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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > July 2013 > AG Sues Cleveland Area Talent Agency Owner

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AG Sues Cleveland Area Talent Agency Owner

You believe your child is destined for the spotlight. So you find a talent search company and spend a lot of money in hopes your child will be “discovered.” This was the goal of many parents and children who signed with The Event in Orlando Inc., a talent agency that operated in the Cleveland area. The business sold talent contest packages to consumers and then failed to deliver the services as advertised.

In June, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against the business, which used the name “The Event.” The lawsuit alleges the business misrepresented its services and violated other consumer laws.

The Event used radio ads to target the parents of 6- to 17-year-old children interested in acting, modeling, dancing, or singing. Consumers were told to send text messages right away to reserve their spot at a “tryout,” typically held at a local hotel.

At the tryout, the business told consumers that their children had been accepted for a chance to compete at “The Event” in Florida, where the business claimed representatives who work with Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, Fox, ABC, MGM, and stars such as Selena Gomez, Taylor Lautner, and Miranda Cosgrove would attend. In truth, the business “accepted” most children and sold parents a package ranging from $1,900 to $10,000 to attend a talent contest in Orlando. Consumers had to pay their own travel costs.

Parents were led to believe this was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, but of the 19 consumers who filed complaints and spent more than $40,000 total, no children were “discovered.”

If you are looking for a children’s talent agency, keep these tips in mind:
  • Carefully research fee-based talent searches before entering into an agreement or making any payments. Check a business' reputation with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract. Take the contract home and look at it without the pressure of a company representative present.
  • Get everything in writing, especially verbal promises.
  • Ask for references from past customers. Verify claims about their work and the companies that hired them.
  • Keep in mind that you have a three-day right to cancel most contracts you sign outside a normal place of business, such as at a hotel. Businesses must notify you of this right.
Here are signs of other talent agency scams:
  • You have to use a specific photographer.
  • You have to pay a fee for someone to serve as your agent before he or she will do any work on your behalf.
  • You’re told the opportunity could be lost if you don’t act now.
  • They guarantee a refund if you’re not satisfied.
  • They only accept payment in cash or by money order.
  • They talk about the potential for big salaries.
  • They guarantee you’ll get work.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at or call 800-282-0515.