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Modelling agency warning (First Step Modelling / Distinctive Model Advice)

edited 18 January 2018 at 9:22AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
60 replies 14.9K views
1235

Replies

  • sheramber wrote: »
    How can they respond to your claims without knowing who you are?

    How can they refute your claims without being able check your records?

    They know exactly who I am and what I said in my reviews.... if they didn't, they would not have been able to directly email me regarding the reviews.
  • edited 12 October 2017 at 11:45PM
    jackielimjackielim Forumite
    14 posts
    edited 12 October 2017 at 11:45PM
    FSM has tried to take down my review again on TrustPilot - they have reported my review to TrustPilot for the second time, this time with the reason that I am not a genuine customer.

    I have emailed TrustPilot my correspondence with FSM e.g. when they tried to intimidate me to delete my review, when they emailed me about the job, when they emailed me the retouched photos, etc.

    I hope all of this is sufficient evidence that I had the (unfortunate) genuine experience of their business.

    How many times can FSM try to pull down my review? If they can do this unlimited times with unlimited fabricated reasons, then I think this is truly unfair. In addition, why hasn't TrustPilot taken steps to ensure that the so-called 5 star reviews are genuine?

    And seems like I am not the only one whose negative review they are trying to take down now :/

    Also, looking at their web site, it seems that they have made many updates (some have already been described by Cornucopia e.g. the tickbox saying they are not an agency). I think this is at least partially thanks to Clive Hurst whose ASA report against them was upheld (google search first step modelling ASA). I am glad that his report contained their Gumtree ad promising paid modelling jobs, as the one which I had responded to was deleted.
  • CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite, Board Guide
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    I'm a Board Guide on the The Money Savers Arms, Phones & TV, Techie Stuff, In My Home, and Food Shopping boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and manage threads there.

    Any views (especially those on the UK TV Licence) are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com.

    Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]
  • edited 13 October 2017 at 1:26AM
    jackielimjackielim Forumite
    14 posts
    edited 13 October 2017 at 1:26AM
    On top of Clive Hurst's report, Andrew Penman from the Mirror has reported on First Step Modelling, and all the organisations linked to them e.g. Hyde Park Studios, South West Studios and Distinctive Model Advice.

    The title of the article is "Gushing compliments, promises of riches, and then the hard sell – what happens at a “no fees” model photo shoot."

    I can't post the URL, so google for the article if you are interested - here are some snippets:

    The Inspectorate responded by saying it regulates employment agencies, but fake companies that purport to be agencies do not come under its remit.

    First Step Modelling is part of an opaque web of outfits. It claims on its website to be operated by SouthWest Studios – “registered in England and Wales” – but there’s no such name to be found at Companies House.

    It shares an address near Paddington in north London with another operation, Hyde Park Studios, which claims: “Our team of experts have worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry.”

    This uses the same phone number as another website, Distinctive Models.

    Its website, which is less than a year old, states: “We have more than 13 years of experience in supporting new faces to enter the modelling industry.”


    Also, it seems that "Sami Sean" - the domain owners of the websites of the linked organisations - could very well be Sayanthan Sritharan himself, the director of VenusLondon, as the article says that he is known as Sami.

    The review of Coran Elliott on her experience of FSM (or Distinctive Models) is extremely similar to mine, it's pretty distressful reading about it.
  • ComputersaysnoComputersaysno Forumite
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    jackielim wrote: »

    The Inspectorate responded by saying it regulates employment agencies, but fake companies that purport to be agencies do not come under its remit.

    And there's the real issue...these scum could be stopped so much easier if the Inspectorate chose to tackle them....but they don't [it's too much effort I guess]
    There's a very very easy way to get rid of scumco 'fines'...but I'm not allowed to say what it is...because it involves lying to scummy parking companies [which some people say is illegal!!] and that's 'not allowed'.
  • edited 14 November 2017 at 10:16AM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite, Board Guide
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    edited 14 November 2017 at 10:16AM
    jackielim wrote: »
    The title of the article is "Gushing compliments, promises of riches, and then the hard sell – what happens at a “no fees” model photo shoot."

    I can't post the URL, so google for the article if you are interested - here are some snippets:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gushing-compliments-promises-riches-hard-11325815
    And there's the real issue...these scum could be stopped so much easier if the Inspectorate chose to tackle them....but they don't [it's too much effort I guess]

    There really needs to be a regulator for those businesses that fall between the cracks of other regulators. It's far too easy {text removed by MSE Investigator} to come up with "creative" ideas for bypassing the intent of legal regulations that are there to protect consumers and ensure fair play between rival companies.

    Action Fraud seems to me to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of fraud that afflicts the UK, and it really needs to be split into two organisations: one to tackle criminal fraud, and the other to tackle corporate fraud against consumers (which is where I would place FSM, subject to confirmation of the claims made against them).

    The ASA judgment is well-intentioned, and undoubtedly fair, but they lack any powers outside of a self-regulatory ability to influence advertising material. Having said that, it should be easy to pick up the wording from the complaint and re-purpose it based on the content from their website.
    I'm a Board Guide on the The Money Savers Arms, Phones & TV, Techie Stuff, In My Home, and Food Shopping boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and manage threads there.

    Any views (especially those on the UK TV Licence) are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com.

    Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]
  • edited 14 November 2017 at 10:17AM
    jackielimjackielim Forumite
    14 posts
    edited 14 November 2017 at 10:17AM
    Hi all,

    Here is an update - after finding out about the Mirror article, I sent an email to FSM saying the following:

    "I am emailing regarding the job advert (see the Iconoclast advert I posted a while back) - you mentioned that I would need to do the photoshoot and retouched photos in order to apply for the job, which was I did.

    I would like you to please provide evidence that the job is an authentic job advertisement, and also evidence that you had applied for the job.

    If this is not the case, please refund my £290 (photoshoot) and £350 (retouched services) asap, or I will have to contact the Financial Conduct Authority."


    FSM then responded saying that the advert was from the Casting Collective web site, and that the Director had a chat with Angelina (the person who promised me the job, and also the FSM rep mentioned in the Mirror article) and will refund me. Initially they said to come to their office for the refund and to return the photos. However, I said to them that I have had a negative experience of FSM and suggested a bank transfer and an online transfer of the photos.

    They agreed and I am pleased to say that they have refunded me the £640.

    Guess which bank account it came from? Yep, VenusLondon. I guess Mr Director is "Sammy" himself.

    They wrote an email saying this:
    It was very big mistake what the previous manager made.

    You have to help us out to remove all the bad reviews. It will effect director’s personal life and the business.

    I would like to hear from you.


    Unfortunately I won't be taking off my negative reviews because this refund did not negate the experience I had. I won't be helping them delete any other negative reviews because what they are doing now does not erase the past. However, I am updating this thread with this good news to at least say that I have the money bank.

    {Text removed by MSE Investigator} perhaps this is time to get back in touch with them for your refund.
  • edited 14 November 2017 at 10:18AM
    hollydayshollydays Forumite
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    edited 14 November 2017 at 10:18AM
    jackielim wrote: »
    Hi all,

    Here is an update - after finding out about the Mirror article, I sent an email to FSM saying the following:

    "I am emailing regarding the job advert (see the Iconoclast advert I posted a while back) - you mentioned that I would need to do the photoshoot and retouched photos in order to apply for the job, which was I did.

    I would like you to please provide evidence that the job is an authentic job advertisement, and also evidence that you had applied for the job.

    If this is not the case, please refund my £290 (photoshoot) and £350 (retouched services) asap, or I will have to contact the Financial Conduct Authority."


    FSM then responded saying that the advert was from the Casting Collective web site, and that the Director had a chat with Angelina (the person who promised me the job, and also the FSM rep mentioned in the Mirror article) and will refund me. Initially they said to come to their office for the refund and to return the photos. However, I said to them that I have had a negative experience of FSM and suggested a bank transfer and an online transfer of the photos.

    They agreed and I am pleased to say that they have refunded me the £640.

    Guess which bank account it came from? Yep, VenusLondon. I guess Mr Director is "Sammy" himself.

    They wrote an email saying this:
    It was very big mistake what the previous manager made.

    You have to help us out to remove all the bad reviews. It will effect director’s personal life and the business.

    I would like to hear from you.


    Unfortunately I won't be taking off my negative reviews because this refund did not negate the experience I had. I won't be helping them delete any other negative reviews because what they are doing now does not erase the past. However, I am updating this thread with this good news to at least say that I have the money bank.

    {Text removed by MSE Investigator}

    Well done.
    Casting collective has a Facebook page.
    Perhaps you should inform them about this “ company’s” activities.

    Where does ‘ iconoclast’ come into it; who or what are they?
    Particularly bad grammar and spelling in their reply. Not unlike jeff9ruls eg post#24
    Actually I’ve spent some time browsing distinctive models website-I can’t believe how BAD it is :rotfl:
  • edited 17 October 2017 at 8:47PM
    hollydayshollydays Forumite
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    edited 17 October 2017 at 8:47PM
    https://www.distinctivemodels.co.uk
    omg the photos.....woman there in a Basque looks about 80..

    Looks like it’s been written by a confused google translate for example
    “Child modeling agencies like to see a portfolio of the child, because it allows them to assess how photogenic without the need for a specific test photo shoot, but keep in mind that your child should have the right time for this crane”

    Many buttons marked
    “ Regsiter now”

    Then there’s :”Profit
    Printed portfolio allows the administrator or agent threw in an interview visit his picture book that the operation or campaign looking models speak. This gives the impression that you are serious about modeling and show that you have experience as a professional model.”

    I can only say- very badly educated people with a “ twisted”understanding of what the United Kingdom culture finds acceptable. That's me being subtle..
  • hollydays wrote: »
    Well done.
    Casting collective has a Facebook page.
    Perhaps you should inform them about this “ company’s” activities.

    Where does ‘ iconoclast’ come into it; who or what are they?

    Thanks - please see below a quote from one of my older posts regarding the job ad.

    The job ad was purportedly for Iconoclast shooting summer catalogue photos for FREEMANS, JACAMO, LOOK AGAIN, PREMIER MAN. Seems like they keep reusing the same wording for job ads, as the Mirror investigator was shown a job ad for Jacamo paying £1,200.
    jackielim wrote: »

    //Job Advertisement via First Step Modelling//

    Summer Catalogue

    Company: Iconoclast
    Catalogue : FREEMANS, JACAMO, LOOK AGAIN, PREMIER MAN
    Production Type: Online
    Location: Central London
    Salary: £1200
    Duration: 9th - 11th June
    Closing Date: 05/06/17
    Restrictions: Aged from 18 to 45
    Production Details: We are shooting a series of films for the Spring/Summer Catalogues. These will be used on their websites, as well as in-store to promote their seasonal clothing.
    Casting will take place beginning of June, with the shoot taking place on the 9th and 11th June, all in central London.

    The rate of £1200 will cover three days shooting, and include usage for 18 months in-store and online worldwide.

    The films will be comical and whimsical, with a very refined sense of style, and display the occasion wear and gifting offered during the summer season. Two will be produced, each 30 seconds in length.

    Select a character
    Fashion Models to represent clothing brands
    Description: Male and Female, 18-45
    Gender: Both
    Min Age: 18
    Max Age: 45

    //End of Job Advert//
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