To Whom It May Concern:
I recently took my two children to a company called Kids.com.
They had sent me a letter stating they were in big need for kids for magazines, brochures, commercials, etc.
I guess I got all swept up at the time and thought it would be a great experience for my kids to look back at when they got older.
Anyway, they charged us $500 to sign my infant and my older child just got a picture taken as well.
Now after reading all the wonderful information in your website, I'm wondering what I should do. Now I have a pretty good idea I was one of the parents taken by a scam, but can I get my money back?
This happened about four months ago. Of course I haven't received any calls. I signed what looked like a legitimate document for my kids, but after reading your website I could tell it was false.
They also say they have a website they put your child on: justourkids.com.
Can you give us any advice about getting our money back, and letting others know about this company?
Also I am still very interested in pursuing this experience for my children. How do I get a list of reputable agencies? I don't know where to start or whom to believe. Can you help me with this as well?
Something doesn't sound right.
"Kids.com," not to be confused with www.kids.com, which is owned by mysimon.com, is has an office in Chicago, Illinois.
You said: "They charged us $500 to sign my infant."
It sounds as if you paid a $500 registration fee. But it's illegal in Illinois to charge a registration fee of more than $4, according to The Glam Scam's legal reference section:
Contact either SAG or the Attorney General or the State of Illinois to determine if Kids.com broke the law by charging a registration fee higher than the law permits and if they are not licensed but have to be. If they did exceed the limit, there is a good chance you have a legal right to get your money back. Contact the Illinois Department of Labor to file a complaint and find out if Kids.com broke the law.
To Whom It May Concern:
Kids.com said that in order for them to do any work, they would need $595. I was going to do it, but everyone in my family talked against it. Therefore I opted not to do it.
So, I wish to ask whether it is legit or not. They actually offered two different programs. In one they would commit to the portfolios, and you would pay $595 upfront; in the other, you would pay for the portfolio, and they would provide something else for the models.
I would appreciate it if you would inform me about this. Is it legit or not? It sounded good to me, but I haven't the slightest idea about modeling or the aspects of it.
If it is not legitimate, could you recommend some good modeling agencies for babies? I would prefer if it were not just an internet agency, because of the all the child p*rnography out there. I am trying to be selective about whom I chose to deal with. I don't want my baby subject to any of those immoral people out there.
Thanks in advance for providing me the info and I hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. I am in the Chicago area.
You said you did not pay them and you "haven't the slightest idea about modeling or the aspects of it." You don't want to spend money about something when you haven't the slightest idea about the industry, although far too many people do exactly that.
Upfront fees are to be avoided for aspiring models of any age, but especially child models, and even more so baby models.
It is highly unlikely they are legitimate, because everyone who has ever spoken out, been quoted, or written about child modeling scams has warned against doing what they suggest, i.e. paying high prices for baby photos and getting a professional baby portfolio.
Kids.com LLC has copied the business of National Talent Associates, the biggest child modeling scam in world history, and the only child modeling scam prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Several people have said don't do it. The only people who say to do it are those wanting to make money.
To Whom It May Concern:
We paid $595. However, we put it on a credit card and contacted that credit card provider, and they are not going to pay them. I am also sending a letter today terminating our contract. Thank goodness we realized what we got ourselves into within the three-day contract limit.
This will be news to share . . . I called Kids.com yesterday. I asked them if they would pull our contract and let us think about it for a week. They said that that was not their policy. So I then told them to terminate it and that I would follow up in writing—I was speaking to the "manager."
Then she said that their V.P. just so happened to be in the office and she wanted me to speak to him. I told her that there was no need, but she transferred me anyway.
This V.P. was a total jerk. He asked why we wanted to terminate our contract or why we wanted to think about it more.
I told him that my husband and I typically do not proceed with matters when such aggressive marketing tactics such as theirs are used.
He asked me what my concerns were and what type of additional information I would seek in the extra week. He said that they had a flawless BBB record. He said that he was concernecd about us as clients because they like "decisive" people.
I told him that I am a strong individual able to make decisions and that he was not understanding the issue.
He then said: "Tell me specifically what you are concerned about."
I replied: "Potential fraud and scams."
He became irate and hung up on me...
What an idiot! That told us for sure that we were not dealing with a reputable company.
I am just glad that we are able to get out of it and get our money back. I hope our story can help others.
To Whom It May Concern:
I was just directed to your website ironically by the information posted on the Kids.com website. I am very interested to know more about those lawsuits the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Were they in Philadelphia or New Jersey? What was the basis of those suits? I also am a "naive" parent who fell, hook, line & sinker for the lines fed to us by Kids.com. I am an educated person, a skeptic and even an attorney, but I guess when it comes to my children, I ignored all of my "gut" feelings and gave them what they wanted.
We did pay about $500-$600 "up front" b/c the other contract w/o the "up front" payment put a tremendous burden of "marketing" our child upon us & I figured that we would leave that to the professionals.
But now, two years later, having gotten our daughter's pictues updated regularly as required, I am more frustrated with the situation and wonder if there is anything that can be done.
Like I said, I am an attorney & I happen to practice in NJ so filing a lawsuit would be easy as long as I know the basis —what the other people sued for, where, etc., thank you for any help you can provide and if I can be of any assistance in "validating" your points, I will gladly—because I have done all that was required by me under the contract & I wonder what else Kids.com has done besides put my daughter's picture on their website. We have had NO calls, etc., during this time.
To answer your question about getting your money back, apparently there were different legal arguments used by the parents who took Kids.com to court and won all their money back.
I am not an attorney, but the legal research I have done leads me to the same conclusion as the Philadelphia Inquirer, i.e: Kids.com is operating without the required employment agency license in New Jersey.
Since you practice in NJ, would you be able to do legal research to find precedent cases of employment agencies operating without a license, and how the courts ruled?
Do you still have the Kids.com contract you signed two years ago? Does it state they will take a percentage of any work they get for your daughter? That could be all you need to prove Kids.com meets the legal definition of an employment agency and, since they meet the legal definition yet don't have an employment agency license, their business is illegal. Therefore all fees collected by their illegal business must be returned.
Documentary evidence Kids.com takes a commission on jobs would be very convincing before a judge of the legal argument Kids.com meets the legal definition of an agency. Could you quote or email a copy of the Kids.com contract?
I have access to Westlaw (a legal research cite) & can look up all NJ cases easily so tonight I will work on what you have told me & will gladly share the information with you. As far as the contract goes, I still have it & the wording is:
Thank you for your time & advice.
Did you initially receive a letter from Kids.com in which they said, "Your child has been brought to our attention"? And if so, did you take that to mean they had received a referral?
Yes - I did get a letter like that - did not save a copy though - interesting enough - don't know what database they use to send out those letters b/c I have periodically (since signing the contract) still have gotten the solicitation letters (I think they may have then come in my maiden name - I have credit cards in both married names & maiden names).
You're an attorney. Do you think Kids.com, based on what
you have read, meets the legal definition of an employment
Under that definition, definitely...obviously especially under subsection 3.
Do you think that most agencies or companies ask their
general counsel to review their business plan and business
model before they start, or shortly thereafter, to make
sure they are not going to do anything illegal?
That sounds like a good argument to me - I'm also wondering if I could throw in the NJ Consumer Fraud Act - I'm familiar w/ certain aspects of it - not sure if what they do/did fit into that act - if so, they are liable for treble damages (3x the contract price)/
Thank you for giving me the start/motivation to start - I will let you know what I find out from my research - also, once I file suit, I'm entitled to ask for the minutes/notes of those meetings, legal opinions, etc...all it would cost me is the money to file the suit which in this case I think is worth it.
Thanks again & I will keep you informed.
In addition to your $595 refund, you may also be entitled to $2,000 for Kids.com's violation of the Employment Act:
Does the Consumer Fraud Act cover deceptive and unfair
Crimes of Persuasionon