My 3 year old daughter loves taking photos and modeling around the house, so when I heard the radio commercial looking for wanna-be models I thought I would check it out. At our initial audition they turned us away, but later called several times stating that they wanted to audition her again as a potential client. I spoke to Shaun Michael several times on the phone in the process and expressed my concerns about my daughter being a special needs child, who has epilepsy and some minor brain damage that affects her verbal communication. I also mentioned that she has to go to special education classes and speech therapy.
I eventually signed her up and was told that for a $95 contract fee, and $400 ($360 if I paid in full on first class, which I did) that she could receive one year of classes. I was also told on that day that if I chose to take pictures in the future that it was $300 for her age group.
She went to about 5-6 weeks of classes and Shaun Michael approached me and said that my daughter was doing an outstanding job and that he did not want to see her "potential" end with the classes, that he wanted to see her go somewhere, and that he was going to take some pictures of her for free to circulate around various agencies. When I told him that I wanted to do the full photo shoot he told me he was going to pay half, at that moment I was excited, I thought I was going to get a photo shoot for $150. When we sat down to do the contract for the photo shoot, he wrote that the total was $600 and that he was paying half and that my half was $300. I was taken aback but did not say anything. Later I talked with the other moms, and I found out that the other little boy in my daughter's class was told $300, and the older kids/teens were told $400, so I knew he was full of it when he told me he was paying half.
I made a payment plan to pay for the photos over the next two weeks, when I missed the next Sat class b/c my child was in the hospital they called me on a daily basis asking for the money until I paid.
Then the next week we show up and we are told by the "director" that Shaun Michael was out due to his mother being ill and having only 6 months to live. We were all told that we would be taking a month off, but the director told me that he would be contacting me to go to the mall to buy the clothes my daughter would need for the photo shoot. I was never contacted. I called the number I was given as a contact number and it had been disconnected.
I called the main number on his website twice and left a message with a fake receptionist who has no idea how to contact Shaun Michael or what city he is even working in. I never got a return call. I sent an email to the "director" using the email address on the website, still no answer. I have never been contacted regarding a change in phone number, or a cancellation of the classes that were suppose to be for one year. He has up and left Bakersfield and left his clients absolutely no way to obtain the services owed.
I checked him out on the Better Business Bureau and found that he has multiple complaints against him (sure wish I would have checked before paying). Also, he advertises that he has been doing this for 10 yrs, yet he just started his business in May 2008 according to the BBB. He has an "F" rating with BBB. Also, some of his "success" stories are his employees, the ones helping him steal money from hopeful young children and their parents.
So here I am out $755, and I am only one of the many people in this town who signed contracts with them.
Shame on Shaun Michael, it took a lot for my daughter to open up to them. When they first met her she just turned and ran, she would cry when I took her to her first few classes. When she finally started to open up to them and trust them enough to work with them, they up and left!!
Very Angry Client!!!