• Report: #656718

Complaint Review: Chicago Top Models

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  • Submitted: Fri, October 29, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, February 27, 2013

  • Reported By: Anne — Lake Forest Illinois United States of America
Chicago Top Models
150 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois United States of America


*Consumer Suggestion: CTM a scam

*Consumer Comment: I used Chicago top Models

*Consumer Comment: If any of that info is the case...

*General Comment: More common than you think...

*Consumer Comment: and I don't mean...

*Consumer Comment: Name ONE...

*General Comment: Yes and no...

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I went to CHICAGO TOP MODELS after seeing their posting on Craig's List.  I talked to some guy who said I HAD to go to EXCLUSIVE STYLE SHOTS to get photos if I wanted them to find me a job.  I came in with a two month old portfolio that everyone said was beautiful, even Ford Modeling Agency.  I went just because I wanted to see what they had to say.  Sure enough they wanted to charge me $150 for new pictures and then another $150 to submit those pictures to Diesel jeans for a possible job.  When I asked why they were charging me $150 to submit my pictures to Diesel this girl told me that it was for their commission IN CASE I GOT THE JOB.  I asked if I could get my money back if I didn't get the job but I didn't get an answer.  She just kept talking about how I HAD to pay for the new pictures that cost $150.  There were at least a dozen girls there and everyone was told the same thing.  PAY THE $150 FOR PICTURES AND ANOTHER $150 FOR SUBMISSION or else...   First of all, EXCLUSIVE STYLE SHOTS is not an agency and are not entitled to a commission so they had no business charging anyone $150 for submitting their pictures to Diesel jeans.  Who knows if they were really going to submit the pictures anyway.  SECOND, why is CHICAGO TOP MODELS sending people to this place to be ripped off by some photographers.  Now I know why I keep hearing all the bad things about them.  I should have checked all the bad reports before I went but at least I know that everything they say about CHICAGO TOP MODELS is true.  They just want your money.  Really, who ever heard of an agency, let along a photographer, charging anything for a job submission.  And I've NEVER heard of paying commission on a job that I don't even have yet and might not even get.  I've been modeling for around four years now and I've NEVER run into a bigger SCAM. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/29/2010 07:46 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Chicago-Top-Models/Chicago-Illinois-/Chicago-Top-Models-NEVER-PAY-AN-AGENCY-SUBMIT-YOUR-PHOTOS-FOR-A-JOB-Chicago-Illinois-656718. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

CTM a scam

AUTHOR: the surge - (United States of America)

CTM is definitely a scam.  I had also attended a casting call responding to a CL ad looking for "Promotional Event Managers, Brand Ambassadors, etc.".  But when I arrived, no one knew what I was talking about.  They kept trying to convince me they loved my look for print modeling and the only way to get work is to pay $100 right now to schedule an appointment with a photographer to get a comp card made.  Three people in one room all pressuring me to sign and pay right there and then.  I knew something was up.  

They put out emails on CL that have nothing to do with print modeling just to get you to attend their casting call.  It's all a numbers game.  I'm sure as long as they get 200 people to attend, 5-10 people fall for it and pay them.  Beware!
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#2 Consumer Comment

I used Chicago top Models

AUTHOR: bomzy - (United States of America)

I worked with Chicago top Models, and I did get jobs, from Hair shows and also a TV Series. I did get my pictures taken by a photographer recommended by them and I paid the photographer, not Chicago Top Models, anyway i must say I am satisfied with them and I know other talents that are as well. They do reject people and some of the stories I hear on here, i mean please read them again and see if maybe the talents were expecting too much especially if they are not the height not the type they are looking for. I also work with other companies and so far the guidelines are similar.

Everyone's experience is different, mind you the other agencies have dirt on them too maybe they pay to get it cleaned. Maybe chicago Top Models, doesn't.

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#3 Consumer Comment

If any of that info is the case...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

..then things have really changed.

My mother as well as my sister were both at one point in their lives professional models. And by "professional" ..this means they did not pay anyone a dime..they got paid based on the jobs the agency got them, and the agency naturally gets a cut.

The only costs for "books"..web sites, portfolios etc..was paid by the model to help them get work..or to help them get signed to a LEGITIMATE modeling agency.

My mother and sister are no longer professional models..but my sister does work for MTV fashion and fashion magazines. The models that actually have work, only get paid..they do not pay anyone else up front.

I also live in Hollywood...as they say "Blvd or land of broken dreams". 90% of my neighbors are models/dancers etc. They are easy prey to all of these "pay up front" scams...but the ones that actually stay here..do so by avoiding anything but a legitimate agency that does NOT charge ANY up front fees...for ANYTHING.

School is one thing..an "employment" agency is one thing..but a legitimate MODELING agency will only use models that can make them money off a cut of their work..not out of the models pockets themselves. That seems to be pretty well known in the industry.... here at least.
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#4 General Comment

More common than you think...

AUTHOR: Edgeman - (U.S.A.)

I could name several legitimate agencies that charge fees for services such as a web presence. However, the costs are not public; they are a matter of contract. Let's take a look at a page from Roger Talley's website... after all, he has been working with agencies for decades and probably longer than Ronny has been alive.


9. Modeling agencies do not charge any upfront fees. They do not make any money from a new model until the model works.  Commissions are an agencys only source of income from models.

As a matter of actual practice, this is not true. It should be true, and in some agencies it is true. But it often is not, and models need to know it and decide what their reaction to it should be.

In New York it is common for even top model agencies to make money through a variety of charges they make to models.  One example is models apartments, which are owned, operated or leased by the agency and the model is charged an inflated rate per month to stay in them.  Even if the model never gets work, the agency makes money from the apartment fees.  They may charge an inflated amount for courier and copying services too, and there are other similar examples. They frequently will also charge a model for inclusion in the agency web site.

It can be worse. In many smaller cities there simply isnt enough of a market for agencies to be financially viable solely on work they get for models. To make up the difference they supplement their income in other ways: by offering classes or taking profits from pictures, or by sponsoring a model into a model convention and taking a commission from the convention organizers. None of these things are desirable, but in many cities it is a fact of life. If you want to be an agency model there, you have to play by their rules. Its the only game in town, and if the rules are forced to change, the agency will simply go out of business.

Nobody in the industry likes that situation, but it is true, and you may find yourself having to deal with it."

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#5 Consumer Comment

and I don't mean...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

...the percentage/cut from photoshoots and jobs. I want to know what legitimate modeling agencies charge a fee for books (books?) or for pictures on the internet.

If anything, the agency must pay the model for this or have the model agree the photos can be used. If the model has to pay to have any pictures posted...the model was scammed by a scammer that implies it is a legitimate agency, but is a scam.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Name ONE...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

..legitimate modeling agency that charges the model ...

If you can..then post the fee menu..I await.
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#7 General Comment

Yes and no...

AUTHOR: Edgeman - (U.S.A.)

I have no doubt that CTM is a shady entity and I'd be leery of a model agency that posts on Craigslist.

However, the OP's advice may well scare some models away from perfectly legitimate and established agencies.

It is a misnomer that models do not have to pay agencies. Comp cards cost money. Books cost money. It's not unheard of for agencies to charge a fee for posting a model's photos on their website. In the old days you'd see agencies fronting the expenses for a new model with the understanding she would pay back the money later. That practice has become less common.

It is also common for an agency to have a list of recommended photographers to help build a model's book and yes, they charge. However, insisting that you shoot with a particular studio upfront is a red flag.

I should add that CTM is not among the established agencies in Chicago such as Ford, BMG or Galatea.
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