WA’s Consumer Protection office announced that it had launched a investigation into Knightly Corporation Pty Ltd, trading as Launch Film Productions, after the ATO secured a winding up order in the Federal Court on Tuesday (26 March).
Following the court ruling, Launch Film Productions was placed into liquidation.
Melissa Humann of PwC’s Perth office has been appointed liquidator.
Announcing its investigation, Consumer Protection said that it had been contacted by more than a dozen people who had either paid deposits or full amounts for wedding photography, or were awaiting delivery of their prized photos and videos.
It cited a former employee as saying that 10 customers were due to receive photos or videos, and that 12 more had made bookings with the photographer, including four for this coming weekend.
Consumer Protection said that these claims amounted to potential losses of $40,000.
Within hours of the collapse being made public, Consumer Protection said that it had received “more than 50 calls and emails”, and that consumer losses had increased tenfold to some $400,000.
A day later, those numbers had increased further, with a spokesperson for the regulator telling My Business that 90 customers have now come forward, with potential losses of $450,000.
“While we are still investigating, we are keen to have Launch Film Productions customers contact Consumer Protection and register their details so we can assess the situation and provide them with details of the liquidator and instructions on what to do,” said David Hillyard, Commissioner for Consumer Protection.
“It is always difficult for consumers when a business closes down as their orders and bookings are put into doubt and, in this case, there are fears that the photos and videos that can’t be recreated may not be supplied. There are also concerns for those with future bookings about getting an alternative photographer at short notice.”
Customers impacted by the collapse have been urged to lodge a claim with the liquidator.
The ATO said it could not “comment on the tax affairs of any individual or entity due to our obligations of confidentiality”.