A wedding photographer must pay $30,000 in civil penalties for advertising her services using images taken by other photographers and failing to disclose that the pictures were not her own.
Last year, Kansas-based wedding photographer Caitlyn Payne was accused of “scamming” couples by faking a family emergency and not turning up to take pictures on their big day.
The photographer, who runs the business CP Family Photography, has allegedly done this multiple times.
Payne had also allegedly misrepresented her wedding photography business with deceptive advertising, specifically showing sample images taken by other photographers and passing them off as her own.
Now, according to a report by 12 News, Payne has entered into a consent judgment after being investigated by the District Attorney’s office in Sedgwick County, Kansas for violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA).
While Payne denied intentionally violating the KCPA, she accepted a consent judgment to resolve the matter.
The agreement calls for Payne to be liable for $30,000.00 in civil penalties, additional investigative expenses, and court costs while on a 48-month probationary period.
12 News reports that the photographer will also have to pay more than $2,000.00 in restitution to two clients.
Payne has promised not to use images belonging to other photographers moving forward unless they are clearly and conspicuously disclosed as only a style of photography that she is capable of reproducing.
The agreement also calls for an injunction from the photographer engaging in further deceptive or unconscionable acts and cooperating with any future complaints.
Family Emergencies and a ‘Fake’ Car Crash
According to an investigation by KAKE News last year, Payne had a history of not showing up on her clients’ wedding day.
Nick and Kirstie Steffen hired Payne as the photographer for their wedding in February last year. The couple had hired her months before after meeting Payne at a wedding expo.
However, on the day of their wedding, Nick says Payne called him in a panic. Payne told him that her daughter had been in a car crash and that she was not going to be able to shoot their ceremony in the afternoon.
Later, the couple was even more shocked when they allegedly discovered a post on Facebook that revealed that Payne was not at the hospital with her daughter who she claimed was in a car crash.
In photos supposedly posted on Facebook by the Derby Drama Club on February 18, Payne was seen at her daughter’s musical at Derby High School at the same time as the couple’s wedding.
It also appeared that the photographer had attended a retirement party that she helped to organize after the play.
Other couples also claimed that Payne was either a no-show, left their ceremony early, or did not get their photos in a timely matter — if at all.
According to KAKE News, Payne also claimed that the “fake photographs” she used promotionally were stock photos she paid for and uses for Facebook advertising. But investigators allegedly tracked down the photographer who actually took those pictures, and he said no one was allowed to use his photographs as their own.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.