January 25, 2008
St. Louis, Mo. — The former owner of a now-closed Clayton wedding photography business that collected payment from at least 53 consumers but failed to deliver the photos has been permanently barred from the photography business and must pay consumers $150,446 in restitution. Attorney General Jay Nixon obtained a consent permanent injunction today in St. Louis City Circuit Court against Al Horton and Horton Photography, which had locations at 775 Carondelet and 8025 Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton.
Nixon filed a lawsuit against Horton Photography in September 2006, alleging the business entered into contracts with consumers to provide photography services, including taking and producing wedding photos, albums and related services. Nixon says Horton Photography would collect payment in full up front and take photos at the weddings, but then fail to provide either the photos or refunds, despite repeated promises and frequent excuses.
One consumer paid Horton $2,138 in October 2003 to take photos at her wedding and produce an album, but after contacting the defendants more than 15 times received only excuses and no photos or a refund. Another consumer entered into a contract with the defendants in August 2004 to provide wedding photography services, paid $1,500, and received numerous excuses but no wedding album or a refund. In all, the Attorney General’s Office received 53 consumer complaints about the defendants.
“Due to the actions of the defendants, many consumers had their wedding experiences marred by never receiving the photos they paid dearly for,” Nixon said. “We are pleased that many of them will at least be getting back some of that money they paid for services they never received.”
In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has turned over all of Horton Photography’s files, including computer disks and photo negatives, that belong to the consumers who complained.
Under today’s court order, Al Horton is permanently prohibited from owning a wedding photography business in the state of Missouri. The defendants are also ordered to pay $150,446 in consumer restitution, and $15,000 to the state for the costs of bringing the case.