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Reading the fine print – SWPP loses court case

  |   Articles and reviews, Photography Business, Photography news   |   8 Comments

SWPP loses court case brought by former member

Read the fine print when you sign up for things

If you want to join a professional business organisation, then do ask people what good they are for -your- business.


In my recent article on ‘How to become a professional photographer’ I noted that rather than join one of the photography organisations, I chose to become a member of the Federation of Small Businesses here in the UK, which is a general organisation offering benefits to small businesses (with the bonus that other members are potential clients)

Do read the comments below about the SWPP and their actions from a fellow member of the Ecademy professional photographer’s business club (unfortunately now defunct) concerning what happened when they tried to cancel their SWPP membership. I’m reminded that if you do decide to join one of the big photographer’s clubs, then as with anything, it looks worth reading the fine print…

[quote removed]

The SWPP/BPPA is one of the UK’s professional photography organisations – unlike the majority, it is run as a profit making business.

Note – We received a rather unpleasant late night call from a Mr Phil Jones of the SWPP demanding we pull this story and threatening legal action.

They seemingly deny the entire content of the Ecademy thread, however were unwilling to provide any rebuttal or response when we offered them the opportunity. Whilst I consider their threat entirely baseless, this post was edited to remove direct quotes from the linked Ecademy thread, which I wholeheartedly suggest you read and make up your own mind.
There are still some comments online at DPReview
However, I note with interest Antoine’s comments below about the court judgement being on its way to the SWPP.
I’m minded to believe that the SWPP did indeed lose their court case and that Mr Jones was perhaps not fully aware of the facts when he took to telephoning me late at night.

Thanks too for all the messages of support from other photographers.

Update 2016: I’m still a member of the FSB, and still waiting to find one of the ‘Pro’ photographer groups that I consider worth my paying for. If you are looking for such a group, be sure to speak with other members about why they remain with it? I have addressed this issue in more detail in several of my Photography Business related articles.

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  • Gareth Davies | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t currently have any issues with SWPP, but I have just canceled my membership. I joined after winning a free master class ticket as I thought as a working tog, SWPP might be of use. The Forum is very slow, with limited use and I was shocked at the amount of questions that were unanswered, the questions were the kind most people starting out need to know. I thought is was just me, but since leaving SWPP and searching SWPP reviews, I have obviously made the right decision.

  • Darren Lean | Oct 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Was just told this story by a member of The NPS, didn’t believe it until I googled it and found your site!

    Bunch of numpties aren’t they?! Well done you.

    • Liz | Feb 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      AVOID, AVOID, AVOID. I cancelled my membership over 2 years ago and they have ignored each and every request to remove my personal data from their crappy site. This means my name is still affiliated with their cowboy company when anyone googles my name. HORRIBLE AND TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL. AVOID SWPP AT ALL COSTS.

  • Gareth Cooper | Aug 5, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I have so many photographer-friends that have fallen foul of this particular organisation. Getting out once entangled is a mine field. Although I beth that their posturing and legal threats are never followed up. They are the butt of many jokes at social meetings and most photographers who have had dealing with them advise strongly against any involvement. They have a very poor reputation, earnt by their bully boy tactics.

    • Becaglia | Aug 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

      And to end and refute Phil Jones’s denial: It was ordered by the Court that the claimant (SWPP) pay the defendant’s witness expenses summarily assessed at £55.00 by 4 PM on 5th August 2009.
      Cheque was received today through the SWPP’s solicitors…

      Thanks to all for following and hope many colleagues won’t fall for the polite facade of the SWPP BPPA…

    • Quasi1 | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      It’s not a minefield at all. Don’t pay them another penny, if they have a leg to stand on let them sue you. No case to answer. Fu*ck them.

  • Becaglia | Aug 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

    And sorry to Dave Waller for using his URL instead of mine! ;-(

  • Becaglia | Aug 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Mr Phil Jones cannot deny the content of any of my posts on the Internet. The judgement was given in Southend County Court and the SWPP BPPA, Phil Jones and Juliet Jones (claimants) should by now have received copy of the judgement and should be more than aware of the content.

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