OTM (On Track Modeling)
AMG (Alpha Model Group)
To Whom It May Concern:
My daughter signed with OTM one year ago in October.
We spent a total $1,000 on photographs and the cards
that were supposed to be sent to the agencies by OTM.
We paid for 1,000 cards but only received 500 of them.
We did the photo shoot, the training session, and four
trips of 2 ½ hours travel time per trip.
OTM has not communicated with us since January 2002.
I am convinced that they just travel around promoting
this fantastic business and success story crap and collect
innocent people's money.
The Joey representative that got to us even said the
agency was listed with the Better Business Bureau and
asked us to check him out.
I would like to know how we can get our money back,
or our picture cards back from the slea*y people.
You have to deal with the Better Business Bureau if
OTM refuses to talk to you. OTM values the BBB rating
and takes the BBB seriously. They use their BBB rating
in marketing, and if it ever gets really bad, they will
be in trouble.
To keep that rating, which is far from perfect, but
it is "satisfactory," OTM must respond to all
complaints made to the BBB quickly. If they fail to respond
to the BBB, as they have failed to respond to their customers,
the BBB will turn on them and revoke their "satisfactory" status.
The odd thing is the BBB says for a business to be a
member, there cannot be a pattern of complaints against
the company. There is a pattern of complaints against
OTM, however, in the letters to Modeling Scams; in fact,
there are several patterns, as noted on the website.
So you really need to complain to the BBB. The BBB record
even says OTM is committed to using an impartial arbitrator
to deal with any disputes and complaints against them
Please write again to say if you have any luck with
The President of the BBB in Charlotte, North Carolina,
where OTM is based, is Tom Bartholomy.
Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Piedmont Carolinas
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
BBB record for OTM in Charlotte (check for latest):
- BBB Reliability Report On Track Modeling, Inc.
5500 Executive Center Dr. Ste. 126
- Email Address: OTMINC@CAROLINA.RR.COM
- BBB Membership
- 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
- Program Participation
- 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.
- Customer Experience Based on BBB files
- This company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau.
Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year
reporting period have been resolved.
- The number and type of complaints are not unusual
for a company in this industry.
- To have a Satisfactory Record with the Bureau, a
company must be in business for at least 12 months,
properly and promptly address matters referred to it
by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or
pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving
its marketplace conduct.
- In addition, the Bureau must have a clear understanding
of the company's business and no concerns about its
- The following data concerns complaints processed
by the BBB since the firm's file was opened or over
the last 36 months, whichever is less.
- On Track Modeling, Inc. has had 44 complaints.
- 11 were closed as Resolved.
- 24 were closed as Assumed Resolved.
- 9 were closed as Reasonably Explained to the Bureau's
- The company's size, volume of business, and number
of transactions may have a bearing on the number of
complaints received by the BBB.
- The complaints filed against a company may not be
as important as the type of complaints, and how the
company handled them.
- Company Management
- Principal: Mr. Robert D. Ecksmith, President
- Additional company management personnel include:
- Ms. Angela Harper
- Ms. Cynthia Simpson - Sec/Treas
- Mr. Don Buckalew - Manager
To Whom It May Concern:
OTM was in Toledo, Ohio, this weekend.
About 375 potential models attended with about 75 (?)
being picked to work with the company. My daughter was
one of the "chosen."
I was then informed by a friend of "scams" that
have been associated with OTM.
I really liked what I saw at this meeting, and the fact
they insist on the school-aged models fax their report
cards every quarter, maintaining a B average to work.
I also was impressed that they do not expect any upfront
money to be paid for anything.
Yes, comp cards are required, but that is a given in
And they do not require you to use any particular photographer.
Any information you can give will be helpful.
You said: "I also was impressed that they do not
expect any upfront money to be paid for anything."
No reason to be impressed. It's illegal to require upfront
fees in several states.
Then you said: "Yes, comp cards are required, but
that is a given in this business."
Have you read the complaints about OTM? It means nothing
if they "do not expect any upfront money," because
they make money from photos. That is the upfront money.
None of the reputable companies do this. If OTM gets
money from photos, and their president already said they
do, they don't need to get models work.
The federal government already prosecuted a company
which took money for comp cards because "that is
a given in this business," so you can't take as
a given the fact that a modeling company wants comp cards
as a sure sign it is legit.
You said: "And they do not require you to use any
That may have been what you were told, but the pattern
of complaints was they manipulated people to use their
photographer. They don't have to require the use of their
photographer, or say they require the use of their photographer
to get people to use their photographer.
It is easy enough to manipulate consumers without experience
and worried about missing an opportunity to use a photographer,
and they can always veto any photography by someone else,
arbitrarily saying it's not good enough.
The other thing is reputable modeling agencies can and
do require the payment for photography and comp cards
after the models get work or only require half the cost
Ask OTM to do this. If they are serious or competent
in their scouting, and sincerely believe your daughter
will get work modeling, why would they have a problem
with this when reputable and successful agencies do not?
Here you have a company with a conflict of interest
which is supposedly competent that wants you be a partner
in business but you don't know them and it wants you
to assume all the financial risks.
You should also know that it is possible to avoid altogether
the upfront fees for photography (at OTM it is reportedly
$600) if you do TFP (Time for Print). This is where a
photographer does not charge for his or her work, instead
trading it with the new model for practice and pictures
that can be used for his or her portfolio.
The ratio of selection you mentioned (75/375) is extremely
and suspiciously high. Reputable agencies like the top
agencies in NY said they select about 1/1,000. High ratios
are common with companies making money off upfront fees
(photography and comp cards are upfront fees). Fast bulk
recruiting is not standard for the modeling industry,
but it is standard for upfront-fee firms.
They can say all they want about report cards etc.,
to put the parents at ease, or to impress them, but it's
irrelevant if they abandon them after the check clears
at the bank.
This company travels around and takes money and then
abandons their models, the complaints said. Those few
who wrote who said they got work said it paid very little
and they were paid very late.
You have seen the promotion of the company to parents
and potential models. Have you also seen the promotion
of OTM to their potential business clients? Do you know
what level and type of "modeling" they do?
OTM says it is "Promotional." They do "sports
marketing, college marketing, tradeshows, conventions,
character modeling, events, in-store sampling." One
girl represented by OTM who wrote said she signed up
people for credit cards.
Is this the type of work your daughter wants? Promotional
work will not likely require her to be photographed (no
photos necessary to sign people up for credit cards,
for example), so it would not get her tear sheets she
could use to get real modeling jobs.
Does OTM have an office in Toledo or Ohio? Aren't there
any reputable modeling agencies in your area? Is OTM
the only option? Is it the best option? Should it be
your first choice?
It seems to be illegal in certain states to advertise
for model/talent type of work, as in scouting, unless
there a company has asked for models or talent. The basic
idea is it is a bogus job advertisement. Like advertisements
for jobs which do not exist. So what companies have asked
for models in Toledo? Do the jobs exist?
To Whom It May Concern:
About two years ago, I went to the Hilton in Greenville,
North Carolina, to a model search. I was picked to be
a model for OTM Modeling, a company out of Charlotte.
I paid for my portfolio and my pictures (which were
really expensive), and have not heard from them since.
I have called and left messages, but no one will return
my calls! Ain't that a crock!
Unlike most modeling agencies, OTM Charlotte's
president has admitted in a published news report they
make money off modeling photos, even if they do not get
models work. Most all the work OTM gets its models is "promotional," not
fashion, not commercial, not editorial, and not high
fashion. Promotional is the lowest (earnings).
There are over 25 letters about OTM. These
letters were under review because there are apparently
two OTMs, an OTM in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an
OTM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
OTM Charlotte is also called "On Track
Modeling." OTM Philadelphia is also called "OTM
Model Management." Letters were sent about both
but it is not clear if they are related.
The Agency may be related to OTM Charlotte
because the mailing address shows they are located in
the same building.
The OTM in North Carolina and in Philadelphia are by
the same people. They also have another office in some
town. I will pull out the OTM crap and find out where
it is. I just wanted to clear up the confusion.
Ex- OTM model that never worked,
There are different "OTM" owners. At least
the BBB records show there are two owners, one in NC,
and one in PA. The BBB record for "OTM" in
PA has no complaints. Is it a different business model?
Or does OTM Philadelphia also make money off modeling
photos? An OTM photographer pointed out her photography
rate was $350/model; the makeup artist was paid $150
(!)/model; for a total of $500; but OTM Charlotte apparently
charges models $599. So they make $99/model. They mark
up the price by 20%! And that's just for the photography.
The models then pay another $400 for comp cards. How
much of that goes to OTM Charlotte? Comp cards can cost
$1/card. If models get 100 cards, then it should only
cost $100 extra. How much did you pay for comp cards
and how many did you get? The OTM Charlotte director
already confessed to the press he makes money from photos,
so the only question now is how much? The other question
for you is did OTM Charlotte tell you they make money
off photos when you signed up? Was there full disclosure?!
The price for just 50 cards is $199.99 with tax. The
prices went from there. The cards get cheaper the
more you buy.
That makes sense. After spending $600 on photography,
most people are not going to start with just 50 comp
cards, more like 100+, and most models reported they
paid $400. Someone also said OTM kept 50 to send out,
and they took 50 to send out or give out themselves.
Who was the printer who did their comp cards? What is
the printer's website address? You can find out how much
it really costs, and then compare the price OTM Charlotte
charges with the cost the printer charges for printing,
to see if they mark up the price.
To Whom It May Concern:
This company is a joke. We spent hundreds of dollars
on a photo shoot and comp cards for our own advertisement.
We have used them, but they are laughed off.
These people tried to encourage ME to be a part of their
scam. I wanted to believe so badly that these people
were for real.
The individual that showed up to take care of hair,
makeup and wardrobe was RIDICULOUS! Using cheap makeup
and her taste in clothes was unreal.
My daughter was contacted twice for work in our city.
These jobs required an 18 year old. My daughter was
underage. She can pass as an 18 year old, but the work
that they were doing was passing out CEREAL, for crying
I told them I was not at all happy about them being
deceitful to their client and having my daughter lie.
The individual heading up the booking stated that it
happens all the time, and if she wants work, then she
will do it.
She worked several hours over 2.5 days and waited months
for her pay. We did another job in June and have YET
to be paid!
I have contacted this company on several occasions with
no response. On top of that, my daughter's picture is
not on their website as promised.
WHAT IS UP WITH THESE PEOPLE???????
At your suggestion I reported this issue with OTM to
the Charlotte, NC BBB, as well as wrote to the BIG GUY
at OTM. Well, GUESS WHO CALLED ME TODAY?????
Yup, OTM booking agent. She states that there must
be a mistake. She will get it rectified tomorrow!!! HAHAHAHA! Well
we will just see how quick they come through. Thanks
again!! I will update you as soon as there is resolution.
This is a letter written to the BBB Charlotte, NC, and
the president of OTM. I wonder what my options are now?
I reported OTM to the Attorney General, too.
- I have not received a reply from you yet concerning
payment to my daughter, XXXX, for a job performed
on behalf of OTM back in June. However, I did receive
a call from Melissa Touche.
- Ms. Touche indicating that a check in the amount
of $120.00 was sent to XXXX on 09/30/02. We have moved
from that address. However, we had access to the home
and were picking up our mail there and have NOT received
- Ms. Touche indicated that the check has not been
returned to the OTM offices. I contacted our post office
and they do not have anything on file for my daughter.
All mail has been forwarded to our new address: XXXX
since October! Ms. Touche ALSO indicated that if we
should have to pay OTM $30.00 for a stop pay and reissue!
- Excuse me but that is outrageous. If in fact
your company did send my daughter a check for
her work, it took 3.5 months to pay her. That is over
and above the 6 weeks your company claims to need for
payment for work rendered. For your company to ask
us to pay for your stop pay fee is utterly and positively
- I would very much appreciate it if you yourself could
contact me in reference to this situtation either buy
phone or email as quickly as possible. We have waited
long enough for payment.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have read many of the complaints that you have received
about OTM over the last couple of years, and I am shocked
at what some of these people are saying.
I signed with OTM in May of 2002. I am with the offices
in Philadelphia and Charlotte.
I don't know about the offices in Charlotte, because
I don't really deal with them considering I am closer
In one complaint from a girl from TX, she said that
the people she has dealt with were the most unprofessional
people she has ever dealt with.
My experience with this agency has been very much the
opposite. The photographers used for my photo shoot were
very professional as well as friendly and entertaining.
I had a great time having my pictures done and when
they came back they were awesome. I have had so many
people tell me that they almost couldn't believe it was
me. Which I think is the best thing in the world.
I understand that some of these people have had problems
with other branches of this company, but I don't think
it is fair to label them all "cowards" or "liars" because
this is very much not the case for me.
Yes, maybe I haven't received a job yet, but it's just
been a couple weeks since I have received my comp cards.
I am very satisfied on how professional this branch
or office of OTM has handled my business. Not to mention
they do their best to keep me informed on what is going
on with my contract and/or business.
I find the things these other models have experienced
should not put such a bad reputation on the whole company.
I personally have recommended at least five girls to
OTM and they are very pleased with their business, too.
I hope these girls find the jobs they are looking for
and get their big break.
But until then hold your heads up high and be careful
not to send false information about somebody unless you
have experienced the whole situation from every point
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinion of
what I think OTM is or isn't about.
14, OTM Philadelphia
Your point is taken. There is now a notice of the fact
there are two offices and two managers.
You said: "I don't think it is fair to label them
all "cowards" or "liars."
Who said they are all cowards or liars?
You suggested people "be careful not to send false
information about somebody unless you have experienced
the whole situation from every point of view."
Have you experienced OTM from every point of view? Don't
you think you should wait until you get work and enough
work to pay for your comp cards before you refer at least
five girls to OTM?
Nice pictures are great but the agency is an agency,
not a photo studio. Or at least it should be more than
a photo studio. It should be an employment agency, making
all its income from commissions, nothing from photos.
The head of OTM Charlotte said he makes money from photos.
Does the head of OTM Philadelphia also make money from
photos? How much did you pay? Who did you pay? The photographer
You want to know why OTM Charlotte takes money for photos
when others don't? Because the best jobs they get are
the worst jobs out there. They pay the least. Only $15/hr.
That may sound like a lot, but you may only work a few
The OTM Charlotte president claimed 80% of their members
(models) get work. That number was not independently
checked or audited, but in any case, so what?
It's an irrelevant statistic. If 80% were to work for
three hours in one year they would only earn $45. And
if you only earn $45, you are still in the OTM hole,
about $950 back of what you paid.
So, the questions to ask OTM Philadelphia, to see if
they are any different from OTM Charlotte are:
1. Do you make any money from photos or comp cards?
2. What percentage of the models you represent get work?
3. What percentage of these models earned more than
they paid for comp cards?
Ask them those questions and if you get a straight answer,
To Whom It May Concern:
I am 14 years old and I've been looking into modeling/acting.
Well, actually with acting I'm gonna make it, I know
that, but I need help getting there.
Ok, first I went to an open call for "OTM."
Let me tell you they couldn't have made bigger fools
of themselves. They picked just about everyone who auditioned!
Then the call back was quite a show. They talked about
not scamming people and about other bull.
After that they hand out a paper that says how much
money you have to pay and it's a lot!
Overall it's a big ——, and I was so mad
that when I was called back to sign a contract I was
going to write: "Go ——yourselves" on
the line where I had to sign my name, but I didn't because
I would have created a scene.
And right now I'm looking into John Robert Powers acting
school. I'm not so sure if this is a scam or not because
I know of some people who made it on Disney that worked
So I need your help on JRP, and I need help finding
really good modeling/acting agencies and schools in PA
Thank you so much,
"Dreams are always taller than us... so we can
reach to get them."
There are letters about John
Robert Powers which you might want to
read. JRP is franchised. This means some franchises
are better than others, because they have different
teachers, different leaders, etc.
Compare the JRP prices with other schools. You could
check with your local SAG rep to find out your options.
SAG may recommend or at least tell you how you can get
a list of alternate schools, so you can find out if JRP
is very expensive.
230 South Broad Street, 10th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Tel. (215) 545-3150
Fax (215) 732-0086
Executive Director: John Kailin
National Board Member: Si Picker
You said: "I need help finding really good modeling/acting
agencies and schools in PA area."
To find the really good modeling agencies, read How
to find a reputable modeling agency.
To Whom It May Concern:
This is in reference to the OTM-North Carolina branch.
I took my teenage daughter to a model search in Pensacola,
FL. We sat through the hour-long gab session they give
and called back the next day.
My daughter was "chosen" and we went back
to the hotel that night. I must say I was really surprised
at the other people that were chosen. Some had extremely
bad pimples on their faces, one looked like a crack whore,
and another you couldn't tell what it was.
This threw up the first red flag because of the so-called "chosen
few." The next red flag came at the workshop when
the lady hosting it had a sweater on that had a hole
in it and a run.
Now this lady was saying that she made a lot of money
by making the models money. You would think she could
afford decent clothing.
Another thing was that she went on and on about how
she worked as a model and you had to have good teeth
Well, her teeth were as crooked as Lombard Street in
San Francisco and lots of grays and split ends!
The story she was giving just did not match up.
And, yes, they do say that you don't have to use their
photographer, but if the comp cards you send in don't
meet their standards, you have to redo them.
Also, I looked closely at the comp cards they said were
from their photographer, and I was not impressed. The
pics looked like someone was in a backyard with a throw-away
Good luck to y'all because we are opting out.
Note: the other location for OTM is supposed to be in
Track Modeling / Alpha Model Group Letters Index