resim 920
resim 920

“I can’t believe that I, who am so organized, so knowledgeable and who work in the legal community, have been taken in,” says Julie St-Pierre, who still has a heavy heart as she recounts the day of her wedding where the photographer with whom she had signed a contract did not show up.

For Julie St-Pierre and her spouse, the wedding photos were the most important part of the event. They had spent several hours researching before signing the contract, more than a year before the wedding date, with Joshua Prince. A talented photographer, recognized with an incredible portfolio, who had a special touch in his post-processing of photos and knew how to capture the emotion of the moment, according to Ms. St-Pierre.

Julie St-Pierre was having her makeup done when photographer Joshua Prince wrote to her on Facebook that he couldn’t be there because his father was dying. “It was a disaster, I started crying and I couldn’t stop crying. I was in a state of panic, I spent part of the wedding day crying. »

Joshua Prince sends a replacement without a vehicle to follow the bride and groom during the day, which falls short of the couple’s expectations. Seeing that this new photographer seems to be having difficulty using his camera, Ms. St-Pierre calls another photographer urgently.

“When I took the call, the lady was in tears, in shock. I was already photographing another wedding, so I couldn’t go and replace the photographer without experience,” says wedding photographer Nathalie Madore.

“A wedding is the most important event in a couple’s life. You can’t ruin this for them. Blurred photos can’t be recovered, “says the photographer who, with the insistence of Ms. St-Pierre with Joshua Prince, managed to obtain the photographer’s files to try to improve the final rendering.

“It’s just pictures, but I still have it in my heart,” says Julie St-Pierre. It’s as if all the good times of the day no longer existed because of this event. For weeks, it was taking over my entire wedding day. »

“My father is not dead and does not live here,” says Joshua Prince, who admits to having signed three marriage contracts on the same day as that of Mrs. St-Pierre, over the phone. He explains to La Presse that he is not good at organizing and that it should have been clearer in his contracts that another member of his team could take the photos for him.

“It’s a clumsiness on my part, because people expect it to be me,” he admits.

“I had blind faith in this photographer and I was taken in at such an important moment in our lives,” says Marie-Claire Simard.

This time, Joshua Prince took the photos and a contractor filmed. Both contracts specified delivery 30 days after the wedding, unlimited photos and two types of video. The wedding took place in October. In March, Marie-Claire Simard had not yet received all the content provided for in the contract.

The bride is worried as she tries to reach the photographer by different means and struggles to get a response. When she finally manages to hear from him, Mrs. Simard learns that Joshua’s father is dead, that he is having trouble with his hard drive, and that he can no longer find a memory card with the wedding photos.

The copy of the contract for the video she signed is at a link online, and the URL page no longer exists.

The two brides failed to find an arrangement with the photographer. Ms. Simard went to small claims where she was successful. However, the first judgment was under the name of Joshua Prince, his artist name. She therefore had to redo the procedures with the real name of the photographer, Jean-Pierre Saintune. However, when the bailiff came to the home to seize the amount entered in the court judgment, Joshua Prince/Jean-Pierre Saintune had no property to seize.

On the phone, Joshua Prince says he took the artist name “without thinking about the claims issues.” “It’s not a trick to hide me. It’s more of a label, a signature for social media,” he explains.

Joshua Prince does not want to reimburse the brides, even with the judgment in court, because he considers that part of the contract has been rendered and that the requests for reimbursement are unreasonable even if the court has found otherwise.

“In an event that is done like this on the same day, there is nothing that can replace that. But at the same time, my job, I did it, I did it the best I could.

“It’s a little hard to say, I’m disappointed, that’s how I feel about my wedding day, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was there and I does the job.

Readers contacted La Presse because the photographer made an announcement on social media implying that he wanted to become a wedding photographer again when he is now a real estate photographer.

Joshua Prince is reassuring that he doesn’t plan to come back as a wedding photographer, but if he does, and “I don’t open a door at all, but it won’t be like the same person, then the same way I did, because clearly I messed up somewhere if we’re talking right now. »

How do you go about signing service contracts well in advance with different types of businesses and professionals? Here is advice from Charles Tanguay, spokesperson for the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC), and Reza Moradinejad, associate professor at the Faculty of Law at Université Laval.

According to OPC’s Charles Tanguay, brides and grooms or consumers who book services months in advance with large down payments should be aware that the law requires the merchant to transfer the money into trust.

“Consumers shopping for various services for a wedding should ask the merchant who takes a deposit whether they will deposit the amount in a trust account, as required by law,” he advises.

It is also necessary to agree on all the details in a written contract, reminds Charles Tanguay, to give the smallest amount of deposit possible and to pay the entire invoice only after having received the promised service.

When you meet the service provider in person and are about to sign the contract, you ask for identity verification, advises Reza Moradinejad, associate professor at the Faculty of Law of Laval University. . “If the person presents their ID and it doesn’t match the name they work under, the question is, do we have to risk it or do we go to him? ask to identify themselves correctly in the contract with a name that matches their civil identification?

“Unless the person has already completed the formalities with the Business Registry to be known as a business operator under his assumed name,” said Reza Moradinejad.

When, on the contract, the service provider uses an artist’s name that is not the one registered with the Registrar of Civil Status, “it’s an additional challenge, given to the court, but I don’t think let it be an insurmountable challenge,” says the law professor.

In the case of Joshua Prince, for example, we know the person who signed up and who uses this artist name on a regular basis. “So when he signed the contract with his artist name, it was a mark that creates a connection between his real person and his contract. However, when you want to run a business under an assumed name, you have to register, warns the law professor.

Can the photographer or service provider be replaced at a moment’s notice? In the case of a wedding photographer, if we have really identified the photographer by looking at his work, his albums, his portfolio, we are in the presence of an intuitu personae contract, that is to say a contract concluded taking into consideration the personal status of a contracting party. It would therefore be difficult, if not impossible, for the photographer to be replaced and send another person, ”explains the law professor.

The law professor points out, however, that, legally, you can have a very well-crafted contract with specific and detailed details, but on D-Day, if the person does not perform his obligation, he cannot be forced to do so.

“We lost this event, but there will be remedies that will in some way repair the damage suffered. But it’s just in monetary terms, it’s not in kind,” he concludes.

1. Ask your friends for advice and read online reviews before choosing your service provider.

2. Check the name in the Business Register and on the “Find out about a merchant” page of the OPC website.

3. Just before signing the contract, if it is not a recognized company, ask for identification.

4. Make sure the contract is well detailed, because if the performance of the contract is not complete, you can seek pending damages.

5. If the service provider does not respect the contract, try to come to an agreement with him.

6. If an agreement proves impossible, try chargeback with your credit card.

7. If an agreement is impossible and the chargeback too, you can go to small claims.

8. If you win in court, the person may not reimburse you or have no seizable property to compensate you.