poppy field

Having spent the best part of 40 years looking through a viewfinder of some sort, sitting in front of a computer editing photos or videos, producing websites and managing social media accounts, it’s a very strange feeling to now say when asked, “I’m retired".

Despite no longer taking on commercial paid work, it’s virtually impossible to suddenly stop what you’ve been doing for the best part of your working life so, for the past 24 months I’ve been taking on work on a ‘pro-bono’ basis for church, charity or voluntary organisations. I hope that my experience, skills and equipment can now be put to good use to those who perhaps, don’t have the budget or funding to produce what they want or need for their media requirements.

The following 'blog' items are a mixture, some from when I was working commercially and now, some new items that might be of interest.

Unethical business practices?

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A year ago I saw a FaceBook ad for Picfair, they were a photo agency offering 2 levels of ‘membership’ to sell my stock photographs, a free option where they took a percentage or an annual paid option with no commission, there was a ‘free’ trial and I signed up for the annual package with a new user discount.

One year on and checking my bank account, they have taken another annual payment without any email notification beforehand. I only have a hundred or so photos with them, and I had made a conscious decision that with just one sale (£6) within 12 months I would continue my subscription when it came up for renewal (their Facebook page has one subscriber with 18,000 views and not one sale!).

Well, one year on and not one sale! I’ve been a professional ‘tog for over 40 years, I’ve had thousands of photo’s published in various national, regional and local newspapers, monthly magazines, house magazines, advertising campaigns....the list goes on, so I’d decided not to renew my annual subscription and revert to a commission subscription which was mentioned when I signed up.

Now, virtually every company I’ve ever dealt with either professionally or personally with a subscription service, either monthly or annually, send me a courtesy email in advance before taking money from my account reminding me, and offering to cancel my subscription if I wanted - BUT NOT PICFAIR! They do however manage to send out marketing tips and other helpful suggestion emails!

Checking the Picfair website, there is a 7 day money back guarantee for new subscribers and a clause saying it does not apply to renewals - definitely not very ethical business practice in my opinion.

I’ve asked for a refund, we’ll see what happens and I’ll post back here with the result!


After several emails, a full refund has been approved, Thank you Picfair.

A few further thoughts on this...

As previously mentioned, I’m grateful to Picfair for the full refund, however, following the refund email, a few thoughts occurred to me.

After the initial shock of suddenly finding out nearly £70 had been taken from my bank account I had not been made aware of beforehand (OK they mentioned a year ago it was a rolling subscription, but that was a 12 months ago!), I thought a simple email explaining I didn’t want a renewal would put a refund in place.

As a retired person, money is tight and I keep a very watchful (daily!) check on my account, even more so these days with inflation currently at 9%, to suddenly find £70 disappear brings on minor panic.

A policy of a rolling subscription WITHOUT notification beforehand seems very poor business practice to me, my SIM card supplier sends me an email notification 1 week prior to renewal for an account that’s just £5 per month.

When questioned and a refund requested along with a cancellation of the account, to then be quoted T&C’s on the website seems very poor judgement in public relations. In this day and age of social media - a single complaint post can go viral in seconds and ruin a companies reputation that could take months, or years to recover from.

One quote mentioned to me many years ago when I was in business, still rings true today - a satisfied customer (client) will tell a few people, an unsatisfied customer (client) will tell EVERYONE!

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