ED Magedson – Founder
Model Placement Center126 - 3rd Avenue, #103 Safety Harbor, Florida United States of America
An expensive lesson.
I took my daughter to Model Placement Center ("MPC") after responding to an online ad for teen models, and looking at the casting calls on their website. We met with a "talent director" and he liked her look, and asked if we would come back and meet the boss. We did. The boss liked her look as well, and said she wanted to do some test shoots to build a portfolio.
Long and short, over a period of several months, we paid $600 for the first photo shoot, and the photos were crap. They put way too much makeup on my daughter til she looked 21+, and put outfits on her that were not age appropriate or were just plain unattractive. Then, I paid $450 for a plastic portfolio book and another $200 for comp cards. Before the comp cards came in, and after having visited a number of agents, I asked for another photo shoot because the first photos simply did not do my daughter justice. [continued below]....
I had hoped that some of the photos from the second shoot would be included on her comp cards, but they were not! They used the worst photos from the first photo shoot, and when I expressed my displeasure I was given statements like "that's why we're the experts and you're not". I was never taken seriously.
In addition to all of the above, they wanted my daughter to attend an acting workshop for $150. They wanted me to attend a "business seminar" for another $150 and said it was mandatory. I went, thinking I'd learn about residuals and buyouts and contracts, etc. Instead, there was some guy there claiming to be a Hollywood producer and telling about his acting career from 20 years ago. Totally useless to me and a complete waste of money.
Every time I turned around, they had their hands out for money. They wanted me to pay $1800 to take my daughter to New York, but I would still have to pay air fare and hotel. On this trip, they would take her around to different agents there and try to get her signed. When I mentioned that she was just 14 and not ready for New York, and asked why couldn't they "introduce" her to Florida agents, I was asked questions like "don't you want her to succeed?" etc. Not the point....I always told them we werent' the kind of people who could just fly off to New York at the drop of a hat, or to go on auditions, etc. OUR GOAL was for my daughter to work in Florida til she graduates high school, then she could go to New York with some experience under her belt. I was just pooh-poohed as not knowing anything about the business.
One day I asked "Okay, we have the portfolio book and we have comp cards...at what point does my daughter get legitimate paying jobs?" At which time they said I needed to pay $250 to have her photo on their website for a year and hope that agents would see it and call them, and I could pay another $400-something to get emails sent to me with casting calls. I declined both.
Finally, they wanted me to pay $100 for my daughter to sit at their table at a back to school fair at a local museum, and show her portfolio book and try to get people to sign up for their scam. Their lure was that Disney and Nickelodeon was going to be there and what a great opportunity it was going to be to "network" and give out their crap comp cards in the hopes of getting work someday. Well, I paid, then a week later got notified from my daughter's school that she was going to have to attend a new student orientation the same day, so I called MPC and told them we couldn't make it and they wouldn't give me money back, and instead said we should come after the school function. So we did. What another waste of time. NO one was interested in the model portfolios. Disney and Nick were NOT there, and the kids were told to go around to all the vendors that were there and collect business cards, so that the kids could mail letters and comp cards to the vendors in the hope of getting work. Then they said that the kids would get a "free" one-look photo shoot (not free, I paid $100 for it). My daughter was totally disgusted and told me she didn't even want to bother.
One agent after another told me the photographs taken by MPC were not good, the comp cards appeared to be homemade and were NOT industry standards, and that I had been scammed. Finally, one very reputable local agent referred me to a photographer. He charged me $135 for a 45 minute session and we had 9 sheets of proofs that were some of the best photographs I've ever seen. The agent was totally blown away and has sent my daughter out on a number of auditions since then.
Out of curiosity, I googled MPC and found a website that does company reviews and found that there was a bad review there. So, I left my own personal experience. Two days later, I got a voicemail from the "talent director" at MPC saying that someone from a magazine had seen my daughter at the back to school fair and was interested in her for a paid gig for their parenting magazine. I called back and instead of any discussion about a paid gig, I was talked to most nastily about my online review. The next day, somehow, both reviews were gone.
I had my lawyer send a demand letter to MPC stating that I felt I had been taken advantage of and planned to litigate to recover my money, and report them to the BBB and all the consumer protection agencies, but if they wanted to avoid that, they could simply refund my money. They have not responded to that letter, naturally. So, here we go. I am creating this Ripoff Report, and will next go to the BBB website, and then on to the consumer protection websites, and all the online review websites I can find, and then it's on to small claims court. It's just shameful to take advantage of someone in this way, and they are not going to get away with it.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/27/2010 07:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/model-placement-center/safety-harbor-florida-/model-placement-center-a-model-placement-center-model-scam-safety-harbor-florida-644769. 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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