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  • Report: #707040

Complaint Review: GARY SPATZ The Playground Reviews

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  • Submitted: Wed, March 16, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, March 06, 2012

  • Reported By: Missy — los angeles California United States of America
GARY SPATZ The Playground Reviews
1801 Ave of the Stars, Ste 611 Los Angeles, California United States of America

GARY SPATZ The Playground Reviews Gary Spatz The Playground Eric Rottman The Playground Los Angeles Gary Spatz The Playground Reciews SCAM ALERT! Los Angeles, California

*UPDATE Employee: The poster of the message never "worked for the playground"

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: TOTAL SCAM!

*Consumer Comment: I WAS SCAMMED BY GARY SPATZ!!

*Consumer Comment: Me too.

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Approached in Target or at a kiosk in the mall?

Gary Spatz Scam Alert!

There is no such job description as a "talent scout" of any kind in Hollywood. Rather these are front men and mostly women of acting school scams and rip-offs.

The first rule of thumb is to understand that in this industry is that more expensive doesn't equate to better. If someone could 'buy' success everyone would be a star. Sometimes the most expensive services actually provide the least benefit.

These scams committed against children and their families are very common as they prey on our love and pride for our children. That is one consistent across all scams - they all say everything a parent would ever want to hear about how great, talented, beautiful, "star in the making" their child is. That is closely followed by playing on the guilt for a parent who might not be "allowing their child to follow their dreams".

So how does a parent spot a scam?

LISTEN. One step is to really listen to your instincts. What seems too good to be true usually is.

RESEARCH. Researching every company you are going to work with is of paramount importance. Use Google and check the names of the businesses as well as the names of the people you meet. Ask other parents. Look for common red flags. Some red flags of a scam or rip-off include:

Being approached in a mall, family store or other public place

Name dropping such from shows LIKE The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana or the use of Disney and Nickelodeon logos (call the studio and let them know your experience with the scam school and how much they charge)

Promising work or access to talent agents through "show cases" or "agent auditions"

Using several different names for their business on the internet to confuse people and load up the search engines so all the bad reviews won't show up first. (luckily it can't be done)

Putting pressure or time limits on the offer such as "we only bring back 10-20% of the kids we see, not everyone makes it", "we can only hold the spot for 3 days", etc. You can cancel if you don't like it.

Long term contracts that must be paid for in advance. Legitimate acting classes are offered for 6 weeks or less at a time, with professional level group acting classes costing around $45 per class. Anything longer, or costing more is a red flag.

Exceedingly nice sales people.Predators have to be nice. If they weren't, they wouldn't get their prey.


Google Gary Spatz and put the word "scam" after his name and see what he is hidding. You will be shocked!
Dept. of consumer affairs.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/16/2011 09:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/GARY-SPATZ-The-Playground-Reviews/Los-Angeles-California-/GARY-SPATZ-The-Playground-Reviews-Gary-Spatz-The-Playground-Eric-Rottman-The-Playground-Lo-707040. 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.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

The poster of the message never "worked for the playground"

AUTHOR: LetsTalk - (United States of America)

Hello -

It's sad that you're willing to tell outright lies as part of your effort to make us look bad, including posting as a fictional salesperson, that is right someone who never worked for The Playground.it is you sir, that are the complete and utter fraud  Really, I am not a lawyer, but fraudulently portraying yourself as a former salesperson of The Playground then publishing outright lies about the organization has got to be legally actionable.

People.I'd like to state clearly that The Playground was one of the very first companies to become bonded as a provider of talent services and that we have never made any attempt to "get around the new laws".   The Playground is compliant with the law.  This bloggers insinuation that is not is just despicable.   Its outrageous for you to even suggest that the Playground is a rogue organization.
Also, none of the positive reviews available online are fake, or written by us.  This is just another outright lie.

The rest of this fairy tale is completely off-base too.

This post was not written by someone who "actually worked for this company as a salesman for awhile".  The Playground is not some organization with an army of employees.  The Playground has not lost a single employee that even comes close to fitting the position of salesperson that you describe yourself to have formerly been.   The Playground easily verified this.  This amateurish ploy of yours is totally outrageous. You know that while obvious to The Playground that you are making fraudulent representations to the public pretending to be an employee, its effect on those who do not know us is harmful.   I would have to believe that you could be sued for this kind of malicious conduct. The fact that you need to pretend to be an ex-employee to attempt to legitimize your lies is deplorable and just demonstrates that you are conscious that if your true identity was exposed, you would be held liable for your defamatory statements.


I am not sure why you want to damage the Playground.  Perhaps you are a competitor.  Perhaps you believe it is your duty to protect kids who get involved in the entertainment industry, but if this is the case, then its obvious that your zealot-like attitude towards The Playground has caused you to see ghosts everywhere you look. The end result either way is that you are harming an established company that every day is providing a valuable service to its customers, in a nurturing environment, to their satisfaction.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

TOTAL SCAM!

AUTHOR: PLW41 - (United States of America)

LETS DO TALK THE PLAYGROUND
I can help with this subject. I actually worked for this company as a salesman for awhile until I found out what was really
going on. It made me sick and this place is a RIPOFF!

First, Eric Rottman is the real owner. I have met him several times and he runs the whole operation. He keeps a very low profile because of his past acting scams that were shut down. He put the company in Garys name to avoid his past. Eric and Gary would brag about how they are smarter than the law makers and law enforcement by getting around the new laws. And I guess at least this far they are right.

BEEN SCOUTED?
It all starts with the scouts. They are paid a commission of $50 and more for every parent they can get to show up. Thats why you always see them at the tryout checking you off the list. They want to make sure they get paid. They too will say anything to get you to show up and of course they will never tell you about the costs. The company says they have no
control over what the scouts say. How ridicules, Eric pays the scouts and trains them what to say! Some of them make a couple of thousand dollars a week and being honest would not be in their best interest. They are out at the malls
and stores every day and are instructed to hand out cards only to people who look like they can afford classes. It has nothing to do with a Childs look or talent. (Sorry parents)

THE TRYOUT
This is a phony audition, just designed to get the kids pumped up. They read a 20 second commercial and then
youre off to meet one of the salesmen. At this part, we were told to get the kids excited about doing commercials and to ask the parents a few questions to see if they were a good candidate to scam. If a parent says, they know an agent or have experience in the business they usually wont get a call back. Eric and Gary are looking for the easy suckers. Once the audition is over the leads are divided up and given to the sales team to start calling back. Once again, it has
nothing to do with the talent of your child. It has everything to do with the look of the parents checkbook.

LETS TALK MONEY.
When I worked for them, they had weeks were they brought in $250.000 gross sales. Yep, in one week! The salesmen are paid a commission on every sale. You start at 10% and the more sales you make the higher the commission. There are a couple of guys there one named Mike, who makes 4 to 5 thousand dollars a week. He is the guy who the previous poster is referring to as being their salesman. They could care less about you or your child, its all about the money! Eric would call in every day to check on us salesmen to see how many sales we had and what our numbers were. He put a lot of pressure on us to do or say whatever it took to get the parent to sign up.

THE SALE
They will tell you that your kid has a great look and a lot of potential but, needs training. Then of course the hard sell
begins and they do not want you to go home and think about it. It gives you too much time to check them out and talk to others. They want to get your kid so excited that you will be forced to make a decision immediately. They do pitch
you can cancel after a couple of weeks if your child does not like it. Here is the catch, they make sure for the first few weeks that your child has a good time and lets face it, they are children and dont really understand that they
have been used. Its so sad.

ALL THE GREAT REVIEWS YOU MIGHT SEE ONLINE
Yes, these are mostly fake! Eric pays a person who does nothing but trys hides all the bad postings. Thats why anytime someone posts a negative review here or elsewhere there is always a response within a day or less. As the poster above states, they bribe parents to post good things about them also. And when that does not work, they simple make their own phony reviews. They have had to change the names couple of times and now that all these people including
myself have posted, they will change it again. Its always just slightly different so its not too obvious. Gary Spatz the Playground The Playground Los Angeles, you get the point. It also appears that they are now moving to Orange County. We should lookout for The Playground Orange County!

Here is a real expose about Gary and Erics last company OBrian Rottman Studios from D magazine in Dallas titled Glam Scam. The only difference is they hang out at mails instead of sending mailers to your child. Same scam! Same people!
http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/...03/01/Glam_Scam.aspx

I hope this will provide a little more information on this place and what their true motives are. Save your money and find a real acting coach. There are many good companies who dont have to lie and cheat to get your business. This site
is a great place to start. Ask around and do your homework!
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#3 Consumer Comment

I WAS SCAMMED BY GARY SPATZ!!

AUTHOR: Amber41 - (United States of America)

Here's how we were scammed and lied to.

A "scout" spots your daughter or son at a mall and approaches you and tells you what a beautiful child you have and they'd look so great on film, etc etc. The do NOT tell you that they are an agent or work for an agent because that is illegal. They call themselves Talent Executives and invite you and your child to attend an "audition" for the school.

At the audition, they have a red rope line.  Your child's picture is scrutinized, your child is "interviewed" and then filmed. A few days later you are called and told that your child passed the audition and you are invited back to the school. That's when the hard sell happens. "John" was our salesman. He had the 3 day Hollywood beard growth and talked about all of the successful young actors that had graduated from the school. He was a very good salesman. Although "John" implied that agents were invited to class, we later learned that this supposedly happens the second six months, not the first. "John" also showed us pictures of a party the kids have, although we later learned that the party doesn't happen until after 2 years.

They want you to sign up for the full 2 years but we chose to sign up for 6 months and I'm embarrassed to say, spent $2,000 for that. My daughter went to class every Sunday for 6 months. We weren't allowed to see the class. The staff rarely spoke to us, although the guy from the front desk would come in the back room outside of the studios from time to time to tell jokes. Around halfway through our session, Gary held an "informational" meeting about the business of acting. He was extremely defensive and loudly berated a parent who asked if the progress report was really an assessment of the child's acting ability. He later walked around and told parents that that parent was drunk and had apologized.

The materials handed out were a bunch of badly Xeroxed lists of agents and other garbage. My daughter was very ambivalent about going to class although she did like her teacher Darcy. I could hear the kids laughing in class so I think Darcy was a good and engaging teacher. Although we were promised that the class size was never more than 12, it got up to 18 sometimes. Gary NEVER went in my daughter's class.

The staff encouraged parents to leave during class and go to the mall. Darcy was very nice but said nothing about my

daughter's progress. At the end, we got a progress report that was 3-4 lines long, much less than a school report card. It was a joke.

It recommended that my daughter attend the next 6 month session (for which we would be charged $1,000). "John" called us a few times and that was it.

HERE IS HOW THEY SCAM YOU. Several times during the 6 month session, the parents were invited to write an online review
and enter a raffle to get a $100 gift certificate from Houstons and I am quite sure they only got good reviews. So, all the good reviews you see are FAKE!!!!

So what's the shame? That they invest so much of their time in combating negative reviews instead of improving their service. They use questionable tactics to recruit kids. That I believe that they submit fake reviews and their whole business is based on what's basically a con by pretending that they can make your child a star, or getting your child a chance to (what I think most parents want) make some money for college. I'm sure that this review will be quickly attacked, and I will be labeled as one of
those phantom people who is out to get Gary. My opinion is: it's a pretend Hollywood business and there are a lot of legitimate acting schools (Like Actor's Gang) where your kids can have fun and learn to act.

Don't waste your money like we did.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Me too.

AUTHOR: Sarah - (United States of America)

My family and I was approached in the mall and told that my kids would be great and should audition for this "commercial".. I don't want to say that this company is a scam. We went to the first audition, ( cattle call), then was called again for the "second audition" in los angeles, in a really nice office building that did not validate.. $6 for 20 minutes. Then after the kids gave they're audition, we were called the next day, because they loved my son , he was everything they are looking for and want to work with him, cost will be discussed when both parents come in  to see Gary on Monday. Again, I am not saying this company is a scam, however, I wish we were approached and said" I work for blah blah blah SCHOOL and we would like to speak with you regarding training your child to be an actor".. I would have saved the gas, and the car accident that occured while we were in the "audition" would have never happend. In todays society you can get "discovered" anywhere. And I dont need my kids to go to a school and spend 9000 dollars when we cant even pay our bills right now.The latest actors discovered by Tyler Perry himself was done so, becuase they posted on Youtube they're talents. Save your money folks.. this "school" teaches, from what I can tell from this blog and others I have found on the internet, teaches kids how to come out of they're shell and be more open.. you can do that at acting classes at your local YMCA. $40 a month for the whole family.BEWARE and BECAREFUL. Blessings to all.
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