I haven’t posted for a while.
Why? Because Getty Images is a mad dog!!!! There HARASSMENT has kind of zapped my spunk! :(
I’ve spent hours upon hours worrying about this, trying to work with them, researching laws, searching the web for similar issues, and here’s the most important thing I learned: DO NOT ENGAGE.
Apparently, Getty has a HUGE staff, scanning the web, looking for their pictures on sites that haven’t paid a usage fee. Then they send a standard, very intimidating document (because it is professionally written and looks like it came from an attorney), demanding unreasonable fees. They look like they were hired by Getty Images, but they ARE Getty.
IT IS NOT a legal document. DO NOT respond. Remove the picture, block their phone number, file the notices, and wait for a REAL legal summons (which you will never get, because it costs too much to sue the little guy).
They cannot be reasoned with. Because they are Getty robots. They cut and paste from a number of STANDARD responses. You will never deal with a person that has decision-making authority, so don’t even try.
Of course, I tried. But learn from my mistakes.
The picture they want me to pay $3 grand for is available for free because I wanted it for this blog. Even if I wanted to pay, the most they would take is $245.00. So I offered $245.00. After all, the letter said they are only asking for the “average use fee” and are “waiving” any other fees, but when I pointed out these facts, they cut-and-paste another B.S. response.
By the way, they cannot send it to collection agency, because until they are in front of a judge, they refuse to prove that they own the usage rights, so they cannot claim a REAL debt. Another scam scare-tactic.
The best defense against these collections is often debt validation. Why? Because the collection agency may not even be legally entitled to collect the debt from you.
What Now? I will pay what a court tells me to, when they tell me to.
By not providing proof of the “debt”, they are teetering on the edge of “willful non-compliance” under the FCRA.