OTM (On Track Modeling) aka AMG (Alpha Model Group)


To Whom It May Concern:

OTM, short for On Track Modeling, sucks. OTM is based out of Charlotte, NC.

Their scheme: They advertise on a local radio station, you come to a meeting room in the hotel, and they tell you to come later on the night.

One of the new face directors gives an hour-long speech about the business. Their catch: PICTURES!! $599 for 72 shots.

The photographer comes to the hotel and takes pictures for the comp card. You only use three pictures on the card, and the pictures suck.

Then they want to charge outrageous money for them to be printed.

Stay away from OTM!


To Whom It May Concern:

I signed with OTM (On Track Modeling) in November 2000. The agency came to my hometown, Lubbock, TX, and they sounded like they were actually real.

Boy, was I wrong. These people are awful. They tell you how much work you will get in, and how all you need to do is spend $900 on composite cards, and you will get going within six weeks.

I went to the hotel for my photo shoot, and I have never seen so many unprofessional people in my life.

I was very excited about the photo shoot until I received the pictures from it. They were awful. The pictures looked nowhere near an actual professional photographer would take. Half of my pictures were side ways or weren't focused in the middle.

I was completely frustrated. Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever saw or heard from those cowards again.

To all the people out there that are looking to model: DO NOT GO WITH OTM. They will take your money.

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To Whom It May Concern:

My name is R.D. Ecksmith. I am President of On Track Modeling Inc. in Charlotte, NC and Indianapolis, IN.

I was just informed we had two complaints on your site and I thought I would check it out.

I think your website is very informative and I agree with what you are trying to do.

This year one of our goals is to be pro-active in the industry, and I would like to add some different views to the situation.

After almost nine years in the industry, I have seen a lot of scams come and go. One of the reasons scams work is because people get into the business not knowing anything about the business. They only know people get rich in the business.

That is not a reason to try to begin a career in the fashion industry. They go to every model search that comes to town, not knowing if they have potential as a fashion model, commercial model, character model, or promotional model. They really don’t know if they have any talent or potential at all.

All they do is keep going to model searches and open calls until someone signs them. They will sign with any agency just to have an agent. They think they can buy their way into the industry, and when it doesn’t turn out like they wanted… “It’s a scam…”

The modeling industry is like the music industry. There are some musicians who make millions of dollars. But for every one that does, there are 100,00 that don’t.

These people still play local events and have fun doing something they love to do. Modeling is the same way.

Last year, OTM booked over 5,000 modeling assignments. Sure, OTM has models who go oversees, sign to NY agencies through OTM, and make big money. But, most of OTM’s assignments are working local events on a part-time basis, having fun and modeling.

OTM signs everyone to a non-exclusive contract, meaning they can work with other agencies, too. If you really want to make money, you models should sign with an agency in every good-size town within about a 4-6 hour driving radius from your hometown.

OTM wants to be part of your modeling career, OTM doesn’t want to be your modeling career. If OTM feels we can work you full time, we give you an exclusive contract.

Please understand that when a person is signed to either agreement, it is stated in the contract that there is no work guaranteed.

OTM does require a comp. card. (Our clients do, too.) Models can use OTM’s photographer or hire their own. Neither one of the complaints mentioned that.

Models do not have to buy comp. cards from OTM. (Funny… they didn’t mention that, either.)

Last year approximately 40% of the models booked through OTM did NOT buy photography or comp. cards through OTM.

Last year through Charlotte alone, OTM paid 1.3 million dollars out to our models. OTM is the leading promotional agency in the industry, and we do not sub-contract our talent.

Visit our sites at www.otmcharlotte.com for information on promotional work, or www.familyhappenings.com (new site) for fashion and upscale happenings.

I cannot reply to photography complaints without seeing the photography in question. If the people doing the complaining would send them to me, I will personally review it and see what we can do.

OTM uses great photographers. They also shoot for some of the biggest agencies in the industry, not just OTM.

Think about it —the better the photography is, the easier it is to get models jobs. It is not to our advantage to use anything but quality photographers.

And in reference to the complaint from Lubbock,TX…Ashley Dunn, age 15, is now in Greece modeling for OTM. Guess where she’s from?

Everything I have stated can be verified. OTM comes to most markets only once a year, so come see us but check out websites first.

Thank you,

R.D. Ecksmith
President
On Track Modeling Inc.
Charlotte, NC and Indianapolis, IN.


To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you so very much for your information.

Today I came across a commercial scam on the radio a bit late, but I immediately wrote down as much information as I heard. I was left believing it was beneficial because it sounded very convincing.

I then went on the internet hoping to scoop up some of the details I had missed. Being a bit late on the message, I guessed OTM was the name of the agency, so I looked it up, but before I could find anything, I came upon your site, and I got distracted browsing.

To my amazement I was glad I had missed the whole message and found the real meaning of OTM. I had planned to call the hotel for the info and go to the interview without a checkbook as they had advertised.

Although I'm disappointed I believed in this opportunity, I am now educated about what I'm to look for the next time I find a possible scam.

But I can't help wondering if there's anything I can do volunteer-wise on my own to help prevent others from getting scammed.

Any suggestions?

Thank you for your help.

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Thanks for writing.

Can you please clarify what you wrote? When you said you heard there was a "commercial scam," what did the commercial say, exactly? Was it misleading? Can you provide more details, especially the ones that sounded very convincing?

You can expect to hear scam commercials from scam modeling agencies, but it is possible to find a legitimate modeling agency that has what appears to be "scam" commercials. Even major companies in other industries use misleading advertising, even though the companies themselves are not scams.

When you said "I guessed OTM was the name of the agency," did you confirm it was indeed On Track Modeling?

Several people have found Modeling Scams after doing a search for OTM or On Track Modeling, because it is listed in search engines. Indeed, it appears as though they can find Modeling Scams before they find the web address of On Track Modeling. Yesterday, in fact, one person wrote:

I work for otm and i,until my portfolio is completed do alot of promotional work for them.I need to find this site as I go there to book extra work for myself... I would be greatful if you could help me find this ,news to me....lost site....thank you

Regarding your question about what can be done to prevent scouts or aspiring models from being scammed, you could refer friends or anyone you know who shows an interest in modeling to websites that provide education and information about scams and how the industry works.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Sincerely,

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I was driving down the road and, on the biggest teenage radio station in town, OTM's commercial came on. The ad said: "Are you tired of those modeling conventions?"

I thought OTM might be a really good agency. I went to the hotel, filled out a form, and had a short interview with one of the scouts.

I have been in this business for four years, and the well-known agencies do not have to advertise.

OTM does not require the models to use their photographer, their scouts are not stupid, and they can talk great. But it does feel like they are pressuring you to use their photographer, because they only take a Polaroid of the ones who sign up for the shoot. (R.D. doesn't mention that.)

On the walls of the hotel are models with the print jobs, not any promotional work. (Funny… they go into detail about their print models when they are talking, and not the convention work that pays $15/hour.)

I have seen OTM's comp cards. They are great for promotional work, but not for print/fashion. For fashion modeling, you have to use many photographers, and I almost bet your hometown isn't going to be a wonderful backdrop for a shoot.

A good comp card shoot (where you will get useable pictures) should cost around $300-500.

The director I met with said go to the Better Business Bureau of Indiana, and not the one in North Carolina. I went to both, and, magically, the Indiana OTM has no complaints, whereas the North Carolina office has quite a few.

As for the 15-year-old modeling overseas, surely after all the scouting the company does, they can find one girl who can model in NY or overseas.

I do believe OTM is sneaky. All I can say is live and learn.

Best of luck!

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To Whom It May Concern:

I signed with OTM (On Track Modeling) last year, and I would like to warn others who are pursuing a career in modeling.

At first OTM comes across as a legit modeling agency, because they do not directly ask for money up front for conventions or things like that, but I think they are sneaky in the way they scam you.

They pressure you into using their photographer by saying there are only a limited number of spots available, so you put down a deposit to secure your place. Big mistake! Never do this.

I did not find out until later that the money you pay for your pictures does not only go to the photographer, but some also goes to OTM.

Why should they get part of the money? Aren't they making enough off their models who are working overseas?

That is how they make their money. They sign hundreds of wannabe models who are anxious to get started, you pay them to use their photographer, and they get the money also. That just doesn't seem right to me.

After you sign with them, you'll probably start getting promotional work, which is all right, but I have met a lot of their models and have never met one that has done print.

So the only "modeling" you'll be doing through OTM is standing outside at a sporting event, signing people up to get free cigarettes.

When they sucker you into signing with them, they do not put an emphasis on the fact that 99% of the work they get is for promotional modeling —not the kind of work you want to be doing for the next few years.

I once worked a job and had to wait 12 weeks to even get a pay check from them.

When I called them to inquire, they never called me back. When I emailed them, they never emailed me back.

As far as I'm concerned, OTM is not a legit modeling agency. I would advise everyone to stay away from them, and never give them your money or time.

It's not worth the embarrassment when you go to other agencies, and they almost laugh in your face because you've worked for OTM.

Please learn from my mistake.

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To Whom It May Concern:

We are so glad we found your site.

Our daughter heard about a modeling search with a company called Image Makers International on the radio.

I tried to look them up on the internet but had no luck.

When she got a call back we learned they wanted us to get pictures taken with their photographer in six weeks for a cost of $615.

At that time they gave us an information sheet with their web addresses on it which is how we found your site.

Two of their web addresses were OTM. When we checked their sites they seemed ok.

I guess they are now using this IMI or Image Makers International as one of their names.

It's hard to believe these people can get away with this! They come across as so nice and tell you it won't cost anything to start except the cost of these pictures.

Thank you,

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To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter heard the commercial about the "free" audition for modeling and acting. I was insistent that this was a scam but she insisted that it was legitimate, so I took her down to see what it was all about.

I became skeptical right away when the speaker tried to reassure everyone that OTM was legitimate and had very few complaints filed. He kept stressing that OTM was not like the other agencies that charged fees of some sort.

After one hour of listening to the pitch, he subtly mentions how important the comp card and photo shoot will be to advancing the model's career. A "fashion" photographer was needed, not just any old photographer.

And just as I suspected OTM can line up your photo shoot for a mere $599. The "Scam" alert was going off for me.

After arriving home tonight, I took up the speaker's challenge to check OTM on the internet. But I went beyond OTM's website and decided to search for "Modeling Scams." This site came up and I wasn't surprised to see OTM listed as one of the companies.

I am sure that of the 200 aspiring models who call the hotel tomorrow all will be told: "Congratulations, you have what it takes to be a model."

Of course the only criteria to be a model is: "Can you pay $599 for the photo shoot?"

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To Whom It May Concern:

I have signed with OTM and have been with them since April of 2001. I've done a total of five jobs with them, all promotional.

The first job was January 25-27 for $14/hr, signing up people for MBNA credit cards, but I have not seen one red cent from these people!

I have called and emailed, but when I expressed my concerns of payment, they said: "This could close doors for you."

I fail to see the open doors anyway at this rate.

I was also told by the person in accounting to whom I spoke that her son works for an agency, and sometimes it takes a year to get paid.

Would you work a job that didn't pay for a year?

I wouldn't think so.

To top it off, you can only access the accounting department by email. I was not called by anyone until they became afraid I would "bad-mouth" the agency.

Is there anything I can do?

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Unless your contract says something different, the deal with payments may be the agency cannot or is not bound to pay you if they are not paid by the client.

In other words, they are due to get their commission, but they can't get it if the client does not pay. A client's failure to pay a model agency was recently reported on another website.

But since the client you mentioned is a credit card company, it is most likely they could afford to pay within one week, two weeks, or at the most, 30 days.

However, it is not uncommon for agencies to receive payment from their clients after 30-120 days.

The lower the cost, the more quickly you can expect the client to pay. If they are paying $100,000, it is not unreasonable for them to pay in full after 3-4 months; it's a lot of money.

The Modeling Handbook by Eve Matheson has this to say about payments and contracts:

Agency contracts typically provide that the agency will bill the client for your services and receive the payment for you and permit them to cash your check pursuant to a power of attorney contained in the contract, even if the check is in your name. They will deduct their commission and pay the balance to you. This is standard procedure.
 
Reputable agencies pay at least every two weeks if they have agreed to advance your payments, which means that they will pay you for your completed bookings before they are paid, which can take up to several months.
 
Some agencies charge a model an administrative fee for advances to cover their additional costs in connection with the advances. The alternative is to wait until the agency is paid, commonly 30-120 days after the booking (p. 38).

What you have here are only two possibilities. Either MBNA credit cards failed to pay OTM; or OTM failed to pay you.

Which do you think is more likely?

Since you were doing promotional work, at about the average rate, for only two days, it is highly unlikely a credit card company did not have the money, and could not afford to pay you. The MBNA website said:

MBNA is the world’s largest independent credit card issuer, with managed loans of $95.4 billion. The company also provides retail deposit, consumer loans, and insurance products.

You could conceivably call MBNA credit cards and ask if they sent the check.

Contact the BBB where OTM is based. They do dispute resolution. If you present your complaint to the BBB, the BBB will give OTM an opportunity to state their case, or finally pay you.

If OTM refuses to pay you, and they were already paid, they stole your money. You can take it to a Small Claims Court. If you state your case to the judge, he or she can make a fairly quick ruling.

If OTM received your money, they could tell someone in accounting to take the afternoon off without pay, and then suddenly they could afford to pay you?!?

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I signed with OTM, based in Charlotte, NC, back in late 2000 when they came to Arlington, Texas.

As the other letters about OTM on your site mention, they "strongly urge" you to use their photographer, and to have them print out your comp cards.

They also make it clear that you can do it yourself elsewhere, but they follow that by saying, "You never know what you'll get."

I decided to go with them, you know, to make sure I got the best quality available.

Three months later, when I finally had my photo shoot, I wasn't very impressed with the photographer's professionalism.

Another three months later, when I was called to select the pictures for my comp cards, I wasn't very impressed with the photos, either.

Another three months later (nine months after signing), when I finally received the comp cards, I couldn't believe I paid almost $1,000 for the photos and the comp cards.

I even had an agent from a different agency ask me if I actually paid for them; she thought they were the lowest quality she had ever seen, and told me to get my money back!

Then, of course, I didn't get any prints from the photo shoot: I only received color slides.

How annoying! I now have to take the slides somewhere to get them printed just to see how the pictures turned out!

The only modeling job I was even approached about was a promotional job that I signed up for the day I signed the contract.

After I was paid for this job ($15/hr), I did not hear from OTM again.

I emailed them asking why I had not even heard from them (about 11 months after signing), and I received a very hateful response.

I was told that my comp cards had been sent out to 12 companies, and there were no responses in my favor.

I was then asked if I had done anything on my end to get work, and that my comp cards weren't good enough to get me any jobs.

Funny, I thought they took care of getting my comp cards made.

Did I mention that I was able to get local runway modeling jobs?

I must not be that bad looking if I was able to sign with a Dallas runway modeling group.

Needless to say, that was the last time I was contacted by OTM, and the last time I wasted my time trying to get something from them.

OTM is not a total scam: I know a few models that made about $200 over their first year with OTM.

However, OTM has got to have the worst agency-to-model relationship approach I've ever seen. They treat you like a star when they meet you; then when they get their money, or meet their "head count" for that city, they forget about you.

I don't believe that they should be signing models in cities in which they don't even have an office!

I will NEVER suggest anyone ever do anything with or for OTM. They may not be a scam, but they definitely know how to "work the system" to their advantage.

Please be wary of dealing with OTM.

redacted

P.S. Thank you, Modeling Scams, for this great resource. I know if I had been smart enough to do a little more research before I signed with OTM, I would have been spared from a lot of frustration and saved a lot of money.


To Whom It May Concern:

I just wanted to respond to the letter written by the President of OTM.

Yes, a lot of what he said is true, but I also joined OTM, and did the photo shoot and comp cards.

The way they talked about other photographers in the meeting made you feel as if you should use their photographer.

In the meeting, the guy told us that if we used another photographer, but our pictures didn't come out right, then they would not use them.

So what were we supposed to do? Take a chance at using a cheaper photographer with a possiblity of not having OTM accept the photos?

All OTM does to a lot of their models is send them on a bunch of promotional stuff, and they don't even promote anything else on the otmcharlotte website, so if you don't know about the other sites, then you are stuck doing promotional work forever!

Then, if that isn't enough, they tell you that it takes anywhere from six weeks to eight months to get your checks after you work.

How can a person afford to work every weekend and not get paid for months at a time, especially when you have to travel and sleep in a hotel?

I mean if they don't pay you in a timely manner, then your money starts getting short.

And the last thing I don't understand is why do you need comp cards to get promotional work?

I thought comp cards were needed for print or fashion, and since they never promote that kind of work on their otmcharlotte site, then why do we need comp cards?

I have gotten into acting since June of this year, and I must say that my agent has put me in four different films or tv shows, and I am making more progress now in two months than I have in nine months with OTM.

May God bless everyone who goes through the crap OTM issues out.

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To Whom It May Concern:

A photographer told me about this site because I told him I might sign with OTM.

This is terrible to hear because I just signed with them!

It is a non-exclusive contract.

They didn't really pressure me to use their photographer. Lesley, one of the scouts, was very nice and said I could find my own photographer if I wanted to.

I have gone to many model searches, and OTM is the only one that doesn't charge a huge fee just to work with them.

If you want to use their photographer, you can pay them little by little; the first payment is about $129.

I just wondered if anyone could give me advice on whether or not I should pursue a modeling career through them.

They didn't seem fake at all. They talked about all kinds of modeling and how people get scammed.

I'm afraid of getting scammed now that I have read the articles on this site.

I would like somebody else's insight on this matter as soon as possible.

Thank you,

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The fact that OTM talked about modeling scams does not mean they are not running a modeling scam. One of the biggest modeling scams out there right now talks about modeling scams in its marketing. Why? Because they believe people will trust them if they either expose modeling scams or say they are different?

The fact that OTM does not charge a lot of money up front like other modeling companies does not mean it is legitimate. You said the first payment can be $129. What is the total amount when you add up all the photography expenses?

You as a model may be required to pay them up front or little by little, but apparently, based on two reports, OTM does not pay their models immediately. They are the ONLY modeling agency I have heard about that keeps the models' money for month after month after month after month. THAT IS A RED FLAG!

A modeling agency should NOT get money from photography. This is another red flag. It is a CLEAR conflict of interest. Scam agencies do get their money from photography, and this is well known; it is also why reputable agencies do not make money from photography, because it makes them look like a scam agency.

Reputable modeling agencies do not make a cent from photography; they make money only after the model works. Those which do require or strongly suggest a particular photographer do not require an upfront payment; the model does not pay for the photos until after the first modeling job; it comes out of the model's first check.

If OTM is as good as they say, and they are not a modeling scam, let them prove it. They can prove it by not charging the models for photos until after the models work.

Shop around. One of the biggest mistakes made by aspiring models is not shopping around. Because there are so many modeling scams out there, you are best advised to avoid any which have a high number of complaints or are involved with a serious conflict of interest, and to top it all off, do not have offices in your city or even your state.

Do you really think a modeling agency could get away with delayed payments if they were only in the same cities as the models?

The last time I heard a modeling agency was not paying its models, it was exposed as a modeling scam by FOX on the evening news.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I just wanted to let you know that OTM was just on the local news in Buffalo, New York.

A fed-up mother contacted the ABC News branch, WKBW, Channel 7, and told her story.

I can just imagine all of the unhappy calls and letters good ol' OTM Philly received from Western New York.

I had to laugh at the end of it.

Channel 7 said that when they called On Track Modeling to see if they had anything to say, they declined.

Two years ago, I signed with OTM, but I certainly did NOT get my money's worth.

In my contract I was promised a makeup artist, a hair stylist, and a photographer. They only thing produced was the photographer, who then had to do eight models' hair and makeup throughout the whole day.

Also, not that this was OTM's fault, but the photographer was high on marijuana. (Maybe they should be more careful as to whom they choose to photograph models.)

Since they did not fulfill everything they promised in the contract, I called Michael Pascarella, owner of On Track Modeling Philadelphia, to try and talk to him about the problem.

They played pass the phone with me for almost an hour until finally I got annoyed and hung up.

I emailed them and told them about the photoshoot, and when I threatened to contact the BBB and the District Attorney's office, Busy Michael himself wrote me back, and told me I could have another photoshoot.

I declined and told him: "Not good enough. After I'm done with this email, I'm going to call my local news station, the DA, and the BBB, and also mention to them how unprofessional you and your staff is."

I got a phone call back later that day from him confirming my address because my check in full refund is on the way.

He knew that I could take appropriate steps, because my contract was not fulfilled. He got scared and sent my money back.

I was one of the luckier ones; I'm so sorry for all of the models and their parents who put money into this. They are real con artists and they have to be stopped.

Despite my bad misfortune with OTM, I recently signed with a top New York City agency.

DO NOT LET On Track get you off track or get you down. There are still great agencies out there.

OTM is one of the many scams out there you have to watch. This is such an easy business to get scammed in —they prey on people's dreams.

There is another agency I would like to mention something about: Starz.

They came to Buffalo and I went down with a friend of mine just to see if they were another OTM.

Yep. Pretty close. Jerks!

The owner had his son, who was on spring vacation at the time, interview me. His son knew absolutely nothing about the business. He even told me not to sign with Next Model Management because it wasn't a reputable agency.

WHO IS HE KIDDING?!

Next is the second largest modeling agency in the world. They are so respected in every aspect of the business.

I knew it was definitely a scam after that. His son then started to yell at me when I told him about Next —and told me to shut up because I knew nothing!

How unprofessional is that?

The owner looked right at us and walked away.

I wanted to slap that little brat and his scheming father. I told him that the BBB, Modeling Scams, and the DA would be notified.

He then apologized and asked me to sit down.

Also, watch out for Click. Some of the girls I know from the agency have worked with them —not very good remarks. It's basically half and half with them: they're good to half of their models and crappy to the rest.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I joined OTM about two years ago, but I never received one job from them.

My mother started to think it was a scam after we didn't receive one call from them and spent so much money.

This past year I joined a Modeling School, and people there told me they were joining OTM.

Thus, I figured my mother was wrong, and that no one wanted me for a job. But now I'm almost relieved to see that it wasn't me, and that they are bogus.

Since we spent so much money on OTM, I can't afford to join a real agency right now.

If I wanted to go about finding another agency, I don't want to make the same expensive mistake twice.

Can you please tell me how I can find an agency that will get me some jobs?

Thank you so much,

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Much depends on where you are located. Are there any modeling agencies in your city? Are there any modeling agencies in cities near you?

If there are, check their BBB ratings and find out what type of models they are seeking, and visit them.

If there is nothing where you live or near where you live, contact the top agencies in New York, and ask them what type of models they are seeking, and if you can send them Polaroids.

Whatever you do, avoid the agencies which have registration fees, charge their models for classes, or make any money off photos.

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To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter signed with On Track Modeling almost a year ago. I have read letters of complaint against OTM, and I have many of the same feelings that these letters share.

I was disappointed with the photos, and we have heard nothing from them regarding jobs or updates as they had promised.

We signed up through the OTM office in TN, but her comp cards have the Charlotte, NC, address. I don't think the TN office is operating, because that phone number is not valid.

I was unable to pull up their website, and I can't get anyone to return my calls from Charlotte.

Do you have any advice on registering my complaints about the pictures/comp cards?

Also, if we try to salvage these comp cards that we paid a lot for, what do I do about OTM's information that is printed on them?

If I'm submitting her pictures/comp cards I surely don't want their contact info on them.

We live in Alabama. Should I contact a modeling agency in Birmingham, AL, or Atlanta, GA? How would I contact them regarding my daughter?

These scams and letters that I have read make me hesitant.

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Contact the Better Business Bureau in the state where OTM has its corporate headquarters. Make your complaint official.

The BBB will then contact OTM on your behalf. They will not fail to return calls from the BBB. The BBB not only takes complaints, but also does dispute resolution.

The BBB record for On Track Modeling in Charlotte, NC, said:

This company has been a member of this Better Business Bureau since February 1995. This means it supports the Bureau's services to the public and meets our membership standards. This company participates in the BBB ADvantage program. This means it has agreed to use special complaint handling procedures including mediation and arbitration, if necessary and within limits, to resolve disputes.

Tell the BBB exactly what you reported in your letter. Complain they did not contact you after they took your money. Not even once in a full year. And they broke a promise: "We have heard nothing from them regarding jobs or updates as they had promised."

Here is the BBB contact information and phone number to make your complaint:

Better Business Bureau
5200 Park Road Suite 202
Charlotte, NC, 28209-3650

Hours of Operation 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Phone: (704) 527-0012

24 hours

Operators Available 9 am - 3 pm

Fax: (704) 525-7624

http://www.charlotte.bbb.org/

Now, as far as the comp cards go, they could be a write off. If they are low quality, and you are not satisfied, how could they help your daughter if used by another modeling agency?

You can certainly present them to a modeling agency if they want to sign your daughter and ask if the quality is acceptable.

By all means contact another modeling agency where you live. The nearest reputable modeling agency should be your first choice. You can contact them by phone or visit.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I had joined OTM at the end of 2000.

I wasn't sure what to expect from them, but I was taking a chance. Big mistake.

I used their photographer and ended up getting crappy pictures. My mom takes better pictures than they do and that's using a normal camera.

I paid so much money to get the pictures done figuring that I could probably make it up with modeling jobs.

The only jobs I got were two promotional jobs at the Penn State football games. I made $50 for each job. I didn't even see my money until about four months later.

If anybody is even thinking of joining OTM, think again, and find some place else to go.

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Promotional modeling, which appears to be almost exclusively what OTM can get models, does not pay well (the standard rate is $15/hr), and there isn't very high demand for it.

That is why promotion models should not pay for expensive photos. There is a high risk they will never make more in modeling jobs than they paid for the photography.

It is not a fair business practice to charge models more than they will earn. Agencies are not supposed to make any money from anything besides the work they get models. That is the ethical standard of the modeling industry.

If the OTM photographer is an amateur, not professional, or a member of their staff, they should take the photos of new models and it should cost the models nothing.

Who is the OTM photographer?

Why were you paid four months after working? In the state of Florida, for example, agencies must pay talent five days after receiving payment from the client.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I signed with On Track Modeling out of Charleston, WV.

I would just like to advise aspiring models who are thinking of signing with OTM to go ahead if you already have comp cards. Do not waste your money on them and their photographers.

I signed with OTM in May of this year. They tempted me into using their photographer; for over $600 I got only color slides!

Aspiring models do not need all this stuff to sign with an agency. I recently did a search in Charleston for agencies in my area. I found four. I only wish I would have found them before I spent all that money with OTM.

As with all other legitimate agencies, these four agencies only require a head shot and a body shot, which all comes down to about $20 or less!

With all that money I spent on the OTM Pictures, it costs a lot more to have the color slides run off into regular snap shots. It costs about $1.50/slide to do this.

OTM is a rip off! A legitimate agency doesn't require a photo shoot or a portfolio until they get you your first job. Don't be fooled into wasting your money with OTM.

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To Whom It May Concern:

OTM is very good at promoting... Photographs! Which happen to be very tacky.

I signed with OTM after being told I had the physique for it, and hearing all these empty promises.

Like so many other young hopefuls I too never heard from OTM, which is funny because I specifically remember being told by an OTM representative: "You are going to be doing a lot of work —hope you are ready!"

I purchased photographs at a ridiculous price, and, although they tell you that you do not need to use their photographer, that is quickly followed by several examples of girls who did not use the OTM's so-called "photographer," and tales of how unprofessional and worthless their comp cards were. And you honestly think I wasn't going to use them??!!

And if that isn't enough, the beautiful examples they show you from them are NOTHING like what you receive. As a matter of fact a few of the bad ones I saw looked 10X better than what they gave me, which were a bunch of unfocused cards, a little bit bigger that a large index card. Again nothing like the big ones they showed with awful scenery (meaning that some things in the background appeared which weren't intended to during the shoot).

And then they harp on how you don't need to spend money on workshops and conventions. Well, what do you know, I received an email promoting one in Chicago —and they only want $300 more, plus I'm sure along with a few other hidden expenses they are good at springing on you later.

Also they tried to get me to purchase a website portfolio. I can only imagine how that would have turned out!

I can say this for OTM: if they spent as much time promoting their models as they do promoting photographs then we might all be working.

And as far as the ONE girl who made it... percentage wise, that says a whole lot for OTM.

I think OTM is a photo mill in disguise.

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To Whom It May Concern:

After reading the many letters regarding OTM, I am very skeptical of their operation.

Two weeks ago, my eight-year-old daughter did the "photo shoot" with an OTM photographer. We are now waiting the "4 weeks" for the proofs to come back.

From the letters I have been reading, it sounds best that we stop at this stage, and move to another agency.

I am writing to ask whether you would advise to order the smallest amount of "Comp Cards" through OTM to see if there are actually any results from them.

Or to just take our $599 slides, get them developed ourselves, and solicit on our own.

It sure would have saved us a lot of money if I had ran across your website beforehand. There is so much information in the letters I have read that contain similarities with what we have heard thus far.

Can you help?

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You paid $599 for photography alone for your eight-year-old daughter? That sounds very expensive, twice what an adult model said she paid in New York.

Did you pay 100% up front for the photography before seeing the quality? Earlier complaints said the photo quality was unacceptable and not at a high enough standard for the price. Based on the complaints about photography quality and comp card quality, would it make sense to risk giving them more money?

If you have the slides, your idea sounds reasonable to get them developed elsewhere. You could ask an expert to review the quality before printing comp cards. You may want to shop around for prices and visit the websites of photographers to see their work before you pay. What is the website address of the OTM photographer?

Since most of the work OTM gets is probably promotions, like events and what have you, since that is what their promotional material talks about, it does not make sense to pay more than $300 for photos. You may never earn more than the cost of the photography and comp cards. The average pay for promotions is $15/hour.

Incidentally, did OTM provide you with the list of clients who have asked them for eight-year-old models? Is there much work for child models in your city? In most cities there isn't. And, in any case, professional photos for child models may not be needed until they are about 12 years old.

You may want to call child modeling agencies you know are reputable, even if they are in another state, just to ask how they do things, how much you should expect pay, etc. The good ones know what child modeling scams look like, and they can tell you what to look out for.

You don't have to mention any agency by name, and they are unlikely to speak out against a particular agency. But if they are not going to rep you, they have no vested interest or reason to mislead you, and should be prepared to give you straight answers.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I was browsing through the web, came up to your site, and saw many complaints on OTM.

(The company has another name: Alpha Model Group agency.)

I am a very open-minded person and generally give people or a company the benefit of the doubt. I went to their invitation at a hotel and listened to their lectures and promises.

I did sign up with them, but did not pay for their photo shoot; however, my friend did. We decided to see how it would turn out: at least one of us would try it out to see if this is for real.

After reading all the complaints on your site, we are wondering, did we make a mistake signing up with them?

We have not gone to their photo shoot yet. Can you give me advice so I can be cautious when I take my friend to get the comp shoot? What should I watch out for? Do I have the right to demand the photographer for his name and his previous pictures before the shoot?

Thank you.

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You said: "I am a very open-minded person and generally give people or a company the benefit of the doubt."

This may be good enough outside the modeling industry, but it is not so good inside the modeling industry, mostly because it is not regulated like the other industries.

Whenever a company makes money up front, either from photos or whatever, don't give them the benefit of the doubt; those who do are often burned.

You asked: "Do I have the right to demand the photographer for his name and his previous pictures before the shoot?"

Absolutely! It is in fact one of the best things you can do, especially since their prices are not competitive. They are about twice what you can pay elsewhere. Apparently they charge $600; you can get comp card photography for $300.

The general rule is the higher the photographer's prices, the more you need to see his or her previous work. It should not be a leap of faith.

You should demand to see previous work sampled on a website for any photographer in general, but their photographer in particular, because of the earlier complaints: high prices and low quality.

You must realize if you do not review the work beforehand, but you pay ahead of time, there is little if anything you can do after the pictures are taken. Your money is gone. They don't have a money-back or satisfaction guarantee, do they?

It would be much wiser and most fair to pay only half up front, if you going to risk paying up front, and half once you see the work and think it is good enough.

Can your friend get her money back? OTM has done nothing to deserve it; they have not earned it; so they should return it.

Ask them for proof of work they have got models in your city during the last year. This is very important. Ask for the names of their clients, and then contact them.

Find out if it was "minimum-wage labor" (for promotional "modeling," that is $15/hr). Wouldn't you like to know in advance your chances of earning more money though modeling than you pay for pictures?

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