Consumer Protection has announced it has started prosecution action against a Bunbury woman who sold unsuspecting mothers fake ultrasound photos of their unborn children.
In January, more than 100 people took to Facebook to claim the 4D scans they were giving of their children were identical to images found in Google searches and in the photo albums of other expectant parents.
The owner of Amazing 4D Imaging, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been served with multiple charges under the Australian Consumer Law act alleging she made false and misleading representations to consumers.
The matter will go before the Bunbury Magistrates Court for first mention on January 12, 2015.
A social media post in January triggered widespread alarm among Greater Bunbury mothers who were horrified to find that cherished ultrasound photos of their unborn children could be fake.
Bunbury mother-of-one Catherine Osment paid for an ultrasound DVD and photographs of her unborn baby and attended a private 4D ultrasound home business in Eaton on January 17.
When she received her photographs, she said it was “clearly obvious” all eight images were of different babies.
“I knew as soon as I opened them they were fake and it made me feel sick,” Mrs Osment said.
She told the Bunbury Mail she searched on the internet and found the same photographs in Google Images.
Mrs Osment said she took the photographs to Big W’s photo centre and was told some were printed before October last year, months before she had her scan.
Her partner had been planning to have the baby’s image tattooed on his chest in March but cancelled the appointment when he realised it could be fake.
A second mother, Jacinta Langford of Dalyellup, also believed an ultrasound photo of her twins was taken from Google Images.
“I’m angry and upset because I have the photo in a frame and have shared with my friends on Facebook,” she said.
“Now I don’t know if they are mine.”
But the business owner, who could not be named for legal reasons, said she was considering legal action for what she says are defamatory claims.
She told the Bunbury Mail the online comments were untrue and her work was legitimate and professional.
“I have been trained with a sonographer, not everyone can do it – it’s technological stuff that the average person would not understand,” she said.
“I’ve had a lot of phone calls from previous customers of support.”
The issue was aired on the Bunbury Crime Stoppers Facebook page, raising alarm among hundreds of local mothers.
More than 400 comments have been posted in reply to the complaint after it was published on Wednesday, January 29.
Several mothers have compared photographs in the comments, which they believe are identical.
Stace Hart posted a photo of her scan she had nearly two years ago.
“I had this done around April 2012. And I have seen it on several posts. So upset,” she posted.