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B.C. wedding photographer ordered to pay $22K to couple waiting 6 years for images

Judge says defendant ‘seemed to be literally making up these excuses in the spur of the moment’
Wedding rings ( photo)

A photographer has been ordered to pay a couple $22,000 after he failed to deliver them their wedding photos nearly six years after the big day.

The debacle began on June 22, 2014, when Kaman and Ramandeep Rai met at Aman Bal’s home office and discussed the scope of services and products, agreeing to the price of $8,500 with a deposit of $1,500 paid to Bal directly. The agreement included that Bal would take photos and supply additional items such as photo albums, thank you cards, a digital guest book and a DVD of all the photos he took.

The agreement entailed Bal would deliver the photos within one year from the wedding date.

But after the special day, the Rais never received their photos, according to a June court decision published this week. They also were never returned irreplaceable childhood photos.

During the hearing in Surrey provincial court, Bal disputed all allegations levelled against him, and claimed it was his corporation, Elite Image Productions, which had entered into a contract with the Rais instead of him personally.

Judge Valliammai Chettiar disagreed, noting that despite the contract being “an incomprehensible document,” it was Bal who received $5,000 from the Rais through the agreement.

The evidence, she added, shows there was an oral agreement between the two parties on June 22, 2014.

Meanwhile, the Rais provided dozens of texts and emails to Bal between March 2016 and January 2018, with Bal only responding to some of them. In at least one instance, he claimed he no longer worked for Elite Image Productions but wouldn’t provide further details.

Bal also claimed he didn’t return the photos because the Rais hadn’t paid the entire amount, still owing $3,500.

Chettiar rejected this argument, stating “there is not a shred of evidence to support this assertion.”

The photographer said he would be willing to return the childhood photos, the hard drive and raw images and “work with the Rais to deliver the products to their satisfaction.”

Upon review, the Rais declined saying they lacked confidence in Bal returning all of the photos. The couple said they wanted the raw images so another photographer could still edit and process the photos.

In the decision, Chettiar noted that Bal has had at least five other legal actions brought against him in the past decade. Meanwhile, Bal has allegedly not once sued any clients for non- or delayed-payment.

In turn, Chettiar ordered that Bal pay the Rais $7,000 to replace the items Bal failed to deliver under their oral agreement, as well as $10,000 for mental distress and $5,000 for punitive damages. Bal also had to return the Rais’ childhood photographs, including digital copies; the hard drive of photos, including those from all wedding events; and raw images.

“In my view, none of Mr. Bal’s explanations is tenable. They can only be characterized as lame excuses. He seemed to be literally making up these excuses in the spur of the moment on the stand.”

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani

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