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The 411: Youth

Talent and modeling search scams

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August 9, 2011 | 1,451 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- The summer months are a popular time for talent and modeling search promotion companies to solicit local events through radio and direct mail advertising. With many children home from school, Better Business Bureau warns not all modeling and talent searches deliver on promises of fame and fortune.

In the past 12 months, more than 385,000 consumers have researched talent and modeling companies at BBB.org. During that same period, BBB received nearly 800 complaints from consumers nationwide, including 43 from Texas, who felt they were misled by an agency.

Common complaints filed with BBB allege agency representatives require consumers to pay upfront fees for items such as headshots, portfolios, or for an out-of-town trip. Upon receiving payment, consumers say the agency would put them in touch with industry professionals or begin finding them or their child work.

Despite paying hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, consumers allege these lofty promises do not fulfill their expectations. Consumers typically request a refund, but report having difficulties tracking down the agency after it has left town.

Before attending an event or signing up with a modeling or talent agency, BBB recommends consumers do the following:

•Do your research. Find the name of the agency and check its BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org. If the company has a poor rating, unanswered complaints, or a past history of misleading advertising, it may be wise to avoid doing business with it.

•Beware of big promises and high-pressure sales pitches. Consider it a red flag if the sales pitch promises regularly scheduled jobs and big earnings. Additionally, be wary if the pitch uses high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up without thinking it through first.

•Read the fine print and get everything in writing. Take your time and read the agreement or contract carefully, paying close attention to details regarding refunds and what to do if you are dissatisfied. Make sure that all verbal promises are in the agreement.

•Get references. Ask the company for references from past, satisfied clients who have a similar background and qualifications.

•Report concerning behavior. If you feel you’ve been misled by a talent or modeling search agency, file a complaint with BBB at www.bbb.org.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit www.BBB.org.

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