As those of you who read my stuff kind of regular will know, my son's swim the Midmar open water mile race (Google it) each year. And each year, as at most sporting events, there is a company that has guys taking hundreds of pics of all the contestants. If you want to receive your photos, or even want them taken, you are issued with a sticker which you attach to your swim cap.
Anyway, my boys never do. However, each year we get some photos sent to us, on the basis if you want them, you pay, if not send them back. They find your details by tracing your race number which is written in bold permanent marker on arm and leg.
So, we got a photo of LuckyL's last race. Decided we didn't want it, and sent it back. This was in April sometime.
Last week I get a letter (actually LuckyL did) which is a Statement basically saying he did indicate he wanted photos taken, (with no obligation) and we now owed them ZAR59.90 as we had not returned same.
So I called their offices. Some poppie (look it up) answers the call and it goes something like this:-
"Guday, Arctonfoto" (Good day, Action Photo)
"Hi, can I speak to the boss please?"
"Sorry, my director isn't in right now, carn eye help you?"
"Maybe you can. I got this statement and ..... (and I tell her the problem)"
I give her his race number. She looks up the details and sez,
"We sent you 1 photo. What's the problem?"
"Well, we didn't want the photo!"
"So, send it back."
"Ok, so I'll just delete the invoice."
"But that's not the problem. You claim that he indicated he wanted the photo taken, which he didn't, and then made an assumption that we a) wanted the damn photo, and b) have kept the thing."
"So, next time my son takes part in a sporting event, and you photograph him, and send me the photos, I will keep them, and NOT PAY YOU!"
"You can't do that!"
End of conversation.
The problem is that there are about 13000 people taking part in the race. Lets say 50% want their photos taken. That's 7500 x ZAR 60 (rounded off) = ZAR450,000!!
If they then send out say another 50% of the rest, ie., 3750 unsolicited pics, and get a 50% hit rate on this, it's another ZAR225000 in the bag.
It's a rip off, considering they are using digital cameras, (with big memory sticks) and to print costs around ZAR5 each, and postage is around ZAR5 each.
And then they prey on your child's sensitivities!!! Because most kids, on receiving the photos will nag mom / dad to please pay for them cause they really want to keep them.....
Well, not me. I have my own camera, take my own pics. Let them try this stunt again next year. I'll keep the pics, and they can get stuffed!!!!