• Report: #103042

Complaint Review: Starbiz Wilhelmina

  • Submitted: Tue, August 10, 2004
  • Updated: Tue, December 14, 2004

  • Reported By:Gilbert Arizona
Starbiz Wilhelmina
13430 North Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, Arizona U.S.A.

Starbiz Wilhelmina Ripoff Dishonest Misleading Scottsdale Arizona *UPDATE ..I am going to picket Starbiz starting Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

*Consumer Comment: Had photo shoot last Thursday

*Consumer Comment: Had photo shoot last Thursday

*Consumer Comment: Had photo shoot last Thursday

*Consumer Comment: Had photo shoot last Thursday

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Happy you are satisfied, too bad that he knows about these reports

*Consumer Comment: I talked to Bruce, and he is not the monster that he was made out to be on these reports.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: If the heat is on of course they are going to play nice

*Consumer Comment: Notes from a real model ..I'm sure Bruce was very nice...that's the only way he can avoid lawsuits.

*Consumer Comment: Met with Bruce..

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: This is not just one or two bad companies... it is a whole giant rotten one

*Consumer Comment: also been duped

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Aimee, I used to work with you at Starbiz... I can't agree more with the victims

*Consumer Suggestion: Sorry Kathaleeen .. Let me know when you will be out there again so I can try and be there

*Consumer Comment: I will be there tomorrow - I hope to see some of you there too!

*Consumer Comment: I'll be there and my husband will be making two picket signs tonight

*Consumer Suggestion: I would like to join you kathleen! I Cant believe that Bruce thinks that spending 685.00 dollars on a photo shoot and waiting for the photos is fun.

*Consumer Comment: I Plan to hand out flyers on Wednesday, Nov 24, 10:00 - 12:30

*Consumer Suggestion: I have a flyer

*Consumer Comment: I'M WITH YOU!!!

*Consumer Comment: Amanda- Do you have extra Flyers from last Wednesday?

*Consumer Comment: We Must Rally Together!

*Consumer Comment: We Must Rally Together!

*Consumer Comment: We Must Rally Together!

*Consumer Comment: We Must Rally Together!

*Consumer Comment: Kathaleen, are you still there?

*Consumer Comment: Kathaleen, are you still there?

*Consumer Comment: I WILL STEP UP AS THE NEW LEADER

*Consumer Suggestion: WHAT?? .. I thought you concern was not only for yourself being ripped off but for the other parents that got sucked in!

*Consumer Comment: Where does that leave us?

*Author of original report: Last post. Settlement reached. Thank you Rip-off Report!

*Consumer Comment: Hope everythings ok Pat!

*Author of original report: Not able to picket on Thursday.

*Consumer Comment: I was there today to picket from 11:45 to 1:00 - didn't see you Patrick ;o(

*Consumer Comment: Went to an audition on 11/9/04 and wish the picketers were there! Maybe they are scheduling the photo appointments for after the picketing.

*Author of original report: Picket went well, Bruce was very upset to say the least! offered me $685, I refused!

*Author of original report: Another report filed confirming Melette is back.

*Author of original report: Can't believe what Starbiz is saying about me.

*Author of original report: Starbiz has a new name. now goes by Wilhelmina Arizona.

*Consumer Comment: We'll be there

*Author of original report: I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times: Starting Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

*Author of original report: I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times: Starting Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: I just re-read the letter from Bruce... I really think it's funny that he is trying to discredit me.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Dismissed employee??? WHY ON EARTH would I steal money???

*Author of original report: Got a letter from Bruce.

*Author of original report: Don't think Starbiz is associated with WSN.

*Consumer Comment: I believe Starbiz used to be Trans Continental Talent, which used to be Options talent, which used to be Emodels...etc. a Lou Pearlman Scam

*Author of original report: Received email reply from CBS 5 i-Team. CBS 5 monitors the Rip-Off Report

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Answers, hopefully, closer to putting him out of business.

*Author of original report: Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

*Author of original report: Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

*Author of original report: Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

*Author of original report: Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

*Author of original report: Not the reason I thought it was.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Talent Directors

*Author of original report: Filed a complaint with the FTC last night.

*Author of original report: Will also try the FTC.

*Consumer Comment: Trust me....This won't die.

*Author of original report: Called AG to follow up on complaint.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: It was always a fear that a camera crew would come barging into the office

*Consumer Comment: I got my $$ back --- but I still want to help

*Author of original report: Will not let this thread die

*Consumer Comment: Do we all need to send letters to 3 On Your Side? outside Starbiz and hand out these Ripoff Reports

*Author of original report: Letter mailed....

*Consumer Suggestion: I'm on it

*Author of original report: Will be mailing a letter to Gary Harper tomorrow.

*Author of original report: Hope you get your money back

*Consumer Suggestion: Too bad for Bruce, sounds like he messed with the wrong people.

*Author of original report: Bruce already has copies of these reports, and I hope he is strating to sweat now.

*Author of original report: I also found that info on Ronald Bruce Romberg

*Consumer Comment: THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

*Consumer Comment: THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

*Consumer Comment: THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

*Consumer Comment: THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Good for you!!!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Good for you!!!

*Author of original report: Aimee, thank you for coming forward, It will greatly assist us in taking strong action against these unscrupulous business practices.

*Consumer Comment: So I DIDN'T go to the audition! thank you everyone who has written anything about Starbiz Wilhelmina

*Author of original report: Sorry, got names mixed up. they don't waste time with people not willing to pay

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: In response to agency question ..I'm so glad that this comes up when someone Googles Starbiz Wilhelmina.

*Author of original report: To Megan in Tucson ..Starbiz uses to cover themselves when they say you are guaranteed to be on TV.

*Consumer Comment: So I take it I shouldn't go to the audition??

*Consumer Comment: Feeding on the pride of our children

*Author of original report: To Former Employee....

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: I am so happy...

*Consumer Comment: another victim

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Covering his own...

*Author of original report: To Former Employee

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: I feel so bad when I read these stories... I was to hold the baby and toddler auditions and sell the packages

*Author of original report: Now advertising on TV

*Author of original report: Now advertising on TV

*Author of original report: Now advertising on TV

*Author of original report: Now advertising on TV

*Author of original report: Update...Just talked to Bruce Romberg

*Consumer Suggestion: Starbiz Wilhelmina - Fraud???

*Author of original report: Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

*Author of original report: Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

*Author of original report: Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

*Author of original report: Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

*Author of original report: Need others to come forward

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I am writing to again inform everyone about the shady business practices of Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhemina in Scottsdale, Arizona. My wife and I were duped into believing our daughter was "just what they were looking for". Although Starbiz is technically a "legal" business, we felt severly misled. Here's our story:


Picture of the front of the building Starbiz scam-centeral is located in.

We heard a radio commercial one Sunday afternoon in late April 2004 that Starbiz was looking for babies and toddlers to star in a print ad for a well-known clothing retailer. We called the number and were set up for an interview that week. Of course, when we arrived, there were at least 50 parents there with kids. We went through the interview process and were told to call back later that day to confrim we still wanted to proceed (as they had told us during the interview that we would have to cough up $685 for their services).

Being the sceptical type, I checked with the Better Business Bureau after returning to work that day, and found that they were listed with the BBB and had no complaints (no surprise). So we called to confirm our interest. We soon received a call back that our daughter was selected and that we needed to come down and pay the $685 and sign a contract.

So we paid and we signed, and we were scheduled for a photo shoot in late May. The contract we signed stated that our child was guaranteed at least one appearance in a print ad, and that assignments paid from $600-$1200. One would assume that if you were promised one print ad, that you would be paid for it, therefore offsetting the cost to sign up. We quickly found out this was not the case.

We showed up for the photo shoot, at the Starbiz office no less, and our daughter was given an outfit to wear for the ad. Headshots were also to be taken, of which we were to receive 50 copies. The outfit was a horendous tie-dyed shirt and shorts that no parent in their right mind would dress their kids in. Pictures were taken and we were told they should be ready in 6-8 weeks. We were also told our daughter would be placed in the kids section of their website for marketing purposes. As of this writing, there are 53 pages of baby & toddler pictures, with 20 pictures per page. Count 'em folks, that's over 1000 kids!


Bruce Romberg (Owner of Starbiz) standing next to his Mercedes taking photo's like he was going to catch us doing something wrong.

Here's the kicker. When we showed up for the photo shoot, we were expected to be paid for the assignment. When we inquired as to when we would be paid, they said you don't get paid for the first ad! That was so the child could gain experience as a model! We've been taking pictures of our daughter since the day she was born, she has plenty of experience! So we waited and waited and finally got the headshots near the end of June. The shots were fine, but they did not have any copies of the ad she was supposed to be in. Last week it came out. Turns out it was a full page ad for Starbiz with about 20 kids pictured. It looked like a page from a high school yearbook. There was a very small mention of the clothing line the kids were wearing, and you could barely see the clothes anyway as most shots printed were from the chest up. Makes sense though, would you pay a magazine (a free publication by the way) $500 for a full-color ad in order to make $13,700? I know I sure would!


Bruce Romberg talking with a Scottsdale PD officer, trying to convince him to arrest anyone picketing.

At one point we called Bruce to complain that we felt we were misled, and he basically had no sympathy and even yelled at my wife over the phone! I hope that by sharing my experience, others will not fall for the same ploy. This man needs to be put out of business so that he can't do this to anyone else. I will be complaining to the radio station that aired (and continues to air) the ad. I will also be talking to the investigative reporter from the local TV station.

Buyer beware! You do not have to pay to get yourself or your kids into modeling. Go to a respected talent agency, and not the likes of Bruce Romberg and Starbiz Wilhemina.

Patrick
Gilbert, Arizona
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Trans Continental Talent AKA Options Talent

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on TcTalent

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Wilhelmina

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/10/2004 04:20 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Starbiz-Wilhelmina/Scottsdale-Arizona-85254/Starbiz-Wilhelmina-Ripoff-Dishonest-Misleading-Scottsdale-Arizona-UPDATE-I-am-going-to-103042. 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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#1 Consumer Comment

Had photo shoot last Thursday

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

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know we had our commercial photo shoot last Thursday. It went really well. There were about 10 other parents with their children there. Bruce was there too. It is for a very high end childrens furniture/clothing store. We met the owners and they were very nice. I had a great experience and wanted to share it with you. It seems ligit so far.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Had photo shoot last Thursday

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

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know we had our commercial photo shoot last Thursday. It went really well. There were about 10 other parents with their children there. Bruce was there too. It is for a very high end childrens furniture/clothing store. We met the owners and they were very nice. I had a great experience and wanted to share it with you. It seems ligit so far.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Had photo shoot last Thursday

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

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know we had our commercial photo shoot last Thursday. It went really well. There were about 10 other parents with their children there. Bruce was there too. It is for a very high end childrens furniture/clothing store. We met the owners and they were very nice. I had a great experience and wanted to share it with you. It seems ligit so far.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Had photo shoot last Thursday

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

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know we had our commercial photo shoot last Thursday. It went really well. There were about 10 other parents with their children there. Bruce was there too. It is for a very high end childrens furniture/clothing store. We met the owners and they were very nice. I had a great experience and wanted to share it with you. It seems ligit so far.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Happy you are satisfied, too bad that he knows about these reports

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

Kathaleen,

I'm happy that you got what you wanted... You have to rememeber that he reads these reports and knows who writes in them. These "so-called" paying jobs are paid from him. At the end of the contract, you will only have those jobs for your daughter. I hope that I'm wrong, but chances are that I'm not, but I do wish that everyone gets what they want.

Former employees have reported here, as I am, that he has a temper, but he also knows that you would write about it here if he was angry. While, I hope that everything is being "cleaned up" there, I sincerely doubt it. If there are any chances that he has cleaned up, they wouldn't have deceptive ads, which they still do. They wouldn't have report after report on this web site.

Kathaleen, I hope that he is going to stand by his word, maybe he's turning over a new leaf. Just remember, anyone can buy an ad in the newspaper or a magazine.
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#6 Consumer Comment

I talked to Bruce, and he is not the monster that he was made out to be on these reports.

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

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that I met with Bruce, and he is not the monster that he was made out to be on these reports. He has been wrongly portrayed by a few folks here who are apparently upset. I was one of them, but I never talked with him directly.

I stumbled upon this website and was sucked into the madness as well. It's easy to do when reading all of the reports, but I wonder how many of you have actually spoken to Bruce directly. Until this week, I never gave Bruce a chance either. I jumped on this ban wagon without knowing the whole truth.

I did finally meet with him, and honestly, I was scared to talk to him at first because of these reports, but he surprised me and was very professional. He explained everything very nicely to me. He was calm, and never once raised his voice to me. He let me ask all the questions I had, and he answered them all honestly.

I am now a satisfied customer. I will be staying on with Starbiz and he will continue to market my child. He has already gotten my daughter 2 jobs, one television commercial and one print ad. I think if you are upset, you should really give him a chance to explain the industry to you. Don't be mislead by all of these reports, talk to Bruce directly.

Sincerely,
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

If the heat is on of course they are going to play nice

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

Lori,

How else do you expect him to act, he knows his butt is on the flames. If you had a bad story to come back with it would just come back to haunt him and confirm what everone is saying. One thing that needs to be said again and again... if you want something like this for your child (modeling) take the money you spend on this scam and take your children for headshots.

Send the head shots out yourself, you will in the end see a more productive out come. Like I said, they turn no one down. These guys have to be slick to work scams like this, think of your classic used car sales man, he could sell you a rock and tell you that it will get you to work. It is different when you have actually worked for them, you see what really goes on, not what they want everyone else to see.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Notes from a real model ..I'm sure Bruce was very nice...that's the only way he can avoid lawsuits.

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

Lori,

I'm sure Bruce was very nice...that's the only way he can avoid lawsuits. The fact remains that what he is doing is illegal in most states. In Texas, for example, it is illegal for a modeling and talent agency to charge any upfront fees for representation. It's also illegal to require the use of a specific photographer or require that prints be done by a specific company.

Also, advertising agencies are not stupid. They will not utilize the services of "agencies" like Starbiz in order to avoid their reputation. Real advertisers will go through a reputable talent agency.

If your child really does have what it takes to become a model, then it would be a shame for them to waste their talent with Starbiz. Please look through the phone book or online for model and talent agencies in your area. Mail in some quality photographs and if the agency is interested, they will contact you.

Real agencies will NEVER ask for upfront fees and will be fine with you finding photographers on your own. Also, many photographers will shoot for free if they feel you have a "look" that will help develop their portfolio.

So, it doesn't matter how nice Bruce is...you still got ripped off big time.

Good luck.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Met with Bruce..

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

Hello all, I met with Bruce this week, being how he didn't know me from adam and had no Idea that I personally was upset with him (besides from reading what I posted here). I decided to meet with him and give him a chance to explain to me just exactly what he does and how he could help my children. He really isn't the monster that everyone makes him out to me. In fact, he knew that I thought I had been scammed and never raised his voice once or talk down to me. He was interested in my story and understood that I felt I had been misled and I on the other hand understand that he cannot always control what the people in his office were saying to people especially when they work on commission. But as he and I both agreed the buck stops at him and he was genuinely interested in making the situation right. I left his office after about 30 minutes feeling like the situation was resolved. My husband was with me and we left on friendly terms.

You people out there who are posting on this site about starbiz and haven't contacted Bruce to let him know that you are upset should take a step backwards and contact him so he can right the situation. You have to give him a chance. If he doesn't know he can't do anything about it and face it folks, it's just not fair to jump the gun. You need to take the steps. So I urge you all to let him know before you write things..

you might get some satifaction out of it like I did. Good luck to you all.
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#10 UPDATE EX-employee responds

This is not just one or two bad companies... it is a whole giant rotten one

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

Dear Arizona,

hey first have to say I love and miss arizona. Next is to tell you that your branch is not the one that is fraudulant(sp?). I worked for a branch of Options Talent Scouts up here. If this company were not so corrupt it would be a wonderful idea....on paper it really is. However mix in a few get rich quick idiots and hey, let's just say it is really rotten. I was a scout, I have also looked into modeling in my past. Unfortunatly, to get into the buisness you have to be either lucky, know someone, or you need to take the initiative and have your children professionaly photo graphed, get many copies, and get alot of stamps.

As said before, if they ask you for money they are not real ....if they avoid using the word agency..run, that is the specific reason that Options and Wilhelmina do not use agency anywhere. There main purpose is supposedly to just get the pictures out there for the agencies to notice.....hence doing the leg work of getting your child noticed. However, as some of you have noticed there are thousands of people's pictures on these sites. Next, time you go ask for a clients list (agencies) and ask for verification of these clients. I feel rotten myself about what they have done. When I worked at the one here in Wisconsin, they had just anyone taking the head shots and other photos, and trust we are talking about people without talent. I sat in on one of the meetings to decide ....they did not turn a single person down. I am sure all of your children are adorable, however concider this, we primarily worked with young adult to adult (though they would take children's parents money too). Again... like I said ....NO ONE was turned down... hey everyone's money is the same, right?

Well, I am off for now ... I found this site by accident ... but it gave me a chance to voice. sorry for any miss-spellings it is 2am .. and I have a child..mind is a lil blurry. take care I hope get your money back.
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#11 Consumer Comment

also been duped

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

I was too late also, I took my daughter in on August 25th for her headshots, It is now Nov. 30th and still have not recieved any pictures or phone calls to pick them up.

They told me they would be ready in about three weeks, I called four weeks later and they said they were not doing the black and white prints they were putting the pictures on disks. I accidently came across this site looking for the starbiztalents.com and couldn't find it. We also thought we would get paid for it. This makes me sick to think that somebody could use little children to make it big. So he thinks.

My husband called a week ago and they said that they should be coming in and they would call still no calls. We delt with Julie when we first went there and now it is Heidi. I would like to Know what to do next. I guess I'll call Gary Harper, Three on your side.
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#12 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Aimee, I used to work with you at Starbiz... I can't agree more with the victims

AUTHOR: "Little Blond Girl" - (U.S.A.)

Aimee,
Hey! I don't want to include my name, but I worked with you and Ann A. at starbiz!! I hope you remember me!! You just had a birthday, and it was actually my Half Birthday (just a little clue in case). I have been keeping up with everything on this site. I would love to talk with you again since we lost contact! I still have the same phone number, if you still have it, please call me! I have so much to talk to you about!

And about the topics in these reports, I can't agree more. Do what you have to do to make yourselves happy. Oh, and Good Luck! :)

Hope to hear from you soon, Aimee!

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#13 Consumer Suggestion

Sorry Kathaleeen .. Let me know when you will be out there again so I can try and be there

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

I didnt get your message in time I just got a chance to check them again. Let me know when you will be out there again so I can try and be there but for the most part I need a little notice.
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#14 Consumer Comment

I will be there tomorrow - I hope to see some of you there too!

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

Kellie -

That would be great if you can come tomorrow!! If not I will be planning more for next week. I plan on being there tomorrow from about 10:00 - 12:30. I may be a little later than 10:00 because I run on my daughters' schedule. :o)

Hope to see you there tomorrow!!
Kathaleen

Lori - Will you be there tomorrow? I am anxious to meet you and the others that have posted and talk about our options.
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#15 Consumer Comment

I'll be there and my husband will be making two picket signs tonight

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

Kathaleen, I'll be there and my husband will be making two picket signs tonight, so I will have an extra. I'm a stay at home mom too, so my babies will be there with me also along with my three older kids unless my dad can watch them. Please post as soon as possible so I know if you will be there, my inlaws are coming in for Thanksgiving so I'm not sure if I will be able to be there the whole time but definetely for a little while. And the tentative times for next week sound good. I'm looking forward to meeting you and anyone else who would like to come join us. Did you file a report with the AG's office and if you did have you gotten any confirmation on it? See you tomorrow.
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#16 Consumer Suggestion

I would like to join you kathleen! I Cant believe that Bruce thinks that spending 685.00 dollars on a photo shoot and waiting for the photos is fun.

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

My son had his shoot done on aug 25th and after 2 month of calling and getting mad Bruce said I would get my sons head shots and I would get a copy of the disc. Well let me tell you. When my husband finally went in to pick them up he had to wait 45min for bruce to edit the picture which you can totally tell that he took the logo off the ugly shirt my son was wearing, and to print out only 5 full body pictures which are totaly horrible. I cant believ that one i did not get one head shot of my son, but the disc I got has only 3 pictures which are totally poor quality and duplicated so it looks like there are six poses. You can look at the pictures and see where they attempted to fix some things but the pictures are horrible. I will be more than glad to join you for a picket and I will give you all information on the lawyer we have contacted to bring a lawsuit against him. I think my lawyer might like to help everyone possible, because he cant believe what bruce is doing to us.
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#17 Consumer Comment

I Plan to hand out flyers on Wednesday, Nov 24, 10:00 - 12:30

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

Hi Everyone -

I am planning on handing out flyers on Wednesday, November 24th, from about 10:00 to 12:30. That is with weather permitting. I am a stay at home mom, so I will have my baby with me. She has a little cold right now, so if she's not worse and the weather is not rainy - I will be there. I don't know if I will have my picket sign ready by then - I will try.

Anyone that can be there this Wednesday - you are more than welcome! I will be scheduling more picketing times next week. Right now I am planning it for Wednesday December 1st, Thursday December 2nd and Saturday December 4th.

Amanda,

I understand that you can't be there this week. I will just make a little flyer with ripoff reports' web address and maybe take a few excerpts from the reports already here. Maybe we can try to meet next Wednesday and hand out the flyers you are working on.


Please post if you can make it this Wednesday, or the tentative times mentioned above for next week.

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!
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#18 Consumer Suggestion

I have a flyer

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

Hi Kathleen. Sorry for no responses lately, I've been dealing with a sick baby. Anyway, yes I do have a flyer from Bruce. I was planning on editing it a little bit and making a new one. Also I will not be able to picket the week before Thanksgiving but am available pretty much anytime after that.

I will be in touch to make arrangements
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#19 Consumer Comment

I'M WITH YOU!!!

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

Kathaleen, Just post the time and I will be there.
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#20 Consumer Comment

Amanda- Do you have extra Flyers from last Wednesday?

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

Amanda,

Since you were there last Wednesday, do you have any extra flyers left? I didn't get to see what they looked like. I would like to put one together, but I really don't know where to start, except to tell everyone to look at ripoffreport.com. If you have extra flyers, I can get more copies made.

I know next week is Thanksgiving, but I was thinking of trying to go picket on Wednesday. Can anyone else make it then?

Thanks!
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#21 Consumer Comment

We Must Rally Together!

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

To everyone who has been scammed,

I understand you may be upset, but your mad at the wrong person. Bruce is the one who scammed us out of our hard earned money. Patrick did the best he could. I believe it takes more than one person to put someone out of business. We don't know the underlying circumstances with Patrick accepting a settlement maybe he had no other choice financially. If you think about it, he got what we all want our money back.

Now is the time we need to rally together and really make a go of putting this man out of business. We need to picket and do it often. From my understanding Patrick picked on a Saturday and only one other person showed. Then he had it set for a Wednesday and Thursday and on Wednesday, Patrick and Amanda were the only two there. I showed up at 11:45 after the other 2 had already left and stayed until 1:00. I was able to talk to 2 parents who ended up not going in. If we are serious about stopping this scam against innocent children and their parents, we need a bigger turn out for these events.

I am willing to do whatever I can to help organize these pickets, and anything else we can do to stop Bruce. WE CAN DO IT!!! WHO'S WITH ME?
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#22 Consumer Comment

We Must Rally Together!

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

To everyone who has been scammed,

I understand you may be upset, but your mad at the wrong person. Bruce is the one who scammed us out of our hard earned money. Patrick did the best he could. I believe it takes more than one person to put someone out of business. We don't know the underlying circumstances with Patrick accepting a settlement maybe he had no other choice financially. If you think about it, he got what we all want our money back.

Now is the time we need to rally together and really make a go of putting this man out of business. We need to picket and do it often. From my understanding Patrick picked on a Saturday and only one other person showed. Then he had it set for a Wednesday and Thursday and on Wednesday, Patrick and Amanda were the only two there. I showed up at 11:45 after the other 2 had already left and stayed until 1:00. I was able to talk to 2 parents who ended up not going in. If we are serious about stopping this scam against innocent children and their parents, we need a bigger turn out for these events.

I am willing to do whatever I can to help organize these pickets, and anything else we can do to stop Bruce. WE CAN DO IT!!! WHO'S WITH ME?
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#23 Consumer Comment

We Must Rally Together!

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

To everyone who has been scammed,

I understand you may be upset, but your mad at the wrong person. Bruce is the one who scammed us out of our hard earned money. Patrick did the best he could. I believe it takes more than one person to put someone out of business. We don't know the underlying circumstances with Patrick accepting a settlement maybe he had no other choice financially. If you think about it, he got what we all want our money back.

Now is the time we need to rally together and really make a go of putting this man out of business. We need to picket and do it often. From my understanding Patrick picked on a Saturday and only one other person showed. Then he had it set for a Wednesday and Thursday and on Wednesday, Patrick and Amanda were the only two there. I showed up at 11:45 after the other 2 had already left and stayed until 1:00. I was able to talk to 2 parents who ended up not going in. If we are serious about stopping this scam against innocent children and their parents, we need a bigger turn out for these events.

I am willing to do whatever I can to help organize these pickets, and anything else we can do to stop Bruce. WE CAN DO IT!!! WHO'S WITH ME?
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#24 Consumer Comment

We Must Rally Together!

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

To everyone who has been scammed,

I understand you may be upset, but your mad at the wrong person. Bruce is the one who scammed us out of our hard earned money. Patrick did the best he could. I believe it takes more than one person to put someone out of business. We don't know the underlying circumstances with Patrick accepting a settlement maybe he had no other choice financially. If you think about it, he got what we all want our money back.

Now is the time we need to rally together and really make a go of putting this man out of business. We need to picket and do it often. From my understanding Patrick picked on a Saturday and only one other person showed. Then he had it set for a Wednesday and Thursday and on Wednesday, Patrick and Amanda were the only two there. I showed up at 11:45 after the other 2 had already left and stayed until 1:00. I was able to talk to 2 parents who ended up not going in. If we are serious about stopping this scam against innocent children and their parents, we need a bigger turn out for these events.

I am willing to do whatever I can to help organize these pickets, and anything else we can do to stop Bruce. WE CAN DO IT!!! WHO'S WITH ME?
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#25 Consumer Comment

Kathaleen, are you still there?

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

Hey Kathaleen haven't heard from you in a few days. I just found my contract with starbiz and we were actually scammed out of our money on Jan. 7th 2004. The contract actually says Jan. 7th, 2003, but I can prove with a copy of the check that it was 2004. With all this info I can actually start filing all my complaints seeing how I had to have the dates and contract I couldn't before now. The more I think about it the more I want my back. So let me know when the action is going to take place and I'll be there to picket with you.
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#26 Consumer Comment

Kathaleen, are you still there?

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

Hey Kathaleen haven't heard from you in a few days. I just found my contract with starbiz and we were actually scammed out of our money on Jan. 7th 2004. The contract actually says Jan. 7th, 2003, but I can prove with a copy of the check that it was 2004. With all this info I can actually start filing all my complaints seeing how I had to have the dates and contract I couldn't before now. The more I think about it the more I want my back. So let me know when the action is going to take place and I'll be there to picket with you.
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#27 Consumer Comment

I WILL STEP UP AS THE NEW LEADER

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

To all who follow these reports - Do not despair! While I am saddened to lose Patrick in this fight against injustice, I will not give up! I am willing to step up and be the new leader. I do need others to come forward and to be available to picket. I will work on a schedule and let you all know when it is. I am also looking into a class action lawsuit against Starbiz.



Please keep following these reports and do not give up.
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#28 Consumer Suggestion

WHAT?? .. I thought you concern was not only for yourself being ripped off but for the other parents that got sucked in!

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

Bruce ... I truly do NOT understand? A settlement? Confidential?? I thought you concern was not only for yourself being ripped off but for the other parents that got sucked in as well. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that I read many times about how you were "not going to let this die" ... and that "you will not stop until this man is out of business". So tell me, is he shutting his doors? Needless to say, I am very disappointed.



Kathleen. Yes, I was there on Wednesday but I had to leave at 11:30. When I left Bruce and Patrick were standing there talking .... Now I wish I would have stayed.
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#29 Consumer Comment

Where does that leave us?

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

That's wonderful for you Pat! But where does that leave us. Us people who were ripped off 10 months ago and not 1 month ago. Should we keep griping or do we do the same things you have done to make Bruce Romberg settle with us. And what about putting him out of business, what happened to that. I have to admit that I am feeling a little bit betrayed. I know money talks, but the scam still exists. I don't get it. And I bet the terms of your settlement are that you can't even rebuttal this. Really Really sad Pat. So now that he opened his mouth and offered you a price for your silence then the scam still goes on and that's okay with you. Thanks alot pat for seeing it to the end and now for sitting back with your settlement knowing that lots more innocent people will be scammed. I hope it makes you feel good.
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#30 Author of original report

Last post. Settlement reached. Thank you Rip-off Report!

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

Hello everyone,



This will be my last post on this, and all other Starbiz reports.



As of 3pm on 11/11/04, I have reached a settlement agreement with Starbiz. The details of this agreement are confidential.



I would like to say thank you both to the Rip-Off Report, and others who posted, for their assistance.



Sincerely,
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#31 Consumer Comment

Hope everythings ok Pat!

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

I hope everything is ok Pat. I unfortunately can't make it today either. Will you be able to make it out next week? Were you there on Wednesday at all?



Amanda did you make it out Wednesday? I was there from 11:45 to 1:00 and didn't see anybody else. Would you be available any time next week?



I am not stopping this fight against Starbiz.



It's not over yet Bruce!!! You made the wrong people mad.
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#32 Author of original report

Not able to picket on Thursday.

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

Due to unforseen circumstances, I will be unable to picket on Thursday.
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#33 Consumer Comment

I was there today to picket from 11:45 to 1:00 - didn't see you Patrick ;o(

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

Hi Pat-



I was there today (Wednesday) to picket. Unfortunately, I was late do to a wreck on loop 101. I arrived around 11:45, but no one else was there. I was able to stop and talk to 2 potential parents. One lady had twins - can you imagine having to pay twice! I told them both to go to ripoffreport.com and check it out - but I didn't have anything to give them. They were both grateful that I was there to tell them about the scam.



I also went in to Starbiz at 1:00 to get my daughter's headshots. They called last week to tell me they were ready. Well, they didn't even give me the headshots. They told me they no longer print the headshots because the talent agencies they work with just throw them away. So basically, I paid $685 to get a disc with a bunch of crappy pictures, that aren't even relevant anymore because they are 3 months old!!! I am furious!



Also, apparently, they are letting the parents' park in their parking lot now because I saw 3 people come out with their babies and get in their cars in the parking lot. I didn't approach them because I was afraid to, not knowing the laws about picketing. Though, technically, I wasn't picketing because I did not have a sign or any flyers to give out. I hope those parents do their homework and find these reports!



I also heard Melette ( I think) tell a parent that was calling at 1:00 to see if their child was accepted, that they were still in the interviewing process and hadn't made any decisions yet, but asked for the best number to be reached at and said they would call back if they were accepted. Same story, different day.



Will you be there tomorrow (Thursday)? I would love to meet you and discuss our options.
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#34 Consumer Comment

Went to an audition on 11/9/04 and wish the picketers were there! Maybe they are scheduling the photo appointments for after the picketing.

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

To all who responded,



Thank you for caring enough to write. I thought because of the name "Wilhelmina" that it was pretty legite. I have a niece in modeling and called to ask her about it; she told me to be wary because there was a company out there scamming people (but couldn't remember the name.) So I went to my appointment today and met Melette. She spent the required 2 minutes with me and my sons. She took their pictures and handed me the packet and explained that there would be an initial investment involved. She told me that 3 kids would be picked. I asked her out of how many and she didn't know. I also mentioned that I had heard that there was a scam going around and she said that it was "Wilhelmina Scouting".



When I called back, I was told that she was on the phone and that she would call me back. When Melette called back, she told me "Congratulations, your child has been picked...." blah blah blah. I made an appointment and then called my niece. After talking to my niece who talked to her agent, I was told that this was the "scam". That $685 was way too much to pay for pictures. I just wanted to let you know that my appointment was at 1:30pm on Wednesday 11/10/04. I noticed that you were going to stop picketing at 1pm. Maybe they are scheduling the photo appointments for after the picketing. Hope this helps. And again, thanks so much for the information. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
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#35 Author of original report

Picket went well, Bruce was very upset to say the least! offered me $685, I refused!

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

Hello all,



The picket on Saturday went very well. Bruce arrived on-site at 10:30am with Scottsdale PD in tow. Basically, the cop told me what I already knew. There was nothing they could do to stop me as long as I didn't go on the property, or block the driveway or entrances.



Suffice it to say, Bruce was VERY upset. At one point he was literally screaming at me, asking me want I wanted, that I had not made clear to him my intentions. He knows full well what my intentions are. He even offered to give me $685 cash on the spot. My wife says I was stupid for not taking the money. But now I would rather see him put out of business.



We handed out a few flyers, and everyone that arrived for the auditions on Saturday saw my picket sign, I made sure of that. I am looking forward to being out there again on Wednesday and Thursday.



I got some good pictures of Bruce, and will have them posted.
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#36 Author of original report

Another report filed confirming Melette is back.

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

Hello all,



This just keeps getting better. BJ in El Mirage filed a report last night under their new name, Wilhelmina Arizona, and I almost missed it because I search only Starbiz. Now I will also do a separate search on Wilhelmina every day.



They confirmed that it was Melette Clayton that they dealt with. So it seems she is back. I wonder if Sara Beth left?



These reports also prevented another person from being ripped off. Makes me feel good.



All day I have been thinking about the comments Melette made about me (she has never met me!), and I can't help but laugh each time. Well, they have made the wrong guy mad. I will continue to fight this until the end.



I have been busy printing the flyers for this weekend. I am also still trying to get some local TV news crews to come out and do a story.
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#37 Author of original report

Can't believe what Starbiz is saying about me.

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

Hello all,



Someone named Kristine posted a comment on another Starbiz report that she had gone to the audition last week with her son, and was told that he was picked. She then found these reports and called them. She says:



"Before I made my appt to meet with Mallette I looked here and changed my mind completely and when I called to ask about the complaints about them Mallette told me it was just this guy named Patrick who is mad because his child did not make it."



Can you believe this? What does Mallette (or maybe Melette Clayton?) mean I'm mad because my child did not make it? The whole point of my complaint is that my child WAS picked, but was not paid because we were severely misled. Had we gone into this knowing how Bruce operates, and then never got a call for an assignment, there would be no problem.



So I will be there on Saturday, but not to visit Bruce. I will be on the sidewalk with my picket sign and flyers.
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#38 Author of original report

Starbiz has a new name. now goes by Wilhelmina Arizona.

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

Hello all,



I just read a rebuttal on another report that said Starbiz Wilhelmina now goes by Wilhelmina Arizona. This may be an attempt by Bruce to get the Starbiz name off the business so that people searching the internet won't see these reports. The good thing is most of the reports also have the name Wilhelmina, and will show up in the search.



I was also told that Tuesdays are a good day for picketing too. I had debated about which days to picket, knowing that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday are their high traffic days. I had to drop off Tuesday in favor of Thursday as I don't have much vacation time left at work. I picked Thursday as that is the day most people come down to sign the contract.



However, should anyone else want to picket on Tuesday, come out on Saturday and I will give out extra flyers. I will have plenty on hand.



Happy picketing.
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#39 Consumer Comment

We'll be there

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

I am not sure if we will be able to be there every day for the full time, but we will be there for at least a little while each day.
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#40 Author of original report

I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times: Starting Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

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

I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times:



Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

Wednesday, November 10th 10am - 1pm

Thursday, November 11th 10am - 1pm



These are the busiest times for them. I will have flyers printed for all to hand out. Please join me.



I look forward to seeing you there!
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#41 Author of original report

I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times: Starting Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

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

I am going to picket Starbiz at these dates and times:



Saturday, November 6th 9am - 1pm

Wednesday, November 10th 10am - 1pm

Thursday, November 11th 10am - 1pm



These are the busiest times for them. I will have flyers printed for all to hand out. Please join me.



I look forward to seeing you there!
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#42 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I just re-read the letter from Bruce... I really think it's funny that he is trying to discredit me.

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

I have copies of my paychecks, my business cards (that has my name then my title of Talent Director), and a copy of my resignation letter (which I shouldn't have if I was fired. My letter said that there had been too many changes around there and that I no longer wanted to work there). While he is trying to imply that I stole (which, last time I checked my law books, that would be slanderous and, in his words, illegal).



I also thinks its funny that another employee, even though a temp, has come forward and said the exact same thing that I have. So, now its a

conspiracy against Bruce, everybody is claiming to be former employees. Give me a break. He knows exactly who I am, he's trying to discredit me in everyones eyes that I'm disguntled and he fired me. The only reason why I'm disguntled is because Bruce is still in business. I left and that really upsets him, still.



That letter is very interesting, thanks, Pat, for posting it.
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#43 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Dismissed employee??? WHY ON EARTH would I steal money???

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

First and foremost, I can just see Bruce having this letter written by someone at the office. I wish everyone could see me laughing.

Second, Bruce doesn't want to admit, but I do beleive that I was first person to quit (which brothered him to no end, as I'm sure you all can tell). I WAS NOT dismissed. I rememeber Bruce telling me that as long as I wanted my job, I had it.While I didn't believe in what I was selling the last couple months I was there, I was still an asset. He was sending me to LA with 4 kids for the IMTA convention. Ring a bell, Bruce? I was the image that he wanted projected of Starbiz.

If his memory is failing, I do still have my business cards and I also have a copy of the note I left in his office, along with the last money I collected, in his Rolodex. After my mind was made up that it was dirty business practices, WHY ON EARTH would I steal money???
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#44 Author of original report

Got a letter from Bruce.

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

Hello all,



First let me apologize for the length of this post, but in a moment you will see why.



I have been expecting some type of response from Starbiz, and today it came in the mail in the form of a letter from Bruce Romberg. The text of the letter is as follows (please note that I typed the letter verbatim, and did not make any grammatical corrections):



Begin Letter



"Dear Pat,



I have just received your letter which you have written to the Attorney General here in Arizona. They have sent me all of the information that you sent to them. Good work.



I find it very interesting that you have submitted to them our contract unsigned. You made a real effort to show the Attorney General that you didn't read or sign our agreement. As you know, you did sign it and I will be sending them our contract with your signature.



When you were in my office recently, you told me that Julie promised you payment. My hearing is good and my memory is good. Your letter suggests that I, Bruce Romberg, told you that you would receive payment. Which is it? Was it me? Was it Julie? Or was it both of us? For the record, in the four years of our company, I have never promised income to anyone. Furthermore, it has never been my intent to mislead anybody. Mt intent is to get people signed to talent agencies, as this is where most of the work is found.



You continue to complain about the fact that your child [name deleted] "was put in a Starbiz advertisement". Another fraudulent move by Starbiz! I've enclosed our contract for your review. It reads on page 2 as follows:



"I grant to Starbiz the right to use my name, portraits, photos, video tapes and audio tapes whether taken or produced by Starbiz or supplied by me for the purpose of promoting me and my talents as well as ALLOWING STARBIZ THE USE OF THEM FOR STARBIZ'S ADVERTISING." (side note: I typed this in all CAPS as Bruce had underlined it. He wanted to make sure he pointed this part out clearly)



As you will see, I made the print a little larger, as I think you must have missed this the first time you read it. I placed your child in a Starbiz ad because the contract permits me to do this. This can be very effective and is good for the both of us. Based on your comments, you would think I've committed a tremendous crime.



You make the reference to the hundreds of victims that have been taken by my effort. You have no proof that this many individuals are upset with me and I feel your numbers are way off base. We do have hundreds and hundreds of satisfied people who have participated in my television productions and print advertising over the past four years. I can line up 2,000 people who all participated and there wasn't one of them who ever believed that they were to be paid by Starbiz. I leave the payment of money to the talent agencies that I work with and who sign our talent. I am not a talent agent and it clearly states this in your contract.



You paid Starbiz $685 and your behavior is way off base. Most parents I deal with see themselves participating with Starbiz as some fun and if money come from it, even better. You are conducting yourself as though you lost your entire life savings. Your conduct is very, very selfish. The hundreds of kids that are here with me look forward to participating in all of my productions. I'm a guy who wants to give everyone a chance to participate in the entertainment business. If you are ever successful at putting me out of business, those kids would be out of luck. I find this to be very short sided and very selfish on your part.



You continue to rely on someone who is representing themselves as an ex-employee of mine. Whoever this is, they continue to feed you inaccurate statements. I have dismissed employees in the past for stealing money from me. If this is who this is, one must take their information with a grain of salt. Its vindictive information and you are relying on it. Ex-employees are just that and were dismissed for a very good reason. I suggest you get a more reliable source for information.



Your slanderous/ liable remarks are way off base and my legal team is researching the possibility of your remarks being illegal.



I will continue marketing [name deleted] for the duration of your contract with Starbiz. This is what we agreed to and this is what you paid for. At the end of the term, the contract will then be deemed null and void.



I really don't know what it is you want. I have offered you things that most parents would jump at. You on the other hand see it as a bag of nonsense. You are very wrong."



Sincerely,

[signed]

Bruce Romberg

President



CC: Attorney Generals Office



End Letter





OK, my first comment. Bruce is very long winded, and tends to repeat himself a lot. We experienced the same thing when my wife and I went to his office in September. We literally spent 90 minutes in his office rehashing the same information over and over again.



Now I will break this letter down and respond to each paragraph.





"I have just received your letter which you have written...."



Thanks for the praise.





" I find it very interesting that you have submitted...."



The copy of the contract I sent to the AG was not signed by me. The reason is because that was the duplicate copy that Julie gave me when I came in and signed. In other words, when I came in to sign, Julie had two copies printed off, and had signed both of them. I signed one, and she gave me the other. I saw no reason to sign the one she gave me as it was my own personal copy. It was not my intent to make the AG feel as if I had never signed the agreement, nor did I indicate in my complaint to them that I had not. Thank you for assisting me by providing them with complete paperwork.





"When you were in my office recently...."



I never said you or Julie ever promised us payment. Our main complaint with Starbiz is that we were NEVER informed that we would NOT be paid for the first assignment, as was our impression from your advertising and marketing material.





"You continue to complain about the fact that your child...."



OK, so she appeared in an ad for Starbiz as is allowable by the contract. I have no problem with that. In fact, I thought it was great too. It just meant additional exposure. The problem is, this is ALL she has appeared in. What happened to the one guaranteed commercial print appearance (your "ad" does not count!). Thanks for including a copy of the contract. Mine is with papers at my office, and I did not have it to reference while typing this. Here is the most important (and misleading) part of the contract (located directly above the paragraph you quoted):



"I have been advised that Starbiz is not an employment, modeling or talent agency. Starbiz Entertainment is a talent promotional company. I have not in any way, either verbal or in writing been guaranteed any assignments, interviews or employment OTHER THAN THE FIRST COMMERCIAL PRINT APPEARANCE which will be published and a copy will be available to me."



Notice I put the most important part in all CAPS. This, combined with the ad on the radio that said you were looking for kids for a Steinmart print ad campaign, and the fact we were not told that the Steinmart deal fell through (if it ever existed in the first place), and the fact that the first commercial print appearance is for experience only and is not paid (we didn't find this out until the photo shoot a month later), is the web of your deception. You draw parents in believing that their children will appear in at least one ad, neglect to tell us it is not a paid ad, collect our $685, and we would not hear from you unless we complained first. And don't say we were told that the first ad was for experience only. We all know this is not true. Just ask everyone that has posted on these reports, and they will all tell you (like they told me) that they did not know either.





"You make reference to the hundreds of victims...."



Never have I said anywhere that I know of "hundreds of victims" that have been taken by you. My statement was that there are dozens, if not hundreds of victims. Do not presume to put words in my mouth sir. Search just the reports here on Rip-Off Report. You will find exactly 17 individual reports about your company, not to mention those who have posted on those reports that did not create one of their own. This is where I get "dozens" from. And if there are dozens here, just think of all the people out there who do not know about this site, and have just chalked this up to a bad experience and lesson learned. There is exactly one rebuttal that is positive for Starbiz, and it is the one you made back in 2002. There is not one "client" who has posted with a positive experience.





"You paid Starbiz $685 and your behavior is way off base....."



OK, you've got to be kidding. Who in their right mind would want to pay you $685 just to "participate with Starbiz as some fun"? So in other words we should pay you, have your girlfriend take some pictures of our kids, and we should think of it as "fun"? I can think of quite a few "fun" things to do with $685 besides giving it to you. No, $685 is not my life savings, but it is a lot of money for what we received (or didn't receive, I should say). If we do succeed in putting you and Annie out of business, the kids may be out of luck, but at least their parents won't be out $685.





"You continue to rely on someone who is representing...."



Aimee, I am sure this is directed at you. How nice of him to pretend he doesn't know who you are. If you were a Director of New Talent, I'm sure he knows VERY WELL who you are. Bruce, is that your way of trying to discredit someone, by saying you fired them for stealing money from you? What about all the money you have stolen from unsuspecting parents (and aspiring models/actors for that matter). Too bad we can't just "dismiss" you. And by the way, we now have another source of reliable inside information from another of your "dismissed" employees, thank you.





"Your slanderous/ liable remarks are way off base...."



What are my remarks "liable" for? Oh, did you mean "libel"? It is only considered slander/libel if it is not true. I have certified here and on my complaints to other agencies that my remarks are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and I will continue to do so in a court of law if it comes to that.





"I will continue marketing [name deleted] for the duration of your contract....



That is your choice. As far as we're concerned, you are not making any true efforts to market her. I would be interested to know how many of the 100 headshots (50 for you, 50 for us) that we paid for have actually been sent out by Starbiz in their marketing efforts. I would be willing to bet the answer is zero. How many kids have been picked from your website by "reputable" advertisers? By "reputable", I mean other than Laughter Pieces or Kids Out West. My suspicions are that you have VERY close ties with those two companies.





"I really don't know what it is you want...."



Very simple, we want you out of business. As for the "offers" you made? Yes, we initially jumped at the opportunities you offered, that is until we found out how hollow those offers were. Two photo shoots that paid $120 each? And for the same ugly Laughter Pieces clothing? I don't see how these offers were valid, as that is the same clothing she posed in for the first shoot. If they pay now, why didn't they pay then?



Thank you for copying the Attorney General on your letter. I'm sure they will see the many inconsistencies between it and my complaint, along with all the other complaints here on the Rip-Off Report.



You said in your letter that you could line up 2,000 people who will all say they were not told by Starbiz that they would be paid. Count us in on that group. We were not told we would be paid. We also were not told we would NOT be paid, as was deduced from your advertising and marketing package.



Instead of lining up 2,000 people, I have a simpler challenge for you. Find 10 people who will come to this website, and post that they have had a positive experience with your company, and were able to find work from the results of your marketing. But be warned, any posts are testaments by the poster that the information is valid. The EDitor of this website will have their contact information so that it can be verified.



And finally to everyone following these reports, I posted on another report that I may exercise my right to picket on the sidewalk in front of Starbiz. My wife thinks it is a bad idea as she would be concerned for my safety. I think that if others are willing to picket with me, she would feel better about. So what do you say, anyone else up for a picket within the next few weeks? Please rebuttal and let me know. If I get it organized, I will post the dates and times here.



Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Pat Gagnon.
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#45 Author of original report

Don't think Starbiz is associated with WSN.

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

Briean,



Thanks for adding your comments. It sounds like you also got ripped off by the same type of scam, at least as far as the regular models go.



Unfortunately, I don't think Starbiz Wilhemina is associated with Wilhelmina Scouting Network (WSN) aka Options Talent aka Trans Continental Talent. WSN and Wilhelmina Modeling are not the same company. It would be oh so easy to bring Bruce down if we could prove a connection with Lou Pearlman and his scum associates.



Starbiz started here in Scottsdale back in 2001 as Starbiz Talent. In July of this year, they became affiliated with Wilhelmina Modeling and became Starbiz Wilhelmina. I checked with Wilhelmina Modeling and confirmed this. However, it does not mean that Bruce is still not scamming people.



As you said, no respectable Talent Agent would require a fee up front, or require you to take expensive acting classes.



We will see this through until Starbiz is put out of business. On another report (http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff113314.htm), Paige came forward as an ex-employee with inside information about his scam.



Aimee, did you know Paige? She said she was a "temp" for a short time.



I will continue to update my report as information becomes availabe. Pat Gagnon.
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#46 Consumer Comment

I believe Starbiz used to be Trans Continental Talent, which used to be Options talent, which used to be Emodels...etc. a Lou Pearlman Scam

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

I got a call from Options in 2002 and they told me they had been referred by another modeling agency (I belonged to Page Parks in Houston...another scam!) They asked me to come in for the open call so I did. I was thrilled when they told me I was accepted, and I was told that I would get a phone call later in the week.



When the woman called me, she took my information and then informed me that she needed my money ($599 I believe) right away. I was 18 at the time (and stupid, obviously) so I whipped out my debit card and dipped into my college allowance to pay for the service.



I was never contacted by these people again and I never recieved any requests for work.



What a surprise.....Ha Ha



Now, I am a successful free-lance model with a non-exclusive contract with a REAL modeling agency. I'm no supermodel, but I'm doing very well in the business considering how difficult it can be. I now know that legit agencies not only do not EVER require that you attend a school, but they DISCOURAGE it.



I was recently in Atlanta for a (PAID!) photoshoot and while I was shopping afterward, a Wilhelmina scout came up to me and told me that I had a great look and that if I wasn't already a model, I should be.



It felt so fantastic to laugh in this woman's face and tell her that yes, I was already a model and yes, I had already "heard of" her "company" and their "services". My fiance and I spent the rest of the afternoon following her around and de-scouting the poor teenagers she spoke with. We did it so obviously, that she eventually became furious with us and threatened to call Mall security! I thought that was interesting, considering that she was soliciting.



My apologies go out to all the kids and parents that were scammed by this company and I hope you get back every cent! I wish I could get mine back, but as the company no longer exists, I'm not sure how to go about it.



Good luck to all of you!
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#47 Author of original report

Received email reply from CBS 5 i-Team. CBS 5 monitors the Rip-Off Report

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

Hello everyone,



I received an email response today from the CBS 5 i-Team. They said this sounds like the same company they investigated some months ago, and that they would contact me soon if they were going to pursue an investigation on my report.



CBS 5 monitors the Rip-Off Report. Some of their investigative stories even have a link to this site. Hopefully, they will read all the reports here on Starbiz and decide to do an investigation and story.



I will keep everyone posted.
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#48 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Answers, hopefully, closer to putting him out of business.

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

I was the one that stated that Annie is Bruce's girlfriend. They live together, last I heard, in Greyhawk in North Scottsdale. When I was working there, Annie was trying to sell her condo so she could move in with Bruce. I don't know how they met, but Starbiz is owned, on paper by Annie. We, specifically the "office manager" Ann A. and I talked about that alot. The horrible thing is that when Bruce feels the pressure, or when Starbiz is closed, he can leave town and she'll be stuck with the mess. But, one must wonder, because she is a nice person, why is she with Bruce? Then again, why do women marry men in prison? Con men can charm just about anyone.



Which brings me to IMTA. It is located near 24th St. and Camelback. The thing about IMTA is that it has been perceived by some to be a, I guess, glorified Starbiz. They take money, never promising a career in s****. />

On the matter of the clothing stores. While I was employeed there, Bruce was looking into buying into a clothing company. I remember that it was out of CA, and I remember seeing an ad for it. I'm pretty sure it was called Laughter Pieces, because I remember thinking that was kind of a cute name for kids clothing, then I saw the clothing- yuck. It was based off the internet. So if that is the store, Bruce bought into it, if not buying out the previous owner.



Kids Out West is located at El Pedergal in Carefree. Last I know, Bruce didn't own any part of that store. While I was there, at Starbiz, we also used the clothing from Jacardi at Keirland Commons. But, the women who owned the store, kicked Bruce out of using the store for the photo shoots. He would send someone to pick up the clothing,usually Annie or her assistant Elise, and the photo shoot would be done out on the roof. Many parents were upset due to the fact that they were supposed to go a store and have the photos done. That was usually the beginning of those people being upset.



On the topic of who Bruce uses to advertise. The problem is that they get paid to have that in the magazines and the clothing stores get paid $500, plus get free advertising. I don't know how behind the effort they would be. I do know that if a store who had been used by Bruce were to come forward, it would be considered slander, it would be first-hand knowledge of the events that had occured.



I just went back and reread all of the entries. There are some things that I have left unsaid because they would be slander and heresay. But I do beleive them, but I can't write them down.



I'm very surprised that Bruce is handling the complaints. That job was typically done by someone who was nice and polite, someone that the parents would like. I was the one that was "trained" to do it because the other directors were, how can I say this nicely, not as classy as I guess I come across to people. That is one of the reasons why I was hired, the other is that I did model, so I had knowledge about the industry.



Patrick, trust me, I'm keeping up with this site and will help when at all possible. I really look foward when I see a new email from Rip Off Report because it means that we're closer to putting him out of business.
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#49 Author of original report

Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

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

Hello everyone,



Just wanted to let you know that I just filed story ideas with the CBS 5 i-Team (5iteam@kpho.com) and the ABC 15 Investigators (www.phoenix360.com).



More to follow. Pat Gagnon.
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#50 Author of original report

Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

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

Hello everyone,



Just wanted to let you know that I just filed story ideas with the CBS 5 i-Team (5iteam@kpho.com) and the ABC 15 Investigators (www.phoenix360.com).



More to follow. Pat Gagnon.
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#51 Author of original report

Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

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

Hello everyone,



Just wanted to let you know that I just filed story ideas with the CBS 5 i-Team (5iteam@kpho.com) and the ABC 15 Investigators (www.phoenix360.com).



More to follow. Pat Gagnon.
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#52 Author of original report

Story Idea sent to 5 i-Team and ABC 15 Investigators

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

Hello everyone,



Just wanted to let you know that I just filed story ideas with the CBS 5 i-Team (5iteam@kpho.com) and the ABC 15 Investigators (www.phoenix360.com).



More to follow. Pat Gagnon.
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#53 Author of original report

Not the reason I thought it was.

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

Aimee,



Bruce told us that she had married into money and no longer needed to work. I was thinking maybe she realized the scam and no longer wanted to be a part of it. However, it is nice to know that Bruce has a temper. You are right about him being a smooth talker. When we were in his office last month, he was as calm and collected as can be, even when discussing these reports.



I have a few other questions that I want to see if you have information about. Someone here stated that the photographer, Annie McKee, is his girlfriend. Is this true?



I have also read on some other sites about IMTA. Seems they are located right here in Phoenix, and that they are just another company out to collect fees for memberships that are basically worthless. Do you know anything about them? Bruce claims that Starbiz meets their "high standards" for membership.



Then there's the clothing company Laughter Pieces (the ugly tie-dyed stuff). I went to their website, and it seems the only way to purchase their clothing is to either order it on the web, or go to one of the trade shows that they have an exhibit at. Do you know if Bruce, or one of his associates, has a stake in this company? Or in Kids Out West, for that matter? At least Kids Out West has a store front in Scottsdale. But why would they spend money on advertising when 13 out of 32 kids in the ad has on the same outfit (back cover of the August issue of Arizona Parenting Magazine)?



I am considering writing to all of the organizations that do advertising business with Bruce (Arizona Parenting Magazine, Cox Communications, PAX-TV, Infinity Broadcasting, Arizona Republic, etc.) and telling them about Bruce's activities. But I don't know if that is something I can legally do. It might be considered slander, but I will check into it.



I am also submitting our story to CBS 5 i-Team today.



More to follow. Pat Gagnon.
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#54 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Talent Directors

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

I did in fact know Melette. She was actually fired the week after I was hired.



First, you have to understand, Melette is a very nice woman. She had recently gotten engaged to a wealthy man. Supposedly, she got fired because she didn't show up for work. She told us that she had been violently ill and had tried Bruce on his cellphone, but had gotten no response. She was considered MIA by all us, and we (all the women in the office) were concerned. When she showed up for the Saturday auditions, Bruce took her in his office, closed the door, and started yelling at her. The bad thing is that we couldn't hear what he was saying. She left about 20 minutes later, crying. Bruce wouldn't even let her clean out her office.



I know there was a Monique before I was there. While I was employeed at Starbiz, there was a Sherryl, Sandy, Melette, and myself.

I hope that helps.
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#55 Author of original report

Filed a complaint with the FTC last night.

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

Hello everyone,



I just wanted to let you know that I filed a complaint with the FTC (www.ftc.gov) last night. I suggest everyone else do the same. I listed mine under the catagory of "Child Advertisers".
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#56 Author of original report

Will also try the FTC.

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

Lori,



Glad to see you will be filling out a complaint with the AG. I hope that everyone who has posted here will do the same.



I am going to go to the FTC website (www.ftc.gov) and see if filing a complaint there will help. I will let everyone know what I find out.



It's funny, when I was in Bruce's office a month ago, the first thing he brought up was my Rip-Off Report. During the course of our discussions, I said he had the ability to post a response, but he said he would never do that. However, if you look at the following report, he did post a response.



http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/

ripoff28561.htm



Before I posted my report in August, there were only a few reports dating back to 2002. Since mine, there are now over 15, not to mention those who have added their experience to existing reports. Bruce must be starting to get worried, at least I hope so.



Aimee, if you are still monitoring, I have a question. Did you know Melette? If so, do you know the reason she left? Bruce told me why, but for some reason I don't believe him (I wonder why). I would be interested to find out what you know.



Here is something curious. Over the past year, there have been at least 4 people at Starbiz with the title Director of New Talent. Melette Clayton left in 2003, then came Julie Johnson, Monique (who was not there long at all), and now Sara Beth. Why so many people? Is it because, like Aimee, they realize what's going on and want no further part of it?



I think it would also be a good idea for everyone to send a letter to Gary Harper at 3 On Your Side. I still have not heard from them regarding my letter. Maybe several letters to several agencies will prompt action from at least one of them. You can write to Gary at:



3 On Your Side

5555 N 7th St

Phoenix, AZ 85015



More updates to follow.
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#57 Consumer Comment

Trust me....This won't die.

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

Kathleen,



I wrote my first letter on the 4th of October and in a few minutes I will be filling out my online complaint form with the AG's office. See we have twins, we've been through the respected agencies who collected no money from us and still I had no idea that this was a scam. It's just been so long that I'm sure Romberg and his staff don't even remember who we are and if we can get this on 3 on Your Side then he'll have to remember won't he when he signs that check to refund our money. Don't worry there are still people coming out of the dark...Like me. To all you who have been scammed by Bruce, file your complaints with the AG's office and keep in touch.
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#58 Author of original report

Called AG to follow up on complaint.

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

I just called the Attorney General's office to follow up on the complaint I filed. The person I spoke with said that my complaint was in the system and was being investigated by the legal staff.



He did indicate that everyone with the same complaint should file a report. I urge everyone to go to the following website and fill out a Consumer Complaint Form:



www.ag.state.az.us



If the AG's office sees a trend developing, they are more likely to pursue action.
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#59 UPDATE EX-employee responds

It was always a fear that a camera crew would come barging into the office

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

I've read the other report, and I feel a little weird because thats when I was working. Lorena, if you are reading this report and I was the talent director, you have no idea how bad I feel. That feeling is why I'm helping, I guess I'm trying to work of the guilt.



I've been doing more research and have really not found that much, I am going to continue to do as much as I can to put Bruce out of business and stop this horrible scam that has been going on.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Bruce on 3 on Your Side. It was always a fear that a camera crew would come barging into the office, and hopefully it will happeen very soon!!
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#60 Consumer Comment

I got my $$ back --- but I still want to help

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

Hello all. I just want to let you know that I did get my full refund from Bruce with NO problems. He was actually very pleasant about it .. I think that is because he knew he had to refund it.



Anyway, please let me know if I can be of any help. I have a few things planned myself on how to help other parents not get pulled into this.



I will keep you all posted. Please let me know if there is anything new happening on anyone elses end.
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#61 Author of original report

Will not let this thread die

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

Kathaleen,



Trust me, I will not let this thread die. I too was getting a little concerned, but I see there was another new report posted yesterday.



http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff109763.htm



I am posting a reply to it today.



We will fight this to the end.
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#62 Consumer Comment

Do we all need to send letters to 3 On Your Side? outside Starbiz and hand out these Ripoff Reports

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

Patrick-



I watch this website daily, and I am getting a little concerned that the momentum is dropping off, as there has not been a post about Starbiz since 9/18/04. I am wondering if we all need to submit a letter to 3 On Your Side to really grab their attention?



I too am considering standing outside Starbiz and handing out these Ripoff Reports so that others may come forward. What do you think?
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#63 Author of original report

Letter mailed....

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

Letter mailed today to 3 On Your Side. We'll see what happens.
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#64 Consumer Suggestion

I'm on it

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

I have not heard from Bruce yet, but if he is reading this I can guarantee he will be hearing from me soon. I am in the process of finding out some stuff, I'll share more later. I plan to keep on him .. you see, I don't work so I have lot's of time for this!
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#65 Author of original report

Will be mailing a letter to Gary Harper tomorrow.

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

Hello everyone,



Just wanted to let you know that I will be mailing a letter tomorrow to Gary Harper at 3 On Your Side. I will also look into sending one to the other news agencies.
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#66 Author of original report

Hope you get your money back

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

Amanda,



Glad to hear you may be able to get out of the contract and get your money back. Unfortunately for me and many others, we are well beyond the "72 hour cooling off period".



Let me know what you find on the internet. I would be interested to see if your attorney would be willing to pursue action, even if you do get out of this. If the secretary's friend did get taken too, urge them to file a report here.



I think I will go ahead and send the letter to Gary Harper, since I have it all ready to go. I may also send it to the other news agencies here in Phoenix.



Don't trust anything Bruce says! If you don't hear back from him by Thursday, call back, and keep calling until you get satisfaction. From what Aimee says, he can be worn down.
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#67 Consumer Suggestion

Too bad for Bruce, sounds like he messed with the wrong people.

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

Patrick, thank you for your sympathy. I too don't just want my money back. I want him stopped as well. That is why I talked to my attorney's office yesterday. My attorney's assistant is also very curious about this business because she thinks she might have a friend that got sucked into this as well so needless to say they are looking into this.



Also, by suggestion of my attorneys office, I went down there yesterday and gave Bruce a handwritten notice that I wanted to cancel my contract between Starbiz and my son, and that I wanted him to credit my card the $685.00. I was shocked that he seemed so cooperative. I gave him the paper, explained that I changed my mind and that it had not yet been 24 hours, and I wanted to cancel my contract. He said okay, I'm in a very important meeting right now I'll call you and we'll get this taken care of, then I told him I also wanted the picture of my son back (the one you have to bring to the first audition), he said he would mail it to me. My husband and I were not sure what to do because he seemed like he is going to take care of this. So we left and are now going to give him a few days to contact me. After we left I went to my attorneys office and give them all of these letters and they gave me a bunch of stuff to look up on the internet I'll keep you posted on that.



My attorney also thought calling Gary Harper is a good idea. Usually once they are exposed like that they go out of business anyway.



Too bad for Bruce, sounds like he messed with the wrong people.
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#68 Author of original report

Bruce already has copies of these reports, and I hope he is strating to sweat now.

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

Amanda,



Thank you for adding your comments here. I did think about contacting Gary Harper, and even have a letter already drafted, but usually they will only try to get money back for you. At this point, I am beyond asking for a refund, and want this sham to stop completely before other innocent people are taken by Starbiz.



By the way, the "big guy" from Wilhelmina in LA was Andrew. Last Thursday, Bruce said he would be visiting. Bruce already has copies of these reports, and I hope he is strating to sweat now.



Justice will be done.
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#69 Author of original report

I also found that info on Ronald Bruce Romberg

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

Aimee,



I also found the same info about the stock scam, and wondered if it is "our" Bruce. I find it interesting that he does not actually own Starbiz.



There was a new report submitted on this site yesterday. I'm glad more and more people are coming forward to report this fraudulent business. It will make the fight that much easier.



Things are being put into motion. When the time comes, the EDitor of this site can get us all in touch with each other.



I'll keep you updated.
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#70 Consumer Comment

THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

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

I am just sick about all I have read, because I am too late. I met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina today at 3:00 and gave him a credit card payment for $685.00. I would tell you my story but it is identical to yours and the others I have read. I took my son in on Friday, Sara Beth called me back and told me she was just in love with my baby and that he was so beautiful and wanted me to bring him in on Monday (today) to meet with the "Big Guy" from Wilhelmina who was in town from California.



I had a strange feeling because when I was in the office with both Bruce and the "Big Guy" (sorry I can't remember his name) they never even acknowledged that I had a baby on my lap. Which seemed so weird because according to Sara Beth "my child was a doll baby and a star". And neither one of them even smiled at my son.



My husband called the credit card company to put a hold on the money and we are going to try to dispute the charges, but I am not sure exactly how that works. I don't know if Starbiz gets the money and then I have to fight for it back ... would someone please let me know if they are aware of the procedure when you dispute the charge.



I plan on printing all this information out and taking it to Bruce's office and demanding him to refund my card. My brother if an attorney as well as a CPA and has many connections at the IRS. I plan to inform Bruce of this as well, and see how comfortable he is with the IRS investigating his practices. Also, if it is legal I plan on spending some time in front of the building with copies of all that I have read about this man and his company.



This truly turns my stomach and I don't plan to be one of his helpless victims .... I WILL fight!!



NEW: HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF OR IS INTERESTED IN CONTACTING 3 ON YOUR SIDE'S GARY HARPER????
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#71 Consumer Comment

THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

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

I am just sick about all I have read, because I am too late. I met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina today at 3:00 and gave him a credit card payment for $685.00. I would tell you my story but it is identical to yours and the others I have read. I took my son in on Friday, Sara Beth called me back and told me she was just in love with my baby and that he was so beautiful and wanted me to bring him in on Monday (today) to meet with the "Big Guy" from Wilhelmina who was in town from California.



I had a strange feeling because when I was in the office with both Bruce and the "Big Guy" (sorry I can't remember his name) they never even acknowledged that I had a baby on my lap. Which seemed so weird because according to Sara Beth "my child was a doll baby and a star". And neither one of them even smiled at my son.



My husband called the credit card company to put a hold on the money and we are going to try to dispute the charges, but I am not sure exactly how that works. I don't know if Starbiz gets the money and then I have to fight for it back ... would someone please let me know if they are aware of the procedure when you dispute the charge.



I plan on printing all this information out and taking it to Bruce's office and demanding him to refund my card. My brother if an attorney as well as a CPA and has many connections at the IRS. I plan to inform Bruce of this as well, and see how comfortable he is with the IRS investigating his practices. Also, if it is legal I plan on spending some time in front of the building with copies of all that I have read about this man and his company.



This truly turns my stomach and I don't plan to be one of his helpless victims .... I WILL fight!!



NEW: HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF OR IS INTERESTED IN CONTACTING 3 ON YOUR SIDE'S GARY HARPER????
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#72 Consumer Comment

THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

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

I am just sick about all I have read, because I am too late. I met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina today at 3:00 and gave him a credit card payment for $685.00. I would tell you my story but it is identical to yours and the others I have read. I took my son in on Friday, Sara Beth called me back and told me she was just in love with my baby and that he was so beautiful and wanted me to bring him in on Monday (today) to meet with the "Big Guy" from Wilhelmina who was in town from California.



I had a strange feeling because when I was in the office with both Bruce and the "Big Guy" (sorry I can't remember his name) they never even acknowledged that I had a baby on my lap. Which seemed so weird because according to Sara Beth "my child was a doll baby and a star". And neither one of them even smiled at my son.



My husband called the credit card company to put a hold on the money and we are going to try to dispute the charges, but I am not sure exactly how that works. I don't know if Starbiz gets the money and then I have to fight for it back ... would someone please let me know if they are aware of the procedure when you dispute the charge.



I plan on printing all this information out and taking it to Bruce's office and demanding him to refund my card. My brother if an attorney as well as a CPA and has many connections at the IRS. I plan to inform Bruce of this as well, and see how comfortable he is with the IRS investigating his practices. Also, if it is legal I plan on spending some time in front of the building with copies of all that I have read about this man and his company.



This truly turns my stomach and I don't plan to be one of his helpless victims .... I WILL fight!!



NEW: HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF OR IS INTERESTED IN CONTACTING 3 ON YOUR SIDE'S GARY HARPER????
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#73 Consumer Comment

THIS IS SICK!!! ...met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina gave him a credit card payment for $685.00

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

I am just sick about all I have read, because I am too late. I met with Bruce Romberg of Starbiz Wilhelmina today at 3:00 and gave him a credit card payment for $685.00. I would tell you my story but it is identical to yours and the others I have read. I took my son in on Friday, Sara Beth called me back and told me she was just in love with my baby and that he was so beautiful and wanted me to bring him in on Monday (today) to meet with the "Big Guy" from Wilhelmina who was in town from California.



I had a strange feeling because when I was in the office with both Bruce and the "Big Guy" (sorry I can't remember his name) they never even acknowledged that I had a baby on my lap. Which seemed so weird because according to Sara Beth "my child was a doll baby and a star". And neither one of them even smiled at my son.



My husband called the credit card company to put a hold on the money and we are going to try to dispute the charges, but I am not sure exactly how that works. I don't know if Starbiz gets the money and then I have to fight for it back ... would someone please let me know if they are aware of the procedure when you dispute the charge.



I plan on printing all this information out and taking it to Bruce's office and demanding him to refund my card. My brother if an attorney as well as a CPA and has many connections at the IRS. I plan to inform Bruce of this as well, and see how comfortable he is with the IRS investigating his practices. Also, if it is legal I plan on spending some time in front of the building with copies of all that I have read about this man and his company.



This truly turns my stomach and I don't plan to be one of his helpless victims .... I WILL fight!!



NEW: HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF OR IS INTERESTED IN CONTACTING 3 ON YOUR SIDE'S GARY HARPER????
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#74 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Good for you!!!

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

Patrick,



Thank you for doing this. The only reason why I started using my name is because I want Bruce to realize that the former employess aren't like him (thank G-d) and because I want to help you in any way I can.It takes a parent like you to rid the world of scum.



Concerning the 3 other businesses, I know that on paper, Starbiz Entertainment is NOT owned by Bruce. He can't legally own a business due to the prior practices that he has supposedly be involved with in other states and countries (he is Canadian).



On Saturday, I was doing a little research. If you google on "Bruce Romberg" there are a few entries. One, which I found VERY interesting was a Ronald Bruce Romberg in Flordia, where he went to school and where he had a few business.



I read a little of one of them, it was concerning a faulty stock trading scam. The only other entries were about Starbiz, mainly this website(!!!) and a few more concerning Ronald Bruce Romberg. I think I'm going to do a little more research. I wondering if that is, I hate to call him this, but, our Bruce.



I'll, of course, info you all about what I learn. My gut tells me that it's him. I just need more info.
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#75 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Good for you!!!

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

Patrick,



Thank you for doing this. The only reason why I started using my name is because I want Bruce to realize that the former employess aren't like him (thank G-d) and because I want to help you in any way I can.It takes a parent like you to rid the world of scum.



Concerning the 3 other businesses, I know that on paper, Starbiz Entertainment is NOT owned by Bruce. He can't legally own a business due to the prior practices that he has supposedly be involved with in other states and countries (he is Canadian).



On Saturday, I was doing a little research. If you google on "Bruce Romberg" there are a few entries. One, which I found VERY interesting was a Ronald Bruce Romberg in Flordia, where he went to school and where he had a few business.



I read a little of one of them, it was concerning a faulty stock trading scam. The only other entries were about Starbiz, mainly this website(!!!) and a few more concerning Ronald Bruce Romberg. I think I'm going to do a little more research. I wondering if that is, I hate to call him this, but, our Bruce.



I'll, of course, info you all about what I learn. My gut tells me that it's him. I just need more info.
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#76 Author of original report

Aimee, thank you for coming forward, It will greatly assist us in taking strong action against these unscrupulous business practices.

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

Aimee,



Thank you for having the courage to come forward and provide inside information. It will greatly assist us in taking strong action against these unscrupulous business practices.



I would like to spearhead the action against them, and have already started the process. I know for a fact that Bruce is monitoring these reports. When we went to see him on Thursday, it was the first thing he brought up. His concern about them seemed genuine. So I would not be at all surprised if he contacted you.



Someone commented in another report that his company has been dissolved 3 times in the past. Do you know anything about this?



Also, I am gaining insight into the teen & adult side of his business, and it seems just as shady.



He seems to have gone through quite a few Talent Directors recently (Melette Clayton, Julie Johnson and Monique). I wonder why that is? Are they tired of the deception? I don't think Monique lasted long at all, and now he has Sarah Beth. I wonder how long she'll stay?



I am working to get everyone's contact info to see if we can colaborate better.



And finally to Bruce, I know you're reading this, so you have our answer to your "offer". We will not accept the 2 bogus assignments, or your offer to keep our daughter listed with you until she is 5. I would not be at all surprised if you removed her from your website, and I would not blame you for it. As of this point, we want no further dealings with you.
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#77 Consumer Comment

So I DIDN'T go to the audition! thank you everyone who has written anything about Starbiz Wilhelmina

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

Hey guys I wanna thank everyone who has written anything about Starbiz Wilhelmina on this website. I talked to my husband about it and instead of driving all the way to Scottsdale for a phony audition, we went all over Tucson shopping and getting to know the area. Screw Starbiz Wilhelmina and this Bruce jerk. If he feeds off poor unsuspecting people that are just trying to make it in this hard pressed industry, then he deserves every law suit he gets against him. So thanks to you guys, I didn't go! :) It probably saved me a lot of heartache...and money :)

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#78 Author of original report

Sorry, got names mixed up. they don't waste time with people not willing to pay

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

Sorry, my previous comments were to Jessie, not Megan.



But for Megan, your suspicions are correct. Every child that is interviewed gets "picked" if the parents are willing to shell out the $$. After the audition, you were told to call back at 1PM to confirm your interest. This is so they don't waste time with people not willing to pay. Everyone who confirms that they will pay, will get called back and told their child was selected. Only makes sense.



Here's a little stat for you folks:



The Starbiz Babies & Toddlers section of the website has a grand total of 1134 kids. At $685 a head, that comes to $776,790. A nice little chunk of change if you ask me.



More to follow.
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#79 UPDATE EX-employee responds

it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

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

I just saw Kathleens report that she posted. I figured since I can help as a former employee, instead of helping just a little, it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS. You'll also notice that my name is signed.If I hear from Bruce, which probably will happen, I'll tell everyone exactly what he says.



When the people call in, there is an alphabetacal list by each phone. When the people call in the name is highlighted, then the audition form is taken out of the stack, the phone number where the parent can be reached is highlighted. It is then given to the "talent director"-- or as I'll refer to it TD. If the TD says that your child is one of 3 or 4 chosen-

IT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE.



Out of, say, 25 parents, we routinely received 22 or 23 call backs. Out of that we would schedule about 8-10 appts. Out of those it was expected that we sign each one. So, out of an audition of 25 there could be 10 contracts signed. That line is something Bruce tells everyone the first day on the job. It makes parents think that their fellings are right: they do have an adorable child.



It was also expected of us to see the kids as quickly as possible. Like in under 2 minutes. It is ok if the child is screaming his head off, just take the picture, explain the packet, how much money they could make, and shovel them out the door. Does that sound right?



While I worked there, only once was there an actual modeling agency called about one of our kids. The mother was a stay at home and she was sending all the pictures out. We did nothing to help this little girl, but boy, did Bruce take the credit.



If anyone has any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
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#80 UPDATE EX-employee responds

it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

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

I just saw Kathleens report that she posted. I figured since I can help as a former employee, instead of helping just a little, it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS. You'll also notice that my name is signed.If I hear from Bruce, which probably will happen, I'll tell everyone exactly what he says.



When the people call in, there is an alphabetacal list by each phone. When the people call in the name is highlighted, then the audition form is taken out of the stack, the phone number where the parent can be reached is highlighted. It is then given to the "talent director"-- or as I'll refer to it TD. If the TD says that your child is one of 3 or 4 chosen-

IT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE.



Out of, say, 25 parents, we routinely received 22 or 23 call backs. Out of that we would schedule about 8-10 appts. Out of those it was expected that we sign each one. So, out of an audition of 25 there could be 10 contracts signed. That line is something Bruce tells everyone the first day on the job. It makes parents think that their fellings are right: they do have an adorable child.



It was also expected of us to see the kids as quickly as possible. Like in under 2 minutes. It is ok if the child is screaming his head off, just take the picture, explain the packet, how much money they could make, and shovel them out the door. Does that sound right?



While I worked there, only once was there an actual modeling agency called about one of our kids. The mother was a stay at home and she was sending all the pictures out. We did nothing to help this little girl, but boy, did Bruce take the credit.



If anyone has any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
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#81 UPDATE EX-employee responds

it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

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

I just saw Kathleens report that she posted. I figured since I can help as a former employee, instead of helping just a little, it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS. You'll also notice that my name is signed.If I hear from Bruce, which probably will happen, I'll tell everyone exactly what he says.



When the people call in, there is an alphabetacal list by each phone. When the people call in the name is highlighted, then the audition form is taken out of the stack, the phone number where the parent can be reached is highlighted. It is then given to the "talent director"-- or as I'll refer to it TD. If the TD says that your child is one of 3 or 4 chosen-

IT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE.



Out of, say, 25 parents, we routinely received 22 or 23 call backs. Out of that we would schedule about 8-10 appts. Out of those it was expected that we sign each one. So, out of an audition of 25 there could be 10 contracts signed. That line is something Bruce tells everyone the first day on the job. It makes parents think that their fellings are right: they do have an adorable child.



It was also expected of us to see the kids as quickly as possible. Like in under 2 minutes. It is ok if the child is screaming his head off, just take the picture, explain the packet, how much money they could make, and shovel them out the door. Does that sound right?



While I worked there, only once was there an actual modeling agency called about one of our kids. The mother was a stay at home and she was sending all the pictures out. We did nothing to help this little girl, but boy, did Bruce take the credit.



If anyone has any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
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#82 UPDATE EX-employee responds

it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS

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

I just saw Kathleens report that she posted. I figured since I can help as a former employee, instead of helping just a little, it's now my mission to HAVE THIS RACKET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS. You'll also notice that my name is signed.If I hear from Bruce, which probably will happen, I'll tell everyone exactly what he says.



When the people call in, there is an alphabetacal list by each phone. When the people call in the name is highlighted, then the audition form is taken out of the stack, the phone number where the parent can be reached is highlighted. It is then given to the "talent director"-- or as I'll refer to it TD. If the TD says that your child is one of 3 or 4 chosen-

IT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE.



Out of, say, 25 parents, we routinely received 22 or 23 call backs. Out of that we would schedule about 8-10 appts. Out of those it was expected that we sign each one. So, out of an audition of 25 there could be 10 contracts signed. That line is something Bruce tells everyone the first day on the job. It makes parents think that their fellings are right: they do have an adorable child.



It was also expected of us to see the kids as quickly as possible. Like in under 2 minutes. It is ok if the child is screaming his head off, just take the picture, explain the packet, how much money they could make, and shovel them out the door. Does that sound right?



While I worked there, only once was there an actual modeling agency called about one of our kids. The mother was a stay at home and she was sending all the pictures out. We did nothing to help this little girl, but boy, did Bruce take the credit.



If anyone has any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
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#83 UPDATE EX-employee responds

In response to agency question ..I'm so glad that this comes up when someone Googles Starbiz Wilhelmina.

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

In response to the legitimate agency in town. To get an honest opinion, send your childs picture into an agency ( remember, an agency, please). I honest don't want to say any agencies name online.



I suggest that look at phone book, or online in the yellowpages. Enter modeling agency in Phoenix, AZ, set the mileage to say 25 miles in range of Phx. If they have a website, go on it. See if you like it. See how to go about setting a consulation. If pictures must be sent in first, then it is most likely a good agency.



Research, research, research. If you want in this industry, know about the frauds that are out there so you don't get taken.



A true agency DOES NOT expect $$$ up front. What they do is when a job is completed, they receive the money, they write a check taking out their commission. If there are photos that are taken a set amount will be deducted from the pay. An agency best interest is to get work for their clients, or else they don't paid.



Bruce uses the line "I don't get paid till you get paid", since people have already paid him, he's not too concerned with getting people jobs.

And, to the girl who has been acting... DON'T waste your time. If you're new to Phx. you need to find out who does actual know people to get you jobs.



If this is posted too late and you've gone to the audition today. Here's a test. Call in at the time. Schedule an appt. Go in the office and before anything, asks to see the show. Just keep it up. Don't let them say we don't have a tape. The tapes are there. Theres a reason why they don't want people to see the show. It's really bad.
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#84 Author of original report

To Megan in Tucson ..Starbiz uses to cover themselves when they say you are guaranteed to be on TV.

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

Megan,



My report only deals with the kids division of Starbiz. However, the only thing on PAX-TV that I am aware of relating to Starbiz is "Front Row Center". This is a show that Starbiz touts in its advertising. From what I gather, it is on at the time when it is the most inexpensive to air, and PAX bills it as an infomercial. It is only meant to be something that Starbiz uses to cover themselves when they say you are guaranteed to be on TV.



When my wife and I met with Bruce on Thursday, Sarah Beth was introduced to us as the new Director of New Talent, not a receptionist. The former Director of New Talent, Julie Johnson, recently left the company. Bruce said she moved to Texas.



Here is the most important part. Starbiz is NOT a Talent Agency. An Agency will not ask for up-front money. Starbiz will, and in your case it will probably be for "acting classes". From what I've heard, this could run you $900 - $4000.



My advice to you is this: Go to the audition, ask as many questions as possible (specifically in regards to money), then make an informed decision. Unfortunately, you will probably not read this until Sunday as this report does not update instantly.



And finally, there are other true talent agencies in Phoenix. Since you seem to have been in the biz for a while, you should check them out too. They won't ask you for any money, or make you believe that you will be getting a role on a "real" TV movie or sitcom. My experience has been that Starbiz will accept anyone who is willing to pay their fees, regardless if they have talent or not.
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#85 Consumer Comment

So I take it I shouldn't go to the audition??

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

Hello to all out there with such hatred for Starbiz Wilhelmina! Boy am I glad I read all of your comments before I went to the audition in Scottsdale tomorrow. I was getting on the internet to find directions from Tucson to Scottsdale (since I am fairly new to Arizona) and I Googled "Starbiz Wilhelmina" when all of the sudden my monitor was flooded with ghastly comments of the so called "modeling/acting agency." See when I called, I spoke with a receptionist by the name of Sarah Beth and she told me SW was a casting agency. I was going to audition for the Pax TV movie called 'Haunted Holiday.' Now I am questioning whether or not to even show up. I am 20 years old and have been acting for as long as I could crawl and have never needed a portfolio for anything in my whole life and I have done numerous commercials and modeling. It's too bad this company has taken advantage of so many families!! I hope all of you take serious action against this Bruce guy and win. I know this sounds ignorant, but tell me, should I not go to the audition?



Concerned for all and myself,
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#86 Consumer Comment

Feeding on the pride of our children

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

My husband and I took our child to an audition on August 17th. We were so happy to get the call back because Bruce had said only two or three babies would be selected. Fortunately we found this report before handing over any money to him. I suspected that every child who "auditioned" that day got a call back. This person is feeding on parents who have nothing but love and pride for their children and it is so disgusting that we really feel violated. If we didn't live so far away we would have gone back during the next "auditions" and given this website address to everyone who entered the building. Can anything be done to stop this fraudulant practice. FORMER EMPLOYEE, you mentioned legitimate agencys here in Phoenix who take babies. Can you tell us who they are?
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#87 Author of original report

To Former Employee....

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

Dear Former Employee,



My wife and I just spent 1 1/2 hours in Bruce's office. The two paying assignments are for the clothing line Laughter Pieces. Something I have to know. Since this is a local clothier, does he own, or have a large stake in this clothing company? My gut tells me he does.
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#88 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I am so happy...

AUTHOR: Former Employee - (U.S.A.)

I'm very happy that you made the decision to stay away from Bruce. The pictures being sent to NYC is a new practice of lies. I do know that your child could have auditioned for IMTA

(Interantional Model and Talent Association). If your child was choosen, it would have been your decision to pay approx. $2000 to send them there.

Bruce would have paid for the photos, but they would have choosen by people in the office, who because they have seen a tv show are qualified to work in the office.



Any jobs that people receive, other than I believe 1 adveritising agency, would have to be by the person own determination. If Bruce does get someone a job, you must question the validility of it. Is is to calm you down, or is it that that there is a court date coming up and Bruce needs to tell a judge that he got a certain number of people jobs.



I really hope that this is helping people. If you or child want to be in the industry, there are 5 top agency in town, that judge the pictures you send in for free.
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#89 Consumer Comment

another victim

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

I experienced the exact same process that you have described, but happened to read your comments before going to pay Bruce. He also guaranteed that my daughters photos would be sent to New York where he thought they would be very interested in her. Because of your comments I chose to stay clear of this situation. I am curious about the opportunities that he has called you about. I am more than willing to speak up about the deception of 'being chosen for the assignment' and that the indication was that the assignment would be paid. Please let me know if I can help.
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#90 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Covering his own...

AUTHOR: Former Employee - (U.S.A.)

If they are paying jobs, the money is coming out of his pocket. There were times that he would get "jobs" for dissatisfied customers by paying for an ad in a big local magazine that deals with homes here in AZ. He also took out an ad in, I beleive, the newspaper. Unless his practices have changed, he trying to calm you down from taking any further action. He also could sell a condo in hell, as long as it had an ac, so my advice is that you take everything he says and dig deeper. The more you dig, his temper goes thru the roof, and he slips.
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#91 Author of original report

To Former Employee

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

I have a question for you. Bruce called us last week a said that some advertisers saw our daughter on the website and want her for their ads. So now we have 2 assignments, and Bruce wanted us to call back after Labor Day to discuss. I am actually going to be calling him in a few minutes.



I am leery of this for the simple fact that I have complained so vehemently the last few weeks. Is this just a ploy on his part to quiet a disatisfied customer? When I spoke to him 2 weeks ago, I demanded either a paying assignment, or our money back. Now, 2 weeks later he comes up with 2 assignments. This seems fishy.



He also said something about retaking pictures of our daughter. This makes me nervous as that was what he offered to do 2 weeks ago to make us happy. We did not accept his offer, the current pictures are only 3 months old.



Is he just blowing smoke to cover himself?
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#92 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I feel so bad when I read these stories... I was to hold the baby and toddler auditions and sell the packages

AUTHOR: Former Employee - (U.S.A.)

I worked at Starbiz last year, before they had joined with Wilhelmina--another group just like them, not the famous agency based in NYC

(this "Wilhelmina" is based in the downtown Phoenix area, and also has many different names, like Options Talent). I didn't know at the time that is was a fraud. I was to hold the baby and toddler auditions and sell the packages, which I would receive a comission for the sold packages. I didn't know at the time that all the children were supposed to picked. I was actually picking on their potential.



A few months done the road and my eyes had been opened. I knew the way to talk to people to calm them down. I knew that the photographer, Annie McKee is the girlfriend of Bruce Romberg, I knew that Mark Morgan, who is a great photographer only does certain photos. I knew that no one gets paid for the first photo shoot, it's for experience ( the line is, do expect to get paid for a job that you don't have training for?). I know for a fact that there are dozens of parents a month that complain about Starbiz. I wonder why... Do you think it has anything to do with the lies they are told??



I know that people max out credit cards to do the acting classes, only to be on a television show that Bruce pays $800 a month for that time slot. I know that the clothing stores receive

$500 a month from Bruce for use of their clothes. Imagine the stores... they receive $500 cash, and they receive free advertising, what a great opportunity.



My last day at the office, I collected some money from a little boy and his father. I watched them walk out to the front parking lot and get in a car that I would refuse to drive because I would be concerned for safety reasons. I felt so horrible. I felt dirty.



I applaude anyone who stands up and fights a fraud. This is wrong, and I can only imagine now what has happened with another fraud company--Wilhemina, and I stress again this is not the Agency. Please remember that an actual agency will take the cost of photos out of the first check, there is no out of pocket cost, except the stamp on the enevolpe, because a true agency will look at the photos for free.



Oh, one final thing, it is a lie that if an agency gets a 4x6 family photo, they throw it away. You don't, under any circumstances need to spend $600, or more (Bruce marked up the prices to $785 for a while due to one of the "talent directors" not receiving enough comission) to be in the entertainment industry.



I wish everyone who stands up to Bruce and Starbiz Entertainment, a good fight, and please know that you'll have former employees cheering for you.
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#93 Author of original report

Now advertising on TV

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

Well, business must be booming for Bruce Romberg and Starbiz/Wilhelmina. They are now advertising on TV. On Sunday, I saw an ad on Cox Communications that stated Starbiz was looking for babies and toddlers for a series of commercial magazine ads for a national retailer.



Bruce is also placing large ads at the beginning of the Career section of the Arizona Republic. Boy, he must be making lots of money off of us unsuspecting parents to be able to afford all the advertising he is now doing.
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#94 Author of original report

Now advertising on TV

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

Well, business must be booming for Bruce Romberg and Starbiz/Wilhelmina. They are now advertising on TV. On Sunday, I saw an ad on Cox Communications that stated Starbiz was looking for babies and toddlers for a series of commercial magazine ads for a national retailer.



Bruce is also placing large ads at the beginning of the Career section of the Arizona Republic. Boy, he must be making lots of money off of us unsuspecting parents to be able to afford all the advertising he is now doing.
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#95 Author of original report

Now advertising on TV

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

Well, business must be booming for Bruce Romberg and Starbiz/Wilhelmina. They are now advertising on TV. On Sunday, I saw an ad on Cox Communications that stated Starbiz was looking for babies and toddlers for a series of commercial magazine ads for a national retailer.



Bruce is also placing large ads at the beginning of the Career section of the Arizona Republic. Boy, he must be making lots of money off of us unsuspecting parents to be able to afford all the advertising he is now doing.
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#96 Author of original report

Now advertising on TV

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

Well, business must be booming for Bruce Romberg and Starbiz/Wilhelmina. They are now advertising on TV. On Sunday, I saw an ad on Cox Communications that stated Starbiz was looking for babies and toddlers for a series of commercial magazine ads for a national retailer.



Bruce is also placing large ads at the beginning of the Career section of the Arizona Republic. Boy, he must be making lots of money off of us unsuspecting parents to be able to afford all the advertising he is now doing.
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#97 Author of original report

Update...Just talked to Bruce Romberg

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

Lisa,



I had posted a response, but for some reason it did not go through.



Basically, I just wanted to get a little more information from you.



1) Do/did you expect to be paid for your child's first "Commercial Print Appearance"?



2) If you found out that the first appearance was not paid, but was for "experience only".



Let me know. I will see if the editor of this website will give you my email address so we can converse directly.





And now for the update:



I just got off the phone with Bruce Romberg, who runs this so-called business. My basic complaint was that we were misled into believing that we were to be paid for the first photo shoot because of the ad we heard on the radio (stating that it was for Steinmart) and the paperwork we were given.



His reply was that no one in their right mind should expect to be paid for their first foray into the modeling business. This would be the same as expecting someone to not get paid for their first week of work at a new job because they were gaining "experience". That is a load of bull in my book.



He stated that it is very rare that he gets complaints like mine. I find that hard to believe as all of his answers seemed rehearsed (or is it because hhe has these conversations on a weekly basis I wonder?).



I also asked him how many kids were signed up week before last. He said he didn't know. I asked him if it was more than one, again he didn't know he would have to ask Julie. I said I knew someone that was told by Julie that her's was the only child signed up, and he said then that must be correct. Don't you think the owner of the company would be fully aware of how much new talent was signed on? Again this all seems very fishy to me.



At one point I mentioned that he made an awful lot of revenue on the kids that appeared in the August issue of Arizona Parenting magazine, and he told me that I should not be concerned with "his money".



Well, as I was writing this, Bruce called me back and blew a lot of smoke, so to speak. In response to my request that we either get a paying assignment in the next 30 days, or get a refund was that he would, within the next year, have our daughter return and have pictures taken again, and that she would remain on the website through the end of next year (6 months longer than the original contract). Please. If he really wanted to make ammends, he would make sure that she was in the next group of kids that got a paying assignment. I do not plan on taking him up on the offer.



More to follow.
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#98 Consumer Suggestion

Starbiz Wilhelmina - Fraud???

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

I just signed my child up with Starbiz as well. And now I am reading these horrible things about them. I'm just sick to my stomach.



Can we dispute the charges on our credit cards? Perhaps get our money back? I'm very concerned that Wilhelmina hasn't heard of Starbiz. I plan on calling them in the morning to try to get some more information. I don't even know what to call Starbiz to the Wilhelmina personnel, however. I was lead to believe that Starbiz recently signed a partnership with them, and that they now work closely together.



Does anybody know of anyone that is satisfied with Starbiz's representation? I know that I asked how many children were chosen from the audition I attended, and Julie told me that I was the only "callback" that she made. Was she lying to me?
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#99 Author of original report

Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

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

Hello all,



I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Julie Johnson, Director of New Talent, and there are some things that disturb me.



It seems I know more about the company she works for, and the Talent industry, than she does. For example, she was not aware that her own company has an ad in the major publication with which they do business. And that the other 3 talent agencies in the Valley do not accept babies or toddlers.



When I questioned her about the radio advertisement for the major clothing retailer, she stated that the local store had no authority to contract for talent without the home office approval.



And lastly, she said this was the first time she had ever gotten a call like mine, complaining that we felt we were misled. I find that very hard to believe since they have over 1000 babies and toddlers listed on their website. Am I the first to complain? I sincerely doubt it. Escpecially since other posts have been made here.



Things that make you go...hmmmm



I am to call back on Monday and speak to the man himself, Bruce Romberg. Will keep you posted.



Meanwhile, I again urge others with the same experience to post a report.
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#100 Author of original report

Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

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

Hello all,



I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Julie Johnson, Director of New Talent, and there are some things that disturb me.



It seems I know more about the company she works for, and the Talent industry, than she does. For example, she was not aware that her own company has an ad in the major publication with which they do business. And that the other 3 talent agencies in the Valley do not accept babies or toddlers.



When I questioned her about the radio advertisement for the major clothing retailer, she stated that the local store had no authority to contract for talent without the home office approval.



And lastly, she said this was the first time she had ever gotten a call like mine, complaining that we felt we were misled. I find that very hard to believe since they have over 1000 babies and toddlers listed on their website. Am I the first to complain? I sincerely doubt it. Escpecially since other posts have been made here.



Things that make you go...hmmmm



I am to call back on Monday and speak to the man himself, Bruce Romberg. Will keep you posted.



Meanwhile, I again urge others with the same experience to post a report.
Respond to this report!
What's this?

#101 Author of original report

Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

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

Hello all,



I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Julie Johnson, Director of New Talent, and there are some things that disturb me.



It seems I know more about the company she works for, and the Talent industry, than she does. For example, she was not aware that her own company has an ad in the major publication with which they do business. And that the other 3 talent agencies in the Valley do not accept babies or toddlers.



When I questioned her about the radio advertisement for the major clothing retailer, she stated that the local store had no authority to contract for talent without the home office approval.



And lastly, she said this was the first time she had ever gotten a call like mine, complaining that we felt we were misled. I find that very hard to believe since they have over 1000 babies and toddlers listed on their website. Am I the first to complain? I sincerely doubt it. Escpecially since other posts have been made here.



Things that make you go...hmmmm



I am to call back on Monday and speak to the man himself, Bruce Romberg. Will keep you posted.



Meanwhile, I again urge others with the same experience to post a report.
Respond to this report!
What's this?

#102 Author of original report

Director of New Talent - Clueless to the industry and her own company???

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

Hello all,



I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Julie Johnson, Director of New Talent, and there are some things that disturb me.



It seems I know more about the company she works for, and the Talent industry, than she does. For example, she was not aware that her own company has an ad in the major publication with which they do business. And that the other 3 talent agencies in the Valley do not accept babies or toddlers.



When I questioned her about the radio advertisement for the major clothing retailer, she stated that the local store had no authority to contract for talent without the home office approval.



And lastly, she said this was the first time she had ever gotten a call like mine, complaining that we felt we were misled. I find that very hard to believe since they have over 1000 babies and toddlers listed on their website. Am I the first to complain? I sincerely doubt it. Escpecially since other posts have been made here.



Things that make you go...hmmmm



I am to call back on Monday and speak to the man himself, Bruce Romberg. Will keep you posted.



Meanwhile, I again urge others with the same experience to post a report.
Respond to this report!
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#103 Author of original report

Need others to come forward

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

Dear fellow victims,



I invite you to contact me so that we can take action against Starbiz Wilhelmina for their deceptive advertising and marketing practices. Contact me via this report [DELETED]



[Place your comments below and be sure to include your FULL contact information so Rip-off Report can contact you.]



if you want to be included any action against Starbiz.



Also, don't forget to fill out your own Ripoff Report. The more reports, the better.
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