OTM (On Track Modeling)
AMG (Alpha Model Group)
Complaint Letter Index
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Letter to OTM North Carolina President
Record for On Track Modeling
BBB 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."
Note: There are at least three
OTMs, one in Philly, Indy, and Charlotte. They have
different owners/managers (Philly owner is different
from Indianapolis and Charlotte owner, Robert David
Ecksmith), even though business practices are similar.
Most of the complaints where specified relate to the
Charlotte office, not OTM in Philadelphia or Indianapolis.
If you write about your OTM experience, please indicate
which OTM/location. OTM is not NOT fashion modeling,
NOT print modeling!!! Events, tradeshows, conventions,
stores, etc. (e.g. signing people up for credit cards)
$15/hr for a few hours, less commission.
Consumer Complaint Information
Complaints against this business made by
visitors to this website concern advertising (radio),
selling practices (photos), hard sales pressure (photographer),
product quality (photos), high expenses (photos), customer
service, late payments (jobs), low earnings (jobs), failure
to receive work (jobs), and abandonment (no contact after
paying for photos).
Complainants reported the emphasis of the marketing
and representations to them were that they would work
at high hourly rates, but their experience is promotional
modeling which earns about $15/hour.
Consumers also reported they were stuck with $600 bills
for photo shoots, though they did not get prints. Those
cost an additional $400.
A recent complaint was: "I signed with OTM in May
of this year. They tempted me into using their photographer;
for over $600 I got only color slides!"
The first complainant said: "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."
Consumers typically spend $1,000 to get photos (photography
and comp cards) to get work. None of them report making
anything near that amount through work found through
Consumers have consistently reported the quality of
the photos was low even though the prices were high,
and significantly, after OTM was paid, they never heard
from OTM again: "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."
Complainants have also reported there is pressure or
manipulation to use their photographer, something the
FTC warns against in its brochure, "Modeling Scams," even
though their photographer did not produce quality photography: "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."
Another consumer said the effect of their communication
is the same as requiring consumers to use the OTM photographer: "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. 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."
And another consumer corroborated the claim, saying: "They "strongly
urge" you to use their photographer, and to have
them print out your comp cards."
A similar complaint: "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?"
And another similar complaint: "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??!!"
Consumers allege the emphasis of OTM marketing is on
fashion modeling, but almost all the work any of their
models get is promotional. "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."
Another said: "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."
Another observed: "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
One OTM model said: "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."
Another OTM model reported: "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
Another complaint was: "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."
A few of the models complained saying they were either
not paid, or were paid late. The one who did promotional
work for $14/hr said: "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."
One model reported: "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?"
A pattern of complaints were similar to this one: "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."
Another said: "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."
Another: "I was disappointed with the photos, and
we have heard nothing from them regarding jobs or updates
as they had promised."
Complainants also allege they were told they would get
work, but they didn't; indeed, they were abandoned after
they paid: "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
Another complaint was: "OTM raved about how I was
absolutely what they were looking for, and personally
told me I would be working a lot.... And like others
who wrote I have not heard from OTM since."
The complainants allege deceptive, fraudulent, and unfair
It is unfair to ask aspiring models to pay for photos
when the cost is going to be more than most of them will
ever earn. It is unfair to get them to pay $1,000, and
never contact them again. It is unfair for models to
work and never be paid, or not get paid for many months.
It is unfair to offer models photography services at
high prices but deliver poor quality photography.
It is deceptive to advertise and promote fashion modeling
when they only get models promotional modeling, or promotional
modeling is almost exclusively all they can get.
It is fraudulent to promise aspiring models work and
never get them work or abandon them after they have paid
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 25 letters about OTM. These letters
are 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.
“Ask your local Better
Business Bureau, consumer
protection agency, and state
Attorney General if there are any unresolved
consumer complaints on file about the company.” — Federal