One Tobago woman is now seeking legal redress after a weight loss company in Trinidad used her image without her consent to promote their products.
Abby Taylor, 35, of Mary’s Hill, lost 118 pounds through a combination of dieting and exercise with the support of her fitness trainer Tricia Guy, of Barbie Fitness.
However, on May 19, 2020, a company in east Trinidad disseminated a post with her before and after progress photos without her consent, implying that she used their products and achieved the success she did.
In an exclusive interview with Tobago Today, Taylor said she had been posting her progress on Instagram and later found out that the photograph was used in the misleading post
“The first thing on my feed was that and I was like, okay, weird. So the first thing I did was check through the comments, because I know her (business owner) personally and she has a personal Facebook page and I’m going through the comments and saying it’s misleading because one, you posted it on your company page and that implies that I have taken your products to lose weight and when I read the comments, I actually saw where persons were asking for the diet.
“So I messaged her privately and asked her to kindly take it down because it’s misleading. No harsh words, I said thank you for the love but I didn’t use your products I did it all natural, no supplements, no help.”
She claimed after the initial contact, the company’s owner, Esther Primus, did not respond.
Taylor said using a screenshot of the post, she turned to her own page with a disclaimer. She then went to the Facebook page asking Primus publicly for the post to be removed but claimed was met with harsh words and was blocked from commenting.
She said several of her friends who were aware of her weight loss journey went to the page asking for it to be removed but they too were ignored and blocked from the page.
Taylor admitted she took Primus’ product for a short period in 2017 but could not continue the regimen because she got pregnant. She said the remaining supplements were gifted to a friend. She said she seriously started her own weight loss journey in January 2019 and her successes are totally due to her workout regime with her personal trainer.
“My weight loss regime was very different from hers. Everyone on my Instagram page would see how I eat, I drink protein shakes, I drink smoothies because I’m lifting weights as well,” she said.
Taylor also said she did not give Primus, her company or her agents any permission to use her image on their page
“The girl who I was liaising with was on my WhatsApp and the company page and I are friends on Instagram. You mean to tell me you was watching all my stats for the past year and it’s only now someone alerted you to my journey? Then you have to update your info on your clients. If I was a client of yours in the past year and I am down 100-plus pounds isn’t that something you would want to record. Added to that, you never ask me to put up my pic,” Taylor said
Contacted for comment, Primus said she has been in business for over 12 years and has a wide list of clients, including local celebrities. She stood by the claims she made on her Facebook page.
“Her client number is 312 and we have over 2,000 clients. It actually shows that she (Taylor) has been a client for the longest, for a number of years,” Primus said.
“I stand by the company that I actually represent. I have no reason to lie, she’s not going to make me any richer.”
Primus said she has receipts as evidence to show but refused to share them with Tobago Today, saying we would have to go through her attorney, who is also dealing with the matter. She said since the incident her other clients have been inundated with messages stating that she engaged in false advertising.
“I did not use her picture for advertising and that’s the thing. People share posts all the time. Once you put something on Facebook anyone can have it. All I did was comment that hard work and persistence pays off. Job well done does not mean taking praises,” she said.