AG Cooper shuts down modeling scam, wins refunds for consumers
Release date: 6/6/2005
Raleigh: Face National Models is barred from taking customers’ money to provide them with modeling work and must pay refunds to consumers, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
“This so-called modeling agency was more interested in taking people’s money than in helping them find work,” said Cooper. “They told nearly every modeling hopeful they had ‘the look’ because they were looking to sign up as many paying clients as possible. Now people have a chance to get money back.”
Under terms of a consent judgment signed late Friday by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens, Face National Models & Talent of Charlotte and its managers Jennifer Lynn Gill and Chad E. Johnson are permanently barred from conducting their modeling business. The defendants are prohibited from collecting any money for photography services and offering paid modeling seminars.
Face has also agreed to pay $135,000 in refunds to consumers in North Carolina and other states. The Attorney General’s office will attempt to contact all of Face’s estimated 512 North Carolina customers to give them an opportunity to claim their refund. Consumers may also contact the office toll-free at 1-877-5-NO SCAM. Refund claims must be filed with the Attorney General's office within 60 days. The amount of the refund will depend on the number of consumers filing claims.
Traditional modeling agencies make money by taking commissions from income earned by their models. Face made its money by selling photography contracts. As alleged in Cooper’s complaint against Face, Gill and Johnson began recruiting models in cities across the country in May 2001. Through radio and newspaper advertisements, Face invited modeling hopefuls to attend a screening at a local hotel where they were asked to demonstrate their runway walk and told that they would make good models. When participants called back the following day, nearly all were told they made the cut, asked to sign a contract with Face and scheduled for a photo shoot.
Face charged consumers approximately $600 for the photo shoot. They promised a high-fashion shoot with experienced photographers, make-up artists, and hairstylists, but consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office say that the actual shoots were disorganized and unprofessional. Potential models were then told to purchase at least $388 worth of composite or “comp” cards, photographs of a model in several different poses, to send to prospective employers. The actual cost of producing these comp cards is less than $40.
Cooper contends that Face led consumers to believe that the company would land them traditional modeling jobs in print and runway work at salaries of $150 per hour. Instead, Face signed up approximately 8,000 customers who wanted to be models and found them less than 800 jobs, generally promotional work handing out product samples at events for $15 per hour less Face’s commission. A model doing promotional work at $15 an hour would have to work more than 60 hours to recoup the almost $1,000 he or she paid Face for the photography session and comp cards.
“Instead of looking for the next cover girl, most of these model search companies are really looking to take your money,” said Cooper. “Don’t even think about attending a screening offered by a modeling agency without checking the company out thoroughly.”