Tips on wedding photography, car insurance premiums and vishing: A warning

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler’s ‘Watch-outs of the week’

22 November 2021 - 08:22
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Settle ownership of your wedding images before you sign the contract with the photographer and pay your deposit.
Settle ownership of your wedding images before you sign the contract with the photographer and pay your deposit.
Image: 123RF/GREKOV

In this weekly segment of bite-sized chunks of useful information, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler summarises news you can use:

Hiring a wedding photographer? Have this conversation before you sign the contract

Discussions between wedding photographers and engaged couples about capturing their special day usually involve price, the number of images and the locations, but seldom two crucial issues. They are the photographer’s cancellation policy and the issue of who will own the images when the confetti has been swept up.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for both parties to know where they stand should the wedding not go ahead, and this needs to be stated in the contract.

In short, a blanket no refund policy is illegal. Withholding a refund is justifiable in the case of a last minute cancellation, but not if ample notice is given.

There should be a sliding scale of refunds from almost all if the cancellation happens soon after the booking, and diminishing as the wedding date draws nearer.

As for the images, it’s important to thrash out who will own the images after the big day.

Lee Swales, consultant attorney with Thomson Wilks Inc of La Lucia, said photographs are regulated by the Copyright Act. When you take a photo, you automatically own the copyright to it.

Wedding photographers often retain ownership and copyright of their photos and licence the photos to the couple with often quite prescriptive conditions for their use, such as including the photographer’s water mark if the photos are shared anywhere.

This after the couple has paid handsomely for the photos. That’s understandable from the photographer’s point of view, but married couples should ideally negotiate to have the photos assigned to them.

A good compromise, Swales said, is for the couple to get ownership of their wedding photos by means of assignment, but with the photographer retaining moral rights to them by means of getting their undertaking not to photoshop or crop the images, for example.

The time to settle all this is before you sign the contract with the photographer and pay your deposit. It’s too late after that.

When last did you check your car insurance premium is market-related?

With interest rates on their way up, on top of hellish fuel price increases, most of us will be desperately looking for ways to cut down on our monthly expenses. Your insurance premium is a good place to start.

Lorraine wrote to me this week to say that in an effort to help her sister, she phoned around to see if she could get a lower premium on her 13-year-old Hyundai Getz.

“That’s how I discovered she’s been paying grossly inflated premiums for years,” she said.

“Her monthly premium for comprehensive insurance is R650 a month. On my first search for an alternative, I received a like-for-like quote of just R177.”

Like many others who’ve made a similar discovery, Lorraine was furious.

“Is there any way this apparent excessive over-charging can be refunded or reversed?” she asked me.

No, there isn’t. For the same reason you can’t ask for a refund of your premiums if you haven’t made a claim. You agreed to the premium, and it bought you cover should you have needed it.

The onus is on us to check we aren’t paying too high premiums. If you’ve got an oldish car and you’ve been with the same insurer for years, you’re almost certainly paying far, far more than you could be for that cover. That’s how the industry funds the low premiums with which they lure new customers.

Make those comparison calls, or use a free online quote comparison tool such as Hippo.

It’s peak shopping time for fraudsters

I have warned about vishing quite a few times of late, but I’m getting emails virtually daily from people who’ve fallen victim to this slick “social engineering” from of bank fraud, and I’m desperate to warn as many people as possible.

Here’s the thing: the banks have upped their game in terms of security measures to thwart the criminals, and as a result they’ve resorted to tricking people into handing them what the industry calls “the keys to the safe”.

Typically the “target” — often an elderly person — will receive a call from someone claiming to be from the bank’s fraud division and querying a transaction which has been red-flagged as fraudulent.

When the account holder, very alarmed and naturally so, confirms it as fraudulent, they are asked to confirm details of their account and to reveal one time pins to stop the fraud. Because the fraudster already has some of their personal details, the account holder feels safe, believing they are indeed speaking to a bank official.

Know this: banks never ask customers to share their online banking PIN, password, card CVV, PIN or one time password, or to approve activities to prevent fraud.

End such calls without revealing a thing, and then call your bank’s fraud hotline after getting the number from the bank’s website.

Save it in your contacts now.

You will no doubt be told there’s no threat to your account. Please have this conversation with anyone in your circle who you feel may unwittingly hand over the keys to their “safe” to such a caller.

CONTACT WENDY: E-mail:; Twitter: @wendyknowler; Facebook: wendyknowlerconsumer

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