We went there yesterday since they scheduled an appointment for my daughter. We waited way too long in the waiting area actually making fun of the staff who did more walking around than working. They all try to look like they're in the business with their tight clothing and very high heels. They call out the names and people think it's their turn but they are just told to wait more. I was getting a bad feeling and I wanted to leave but when we told the receptionist we're going to leave, she said we're next and they took us in literally 2 minutes later.
The "development director" Omar had a speech ready for us and just rattled it off. It seemed very routine. He started off with showing us a few pictures of kids who made it to the magazines and I guess that hooked me a little. Now that I've read all the complaints and grievences online, I think back and I know that we had no proof or assurance that it was New Faces that booked these kids those jobs.
Anyway, after he finished his speech, he said that we need professional pictures taken so they can submit them to companies (JC Penney, Macy's, Baby GAP, etc) and pulled out the price sheet. My heart skipped a beat. My gut reaction was to run out of there but my husband, a very calm and positive individual, seemed unmoved. I guess I followed his lead and calmed down. Omar said that if we pay for one of the options today, he can get us a discount but if we split the payment in two (half now, half at the photo shoot), then we have to pay the original price.
Of course, the discount sounded better. Before he left the room for us to discuss it, he said that we have nothing to worry about because it's a full guarantee and it's all in writing. That took me aback. What's guaranteed and what's in writing? They are NOT guaranteeing that my daughter will get jobs and what they put in writing is that we agreed for them to take out money.
I told him that the last statement sounded very unnecessary because it's not like I get take them to court if my daughter doesn't book any jobs and he said that I'm right but if I have this negative attitude then we shouldn't do it. He also mentioned the book "The Secret" and that the more positive we are, the more we will accomplish. He left the room and husband and I discussed it. I didn't want to be the one with all the negativity so we agreed that we'll go for the 3-look option.
When he came back, he said he get us the 4-look option for the price of 3 ($1,550) or maybe even $1,500. We agreed to that and handed him a credit card. I asked him again whether it's going to be $1,500 and he said that with sales tax, it will be an even $1,550. Another shot in my gut. I know that sales tax in NYS is not $50 on $1,500. But again, I let it go against my better judgement. He mentioned that we shouldn't tell the other parents of the discount because not everybody gets it. Yeah, sure, whatever.
At some point, my daughter fell asleep and I didn't know at that time that it was a blessing in disguise. Omar did mention that if she didn't fall asleep, we would have taken some practice shots that day. I didn't think she was dressed for shots but it didn't matter because we just left. We were scheduled for the professional shots two days later at 7pm but this morning I got online and did some research on New Faces.
The information I found terrified me and also made me angry at myself. How could I have silenced my inner voice so many times yesterday?! I'm a very big proponent of listening to your gut but I didn't do that yesterday. I'm just glad that I got to this information today. Obviously, I am not going to take my daughter for the photo shoot. I read the cancellation policy on the contract and learned that I have 3 days to send a certified return receipt letter to cancel the agreement.
I am doing that right now. The only smart thing I did was use a credit card with a very good coverage against fraud and such. I can always call them and charge the amount back. I am very glad I caught this now and not after the photo shoot is done and I'm asked to pay more money to put the pictues on the website (a fee that Omar did NOT mention).
So my advice to anyone in my position or anyone researching this place being going there, listen to your gut. If it tells you that it's a fishy business practice, it is! And to all of you who lost money to this place, I am very sorry. I do wonder how these people sleep at night knowing that they're causing angst and heartache all over the place...shame on them!