Google trusted photographer Dave Whiteside warns against dodgy operators in streetview sector

In the case of some “really ugly looking images” the search engine giant has been known to step in and pull the work from the maps view, leaving business owners with nothing to show for their money.

“Someone comes in and sells a shoot for hundreds of dollars and then it disappears,” Mr Whiteside said. He said he was aware of a number of Geelong businesses whose streetview shoots had been removed by Google due to poor quality shots.

“We used to have quality control,” Mr Whiteside said. “If it was out by five degrees … we’d be required to reshoot or give them their money back.

“But recently Google have opened it up — it’s very easy for people to qualify now.”

Mr Whiteside encouraged prospective clients to do their research and always ensure they have direct contact with the person responsible for the delivery of the service.

“Be wary and buy local,” he said. “You will have someone you can talk with face-to-face, someone to build a relationship with that can help you make the best use of what you have paid for.”

A spokeswoman for Consumer Affairs Victoria said, under the Australian Consumer Law, it is an offence to make false or misleading representations when offering to supply goods or services. “Penalties for businesses that mislead or deceive consumers include fines, injunctions, damages and compensation,” the spokeswoman said. “We also advise consumers to be wary of unsolicited calls, and to make independent inquiries about a business before using their services.”

Consumers who have concerns can call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81.

To find out more about Mr Whiteside’s service, head to betterclicks.com.au