Casting360 / Casting360 aka Talent6 Fined $45,000 for False Advertising, Misleading Ads & Fraud
San Mateo County consumer protection authorities are warning aspiring actors around the nation to be extra careful when pursuing their dreams of stardom after they fined a South San Francisco talent agency Casting360 also known as Talent6 for breaking state laws.
The District Attorney's Office Consumer Protection Unit said it opened the investigation into the Casting360 and Talent6 websites, after about 200 would-be entertainers complained about the company to the Better Business Bureau.
Casting360 aka Talent6 Fined $45, 000 for False Advertising, Misleading Ads & Fraud
The website links actors to potential auditions and charges them a fee upfront, then automatically charges them nearly $30 per month if they do not cancel, said Deputy District Attorney Chuck Finney. The site did not explain the contract to customers and in some cases advertised auditions that did not appear to exist, he said. The sites also used various employement sites advertising for actual jobs and then engaging in a "bait & switch" tactic.
The DA's office sued the company in San Mateo County Superior Court last month, claiming it violated two sections of state business and professions law that outline misrepresentation and unfair practices. Each violation comes with a $2, 500 fine per victim.
Judge Stephen Hall issued a judgment Thursday in which the company will pay a $45, 000 fine to the DA's office and its president will meet with Finney every four months for the next two years to discuss complaints against the company that consumers filed with authorities. The agency is also banned from advertising casting call opportunities "unless true" and from charging monthly fees without a customer's consent. In Many cases the company made it nearly impossible to cancel the service and double billed thousands of victims.
Finney said the company has paid back nearly everyone who complained. But his office was concerned the salespeople were working on commission and not divulging the full agreement to actors, or doing whatever they could to seal a sale. Casting360 and Talent6 Call Centers are located In Moldova, a former Soviet Bloc republic. The company maintains a small adminstrative presence in the USA.
"Would-be actors need to really make sure that they understand what the relationship is, " with talent managers, Finney said. "Young people are so star-struck that they think there is just a great opportunity out there."
Attorneys for the company did not return calls for comment Friday. In the ruling, the company and its president, Igor Reiant, agreed to pay the fine and meet the judge's demands.