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Agencies: charging upfront fee is illegal

Extensive research has shown that the common denominator in almost all modelling scams is the charge of upfront fees.

Modelling scams are usually advertised in newspapers as photo-shoots for wanna-be models/actors, taking place in hotels or pubs.

Therefore the most simple test, the most important issue, and the first question to ask in determining whether or not a modeling company is legitimate is: Are there any upfront fees?

Model agencies are not allowed to charge you money just to go onto their books but some of them do it anyway....

They may manage to stay just within the law by charging you a fee (sometimes a very high one) for publicity - putting your face on their website or in their brochure, their wall chart or whatever, or for a so-called contract.

The way that honest agencies usually work is that they will only charge you a percentage of your earnings (usually around 20-25%) and this is perfectly O.K. The dishonest ones aren't interested in finding you any work so there won't be any earnings for you and they won't be getting any commission - and that's why they want you to pay them up front!

So, how do these scam agencies get away with it?
Mainly because the victims are isolated from each other and never find out that there are hundreds or even thousands of other victims. So, they pay their money and wait for the work to flood in. And they wait and wait.

But now, things have changed a bit, as from 1st April 2008, new regulations require agencies and others who act, or claim to act on behalf of models, actors etc and who have charged an upfront fee have to give the money back if asked to do so within 7 days.

This means, that if you have been ripped off, you might still get your chance to get your money back!

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