A wedding photographer had to pay more than $ 22,000 after breaking his contract more than six years after getting married.
In a ruling in the BC Provincial Court in Surrey, Judge Valliammai Chettiar found that photographer Aman Bal had broken his contract and made worrying, often confusing statements.
“In my opinion, none of Mr. Bal’s statements are tenable. They can only be described as lame excuses. He seemed to literally make these excuses spontaneously on the stand,” wrote Chettiar in her statement of reasons for judgment.
And she found that his actions had a negative impact on the plaintiff’s wedding, which Chettiar said is a significant event in South Asian culture.
“Their marriage was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” she wrote.
“Disturbing” testimony from the photographer
Kaman and Ramandeep Rai hired Bal and his company Elite Images to provide photo and videography services for their June 2015 wedding for $ 8,500.
Bal was a professional photographer for 15 to 20 years, according to the documents. And he often worked for music videos, fashion shows, and weddings.
The photographer was hired to deliver photo albums, thank you cards, digital guest books, metallic prints, Blu-ray discs and a DVD with all the pictures taken.
But more than six years after the wedding, the couple was still waiting.
He also had irreplaceable childhood photos of the couple.
Throughout the trial, the couple presented evidence that they had consistently turned to Bal, who was supposed to perform the contract no more than a year after the wedding.
The judge found that the evidence showed that Bal often did not respond to the couple, and when he did, he said it was all almost ready.
“Essentially, he hung the raises for more than three years, which led them to believe they would get the products immediately,” Chettiar wrote.
The wedding photo package in question should contain photo albums and videos (Submitted by Rychelle Tuck)
Three years after the wedding, and in response to one of the many messages the couple sent to Bal, he wrote that he no longer worked for Elite Images and that other employees from another company were working on it. However, he did not want to clarify which company it is, who the employees are or when the couple will get their photos and videos.
Judge rejects defense arguments
In his defense, Bal claimed he failed to deliver the final products because the couple still owed him $ 3,500 and refused to pay it despite repeated requests. But the judge did not accept his reasoning.
“There is not the slightest bit of evidence to support this claim,” she wrote.
And that wasn’t an isolated incident. At least five other lawsuits have been filed against Bal since 2011.
“All of the evidence in this case, including Mr. Bal’s slippery testimony, leads me to the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Bal’s behavior is almost a modus operandi for Mr. Bal’s business – a pattern of fraudulent behavior that frustrates innocent people to the utmost . “That they just give up and walk away with whatever they can get back from Mr. Bal,” wrote Chettiar.
“Of course that didn’t happen.”
Bal and his lawyer also tried to argue that Bal should not be held responsible because the Rais entered into a contract with his firm, Elite Images Ltd, rather than Bal personally.
That defense was also discarded because the treaty specified Elite Images, or sometimes Elite Images, videography and photography. However, it was never stated that Elite Images Ltd.
Overall, Chettiar found Bal to be unreliable as a witness.
“Needless to say, Mr. Bal’s testimony was troubling in many ways,” she wrote.
“Most disturbing was his willingness to come up with a narrative without any basis or documentary support.”
Breach of contract
Despite an offer on the first day of the trial to return the children’s photos and work with the couple to deliver the agreed package, they declined.
Instead, the judge found that Bal had broken his contract.
Bal was asked to pay $ 7,000 for replacements for undelivered items, $ 5,000 for punitive damages, $ 10,000 for mental health issues, and $ 236 for court fees.