Area of Law: Consumer Law
Answer # 815
Model and talent agenciesRegion: Ontario Answer # 815
There are many modelling and talent agencies working in Ontario’s busy entertainment industry. Most are legitimate businesses, working hard to represent their clients. However, there is a growing number of unscrupulous agencies which take money for services not delivered, make promises of work that never appears, and overcharge for photo portfolios and for computer and television listings that are not needed. Some people have lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars without ever getting work as models or actors.
You should be very careful about signing contracts or giving money to agencies that approach you. It is very rare for legitimate modelling and talent agents to approach people on the street or to call them on the phone. If you have been approached with promises of work, or a screen test, make sure that such promises are put in writing, and don’t sign a contract or give the agency any money or your credit card number before you have checked out the contract and the agency itself.
There are several sources of information and advice. The Acting and Modelling Information Service (AMIS) has a telephone hotline with recorded information. Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS) has lawyers available who are knowledgeable about the entertainment business. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services monitors complaints about agencies, and you can ask about your agency’s reputation before getting involved.
If you already paid money to an agency, you have 10 days under the Consumer Protection Act to cancel (rescind) the contract. You must make sure that the seller receives the cancellation in writing, and within the time period. If you have cancelled in this way, any money you have paid to the seller must be returned to you. If you have been the victim of misrepresentation or unfair consumer practices, you have up to one year under the Act to claim your money back.
For more information, visit Consumer Protection Ontario. For legal assistance, consult a lawyer.
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