• Report: #328792

Complaint Review: Hollywood Group, Carlos Becerra, Kids Talent Network, The Hollywood Group, Alex Simon

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  • Submitted: Fri, April 25, 2008
  • Updated: Mon, December 27, 2010

  • Reported By:Beverly Hills California
Hollywood Group, Carlos Becerra, Kids Talent Network, The Hollywood Group, Alex Simon
2050 Bundy Drive, #202 Los Angeles, Las Vegas, California U.S.A.

Hollywood Group, Carlos Becerra, Kids Talent Network, Alex Simon $1800 Kids Modeling-Acting Scam-Rip-Off-Fraud-in Los Angeles-Las Vegas-Same Owners Los Angeles, Las Vegas California

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Hollywood Group has no affilattion in Vegas False Report!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: update, The Hollywood Group Changed name to Talentorium

*Author of original report: The Hollywood Group-Kidz in Media-Carlos Becerra-Amir Khalatbari-Debonair Marketing-Commercial Scouts-O'Brien Rottman-Kids Talent Network-ALL SCAMS!

*UPDATE Employee: This "report" contains absolute mistruths about the Hollywood Group

*Author of original report: This company is useless-extra work-just go directly to the companies and not through this scam!

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Did you get a card in your local mall?

THROW IT OUT! IT'S A SCAM!

Don't waste your time going to Kids Talent Network in Vegas or The Hollywood Group in Las Angeles. They both owned by Alex Simon and Carlos Becerra.

The both prey on nieve parents trying to make their kids stars!

They have "scouts" or 'used car sales people' desperate to make a buck giving out cards in malls. These scammers are mostly out of work actors looking to make a quick buck. They tell you your cute kid could be "perfect" for a TV show and they give you a card for an audition that will cost you nothing! That's right, to go costs you nothing. Once you go, they're are a bunch of other corrupt companies like John Robert Powers there trying to slam parents for money for classes and pictures.

The Hollywood Group sells you a USELESS "discount guide" for $2,000 and Kids Talent Network (based in Nevada) sells you their "web site" package for $650.00 (approx.). They tell you your kids will make it in Hollywood. They have an impressive website but don't be fooled. All of the people at these companies are highly trained high pressure sales people all on commision on how many people they "slam" as the owners Carlos Becerra and Alex Simon state it.

A search on the Internet exposes some of their scams but they're good at covering them up on the Internet. They go by several bogus names.

It sickens me that there's people out there that will do this to parents with young children.

All these companies do as far as work goes is submit on extra work or background work that pay $50 in many cases. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars for that! Just go to any extras casting agency.

Head shots and classes are never needed for extra work.

report these people to: www.easybackgroundcheck.com and pissedconsumer.com

Also, file a complaint with the management office at the mall they scammed you at! Then, the mall security will throw them out. The malls very much frown upon this. They have already received complaints from other ripped off parents!

REPORT THEM...DON'T LET OTHER PARENTS GET SCAMMED!

Christi
Beverly Hills, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/25/2008 04:14 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hollywood-Group-Carlos-Becerra-Kids-Talent-Network-The-Hollywood-Group-Alex-Simon/Los-Angeles-Las-Vegas-California-90025/Hollywood-Group-Carlos-Becerra-Kids-Talent-Network-Alex-Simon-1800-Kids-Modeling-Actin-328792. 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 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Hollywood Group has no affilattion in Vegas False Report!

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

Hollywood Group has no affliation with any company in vegas! Its a untruth consider the source of origin below! These false reports are being put on rip off reports after this ex-employee was fired for company embezzlement, who has a criminal arrestrecord-Drugs, prostitution, Con-Artist in Florida,Lost her registered nursing Liscence at Hospital she worked for for stealing drugs and alcohol abuse police report listed!

That was hidden from Hollywood Group they fired her 2004! Parents Beware! Alisa Popfoloskygoes by AliasLisa Pressmen or just Lisa with Barbizon! Lives in Beverly Hills who has a friend named Christi posing as a parentfor her own evil purposes. Alisa works for Gary specs or Spats, Pat O'brien, Barbizon, Jrp, be productions Rad Kids, A-list kids, kids rock ck. out this info. on report off reportyou will see this is true about Alisa!

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

update, The Hollywood Group Changed name to Talentorium

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (United States of America)

 

Correction:

In July of 2010 "The Hollywood Group" changed its name to "Talentorium"  and moved  from 2050 South Bundy in West Los Angeles to 1042 Princeton Drive
in Marina del Rey, CA .  Both "The Hollywood Group" and "Talentorium" are owned and operated by Mr. Yves Guez, they are not owned by the aforementioned  Alex Simon or Carlos Becerra.

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#3 Author of original report

The Hollywood Group-Kidz in Media-Carlos Becerra-Amir Khalatbari-Debonair Marketing-Commercial Scouts-O'Brien Rottman-Kids Talent Network-ALL SCAMS!

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

To the clueless wanna be actor "employee" defending Hollywood Group,

You guys ARE a scam, you ripped my aunt off years ago, and I just saw this.

You guys are very misleading when it comes to how you "lure" people tothe "screening" by giving cards to unsuspecting parents shopping with their cute kids! She was specifically told that she was auditioning for a VH-1 TV Show..all lies!

She was pressured by Hollywood Group and John Robert Powers to pay money. She was naive and trusting an dpaid you guys for the USELESS book and information. Also, she was also sent to Kids Talent Background for extra work too, soemthing ANYONE can do off the street, they don't need your company.

As far as any real "agent" interviews. That happened once, there was one agent PAID to be there. We contacted this agent and they don't even work with you guys anymore...SAID WHAT A SCAM YOU GUYS WERE TOO! They gave us some "inside" information on you guys. All the companies who come to your "screenings" are looking for naive parents with money.

The "scouts" you hire are NOTHING more than used car salespeople, LOOK!

email this posting to a friend

PART-TIME COMMERCIAL TALENT SCOUT NEEDED

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Reply to: commercialscouts@yahoo.com Date: 2005-01-20, 2:16PM PST Commercial Scouts of Beverly Hills 90210 (a no-fee scouting company since 2000) is looking for a professional WOMAN with experience in the entertainment industry (acting/modeling) to help scout young new faces part-time for different entertainment companies. LEAVE A MESSAGE AT: 310-273-5994. NO E-MAIL, FAX, OR VISITS UNTIL REQUESTED!!! VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT: http://www.commercialscouts.com/ Job location is BEVERLY HILLS 90210 Compensation: ($100-$1500) Paid Weekly! This is a part-time job. Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster. Phone calls about this job are ok. Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests. Reposting this message elsewhere is NOT OK.

56433600


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Copyright 2005 craigslist terms of use privacy policy feedback forum

These scouts are making good money for recruiting people to come to these sales things (which they swear are not sales things). The man who owns this company feels that because it's not his company who's asking these parents to pony up fees that he's exempt from judgment and that in itself is contemptible.

I wonder how much of the fees they're charging he receives. In truth, it seems it's not the companies who are hiring the models that pay him - it's the companies who charge for photos and training who pay him.

I think they scout people Friday and Saturday so that people don't have time to check up on them before going to their "free screening."

Thank God for the internet and people like you. Beverly Hills isn't that far away, but I really didn't want to put my kids through (get their hopes up) something that was just a [...].

Concerned Parent

and, look at more useful information...

Commercial Scouts fka Debonair Marketing
This web page contains excerpts from the original BBB record for Debonair Marketing, a scan about Commercial Scouts, excerpts from parents, comments about all of the above, and a scan of a rebuttal by the principal of Commercial Scouts addressed to the BBB.

Letter from Parent:
November 1, 2003

My name is [dedacted]. My daughter and I were approached by a lady in the mall on Halloween night. She said that she was interested in my daughter and wanted to see her Sunday. (Nov. 2). She gave me a card with a business name of Commercial Scouts and her name on it.

I have read the info on the website and am concerned if this agency is legitimate. Perhaps this company has had problems that may not exist currently. I do not have time or money to waste on scams.

Please E-mail me back at [dedacted]@aol.com. There are so many scams going on today and I am trying not to let my daughter get too excited over this until I have a second opinion.

Thank you so much for posting this information and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Concerned Parent

Admin Reply:
Commercial Scouts is not a talent agency. They have no talent agency license. If they said they are a talent agency, let you believe it, or you assumed they are, you are mistaken. The state database of licensed talent agencies has no record for Commercial Scouts. Therefore they cannot book your child work. They are extremely limited in what they can do for you in an industry which is extremely limited in what it can offer kids.

The company now known as Commercial Scouts, formerly known as Debonair Marketing, may have mended its ways (if indeed they were ways it had to mend). At the time of writing, the BBB record for Commercial Scouts is clear, although it was just created. The BBB has expunged the record for Debonair Marketing; however, the original record can be seen below.

There have been no complaints against Commercial Scouts received at the BBB or sent to this site. While the BBB record for Debonair was unsatisfactory, and complaints were sent by email, in fairness, it is possible there was a big misunderstanding.

In any case, parents are now advised to proceed with caution, and be on the alert for any sales pitches, either from Commercial Scouts, or any group or company related to or affiliated with Commercial Scouts, at the time of the open call, or subsequent to it. The BBB claimed Debonair offered photographic services for kids; and consumers claimed online they were selling expensive acting classes. Watch out for those especially, or any upfront fees.

---
The BBB file (as of October 23, 2003) for Debonair said:

Debonair Marketing
9713 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 218
Beverly Hills CA 90210
Nature of Business
This company's business is providing talent and photography services for children.

Bureau File Experience
Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. An unsatisfactory record is given when a pattern in the company's customer complaints causes us concern, when the company does not respond to complaints, or when it will not substantiate its advertising claims.

---
A fax received ostensibly from Commercial Scouts about Commercial Scouts (see below) claims they do not charge fees. Yet, based on information from consumers, Debonair Marketing is linked with, or also does business as (dba), Commercial Scouts.

Indeed, an individual identifying himself as Amir Khalatbari previously wrote a defense of Debonair Marketing. A person of the same name sent the fax of the Commercial Scouts Business Summary (as seen below).

Debonair, according to consumers, charges or once charged $3,000 for classes, while using some kind of supposed screening process to "select" kids for classes in the manner of a talent agency.

One consumer wrote about her daughter: "When it came to the crunch, they told me she needed acting school, and they needed $3,000."

There is a conflict of interest here and that price tag is extreme. We are talking OUTRAGEOUS!!! A casting director in LA said acting classes run at $25-40/week.

and more...

Letter from Parent
November 2003

My child was approached at a store recently and we were given a card for a special "screen test" being held on a Sunday at 9713 Santa Monica Blvd.

There were several hundred kids there, all were put on camera and then were asked to say their name and were then asked to say, "I love McDonald's."

They were then sent to two men standing off to the side, and had a short interview. My child was then chosen to go on and meet another representative in Room 221.

The woman in the room was the stereotypical "agent" type. I think she may have studied the character of "Joey's agent" on "Friends" because she was the epitome of a woman in her 60's, New Yorker, fast talking, gruff, and tried to be a little intimidating.

She told us that, out of all the children to come through, only about 20 would make it through her door and, out of those 20, only five or six would make it to the final round. She said she would review the videos of the 20 she had seen and give us a call if she thought our child would have a shot at a career in the entertainment industry.

All of this drama was lost, of course -- my child is only five -- and had no idea what the "entertainment industry" was or is. I, of course, was suspicious and a little amused.

The whole office looked like a movie set, a bad one at that. Autographed posters on the walls, headshots on her desk, all signed, of course. It was rather ridiculous!

Well, we received a call from her the next night, and, of course, she said she thought our child was beautiful and had potential...

My husband asked her if she was an agent, and she replied that she was a "consultant for the larger agencies," and that she essentially helped them find new talent.

The kicker, which I had been anticipating, was that their fee: $2,500. They would prepare our child to meet all these agents at a show in February. This fee would cover acting classes, headshots, videos, etc.

My husband politely told her we were not interested and hung up.

I would really appreciate you looking into this company. They are bordering on [...] business practices, and are [...] many hopeful kids and parents. Please pass this information on, so that the appropriate action can be taken.

At least let it be read by other parents in order to inform them ahead of time so that their children aren't subjected to the rejection and heartbreak when they learn this is just a [...].

Sincerely,

A parent of a beautiful child

---

My daughter and I were approached in our local Target store tonight by a woman from Commercial Scouts. She asked us to come to Beverly Hills on Sunday, said that we did not need to bring any money, not even for parking, and she repeated this at least 3 times. She said that the audition would not take long and we'd be out of there within a half an hour. Of course, my daughter is very excited and wants to go. We were told to go to the same address as the Debonair Marketing address. We were wondering if there were any new reports on this company.

and yet more...

Company Report- BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU OF THE SOUTHLAND, INC.


Company Profile
DBA: The Hollywood Group, Inc.
Other
Address: 2050 South Bundy Drive Suite 202
Los Angeles,
CA 90025 Other
Primary Phone: (310) 882-7602 Other
Primary Fax: (310) 943-2235 Other
Primary Contact: Carlos Becerra,President/Owner Other


Website: Other
http://www.hollywoodgroup.com
Company ID: 13174626
Business Start Date: 8/29/2001
BBB Created Record on: 6/8/2002

Nature of Business:

This company's business is providing information, referrals, discounts, and support to families whose children are interested in the entertainment industry.
BBB Comments and Analysis
Bureau's Comments and Analysis of Company's Business

California laws relating to "advance fee talent services" allow 10 days to cancel contracts without penalty or obligation. In some cases, refunds must be provided within 48 hours, or the company is r...

Complaint Experience
Of the few complaints we've received, most complainants allege the company misleads customers into believing that they have been selected to audition, or start work in the entertainment industry. In addition, customers are dissatisfied that prices are not disclosed during the initial solicitation, or prior to meeting with the company. In one case, after attending an interview, the customer states she was told that her daughter was selected to start work in the entertainment industry and was asked to pay $650 for a handbook and workshop. Another complainant alleges failure to receive a refund in a timely manner after returning company materials.

The company responds to complaints by contacting customers, or placing one of their talent scouts on supervised probation. In one case, the company denied the customer was their client because the customer did not give them an opportunity to deliver on what they represented. The company provided a refund to the customer who requested it and explained that refunds may take up to fourteen days when payment is made by a personal check.


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Licensing

Licensing Agency:
License Number:
Status:

This license permits the company to perform the following services:


California law requires any company that procures or offers to procure employment or auditions, or that provides artist management services, direction or counseling to develop an artist's career, for ...


The Hollywood Group, Inc.

Company
Rating- F- The BBB urges you not conduct business with this company and do so at your own risk.

Rating Explanation:
The rating the Better Business Bureau assigns a business is determined by our composite score of such factors as its type of business, length of time in business, compliance ...


Full Rating Explanation

Customer Reviews and Ratings
If you would like to view customer reviews and ratings or post a review on this company, click on the Reviews link below.

>> Reviews

Complaint Experience
Bureau Summary and Analysis of customer complaints and company responses:

Of the few complaints we've received, most complainants allege the company misleads customers into believing that they have been selected to audition, or start work in the entertainment industry. In a...
More

To view a summary of the complaint descriptions, responses, and the text of the complaints, Click Here

Complaint Closing Statistics
The following grid displays the number and responses to complaints over the last 36 months:

No. of Cmpl Type of Response
0 Making a full refund, as the consumer requested
0 Making a partial refund
2 Agreeing to perform according to their contract
0 Refusing to make an adjustment
1 Refuse to adjust, relying on terms of agreement
0 Unanswered
0 Unassigned
3Total

Bureau Membership
Join Date:

This company is not a member of the Better Business Bureau. This fact does not disparage the company in any way.

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Government Actions
We know of no government action taken against this company.

Advertising Review
No question about the truth of this company's advertising has come to our attention.


Other Considerations
We know of no other matter or practice relating to this company that may assist you in your consideration of this company.


File a Complaint
If you have a dispute with this company, you may file a complaint. The BBB will try to mediate the dispute through our complaint process

Print Report

Copyright 2008 The Better Business Bureau of the Southland, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Backup Solutions by - Designed by emago.com

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Also, check out www.easybackgroundcheck.com, www.bbbsouthland.org for more information on these scams.

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#4 UPDATE Employee

This "report" contains absolute mistruths about the Hollywood Group

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

As an employee of The Hollywood Group for 6 years - I was completely shocked at reading the posting this person wrote. Whomever chose to write the below report at 4am either knowingly or unknowingly just printed complete falsehoods as it relates to The Hollywood Group. Not only does The Hollywood Group not have anything to do with Kids Talent Network - we have never heard of that company or anybody by the name of Alex Simon, for that matter. The Hollywood Group has been in business for 7 years and only has offices in Los Angeles and San Diego.

If you are interested in the truth about this company, you are welcome to contact it firsthand instead of printing falsehoods. The Hollywood Group is a good business that provides a good service to kids who are interested in getting started in the entertainment industry. In response to some false statements below:

(1.) The Hollywood Group does not operate in any way, shape, or form as this person states below. We are not a school and we do not sell photos. We are nothing like John Robert Powers.

(2.) We do not sell any sort of "discount guide" and our service does not cost $2,000 AND we do not charge kids to work.

(3.) Nobody working for the Hollywood Group is a "highly trained high pressure sales person." Yes - many of the people we work with are actors. They, however, are not "out of work actors" You have to actually work in the entertainment industry as an actor or behind the scenes in order to be able properly educate families on it. The fact that the people we work with are actors, agents, managers, producers, writers, directors and even sit on the board of directors at many high level places, including SAG should attest to the fact that we are not a "high pressure sales organization." That does not exist at The Hollywood Group. The people who work here are all extremely ethical and work here because they actually care about helping kids and they all love acting and entertainment.

I can't speak for the other company this person talks about as none of us here have ever heard of them or their "owner." It would be wise, however, to print actual facts instead of lies. The only truthful thing this person said is:
(1.)You are correct in stating that you do not need to pay thousands of dollars for extra work and that headshots and classes are not required for extra work.

To the person who wrote this - If you had any knowledge at all about how the Hollywood Group operates, you would know that we, in fact, caution parents about spending money on headshots when their kids are just starting out and we do not sell classes. Acting is an activity that is going to cost a parent some money no matter how you choose to do it. The Hollywood Group actually cautions parents about companies that will present themselves as agents/managers/modeling studios, etc who charge money to get your kid started. Any legitimate agent or manager works off of commission only. Agents and Managers will only represent kids who are ready to immediately go out and book big speaking jobs. It is difficult for most people without connections in the industry to even have the opportunity to ever get an agent. Any parent who has a child interested in acting needs to know that there are going to be some costs involved no matter how you do it. The important thing is to do it correctly, not expensively. The program offered by the Hollywood Group allows parents the most economical, effective way to go about it. We save parents time and money. We want the kids who come to us without any acting experience to start out doing background jobs for the sole purpose of gaining some experience, building a resume and having fun. Headshots are not required for background work - which is why we tell parents NOT to get them! When their child gains agent representation, that agent will have specifications as to the type of headshots to get so we educate parents that it is a waste of $$ to get them when their child is new to the biz. Also, background jobs for kids pay between $120 - $320 a day - not $50 (that's the adult rate). If you were informed - you may have known this. A big part of what we do is educate parents about some of the mistruths out there. Clearly, there are a lot of them.
What is important to know is that the people who actually use our service rarely to never complain about it. In fact, we receive thankful letters from parents on a daily basis. We have relationships with the top agents and managers in town - and they come back to us over and over again looking for new talent as they know our kids are properly prepared.

We all know that there are unscrupulous companies out there. The Hollywood Group is not on of them. It is unfortunate that these other operators have given this industry such a bad name. There are still some good companies out there!! Parents should always do research and rely on their own first hand experience and knowledge. We'd welcome any parent to come see how we operate and to talk to other parents who have actually worked with us - rather than having to rely on falsehoods that have been anonymously written and posted online.
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#5 Author of original report

This company is useless-extra work-just go directly to the companies and not through this scam!

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

This company touts all of the "jobs" their kids have done!

They have a list on their site...

What they're NOT telling you is...

Anyone can go to Kids Background Talent in Burbank and register for $30 to do extra work and you do NOT need pictures or classes OR these scam companies!
Kids Backgrond Talent even says THEY know these companies are scamming parents too! They basically feel bad for the parents and know they were taken. :(

Just do an internet search for them and go DIRECTLY TO THEM.

The Hollywood Group and Kids Talent Network (the Nevada scam) make it sound like it's so difficult to get these low paying background jobs...it's not.

Parents should stay away from this company! Don't pay them a dime!

I'm glad this site has exposed them.
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