Customer Complaints

To Whom It May Concern:

I had avoided being scammed by the "Wilhelmina Scouting Network", but was taken in by "" Please let me know if there is anything I can do to get my money back.

I was contacted via a letter (which I am sure you are familiar with) in October of 2003 regarding my then X-month-old daughter. I was asked to contact in their Fairfield, New Jersey, office.

The letter peaked my curiosity citing facts such as "we provide children for print advertising... this inquiry does not place '' under any obligation," etc. Being that I am familiar with modeling scams, I decided to do some research.

I found nothing negative regarding this company on the Better Business Bureau website (New Jersey office), and I also was taken in by the fact that the letter stated that my daughter was "brought to their attention."

I assumed that my inlaws or my parents had submitted a picture of their beautiful granddaughter to some contest, and that "" was a modeling agency that took note of her. I called and set up an appointment.

I was required to bring my husband to the appointment, as well as my daughter. We arrived on XXX XX, 2003, at 12 pm (I kept the confirmation letter). Included with the letter was a long list of children who got work through the agency, and what sort of work they received. This still seemed legit.

We arrived to an office full of "American Baby" cover shots, magazines with "This child works for our company" stickers, and so many "Gerber" advertisements I thought I was in a supermarket.

After about ten minutes, an elderly gentleman came to the waiting room and called us in to his "office."

He asked us what sort of temperament our child has, if she smiles frequently, etc.

We answered all of his questions, and we asked a few of our own. My first question was how did he hear of my daughter?

His response: "We acquire lists from local hospitals on the births of children and send letters to the homes of the parents."

I didn't like that idea. I am not sure how that is legal. I don't want my information sold from my hospital to a fraudulent agency like this.

My second question was: "How much is this going to cost?"

His response: "Nothing."

I was happy with that answer! It was a legit business afterall - at least, that is what I thought.

The man doted on my daughter for a very long time. He told us how beautiful she was, how he had work lined up for her. He complemented our ability to be on time for appointments, which is a big deal when you are dealing with advertising. He really swelled our heads. Made us feel like amazing first-time parents.

What a mistake it was to listen!!

He then proposed something. If we paid him $595.00, he would put her picture all over the internet, send it daily to advertising firms, and even cover the cost of her photos for the next five years.

He said that he would represent her for free, but then we would have to pay for the internet, pay for the pictures, and he wouldn't submit anything to anyone on our behalf.

It seemed to make sense that we would then pay the fee, and pay $20.00 each time she had her head shot taken, and not do any of the work. But before I committed, I asked to speak with a few parents whose children are involved with their agency.

He looked at me and screamed, "No! We believe in confidentiality here," he said. "We would never give your number to anyone without credentials, same goes for our other clients."

This seemed really legit.

Then I asked if he could dial someone.

He stated: "Why would I do that? I am only going to call the happiest client and they will go on and on about how good we are. That won't put your mind at ease. What should put your mind at ease is paying us the money to represent this pot-of-gold you have sitting on your lap."

Wow. I was swayed.

I wanted to talk to a firm that they work with, and the gentleman ran his mouth about how they are too busy to be bothered by parents who are too suspicious of a "legitimate modeling agency."

So we paid the money. On my credit card. Signed the contract. Did it all —and feel awfully stupid now.

We had her photos done. We were never contacted to be told that they were received by "," as the photographer had stated. The picture my husband and I picked to be on the site isn't even up there! It's a terrible picture taken while she was crying!

When I called to find out if she was on the site, no one got back to me —they were "too busy."

We haven't as much as heard one word from these dirty [...]. I want justice. My daughter's face is plastered to their disgusting website, and I haven't even been told how to find the picture.

I eventually went to the site, plugged in her information, and my child, the child that the gentleman at "" swore was going to make them "tons of money" is the last child on the page. What the heck is that?! If she is a money-maker, why isn't she highlighted?

Maybe because this is an incredible [...], run on young parents with hardly a dime to their name to begin with who only want to provide their child with a future.

When we were in the office, this guy promised that we would be helping put our daughter through college with the money he was going to help her earn.

Like I said, I was [...]. I want justice. I want to help others who are being snowed by this disgusting company. I want to help young families, such as my own, who don't have much money and throw nearly $600 out the window on nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is a sad, sad world.

Thank you for your time. I hope you know what steps I need to take in order to obtain justice in this matter.


Redacted Info

To Whom It May Concern:

My experience went something like this...

First of all, they insist that both parents attend the initial meeting. In hindsight, I believe that this is to eliminate the "let me go home and discuss it with my spouse" excuse for not signing on.

Then you get to the meeting and they begin by telling you how selective they are, and how so many kids are eliminated because of this, that, and the other thing.

And then you find out that they would love to sign on your perfect little angel.

They offer two different programs.

The "standard program" requires no money up front. The parent is responsible for, among other things, having professional pictures taken every 6 months for 5 years and maintaing a website with pictures and biographical info, listing as the contact agent.

With the "full service" program, you pay $595 up front and they will arrange for having pictures taken every 6 months for 5 years, and they will put your kid's picture and biographical info up on their website. You also have to pay the photographer a $20 fee each time you go for pictures.

With each program, they get a 15% commission. The contract states that you can cancel in writing within 3 days.

So, even though we were a little skeptical, my husband and I decided to sign on because we figured that we could get out of it with no problem should we change our minds.

Long story short, we decided to cancel and sent our letter within the appropriate time.

The director called to find out why we wanted to cancel, and I told him that we had decided against it. He gave me a little bit more of a sales pitch, and when it became clear that I wasn't going to budge, he SNAPPED at me "I wish you would have told me this at our meeting. It would have saved us both a lot of time. Good luck. CLICK!"

The jerk hung up on me. Up until this point, I was still wondering whether I was doing the right thing by canceling. After his unprofessional behavior, I know I made the right choice.

Oh, one more thing, during our meeting I asked how many of their kids actually get work. In retrospect, the guy talked around the issue for a good 5 minutes, and I never did get an answer!

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To Whom It May Concern:

I just was just informed about the article on (justourkidscom).

I signed my daughter up with the Minneapolis facility in January of 2003 and paid them $600 plus $40 for the two sitting photographer's sessions to get my daughter's photos taken.

I received a letter just like the one in the article stating, "Your child was brought to our attention."

Having an only child, I fell for the hook line and bait. My daughter has never received a job through them, even though they made it sound like her getting a job would be no problem.

Shortly after I signed up, I checked them out online with the BBB for the MN location, but nothing showed up.

Now, after reading this article I feel outraged. Like another parent wrote, this money came out of my daughter's savings. Any money that she would have made, would have been put in a fund for college.

I am supposed to have a five-year contract (which I still have a copy of), which means I have 3 ½ years left. I do not want to continue throwing away $20 (which can be put in my daughter's savings) every six months on something I found out to be a [...].

What can I do?

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To Whom It May Concern:

     BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!

After meeting with them, being the skeptic that I am, I started doing some research. I did NOT like what I found. (Yeah, we had signed the contract but did NOT leave any money —I am very leary about leaving almost $600 with a company I know nothing about —especially when they do the "let me have my boss look at these beautiful pictures while you and your husband discuss it" nonsense).

I contacted their office the next day. In Illinois alone, if you pull up their database, there are over 5,000 kids registered! Of that number, NOT 5% WORKED IN 1 QUARTER!

I told them there was no way I would work with them. How dare
they make my son feel like they would use him (or play with children's emotions). I told her we were not interested. I called back and asked for our pictures.

After a week and no pictures, I called back and talked to someone else.

After sending them a cancel letter, they sent my photos back (with a staple through my kid's pictures —that is how much they care about them).

Anyhoo, they had the gall recently to send me a letter saying "MAYBE YOUR FORGOT YOUR PAYMENT OF...", not we really look forward to working with you and yours just a REMIT payment.

I am sending them a FAX along with a cc: to my attorney. If I hear from them again, I will consider it harrassment.

There should be something we as consumers should be able to do.

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I am battling a similar thing here in MN. I have the local tv station doing a story on them next month. My husband and I did not give them money, but got the hard sell, and they were very rude when we declined.

We are seeking a copy of so-called "contract." Do you have one I could get a copy of? I am also working with the state's Attorney General's office. They are ripping people off left and right. We need to warn vulnerable parents - I have sent out countless e-mails to peole. Could you please e-mail me at and let me know if you can help? Do you also know anyone who has that original invitation letter? We need a copy of that too to go in and film them! Thanks (need soon please if you can!)

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I have everything they ever sent me or gave me. I'm in MN too and have tried calling TV stations and the BBB but didn't get a response. I am so happy that someone is doing a story on it. I would love to
help you and be involved in any way that I can.

We did give them the money... I can't believe we did and feel so stupid now. My son was barely three months old at the time and I guess we were totally caught up in how cute we thought he was...we didn't think clearly and regret is so much.

I still haven't gotten our money back and of course haven't heard a thing about any modeling jobs! I did go in and talk to them in person once but didn't get very far.

I'll email your other account at hotmail regarding the letters, etc. you need.

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OK thanks! I'll wait for your message. Just a note that my screen name here is Redacted Info, but my hotmail is [...], so not to confuse anyone.
If anyone else has information, please bring forward. We are trying to mobilize groups of people who were ripped-off, especially in MN! Contact my e-mail too! I'll let the TV station know too what's going on. Thanks.

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Hi I hope you are still able to send me some info soon. I checked my hotmail a few times and did not see anything. I will also check back here to see if you have any more comments. I have another e-mail address if you have trouble sending it to the first one. Just let me know. I can also put you in touch with the people I have contacted.
Thanks so much!

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I did try emailing your hotmail account yesterday after I emailed you here at this site...I will try again right now and if it doesn't work let me know here. Thanks.

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I did not get your e-mail, the mailbox must be down or
full, so could you please try this account?: Redacted Info


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     Oh my gosh! I am so glad I saw this today! We just went to the local office here in MN. Everything went as you have all explained. My daughter was fussy so the woman suggested I leave the room with her and while I was gone my husband signed the contract!

     I tried to research the company before we went in but they gave us a false web name. which they later said was for the safety of the children.

     When I got the real address I came online to look it up and found all this and more! Luckily we have three days to cancel the check and contract which my husband will be doing first thing in the morning! They sounded too good to be true, I guess that should've been our clue!!!

Hi, I saw that you read our posts regarding this. Interesting, huh? We are just trying to warn people...basically anyone can just give them their money (they'll take anyone as long as they get your $$), and then what? You get your kid's face on a website?! Funny how you are stuck for 5 years too!

I would alert anyone who is interested in getting their children into modeling to do a LOT of research, and go with a reputable co. NEVER NEVER NEVER give money up front (especially not $600), ask a LOT of questions...

If a modeling company likes your child, they will hire him/her and AFTERWARDS get a cut of the pay, and NOT the 30% I heard that charges...bogus!!

Tell your friends too because many, many offer letters go out to new (and vulnerable) parents around the country...

Good luck getting your money back.

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     I can't believe I stumbled across this thread... we were sent a letter from and a few days ago we took our three-month-old into the Chicago location. The offices were awful and we were interviewed by this dreadful old hag who insisted she knew more about our baby than us because she'd 'been in the business for 28 years' as she reminded us over and over again as she rushed us through her book of 10-year-old ads.

     She constantly belittled us and was so rude to my husband that there was no way we'd want to do business with them anyway!

     If you do a search on the babies that they have you can see by the pictures of the kids that they'd take anyone willing to give them $600 —some of these faces are definitely not for advertising!

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The point of this thread is to just warn people they should
research any time when they are asked to give money up front, which you may not know is NOT the way the child modeling industry works, ASK ANYONE!! Have you done your homework? Did you investigate that this company had an order from the Federal Govt. to "cease and desist"? That they have been sued up and down the country for years? Dateline did a story on them and their fraudulent ways a few years ago too! Did they talk about something they"know nothing about"? We have the right to inform people and obviously no one told you before you forked over money and blindly signed a five-year"contract"! Plus they take a much higher than average cut of your child's pay so who's getting screwed now?

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     Management firm? Really? They claim not to be a modeling agency, and that's why in Minneaplis they are listed as a "Modeling Agency" in the phone book? So just what exactly are they "managing?" Your child's picture on a website? Anybody with a computer, half a brain, and software can put pictures up on a website. Sure maybe a few companies look at their site, but how many? You know they will take any kid to collect the money up front.

Yet the NTA Permanent Injunction issued from a judge said "The court's final order permanently prohibits NTA and Ashfield from misrepresenting that NTA and its sales agents have the expertise to judge the suitability of people as models, actors, or entertainers in the commercial advertising, talent modeling or entertainment industries; misrepresenting that signing with NTA enhances the prospects of being signed up by a talent agency; misrepresenting what clients can expect to earn from modeling or acting if they sign up with NTA..." So,there are not supposed to be able to judge whether a child is "suitable or not" for modeling.

BTW: NTA just sold their "assets" and changed their name, but are still in the same locations and "offering" the same thing to thousands! They must consider themselves essentially the same as NTA because the phone book says "Est. 1966" which is when NTA came into existence; however, the BBB has listed as coming into existence in 1999! Why does the phone book say 1966? Interesting..that's the year they bought the assets! It's the same thing!

This isn't about anyone's particular kid who MAY have gotton a little work, maybe it happens. BUT It's about the thousands of parents who all have hopes for modeling for their kids and they blindly pay the fees charged up front - which no reputable company does (see BBB' warning, anybody's warning!)

Real modeling agencies who want your child will recruit YOU, and
PAY YOU if you're child is good enough, not the other way around. Of course they can say you are not getting jobs "because your kid is not right." They can say that till the cows come home, to almost everyone! Praying on parents' emotions and pride is easy, the oldest trick in the book...

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