Report: #84957

Complaint Review: Wilhelmina Scouting Network

  • Submitted: Mon, March 22, 2004
  • Updated: Mon, March 22, 2004
  • Reported By: Everett Washington
  • Wilhelmina Scouting Network
    1200 112th Ave NE Suite 245
    Bellevue, Washington

Wilhelmina Scouting Network Modeling scam did not get what was told total ripoff! Bellevue Washington

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I responded to an ad on the internet for a Talent Scout position. I went to the interview, which was a group meeting. Then I was told to come back for training. In the group training session, we were told to approach the not so pretty people and to look for people, who were well dressed, looked like they had money, and had a square face because that is what the industry was looking for.

We were told to walk up to a potential talent and tell them that we were trained talent scouts and that they had the look the industry was looking for. We were informed to not mention money and to avoid answering that question, just get them to open call and the girls at the office would do the rest and make the sale. The initial training was about 3 minutes which entailed writing down and memorizing a speech that was supposed to work every time. Then each of the 10 people at the meeting was told to say what they would say when approaching potential talent. We were then given a stack of someone else's business card and told that when we reached a certain limit, we would be given cards with our name on them. Then we were asked where we were going to go and scout for that day and were sent on our way.

Heather and Vonda trained the group for about 3 5 minutes on what to say when approaching someone in the mall and specifically tell you not to mention money but to get the people to come to open call and they would close the deal. I feel bad that I was involved in helping this company to scam people out of thousands of dollars. They show you a video and drop names of famous people who they have scouted or have noticed talent so you believe their story and fall into their trap. They repeatedly tell you of all the opportunities waiting for you if you sign up for their website. They show you several well known agencies that will work with you once you sign up with their company and pay the money. These agencies have not yet contacted me on behalf of my daughter.

As a Talent Scout, I was expected to show up to every open call and get bitched at if I didn't have any one at open call. The group was given a cell phone number for Katie Ludwig and told to call her at a certain time so she could give us over the phone pep talks on scouting people. I thought this all sounded good so I showed a picture of my daughter and was told to bring her to open call. They told me that she had the look. They knew that my daughter wanted to be a model and I was supportive of her decision. So, at every open call and office meeting they would say that I could earn a comp card for my daughter if I got 20 people to come to open call.

When I brought my daughter in for the measuring session, they told my daughter that she would get work if she signed up for the online comp card. So we signed up. Heather and Vonda waived the $995 comp card fee because I was an employee. I was then told that I was lucky to be an employee. They said that they would waive the fee if I would pay $695 for a photo shoot with the photographer that they selected. I was expected to pay the $695 plus tax immediately.

Vonda and Heather told stories of how one girl called and said that she wasn't getting any emails through the website. Vonda told us that she checked the girls email and she had over 80 responses. We were told that we too would miss opportunities if we didn't check our emails daily. We were told that the key to getting work is to check your emails daily.

The Wilhelmina Scouting Network brochure states proven results just by being seen by the right people. Who are the right people? I have not heard from one person yet! Only numerous emails with no responses yet! The brochure shows numbers of times a talent had an opportunity by being on their website. Just another ploy to lure you into their money pit. I have yet to be offered that opportunity with a good email address or phone number to respond to. It just has not happened. They also state that they will help you find agencies that will work with you. This also has not happened. The brochure states movers and shakers. I figure that the movers and shakers are the sales people in the officeHeather and Vonda and the clan. They are very good at dropping names of successful people, Lou Pearlman and John Daly, in the industry that were scouted by WSN or who have signed people.

Within two days after paying for the photo shoot, my daughter received a phone call inviting her to go to Fashion Rock in Florida. They made is sound like she would be flown for free. When I got on the phone, they dropped the bombshell that more money would be involved and that airfare was not included in the $995 for my daughter and $795 for me, $1790 just for a hotel room and entry fees. They never made it clear as to the total cost of the event. I finally asked if this price included airfare. NO it did not! So there is another $501 for airfare to Florida. They said that there would be mass networking opportunities at Fashion Rock to talk with agencies. They said that there would be 100-150 agencies at Fashion Rock. This was not true! There were only 35 modeling agency tables. The only thing available was boxes on the tables to drop your comp card into and hope for a phone call. To date, no phone calls from any of the agencies. This was a total waste of time and money.

We were also told that there would be 2 days of competitions where at least 100 different agents would have a chance to see you. We were told to bring several different outfits and that someone would help you decide what to wear to the competitions. There was only one day of supposed competitions. My daughter only walked the runway one time by herself and one time with a group of people. There were only about 20 people sitting around the stage. Who knows if they were agents? I don't!

The flyer from Fashion Rock described that there would be many opportunities to talk to these agents. This was also not true! They were not available. Fashion Rock was a joke and a scam to get money from innocent people hoping for a chance to be discovered and become a model. They hyped me up and I believed that my daughter had a chance to be noticed and get a modeling contract. This never happened. We spent $1790 for Fashion Rock, $501 for airfare to get to Florida, $40 for a shuttle to take us from the airport to Gaylord resort and then back to the airport, $700 for a photo shoot, and $30 for a video of the portion of the event that my daughter was in.

I was scammed into being a supposed Talent Scout. Had I not fallen for the ad, I would never have fallen victim to this scam and spent over $3000 just to be scammed!

Everett, Washington

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