The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has issued a warning to consumers against the activities of Dutch photography company Vakfotografen Mediagroep B.V. based in the Dutch city of Zwolle, and against its owner, Mr. J.A. Contermans. Based on public information and on information at ACM’s disposal, ACM has reasonable suspicion that Vakfotografen is acting in violation of Dutch consumer protection laws.
Vakfotografen approaches young consumers through social media, giving them the impression that they have been specially selected, and that a photo shoot with Vakfotografen is the perfect start to a successful modeling career. The way Vakfotografen operates is misleading, because:
- Consumers are given the impression that they can win a free photo shoot, but this is not true;
- Consumers are also given the impression that they are given a discount, but everyone pays the same price;
- Consumers are asked to waive their rights to a grace period, although this is legally impossible;
- Consumers that cancel their photo shoot are aggressively bombarded with high bills, and are threatened with debt collectors and lawsuits.
ACM has therefore issued a warning to consumers against the practices of this company, and those of its owner. The owner of this company has been fined before for similar activities, and has now continued his operation under a different name.
On the website of consumer information portal ConsuWijzer, consumers are able to find tips on what they can do if they have unwittingly signed a contract with Vakfotografen.