250 – if it was $2500 different story. It will cost you more than that in stress, time and court crap to get it sorted. Totally not worth it in my opinion. 

    I would just move on. In future I would ensure all my brides had a signed contract so there are no surprises post wedding. 

    Post # 29
    Member
    474 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    View original reply
    @OnceUponATime:  Agree with the PPs who say to let it go.  $250 isn’t worth the stress and time.

    But remain firm on NOT giving her any of those additional photos she’s been demanding (I’ve seen your other post)!

    Post # 30
    Member
    6107 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2013

    View original reply
    @OnceUponATime:  based on your situation I would try everything to get the money. $250 isn’t much to some people, but it sounds like it is to you. Also, like you said small claims court isn’t expensive and you can always include the court costs in your claim so that you get your $250 plus whatever the fees are from going to court. This is more about the principal than anything. This woman knew she was writing a check that possibly couldn’t be cashed and now she thinks she can just ignore you and get away with it. She needs to know you can’t screw people over and go about your day. And on top of that, she’s “demanding” you give her more pictures than you agreed upon.

    Post # 31
    Member
    89 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I wouldn’t bother suing her. Try the methods people suggest first about cashing the check. I’ve helped a friend who was shooting the wedding for friends of his family and the girl gave him the run around as to why she couldn’t pay him. I think he finally got paid (but not all of the money still) months later. He just chocked it up to a learning experience. Now you know never to shoot a wedding before getting the money up front (even if it’s only a downpayment).

    As for the photos, I’ve shot a few weddings for friends and with friends and there’s absolutely NO WAY I would ever give out unedited photos (except to other photographer friends who I was shooting a wedding for). You don’t want her to edit them and then say that you took them. I’ve had that happen before, because I stupidly gave out a few family photos that were unedited (they asked and it was before I really cared about being taken seriously). The photo editing was not my style at all and it was tough for me to see that she didn’t appreciate my editing enough that she felt like editing them herself. I think 300 photos is more than reasonable for how long you spent at the wedding. I generally give ~500-700 for an all day wedding (~8 hours). She’s being completely unreasonable asking for more photos. I don’t even understand why she would want photos that had issues (blinking, people looking weird, blurry)? Although, you might be able to use the unedited photos as leverage if she won’t give you the money. I would tell her you’ll give them to her, but first she has to correct the check or even pay you an additional fee for them. She’s lucky you’re giving her the photos at all. Most photographers will only allow people to print photos through them and they cost a ton.

    The topic ‘Legal/Photog. Bees: Should I take her to small claims court? Can she sue me?’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors