The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer alerts are not legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
Many parents dream of one day seeing their children on the big screen, in advertisements on television, or even across a billboard. Parents believe in their children and have an unconditional sense of pride in their qualities, including looks and charm. So when a talent scouting agent approaches parents and says he or she can make their children famous, parents can quickly fall victim to inflated and/or empty promises.
"Open calls" for young models and actors entice parents to dress their children in their best duds to audition for potential roles. Quite often the open calls are misleading and produce little, if any results, until parents shell out exorbitant amounts of cash.
PARENTS - DO YOUR HOMEWORK:
1. Research a company's background and compare it with other talent scouting agencies before signing on any dotted lines or shelling out hard-earned cash.
2. Never pay large upfront fees. Legitimate talent and modeling agencies will not take money from you until they find your children a modeling job. Scam companies will charge you a lot of money to place your photographs on a website. Obtain a detailed explanation of what any money you do pay will be used for.
3. Most legitimate agencies do not advertise in newspapers, solicit through the mail, or "scout" for talent in malls and other public places. There are genuine companies that offer workshops in a classroom setting, during which traditional acting instruction is offered, with no promise of work as an enticement to open your wallet.
4. Your child does not need a large and expensive photo package or website to become a model. Companies that hire models only need one good photo to judge your child's appearance. It's better to get one good photo and mail it to many agencies instead of spending a lot of money at just one company.
5. Make sure to get your agreement in writing. Even if an agreement is reached verbally, get it in writing before agreeing to any terms.
If you think you have been the victim of a modeling or talent scam, contact the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388