(KMOV)-- The Better Business Bureau is warning St. Louis families to exercise caution about an upcoming children's talent scouting event that entices parents to spend thousands of dollars for help in getting their children into show business.
BBB has advised people to be extremely cautious when dealing with The (pronounced “Tay”), which lists an address in Wilmington, Delaware. The company is scheduled to hold interviews and preliminary talent and modeling screenings this weekend at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel downtown.
BBB reports that consumers have said that they felt misled into believing the business had an affiliation with Disney, that they felt pressured into signing contracts they later regretted and that they were never told that $1,000 of their deposit was not refundable.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said the upcoming event marks at least the fourth time in less than three years that a The event has been held in the St. Louis area.
The began advertising on several St. Louis area radio stations earlier this week.
In a statement, Disney told a Mobile, Ala., TV station last month that representatives from the Disney Channel do not participate in The showcases. “Further, we do not authorize any independent casting agent to represent that he or she is participating in such showcases or acting workshops on behalf of Disney Channel.”
BBB had issued news alerts on the Chesterfield event in the summer of 2010 and on a similar The event in March 2009. The company recently dropped a lawsuit it had filed against BBB over those alerts.
BBB offers the following tips for families interested in pursuing modeling and acting careers for their children:
· Be 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 money by throwing out names of known celebrities, motion picture studios or recording companies.