This is a notice regarding the deceptive and fraudulent business practices of Wilhelmina Scouting Network aka Trans Continental Talent etc.
Compiled media investigations about the company can be found here
Note: Copy and paste the URL in your browser if it does not have a link
The short version of steps to take to file a complaint and request a refund!
1) Call your credit card company and put the charges in dispute
2) They are under investigation by the Florida AG, call 1-407-245-0833 to file a formal affidavit
3) Call your state attorney general and also file a complaint with them
4) File an online complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov
The long version with detail follows below:
Everything about Trans Continental Talent (now switching their name yet again to Wilhelmina Scouting Network) or their previous incarnations Options Talent Group, Emodel has been and continues to be a deception, scam, fraud and downright wrong. Their latest attempt to try and legitimize themselves (at least in their delusional eyes) is to drag
Wilhelmina into this. It looks like Trans Con Talent is going to take Wilhelmina down with them.
No one I spoke with after the absolute disastrous Orlando Fashion Rock Fraud wants anything to do with this worldwide scam and rip off. My girlfriends and all those I spoke with down there are going to take action against these jerks and want our money back for this deceptive fraud perpetrated on over 3,000 people at the Orlando event and 115,000 people that Trans Con claims to have as models and talent, which I will call victims of this very slick fraud. We have now done our research about how to get refunds and file complaints to the right people and we want to share that so they will be stopped and cannot deceive more good people.
How to get a refund when you have been defrauded and deceived and action steps to help stop this company from continuing to commit fraud.
Upon doing a lot of research, we found out that you need to do all these steps for the best results!
1) Credit Cards VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX & DISCOVER Disputing a charge
Call the toll-free phone number on the back of your credit card. A credit card protects YOU the consumer from fraudulent activities and deceptive companies, which is EXACTLY what this is. Tell the customer service rep that you need to put a charge in dispute. For example, if you went to Fashion Rock Fraud, you have 6 months from the time of the trip to put this charge in dispute. It does not matter if they charged your card in December 2002, the clock starts ticking for your consumer rights at the time of the trip! Great protection! The credit card company will either send you a dispute resolution form or some are on the back of your monthly statement. There is one option on the Dispute Form that says we did not get what we were promised. That is the one you want to check.
In other words, DECEPTION and FRAUD! Make sure you keep all your documents and correspondence. You will need to write out a statement and send that back to the credit card company. They make ask you to send some evidence and documentation. I would go find the plethora of articles about the fraud and print them out along with a statement about the official investigation this company is under by the Florida Attorney General.
What about my web sign up fee and monthly charges? I would put those in dispute too if you got deceived just like everyone else we talked to. ALL the people we spoke to down in Orlando and we could not find ANYONE who had gotten work thorough Trans Con Talent. It is like not only being lied to, but then forking over your money and paying to be spammed with junk mail. Nothing they have ever stated has come true or held any bit of credibility in the real world, NOTHING!!! The bank that issues your VISA or MASTERCARD will allow you to dispute deceptive business practices usually for up to 4 to 6 months. If they balk or you got screwed over by this company before that window of time, you may want to just skip to the next step of action that needs to be taken.
What if my credit card is a debit card?
Debit cards draw directly from your bank account and there is protection, but it is different than a regular credit card. Check with your bank to see what protection is. You should also be able to put this in dispute and file the paperwork. It does not offer the length of protection going backwards that a credit card does from our understanding, but check and they will tell you. Let them know the extent of this situation and perhaps there is additional guidance they can give you.
What if I paid by check by phone? Call your bank, file a complaint with your transaction records in hand.
What if I have paid by money order? Skip to step 2.
Lastly, if you are afraid they have your account number now you may want to ask the bank to close out your account and create a new one. We have heard of people who have had money just disappear out of their account from these scam artists.
2) Filing an Affidavit with the Florida Attorney General This is VERY IMPORTANT.
The next step in the process to help put a stop to this is to file an affidavit with the Attorney Generals office in Florida where they are headquartered. There has been an investigation into this company since last August (2002). The phone number for the Florida AG office is 1-407-245-0833. When you call up ask for an affidavit regarding Trans Continental Talent. What is an affidavit? An affidavit is a legally admissible statement in a court of law. It must be thorough, you must make copies of the correspondence from Trans Continental Talent or Options talent or Emodel etc and write down a very complete description of what happened from the moment of first contact to the present. Consider it your master statement regarding any and all involvement with this company. Again, be thorough to time, dates, what was promised and what was not delivered. You need to send your statement, which must be notarized along with all documents and correspondence back to the Florida AG office. What is notarization?
Who is a notary?
A notary public is a public official appointed by the Secretary of State to administer oaths and affirmations, witness signatures, and perform other duties as permitted by state law. Notaries are most commonly called upon to attest to the validity of signatures, especially on court papers such as affidavits.
Although notaries are public officials, most work in private industry. Often, one or more employees of large institutions that process a lot of paperwork (such as banks, insurance companies, real estate brokers, and large law offices) are notaries public. Also, many people who work at courthouses are notaries.
Where do I find one? Try your bank first! If no luck there, look in the yellow pages under Notary. They may charge a nominal fee of $10, but it is well worth it. The banks may be free, just check with them.
3) Filing a complaint with your state Attorney General Also very important
Who is my state Attorney General? This site has a list of all Attorneys General. Assuming you do not live in Florida, this step is necessary
Next go to the web site if they have one or call the phone number and ask for the Consumer Protection or Consumer Fraud Division. Some Attorneys General have an online complaint form, some may send you one in the mail. Make sure you make a few copies of the documents and correspondence to send to them as well. They may just ask for a written statement, but it is better to check first and be prepared so you can make the amount of copies you need right off the bat.
If you make an online complaint to the attorney general, we suggest that you write up ONE master word document you can print out or copy and paste easily to this or any other governmental online complaint forms.
Why is this step important? Since this company operates in numerous states in the US, it is important that other states have a record of what is going on that impacts the well-being of residents of their state. It allows a formal record for any necessary action that your state may need to take as well.
4) Filing a complaint with the FTC -
The FTC has a great online form for filing complaints. Go here and fill out your information. Make it ease and copy your master complaint and paste it into the form they have online
5) File your report on Rip Off Report! What an important and excellent consumer resource this site is. Keep up the fantastic work ROR! www.ripoffreport.com
Other Links: For talent scouts and other Wilhelmina Scouting Network/Trans Continental Talent employees. It looks like they have used and abused a lot of these people to in the employment fraud they are committing. Here are some helpful links for you as well. You may have scammed us, but that does not mean you cannot wake up and smell the coffee too.
Local IRS Offices
FBI White Collar Crime Unit Tampa/Orlando Office
Department Of Labor
Monster.com Call to complain about fraudulent job listings for Trans Continental Talent/Wilhelmina Scouting This has been going on for a long time while Monster.com ignores complaints and rakes in the ill gotten gains from this scouting fraud
We hope people found this helpful. Do not be a victim! Take action!! Do not be embarrassed by falling for this, get even! We are victims turned consumer advocates against this type of fraud. We as much as many of you want to pursue modeling, acting and music, but not through deception and fraud of those who just want our money, lie to us and then think they will steamroller their own fraudulent past and we will remain quiet. NOT ANYMORE and NEVER AGAIN! All these so-called audited opportunities turn out to be publicly available and/or spam junk mail from low life agents that are just as corrupt!
Give us your feedback and how things went in your effort for justice.
A growing victims group