(KMOV) -- Have you heard the radio ads about a child talent audition this weekend in Chesterfield? It's on a lot of stations in St. Louis, and the Better Business Bureau isn't surprised.
The BBB says an Arizona company called 'The' (pronounced 'Tay') is behind the ads. It has an "F" grade with the Phoenix BBB, the lowest grade possible.
This weekend's audition is at The Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center in Chesterfield. The BBB says if you have an appointment scheduled, be aware. While there is no charge for attending, the company chooses many children to attend a private, performing arts competition in December in Orlando, FL. That event costs $1,950 or more.
Michelle Corey, president and CEO of the BBB, said, “Every parent wants to believe that his or her child could be the next Hollywood sensation. The truth is the odds of this happening are remote at best. If a family wants to take their child to Florida, a better investment might be a trip to Disney World.”
Two BBB employees who phoned a toll-free number advertised on a St. Louis radio station were told the event was free and were not informed of subsequent paid events. A young woman who spoke to one of the BBB employees said, “Leave your wallet at home; good luck to your family.” She also said that Christopher Ledford, representing a national talent agency, also would be attending the Chesterfield event. Several other telemarketing employees returned phone calls to a BBB employee, and said the Saturday event was an “acting and modeling audition. We showcase talent for Disney shows and Virgin records.”
The BBB offers the following tips for families interested in pursuing modeling and acting careers for their children:
• Be very careful about any requests for up-front payments in the form of registration, consultation or administrative fees.
• Understand that this is a very competitive business and a paid seminar or event may not be the best way to get agents and others to notice your child.
• Be wary of any promises of guaranteed employment or high earnings.
• Be cautious of companies that try to convince you to pay them money by throwing out names of known celebrities, motion picture studios or recording companies.
• Check business Reliability Reports at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.