OTM (On Track Modeling)
AMG (Alpha Model Group)
Complaint Letter Index


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Open Letter to OTM North Carolina President


BBB 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 OTM.

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 pays $15/hour.)"

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 OTM again."

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 ready!"

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 trade practices.

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 $1,000.


Full Disclosure

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,

J.H.


J.,

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.

L.T. 


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 Trade Commission


 

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