Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
In 2018 I was asked to take photos at a matric ball. I gave the family a price and they said they would get back to me. A few weeks later they said they would be using my services but I had already confirmed a booking and said I would ask another photographer if they could assist and the photographer agreed. I gave the assisting photographer the money for the shoot and the photos were handed to me and I stored them on my laptop as well as a memory card. The family then requested a photobook to be printed and they gave me half of the money and said they would give the remaining balance at a later stage and once they make final payment I would order the book. Months went past and they never came back to me. I messaged them requesting that they collect the photos because I need the space on my laptop and they said they would collect it. A few more months went past and still no word from them at which point I deleted the photos off my laptop but I still had copies on my memory stick. Later on in 2019 they they messaged me asking to copy the photos and I agreed but forgetting that I had completely wiped my memory card as well and I informed them of the situation. After this they started threatening me, but I remained professional and said I have a few of the images that I can send to them but they were not satisfied and demanded that I pay for a reshoot including the car hire, the dress, the decor etc. But I refused and said I would refund them for the loss but that's it and even offered to take the photos again if they use the refund to get a dress for their daughters matric ball. Months again went past and they contacted me today saying they will take the refund because they found someone that will retake the photos for them. I only have the recorded conversations of when they requested that I copy the photos over but nothing prior unfortunately and no signed agreements (an error on my side). So my question is what is my legal stand on the matter and can I have them sign an agreement on the refund?
Answer to the Question
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It seems to me as if you did perform in terms of your contract, but they refused to collect the work.
Now it will come down to a damages claim (them against you) for failing to keep the photos safe, ready for them to collect.
I think that they might be successful in the claim, and you could be ordered by court to return the money.
So yes, I think that they would be entitled to a full refund of what they initially paid.
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