OTM (On Track Modeling)
Model Scam Complaints


To Whom It May Concern:

This is in reference to the OTM-North Carolina branch.

I signed with On Track Modeling after going to an open call where I was given a finely tuned song and dance about how they were reputable and could launch us to stardom.

The next day they called and said that I had been "chosen" and had to be back at the hotel that night.

At this point the only money I was worried about was how much I had to pay in the parking ramp both times, but this soon changed.

They told us that we didn't HAVE to use their photo shoot (which cost a ridiculous $599), but that if we didn't, basically we could kiss our chances good-bye.

I stupidly agreed to the photo shoot, which was actually a fun time, but the results weren't even close to being worth the money.

When I went to review my photos with their "professional," I was raved about and told that I was the most promising model they'd seen out of my area in a long time.

I was pressured into getting the largest package of comp cards (another ridiculous $540, for a total of over $1,000), because they said I would be working so much that I would need every card I could get.

I have an extremely limited budget so I was afraid to do this, but they sweet-talked me into it, treating me like a friend.

I guess I got what I deserved for being so naive, but this appallingly unscrupulous company has not contacted me once since I ordered my comp cards, except by a mass email inviting me to have my card displayed on their website for $20/month.

HA! I'm a lot wiser, a lot more sad, and have a LOT less money since walking into OTM's open call.

Do NOT make the same mistake I did.

They have not returned my calls or emails.

Please help me get my money back! What can I do?

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You said: "I signed with On Track Modeling after going to an open call where I was given a finely tuned song and dance about how they were reputable and could launch us to stardom."

OTM, according to the BBB, has been in business since 1994. They have been finely tuning their open call for eight years.

There is probably nothing you can do to get all your money back. Most of the money for the photographer was presumably already paid to the photographer. You have already received a professional service, a professional service for which you agreed to pay, and the photographer's time has already been spent.

If however you have a good case to say the quality of the photos was unacceptable, you could make this case directly to the photographer, since it was obviously the photographer's responsibility, and the photographer evidently has been paid with your money.

In any case, you could find out how much money On Track Modeling made from not only the photography but also the comp cards. You said you paid $599 for the photography. Find out how much OTM marked up the price.

One OTM photographer said her rate was $500, so OTM marked up the cost by $99. You could demand that money be returned since what right do they have to make money in upfront fees and talk as if you are going to get work only to abandon you?

Next find out the total cost for the comp cards. Which company did the printing? How much does the printer charge? How much if anything did OTM mark up the price of comp cards?

You can't really complain to the printer and ask for your money back from them if they did their job and produced professional comp cards, even if the photography was weak.

But if OTM marked up the price for the printing as they did with the photography, it is the same principle: what right do they have to make money from upfront fees and talk as if you are going to get work only to abandon you?

You could demand that money be returned and if they are ethical, they will return it.

Finally, you said from OTM you received a mass email inviting you to have your card "displayed on their website for $20/month."

Why is On Track Modeling trying to make money from photos offline (comp cards) as well as photos online (comp cards)?

Not only are modeling agencies not supposed to make any money from upfront fees and advertising, it does not cost $20/month to host a comp card on a website!

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P.S. When was the photo shoot? Have you contacted the BBB?


My photo shoot was six months ago; I got my cards in early fall.

I should add that the recruiter went on and on about how we should look out for scams and emphasized the fact "They want us to work because they only make money if we do."

Too bad he forgot to mention that they really make money on the photos instead.

No, I have not contacted the Charlotte BBB... since it has not been that long (but long enough for them to have clearly broken their promise).

I am still sort of waiting and hoping. I was also wondering whether it makes sense to market myself when OTM's logo is plastered on my comp cards?

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The best way to market yourself to modeling agencies is to show up at their open call or visit them in person or send good Polaroids to agencies in larger markets. Clients need to see comp cards; agencies do not. Have you visited all your local reputable modeling agencies?

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Mr. Robert D. Ecksmith
President
On Track Modeling, Inc.
5500 Executive Center Dr. Ste. 126
Charlotte, NC 28212

Mr. Robert D. Ecksmith:

Your company had the dubious distinction of being the subject of the first complaint this website ever received.

After a subsequent complaint, you responded, saying: "I was just informed we had two complaints on your site and I thought I would check it out."

There are now many more complaints; therefore, it stands to reason you might like to check them out, too, especially since your company is now one of the most controversial modeling agencies in the United States, receiving a significant and consistent pattern of complaints.

It is always interesting when a company has a perfect or satisfactory rating at the BBB, but at this website, or any other website, there are many complaints.

The Better Business Bureau record for OTM also has a lot of complaints, 46 in the last three years at the time of writing. As one reporter put it, "the sheer presence of so much discontent might raise a wary consumer's eyebrows. And customer dissatisfaction with OTM continues."

Curiously, the BBB allows a company with this many complaints membership, even though one of their standards for membership is there must not be a pattern of complaints. How many more complaints at the BBB are needed before there is a pattern and their rating becomes officially unsatisfactory?

Supposedly the BBB has not received a pattern of complaints about OTM, while this website has.

They claimed: "The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry." However, the BBB failed to substantiate this claim, offering no data, no comparison, and no reference point.

Therefore it begs the question: Where are all the other modeling agencies which have received 46 complaints at the BBB in the last three years?

Despite BBB-Charlotte's failure to substantiate its claims, another BBB office issued a warning:

Traditional modeling agencies do not require any advance monies from you... The following are warning signs... Fees required for expensive photos... Agencies that insist you use their photographer.

The final two points are both criticisms made against your company by models who wrote to the site. In fact, they are two of the patterns of complaints. Models said the photos are expensive, and so did modeling agency presidents (writing about pricing), and the models said your company insists that they use your photographer.

According to a published news report in Metro Pulse, "OTM receives money from its recommended photographer, raising questions of motivation."

This is an obvious conflict of interest. How can anyone trust the claims of your company which makes money from upfront fees for photos when you tell aspiring models they have been selected to have their pictures taken?

Why do you insist or strongly recommend your photographer, when this is a red flag, and agencies, if they are going to make recommendations, are supposed to recommend several photographers?

Why do you insist or strongly recommend your photographer, as supposedly being an expert, but consumers complained they were not satisfied with the quality of your photographer's work?

Why should aspiring models make payments to your company for photos when experts say new models should not pay modeling agencies for photos; instead, models should deal directly with the photographer and printer?

The same Metro Pulse article already cited went on to state you said 80 percent of those who sign contracts with OTM are offered jobs.

This statistic is virtually meaningless. How much did the models earn? Did 80% fail to earn more money through modeling than they paid you and the photographer and the printer? What percentage earned more than they paid you?

The issue is significant because your company claims to be a promotions specialist. Promotional "modeling" offers models the lowest wages. The lower their wages, the less chance the models have to break even, let alone make more than they invested in photography and comp cards.

This leads to the obvious basic question, if OTM is only able or only willing to get models almost exclusively promotional jobs which pay the least, why do you get them to pay for expensive photography and comp cards before they work?

Models allege the promotion of your promotion agency focused on fashion modeling. Does your company make it clear to potential models attending your open calls you are a promotions specialist, and the work you get OTM models is limited to low-earning work?

And since you are limited in the type of jobs you get models, i.e. promotional "modeling," why do models report your company stresses the importance of and need for getting a fashion photographer to take their comp card pictures?

On a related subject, is it true, even after working these extreme low-end jobs, as models have claimed, it can take as long as a year before you pay them their wages?

If it is true, why were they not paid within three months? Can you name one reputable modeling agency which pays its models as late as one year after they worked?

A recent report from an OTM model said you are now charging models $20/month to have their comp card on your website. Is this true?

If it is true, why are you charging models $20/month when it does not cost $20/month to host a comp card on a website? How much money are you making off OTM models in upfront website fees?

Why are you trying to make money off models from advertising when the industry standard of a reputable modeling agency is it makes no money except by commissions on work models get after they work?

Finally, how do you account for the complaints made against your company that after the models have paid you for photos, they are abandoned, they do not get work, and their calls and emails are not returned?

Where do you think they are going to voice their dissent if not on the internet?

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To Whom It May Concern:

This is in reference to the OTM-Philadelphia branch.

After reading the many complaints on your website, I am very disappointed. I have been trying to get into modeling since I was 12 (I am now almost 20). I have been scammed by Barbizon, a place called L.A. Talent, and now OTM!?

I went through the exact same procedure as everyone else including paying $600 for a mediocre and seemingly unexperienced photographer, and an unprofessional and downright crappy hair and make up girl.

I got a bunch of crappy slides and my $300 composite cards (which came out a little better than I expected after seeing the slides) seven months later. I was all ready to start sending them out to different agencies when I came across your website.

Now, I know I've been scammed or at the very least misled, so what should I do? I can't get my money back, I can't afford new pictures, and I want to get work with a real agency, but is it even worth it to send my comps out?

Will they even consider me after seeing that I'm with OTM? Is there any thing I can do legally if OTM doesn't get me any jobs?

I am very serious about modeling and not to be conceited, but I am a good-looking girl and have been told by people all my life that I should be a model... so why do I keep getting scammed?

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P.S. Just to let everyone out there know, OTM-Philadelphia does not call everyone back the next day. My best friend, who convinced me to go to the open call with her, was rejected. But guess what, now she's signed to Trans Continental Talent and I'm stuck with OTM. Guess I just looked like a bigger sucker. Well, after looking at the rest of your website I found out that Trans-Continental is worse than OTM! Now I don't feel so bad. Looks like we're both screwed!


You said: "I can't afford new pictures, and I want to get work with a real agency, but is it even worth it to send my comps out? Will they even consider me after seeing that I'm with OTM?"

Is "OTM" or their address on the comp cards?

You asked: "Is there any thing I can do legally if OTM doesn't get me any jobs?"

If OTM did nothing illegal, probably not. They never guaranteed work, did they?

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Yes, their name, address, and contact number is on the composites.

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You don't need comp cards to find an agency or get signed. Obviously another agency cannot use your comp cards since they have OTM etc. on them.

You're going to need comp cards sooner or later, or if you get signed with another agency, so if you can't afford to get more comp cards, you'll either have to find an agency which will pay for them and be paid back when you get work, or find a photographer after you get signed with an agency who will do TFP, or charge lower rates.

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To Whom It May Concern:

This is in reference to the OTM-North Carolina branch.

Boy, do I feel stupid after finding your site and reading these letters.

My daughter went to an OTM open call a few months ago in Mobile, AL, because there was "no money required" as the radio ad stated. This was the only reason I let her go.

They hooked us... talked about her potential, how marketable she was, but the only thing she needed were comp cards.

And, oh, by the way, not just any "local" photographer in this area would probably be able to produce the quality of photographs that were needed for a good comp card; we should use a professional.

If the pictures were not professional, they could not guarantee they would be able to get her jobs from the comp cards.

And, oh, by the way, they had a professional photographer with limited openings for a shoot in either the Pensacola or Mobile area that we could use for only a little over $600.

If we wanted to guarantee a spot, we had to give them a deposit up front!

I should have listened to my little voice at this time that started sending off alarms, but my daughter was so excited, and their website they gave us looked legit, and the BBB had them with a "satisfactory" rating, and they had been in business since 1994... everything looked OK.

Well, I've paid two of the three payments they required before the photo shoot, and all of the payments including the last one are to be paid to OTM, not the photographer.

The Mobile photo shoot is scheduled for January 17th at a local hotel where the last payment is due. You can bet they will not get any more of my money. I will count my losses and learn from my mistakes.

At the first meeting, it was very vague, but we were kind of led to believe that the $600 covered the photo shoot and the comp cards.

We just found out that the comp cards are extra, and the more we buy, the better price they can give us (OTM, not the printer).

I found your website today by accident and wish I had email addresses for all of the others who were with us at the Mobile and Pensacola meetings so I could share this info with them.

Thank you,

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After I sent the earlier message, I got to wondering if they could make me pay the balance owed for the photo shoot if I do not show up at the hotel on the 17th as planned since I owe one more payment.

The photographer that they have scheduled to be in Mobile is Rita Clonts, and they said she was the best, but one of the letters posted complained of her work.

We were told that if the pictures were not to the satisfaction of OTM, they would require the photographer to reshoot at no charge. Nothing was said about our satisfaction!

I'm going to have to get the name of our recruiter at home tonight, but she wouldn't give us her office number. She said that she was opening a new office in Orlando, but the phone system had not been installed yet.

Look out, Orlando!

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To Whom It May Concern:

This is in reference to the OTM-Indianapolis branch.

I signed with the OTM out of Indy in 2002.

I like others went to an open call and they definitely say if you use another photographer other than theirs and they don't like the pictures they won't use them.

Well, I paid $165 down.

I was supposed to work the Indy 500, but got sick, so I didn't do it. However, I worked for the Brickyard 400 (Winston) and Indy State Fair (Con Agra Foods).

When the eight weeks was up, I got my pay in full. I made my $165 back and then some.

But I still haven't got my pics done or paid for. So far it's been a good experience, but I talked with other models at these events, and none of them who had paid for their portfolios had done print (real modeling), so that's got me worried.

Some of them said they hadn't got paid yet for other jobs, and it was past the time, so I worried the whole time I waited, but I got paid on time.

Lastly, like what's on this site, some of the models said they had their portfolios done through OTM and they hated the pics.

So I was going to call them in February and set it up to finish, but now I am scared.

I made the money through them to pay for it, though, so part of me feels I should give my current agency a chance.

But, like others, I am still leery, because phone calls and emails never got answered.

Only when they wanted us for promo work did they call us back.

I got one spam letter to get on their website and that's all I have heard from them.

So, I am thinking, since I am ahead of this game and made my money back, I will go to another agency, since, afterall, I am "non-exclusive." (Boy, do they make sure you know that one! lol!)

I am glad I found this site, because my inside kept telling me to beware.

Well, I know I got what it takes to be a model, so I won't give up my dream.

In the meantime I made more money than I paid OTM.

Thank you,

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What is really interesting and very ironic is you got promotional work (twice!) through OTM without pictures. If pictures are so important, as OTM leads you to believe, how were you able to get work without them?!

The reason why you don't need prints to get promotional work is because your picture is not going to appear in print, and may not even be taken. Signing up people for credit cards, for example, does not involve photography, so nobody has to see what you look like in print, "how you photograph," before you get the job.

The basic problem with promotional agencies like OTM is the business model for low wages.

If you pay $1,000 for promotional work pictures, as they want, it could be like paying $60,000 for a resume to get a regular job, because it could take two years to get your investment back. If you worked a 9-5 job, earning $30,000/year, it would be two years before you paid off your advertising expenses (resume).

If you would never pay $60,000 for a resume, why pay $1,000 for prints to a promotional agency which gets minor jobs?

Even worse, in promotional OTM modeling, you can't guarantee you will work, how much you'll earn, or when you'll earn it, so you don't even know if you'll get your money back.

You said you talked with other models at events where you worked, but "none of them who had paid for their portfolios had done print."

The same thing has been said by other people. OTM is not an agency for print. It is promotions. It is probably better to call OTM a promotional agency, not a modeling agency!

If you want to make more money than you spend on advertising, find an agency which has a proven track record for print work, where models consistently work in print and earn much more than they paid for photos.

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P.S. Did OTM tell you they were a print modeling agency? Did they lead you to believe you would get print work?


Yes, they did! I really believed if I got my portfolio I may get print work! They showed us pics of other models they had and said they made it big.

They told us they would submit our pics to clients, but so far, like I stated in my letter, no one I talked to who is rep'd by them has ever done print!

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To Whom It May Concern:

I read an ad for OTM in the newspaper. It says "Only 30" will be accepted, come at 7 pm to the Holiday Inn.

Well, this woman comes in like she's a diva, she even called herself that, lol!

She gave a long filibuster on how there are modeling scams, and how OTM is not one, and how well OTM is doing in the modeling business.

It got boiled down to the photography, when she said, "You can use your own photographer—I have some numbers of two guys: one who charges $1,000 and the other, like $2,500. But she said she has one who shoots photos of famous stars and whatnot—he'll come and do it for you for $569.

"Well," she said, "since I'm back at my hometown, I want to give some love. I'll have the photography be free!"

I was like, "Awesome!" But in the end I'd still have to pay out $419, or $369, if you pay all up front.

"Save $50 dollars," it said, "if you pay upfront."

That sounds messed up; it's like they want your money fast. If you don't you'll have to pay out more because you didn't go with plan A. Stick to plan B, which is payments, you'll have to pay $50 more.

Also, you have to pay $20 dollars a month for "Maintenance" to have your pictures/profile on their website? Why would I be paying them money for this? That is far out. It should be free, it doesn't cost them anything.

At the end of the open speech filibuster, we all had a number on our page, we go in, 5-10 into a line, meet this diva. She'd ask us 3 questions:

1) on a scale from five too ten, how would you rate your people skills?

2) do you have any noticeable scars or tats?

3) she asked you to smile for her and well then she asked to see our hands for some hand modeling thing that was going on locally.

I called, and only 25 people (not 30) were picked, they said, and I was one of the ones picked, out of 75 people. This was all being held in a room at the Holiday Inn, in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

I was very 'put down' when I read such bad things about OTM, my exciting moment was knocked down because such bad things are being complained about this company.

I'm very disappointed, but at least I can go on that I bested 50 other people. I feel sorry for the 24 other people, hopefully they'll make the same wise decision like I am and find an agency that's IN OUR CITY!

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To Whom It May Concern:

Just like all the rest, I came across OTM on a very popular radio station. For me it was in the Detroit area. I decided to go to the free open call, and, boy, am I displeased.

After signing with them, it was almost like they pressure you into using their photographer. They tell you that you can use your own, but they must be a certified photographer, and their work (your pictures) must be approved by them or they won't be accepted.

Of course you want your pictures done right so you go to them. But that's not half the story in my case. So I go to this photoshoot at a hotel, with about five other teenage girls and four kids, where the photographer and stylist are waiting. They tell you to bring different wigs if possible to the photoshoot to give more variety for your pictures.

The makeup that the socalled makeup artist did for the other girls was OK, but it definitely wasn't worth the price. Half of us could have done those styles on our own. Why were we paying for this?

So it's my turn, and I go like every other girl and hop in the magic seat. OK, I was the only black girl there, but that wasn't the problem. The stylist didn't in any way take to my skin tone.

My hair looked a mess (with a hair weave that she just tossed on top of my head). There was so much makeup on my face that I looked like a 17th century porcelain doll. Not once did she take a brush to my hair so there was no smoothness whatsoever.

The photography was just as bad as the makeup. There was nothing blended in my photos. The color of my body was not uniform. My arms looked brown, while my legs looked green. Not one shortcoming on my skin was taken care of.

I was highly upset but most of all I was hurt. I spent all of my money that I had saved for a photoshoot that ripped me off.

To make matters worse I went to an open call with another agency (that, by the way, I have done work for), and the agent asked to see my pictures from a recent photoshoot.

She saw my OTM photos (that I had to get developed from OTM slides) and asked, "How much did you pay for these?"

OTM may not be a TOTAL ripoff, but I know one thing, the money paid for the photoshoots is!

My advice: get a polaroid camera and start clicking.


To Whom It May Concern:

I have to say, I went to the open interview On Track Modeling had in Knoxville, TN.  I was young and should have known better than to believe them.  All I had to do to make the first cut was SMILE...that's it!  Then for the 2nd meeting with them I listened to this long drawn out lecture about their photo shoot.  My parents left it up to me and of course I wanted to do it, but for the past few years I have had nothing but regrets.

We spent over $1,200 on everything they wanted us to have done.  I did use their photographer who was terrible, their hair stylist made my hair look ridiculous, and she put 3 pounds of makeup on all the girls.  I agree with the people who mentioned how in the world does OTM have a good standing with the BBB after all of these complaints?  They are the biggest scam around!!

I have come to the conclusion, the only agencies that are REAL are the ones who want you for YOUR beauty and they don't ask you for a dime...instead, THEY are paying YOU!!  I have just been beyond pissed about this company from the beginning, and like many others, when we called to see why we had not heard from them, they would never answer or return calls.

I have 3 lawyers that are very good friends with our family and I am going to ask them what I can to find out what can be done about this company since obviously I am NOT the only person who has been done dirty by them.  My dad works for the city here and he knows MANY big people around town so it will not be hard for me to get the word out about them.  The BBB will definitely be contacted.  Thanks for letting me share my awful experience with this company. 

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It's such an easy case to win. Somebody has to step up to the plate. The fraud is so easy to prove, and there are literally thousands of models who have been deceived. The NC Attorney General's Office are a bunch of morons who couldn't care less. Harriet Worley is a joke. She's the assistant attorney general who has allowed thousands of consumers to be robbed on her watch. You should write to her and call for her resignation. She's pathetic!

You have to focus on the fraudulent inducement aspect of OTM aka AMG. When a company leaves out important information, it is fraud. Let's take an example from the Arizona law, but you could pick others, too.

"Consumer fraud, as defined by Arizona law, is any deception, false statement, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise. In addition, concealment, suppression or failure to disclose a material fact may be consumer fraud if it is done with the intent that others rely on such concealment, suppression or nondisclosure. Merchandise may include any objects, wares, goods, commodities, intangibles, real estate or services."

(http://www.azag.gov/consumer/)

OTM deliberately leaves out information to make the sale. They use fake photographers whom nobody has ever heard of. Look at the bio pages on their site; there's nothing there. They do this to pay rock-bottom prices on photography and then jack the price so you pay 5 times what they steal on each sale. They also use fake makeup artists.

Have you ever noticed how they don't give you the full names of these socalled professionals? Two reasons. One, because they are part of the scam, and don't want their name on the record scamming; two, because they are nobodys, and people would find out and not pay them.

A class action lawsuit type complaint has been filed against OTM in Texas. Robert Ecksmith might be going back to selling jewelry instead of photography. How many people does he think he can scam in America before they head for his house and torch it?

If you think there's a scheme to defraud, file a theft complaint with the police. Some of these scammers should be arrested, charged with grand theft, fraud, and a scheme to defraud.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I am a college student who has just signed a contract with AMG Modeling; after looking at there website, they seemed to be real! I 've read a lot of the letters on this web site and I'm no longer comfortable with my decision. I do not not want to proceed doing buisness with AMG! I really want to know if there is any way to legally get out of contract with this "company" even if it is passed the three-day grace period.

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Yes, they break the law by fraud. It's called fraudulent inducement. They trick you into signing by failing to disclose material facts about their financial interest, all the money they make off photography, comp cards, and internet advertising. Contracts signed after fraudulent inducement are void. And you get a refund. Email for more info.

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