Whether you're interested in a modeling career, just want to make a few extra bucks or you think your child might have a future in acting or modeling, be on the lookout for scammers. Some modeling agencies may just be trying to make a fast buck and won't deliver on promises of fame and fortune.
In the last three years the Better Business Bureau has received more than 2,000 complaints about modeling and talent agencies. Typically would-be models are told they need to pay upfront fees - for headshots and other services - after which the agency will start finding them work. Complainants report that despite paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in various upfront fees, the agencies found them few, if any, jobs.
Before signing up with a modeling or talent agency:
- Do your research: Always check the company out with your Better Business Bureau. Some states may require a talent agency or modeling school to be licensed and bonded; confirm the company meets those requirements if applicable.
- Beware of big promises and high pressure sales pitches: In the modeling world, income is never guaranteed and jobs can be sporadic. Consider it a red flag if the sales pitch promises a lot of jobs and big earnings or 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 your recourse if you are dissatisfied. Make sure that all verbal promises are in the agreement.
- Get references: Ask for references from other satisfied clients who have a similar background and qualifications.
- Complain if you've been ripped off: If you feel you've been misled by a talent or modeling agency, file a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau and/or with the Attorney General. To file a complaint with the Attorney General online visit www.michigan.gov/ag or you can call 1-877-765-8388.
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Gary Ballweg is sheriff of Delta County