I was recently discussing with another parent at my child’s school spring photographs and how we received unsolicited photographs of our children. Other parents soon joined the conversation and we came to the conclusion no one was a fan of unsolicited photographs from Lifetouch in an age of digital photography.
At Orchard Park, spring school photographs were taken in late February and recently sent home with students with optional purchase. Parents were to review the photographs and return the unwanted photographs within 10-days.
According to my child’s packet, you could purchase all five sheets of photos from Lifetouch for $50.00—of course, the school/Antioch School District gets an “unstated” percentage of the purchased photographs as a “donation”.
There was a problem with this parents claimed they did not ask or give permission for the photographs to be taken. As the Mayor at Claycord pointed out today, you can technically keep these photographs free of charge as its deemed unsolicited and sent to you without your approval—it’s ultimately considered a “gift”.
Of course, this comes down to personal responsibility and sending back the photographs or encouraging your child not to participate in the spring photograph session. That being said, I am not sure why anyone would send back the photographs not knowing what the company will do with them (most likely dispose of them but how do we know?). As for the donation, if I want to donate to Orchard Park or the Antioch School District, I’ll just cut a check and do so.
CLAYCORD gave me permission to repost their article today which may help save you a few bucks, but also allow you to legally keep the photographs if you choose.
April 9, 2013
Several parents with children in the Mount Diablo Unified School District have contacted Claycord.com regarding LifeTouch, the company that takes photos twice a year at local schools.
LifeTouch is in charge of taking the “professional” photos at beginning of the year, and within the past few years, they’ve also started taking spring pictures.
The pictures at the beginning of the year, in the fall, come with an order form. You can either order them or not order them. However, the spring photos are taken of your child even if you didn’t plan on ordering the photos in the middle of the school year. The pictures are then sent home for you to view, and if you don’t return them, they bill you.
Many people have a problem with this.
“I ordered about $70 worth of photos in the beginning of the year, and now in the middle of the school year they take my son’s picture again and send all the photos home with him, without my permission. How am I supposed to send a whole package of my son’s photos back to school so they can just throw them away? This is a sleazy tactic and the School District is just as sleazy for letting them do this to the families”, one parent said.
What many people don’t know is according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs (CDoCA), you can keep any item that was sent to you without your approval.
It is unlawful for a business to send you a product or service that you did not order or request, if it is sent with the intention of selling it or another product or service to you. If a seller violates this law, you do not have to pay for the item or items that were sent. In this situation, you may consider the product or service to be an unconditional gift.
If you receive unsolicited merchandise, it is probably a good idea to send a letter to the business informing it that “under California Civil Code section 1584.5, an unsolicited item is treated as a gift” and that you are not required to pay for it. (This rule does not apply where you have agreed with a business in advance to receive merchandise on a periodic basis, and it also does not apply to a good faith error on the part of the business.)
If the business that has sent something to you for the purpose of selling it to you continues to bill you even after you send this letter, you can sue to stop the continued billing. The district attorney in your county can also sue the business and recover up to $2,500 for each violation.
LifeTouch was contacted by Claycord.com, but they failed to reply.