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How can you tell if modeling agency is a scam?

If someone from a modeling agency tells you or one of your children that you’ve got “the look,” be careful. It may be a scam that will empty your bank account.

Model on Beach In the last three years, more than 2,000 complaints have been filed with the U.S Better Business Bureau from people who thought they were misled by an agency into paying large upfront fees – often for headshots and portfolios – and received little or no modeling or acting work in return.

Before signing up with a modeling or talent agency, the BBB advises:
  • Do your research – Always check the company out with your area BBB. Some states may require a talent agency or modeling school to be licensed and bonded; confirm the company meets those requirements.
  • 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 think a talent or modeling agency has misled you, file a complaint with the BBB, state Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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