Network International Models and Talent, Patrik Simpson, President (network-models.com)

aka AMERICAN MODEL SEARCH and NETWORK FASHIONS

October 16, 2004

[Last Updated: October 16, 2004 ]

This company has offices in Arizona and California, according to its website. (http://www.network-models.com/contact.htm [Oct. 16, 2004]).

Arizona requires modeling agencies to have an employment agency license. Network International said they represent, develop, and book models, the function of a modeling agency:

Network International Models and Talent represents men, women and children, all ages and types for all aspects of the entertainment industy. There are four branch offices to serve you : Beverly Hills, CA., Scottsdale, AZ., Tucson, AZ., Baton Rouge, LA. Network International Models and Talent specialize in representation for Models/Actors, Photographers and Stylists. We develop new models and talent, book them for work locally and internationally. We are a full-service company, booking models and actors for National Commercials, Feauture Films, Runway, Magazines, Billboards, Promotions, Tradeshows, Catalogs, Music Videos and Industrials.
 
http://www.onemodelplace.com/photographer_list.cfm?P_ID=64813 [Oct. 16, 2004]

Patrik Simpson, President of Network International, was contacted and asked if his booking agency has an employment agency license. He did not answer the question.

The BBB site said: "Consumers should be aware that in the state of Arizona Model/Talent agencies are licensed by the industrial commission as an employment agency." It also classified Network International Models and Talent as a modeling agency: "Type of Business: Modeling Agencies."

The Arizona State website Employment Agency FAQs said:

Who has to be licensed as an employment agency in Arizona?

Any business that charges a fee or commission to an applicant must be licensed. The type of agencies that are licensed include, but are not limited to, placement agencies, career counseling firms, model and talent agencies. . .
 
"The Department investigates complaints against unlicensed businesses allegedly charging fees to individuals."
 
http://www.ica.state.az.us/FAQs/labor/private_employment_agencies.html#
 
Industrial Commission of Arizona
Labor Dept.
Telephone:  (602) 542-4515                            
Fax:  (602) 542-8097

California has a strict law requiring modeling and talent agencies to be licensed. "No person shall engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency without first procuring a license therefor from the Labor Commissioner" (Labor Code 1700.5). No agency can book models or talent without a talent agency license.

Network International, according to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), does not have a talent agency license to do business in California. See http://www.dir.ca.gov/databases/dlselr/Talag.html

Furthermore, no talent agency can collect fees for photography or comp cards (Labor Code 1700). See also Asselin v. Anderson and Kortenbach v. Rairdoni.

There are no reports from California, but Network International Models and Talent has charged models for photography and comp cards in Arizona. On March 3, 2004, the Phoenix, Arizona, Better Business Bureau record for Network International said they were charging models for photography:

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to unanswered complaints. The company has responded to some complaints presented by the Bureau. Complaints generally concern confusion over the amount of money refunded after cancellation of contract and confusion over what is expected of the company after photos are taken.

A consumer sent a complaint saying she paid Network International for photography and comp cards. She said the photographer was Patrik Simpson, the owner of Network International. Another website gave a photo credit to Simpson (http://www.sonyarose.com/beauty/ps_b1.html [October 16, 2004]). Simpson himself has admitted by email he takes pictures.

It is well-established, however, it is a conflict of interest for an agency or any company acting like an agency to get paid before the models work. Consumers never know if they are being solicited to get work or to pay the "agency" for photography under the pretext of getting work as models. (This is why it is illegal for an agency in California to charge models for photography or comp cards. The modeling industry is littered with photo modeling scams.)

The Phoenix BBB said Network International also does business under alternate names:

ADDITIONAL BUSINESS NAMES

This company also does business as:
AMERICAN MODEL SEARCH and
NETWORK FASHIONS.
 
http://www.data.bbb.org/phoenix.asp?yid=0021003787 [October 16, 2004].

Simpson emailed and said his company has never done business under these names. He was asked why the BBB would say he does if he didn't. He failed to answer. The BBB was emailed and asked their source. They did not respond.

Network International Models and Talent has been listed as a "Regional Director" of Millie Lewis AMTC, a very expensive advance-fee company, which has hidden costs:

Network International, Patrik Simpson 7025 E. McDowell Rd., Suite 1A, Scottsdale, AZ 85257; phone: (480) 941-6922 . . . Service area: Scottsdale/Tucson Arizona, Beverly Hills, CA
 
http://www.mlamtc.com/agents.htm [October 16, 2004].

Consumer Complaint

The consumer complaint included a complaint about hidden costs:

I am modeling in the Phoenix area (Arizona). I had bad experience with an agency located in Scottsdale. The name is Network International. The owner is Patrik Simpson. When I went to apply there they said I couldn't work as a model without ZED cards (professional comp cards).

I didn't have any good pics so I agreed to shoot with them. Of course I had to pay $500 for that. It took them three months from the date of the shooting till I got the pics in my hands. Isn't that ridiculous? I have a paper with the agreement and conditions about the photo shoot.

They said they use pro photographer -- the photographer was the owner Patrik Simpson -- which is very far from pro! I can prove that with the pics -- I have more than a dozen of them.

We were supposed to have pro make up and hair stylists -- they were far from pro, too. I mean my digital pics which I take with my friends looks way better than those "professional" pictures.

The thing which actually pissed me the most was that the owner said that the pics were good and he wanted to use them for my ZED card. I wasn't told when I was signing in that I will have to pay additionally for the ZED cards ($175-$225).

I remember very well I asked if those $500 are going to be all I have to pay the agency ever. The answer was 'yes.' And without the ZED cards I couldn't work, because they couldn't promote me.

They said they do not guarantee work -- I understand that. But in addition I asked if they could provide jobs for me.

They said, "Oh yeah we will find you as much work as you can handle."

I signed with them in 2003.

Since then, many months later, I have received four audition sheets. (I was supposed to get one each week, so I should have received far more than four.)

They called me three times to go to auditions. Two of them were unsuccessful, and the third one was a hair show I attended for free.

That's all the work they have found for me over several months.

So far maybe it sounds to you, that I am not good enough to be a model -- that's why they can't find me work, right?

No! I have found myself a prestigious runway show and a promo work only after a few weeks searching. I made myself an online ZED. I was a model in my past. I even had my own model agency for three years. So I know very well what it takes to be a model.

Patrik Simpson's Rebuttal

Simpson tried to shift the blame saying it is usually a model's fault if things go wrong:

There are many reasons why a model may not work, and most of the time (from past experiences) it is NOT usually the Agency's fault. As long as an agency is not giving the model a guarantee of work, not providing the services they claim, or taking money and giving NOTHING back, there should NOT be a problem.

This contradicts the plain history of the modeling industry. There have been cases where a modeling agency did not guarantee work, did provide the services they claimed, and took money, but it was still investigated and prosecuted. Because they implied models would get work and they made money off photography and comp cards at the models' expense. See North Carolina v. Face National Models and Talent.

Not guaranteeing work is not a guarantee of legitimacy. The model in this case said there was no guarantee but there was an implied guarantee: "They said they do not guarantee work -- I understand that. But in addition I asked if they could provide jobs for me. They said, "Oh yeah, we will find you as much work as you can handle."

You cannot say, "We don't guarantee work"; then say, "You are going to get so much work." It strips the disclaimer of all its meaning.

Simpson claims he can take good pictures like a professional and has been published but didn't provide tear sheets crediting him or justifying the $500 photoshoot fee.

It is true that I may have shot the model at a photoshoot. However, I am NOT the only photographer that shoots, and it doesn't matter anyway, because I am Professional! I usually have 2 or 3 different photographers that rotate off to shoot our models, on different days and events. On some occasions, I have helped out and shot the models. I have NEVER been told that they were unhappy with me, my ability to get the best out of them, or my work. Quite the contrary, the models I have shot, always ask me why I don't do all the photography?
 
I explain to them that I am an agency owner first, photographer second, and that I have too MANY responsibilities running the company, otherwise I would be a full-time photographer, because I love shooting. I have been photographing men, women and children over the ENTIRE lifespan of my company. I think it is important for me to point out that my photography has been published in magazines, websites, and has won numerous awards at several events. I am not a full-time photographer, however, my work is very good, professional and industry approved, and I will continue to stand by it.

Even if the photography is good, there's still a conflict of interest. It is not normal for agencies to be paid for photography.

See also EIC Code of Ethics: An Ethical Standard for Talent Agents

To check/file complaints about licensing, etc., contact:

Industrial Commission of Arizona
Labor Dept.
Telephone:  (602) 542-4515                            
Fax:  (602) 542-8097

And/or the Arizona Attorney General's Office:

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Consumer Information and Complaints
1275 W. Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2926
Telephone: (602) 542-5763
outside of the Phoenix Metro Area (800) 352-8431
http://www.ag.state.az.us/consumer/
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