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via entertainment / modeling jobs

1 4520 n 12th st #101Phoenix, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 602-248-3682

I got scammed by a phoenix modeling agency

Via Entertainment a.k.a. www.viamodels.com
202 East Earl Drive Suite 185
Phoenix, AZ 85012
[protected]

ERIC was a high pressure salesman. He built me up with complements, told me how young I looked, showed me some of the images in an photo album on his desk (which he stopped me from looking at a few pages in-now makes me wonder why) and that he would like to hire me.
But then, he said I needed a portfolio, which was going to cost $350

He wouldn’t "allow" me do any research for a photographer. He was very insistent that I pay now.
I told them I couldn’t afford to pay for their photographer today. He pushed and pushed -so I gave him the debit card.
He did not tell me could or allow me to make a small deposit-he just wrote in the amount.
I ended up paying the $350 (which over drafted my bank acct and cost me another $70 in NSF charges.)

In the mean time, they offered me some grocery store demo work for the weekend, I took 3 jobs.
Then when I found out about my account was overdrawn, I couldn’t afford the gas to get there.
I called them for a refund of the $350 and they said the money was NOT REFUNDABLE.
I told them I couldn’t do the jobs w/o gas. (Plus they won’t pay me for 3-6 weeks)

MIKE said someone would come pick up the demo items-instead they charged $1500 on my debit card (which again left my bank account in the negative)
Apparently THERE IS A FEE THEY CHARGE FOR NOT DOING A JOB(no matter the reason -$500 ea.)
They took this out before the date the jobs were scheduled.
I did the jobs and had to get my husband to go to the office and get the $1500 back

I don’t understand why they can demand their money up front and make me wait to be paid.
How the MONEY IS NOT REFUNDABLE since the service has not yet been performed yet.

I have discovered a blog on scams.com, I am not the only one! And I am sure there are many, many more that have been scammed

Check these out!
http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=2625
Their Colorado office has many reports on bbb.org

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Comments

  • An
      14th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Do not go to this agency. It is a scam! No REAL agency will make you shoot with their photographer. No REAL agency will charge you for the shoot. No REAL agency will hold a cattle-call shoot that is unorganized and takes all day.

    REAL modeling/acting agencies will give you a list of their preferred photographers. Granted, "new faces" will need a test shoot. Although the photographers will charge around $300-50 for the shoot, it will be alone, organized, and professional. Furthermore the photographers are experienced and not a trigger-happy goofball with no sense of lighting, framing, etc. No, I'm not a photographer.

    REAL modeling/acting agencies do not use high pressure sales tactics. They will not make you pay anything. The only time I have been charged is the fair 15% of what the client paid. That amount is deducted and the 85% is sent to you by the agency typically 2 weeks to 1 month after the job. Its fair, the agency has the clients, the client selects you, and the agency takes its cut for booking the work. They have NEVER NEVER charged for instances where someone was unavailable.

    Demos and promos...urgh! If people want that type of work you can find it on craigslist through REAL promotion staffing agencies.

    Furthermore, if you are being lured into any agency with the hopes of being booked on some high paying gig . . . just think about it. Those jobs would not be advertised on the internet because the established agencies that are offered them book talent they already have. Also, if they can't really inform you about who their client is and what it is for then there is really something suspicious going on. Agencies will always tell models who the client is and it then becomes the models choice as to whether they will proceed with the booking.

    VIA Models will eventually get what it deserves. What goes around comes around. Anyways, the people who work there are all washed up with nothing going in their lives.

  • At
      19th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    i am so glad i read this and looked up this company before i gave them 325 of my dollars cuz i already put down 25 dollars the other day and i talked to ERIC AND CANDICE THE RECEPTIONIST AND THEY WERE NICE BUT WANTED MY MONEY I WILL NOT BE DOING NO PHOTO SHOOT AND THEY WONT GET MY XMAS MONEY HONEY. HAVE A BLESSED DAY PEOPLE LATER

  • Mi
      11th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes
    via entertainment - Taking Advantage of a Handicapped Woman
    Via Entertainment
    Phoenix
    Arizona
    United States

    I received a call from my friend who is Handicapped and she told me about this company and what wonderful things they were going to do for her and promote this fabulous Modeling Career. I knew from what she was telling me that this place was a fraud and a scam. They have already received $350.00 for a portfolio and was told she would be great as a model in magazines, travel, fashion and also as a Hair Model. I felt so bad that I looked them up online and found this wedsite stating the truth about Via Entertainment. They should be ashamed of themselves taking advantage of the Handicapped. My friend has very short hair and has multiple health problems. She can not even stand up straight due to terminal back issues. I e-mailed my friend this site so she can see this place is a scam.
    Thank you for the posting this information, so I could pass it on to my friend.

    Grateful Friend

  • Ha
      13th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Had a run-in with these folks myself. They claimed they were casting for Transformers II which was the reason for first contact. Pressured my girlfriend into an immediate shoot with a famous Colorado photographer at $350.00 and they had to have the slot filled because he was coming into town that weekend. They pushed so hard, I gave them my debit card for a down payment of $125.00 with the balance due within 2 days. They immediately ran it for $350.00 but was declined as I only had $130.00 in the account. He also stated that they would get her work to pay the balance but couldn't say what. Something came up and we were not able to make the shoot date or the additional payment so we tried to negotiate with them. Our intent was to honor the agreement but with more time to accomplish this. Upon contacting them to ask what our options were, Eric began a screaming rant about buyers remorse without even listening to us. He sent several emails which had poor grammar, bad spelling and a continuous rant about no refunds and how they would sue us for the balance, etc. Tried to get him to calm down and understand we would fulfill our end of the bargain if he would just work with us. No deal. His reaction was like a teenager on cocaine caught with his hand in his pants. We proceeded to check out his company in multiple ways only to find that there were several complaints filed with the BBB in which they were found to be at fault and had to reimburse the client(s). Upon further research, learned that the corporation was a front and they had absolutely no industry ties in any shape, form or fashion. Additional emails were sent with more screaming behavior coming from Eric and company. We decided to walk away and count our blessings at having only lost $125.00. As a side note, when they do the fashion look-see if you bring clothes, etc, you change in a small office and then do your turns, walk, etc in the lobby. REAL PRO's huh! If you have or have had a run-in with these folks, please file a complaint with the BBB.

  • Ti
      21st of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Follow up:

    I finally had my photo shoot, since I paid for it.

    The "Make-up Artist", who i paid additional money to, did a horrible job on my make-up. She put glitter on my eyelids (what professional make-up artist uses glitter for a photo shoot?). She did not put the make-up on evenly or professionally. She seemed to be high as a kite or off her meds. I was disappointed (go figure).

    The "Hair Stylist" was equally disappointing. I paid them also.

    I could of done a much better job by myself.

    The shoot was done in the parking lot, outside their Phoenix office in the bright sunlight and wind.

    I recieved my photos, got a couple of desent shots but overall was disappointed. I did not want to deal with these people anymore so I just took the proof sheets and my CD and left.

    I hope that I can save as many people from wasting their time and money with this company as possible.

  • Ju
      22nd of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I had the same kind of experience with these ppl. About a year and a half ago i had saw an ad in the paper that they where casting for a movie in az. So being an aspiering actress i decided i would go audition. Upon entering the biulding i was met by a pretty decent receptionist who told me that ERIC would be with me soon. When i finally was taken to erics office he proceeded to tell me how nice i looked and that i had that "model look and face" He then told me that i would need to have a photo shoot and that he wanted me to use his own "professional" a guy named Roger. Then he asked me how much money i had on me because the shoot would cost 350. I told him that i had no money on me and that it would take me a week or 2 to come up with it. He told me that if i was serious about an Acting carreer then i need to come up with the $ faster than 2 weeks because he was alrerady about to fill the role. I told him that i didnt have it then left the office. Later that week I contacted a Photo agency in mesa and had a few photos done for around $75. I took the photos back to ERIC and when i handed them to him he told me that they were very unprofessional and that i need to have his friend Roger take my photos. He then showed me pics that Roger did and told me that that was the kind of quality they were looking for. And those pics were not even as decent as the ones that the photo agency took. I dont know what deal ERIC has going on with this guy named roger but i got the impression that roger was some guy that probably failed at photography or he was Eric's best friend, or he was some guy that got together with Eric and came up with a plan to scam people!!! Oh and One more thing, I called a few legitamite agencies and they all siad that they have no idea who via entertainment is and that Eric does not sound familiar to them. Im so glad that i didnt waste money on these idiots, and if you already have i hope and pray that u are able to get your money back!!!

  • Sc
      27th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    PLEASE Stay away from this place. All of the above posts are very true.

    They only want your money. There is NO job. Eric is a sweet talker. He will say anything to get you to sign the papers. And hand over money for the portfolio.

    They make money off PORTFOLIOS and getting you to work promos selling food in grocery stores on the weekend or whatever they have available for you to do. Maybe some people really do get acting jobs through this agency but 99.9% of them most likely walk away with pics of themselves never to be called for an audition.

    If you go there anyway, DO NOT SIGN OR GIVE MONEY to them unless you want to. You have rights. Do NOT let ERIC push you around. He's a SALESMAN!!!

    VIA ENTERTAINMENT is a scam. THEY ARE NOT HIRING FOR THE SEQUEL TO TWILIGHT. No one ever mentioned the acting /extra roles to me not once. Just went straight to the modeling talk and portfolio junk. I am not a model. I dunno, maybe they have all the people they need for it but I think they just used it as a ploy to get people in to the agency to sell them portfolio creations.

    Hope this post saved some one money/time.

  • Cu
      27th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    OMG! Thank you guys so very much for the advice... I went in a couple days ago ang as soon as i walked in the door i noticed that there were a bunch of ugly people in there, I figured they were jus trying to be extras in a movie or something. but when i was called back i was greeted by Eric, A sharp looking man with a huge nautica ad on his wall. He told me that was him and that he did some work for nautica, Now I love nautica but i was prpared for him to ask for my money( as do all people in this industry). He told me i was the best looking person hes seen all day. (I already know) and that I would need to build a portfolio. Okay i agreed but when he asked for my money I was a little disappointed. 350$ yeah right so i told him I would be back. Help me I need to find someone that knows about the buisness and check me out I am very good looking and need help. ( duarte0017@yahoo.com) email me

  • Gr
      13th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    This JUST happened to my niece. What a scam. I am only sorry the for the people who will not read this BEFORE going forward. For those of you who have come home after signing and found all this information only to have found you have been scammed..here is some advice. If you used your credit card or debit card with credit card symbol you have fraud protection. A few things:

    They must let you know BEFORE the transaction that the services are non-refundable.
    The merchant account with Visa or Mastercard requires that in order for the charge to be valid you must be "enriched for every transaction" meaning if you paid for pictures, imaging etc.. you must be given those at the time of the transaction not later. If you never show up it is a refundable transaction. Call your banks.
    By the way this is why online merchants are not allowed to charge you for things until they ship. This is why salons cannot legally charge you card for missed appointments unless you sign for it etc.. The agreement with merchant services does not allow it.

    These people are slippery and really scary. I called them to let them know my niece would not be having her imaging or shoot and that I obtained a chargeback based on fraud from my bank and changed my debit number and the gentleman lost it. Chargebacks are a big deal to merchants. The more chargebacks a merchant gets the higher his fees go and the less money on his/her pocket. Eventually they will not be able to use charge cards anymore which lets face it, is their bread and butter. Call out the fraud

  • Az
      15th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    This is awesome! I'm glad to see the AZ talent community coming together to spotlight this blight in the acting/modeling community. Total frauds, I hope they're forced to shut their doors for their unethical business practices.

    Regards,

    A Concerned AZ Actor

  • Ho
      16th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    Wow, I can't believe this! This guy needs to be stopped. Im so glad I read this, here's my story:
    So I get there and walk in and see a bunch of people there, actually a few hotties too, so I thought OK cool, signed in. Everything seemed legit, waited for freakin like 2 hours to talk with Eric, he gave me a comment on my eyes, he bragged about his big picture on the wall, and he actually guaranteed me that I can make the 350 back plus extra spending money in no time! Unfortunately, I did happen to bring 50 bucks cash in my wallet so of course I made a down payment which sucks. So then, I go to the other room and give ID to that other dude. Eric told me to pay the rest when I come back for the photoshoot, got rescheduled, and left. So atleast I only lost 50 and not 350!! Doubt I will ever get it back! Thanks you guys rock! later

  • Jk
      24th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I am glad there are people out there that are willing to stand up for what is right. I am just sorry I didn't read these before today. I went into the Phoenix office to inquire about being a movie extra. I was led into Eric's office and was told I have a great look and that he actually thought that I was a model and if I had ever thought about being one. I was flatterd and said no. He told me to get work being paid $2000 a session I would need professional photos and he new a photographer who was flown in from Colorado that did professional photos. I was talked into signing a contract that I later realized said "non-refundable" for $350. My friend went in behind me and was basically given the same lines but she was smarter and didn't fall for it. An hour later I realized I had been scammed and went back to see about getting my transaction voided but they just referred me to the fine print and said there was nothing they could do about it. I feel like such a ### to have fallen for this. Is there no way to get my money back? I can't believe I'm out $350 just like that. I called my bank but they said that if I signed a contract there was most likey nothing they could do. Oh well. I hope this is a warning for others out there.

  • Be
      20th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    well yesterday i just went for an appointment with VIA when i walked in tha place looked very nice. there were several people there and some of them i recognized to be the models on the pictures hanging on the walls. i was so oblivious to the scam yeserday but since i'm only 17 my mom had to come with me. the sec we get in the other room with this eric guy my mom was suspicious. i went in for the twilight saga extra thing for there next movie Eclipse and wen we sat down he kept throwing this modeling thing in my face, saying that i have a good look that i should do the modeling. not once did he mention anything about twilight. he was showning all this work that he has done talking about a photo shoot he did with dillards and he said that it s hard to get a photographer for someone with no experience. but he says this guy that did tha photo shoot for him with dillards is flying down from colorado springs and that he only has 2 appointments left for the photo shoot. my mom was totally cool with this until he said that he needs the money right now so i could do the shoot with this guy by next week. he wanted my mom to give him her credit card number right then and there. my mom was very uncomfortable with this and said no. but he was determined, he said that he can see me again this wed that if i pay he will set me up with this photographer and give me training, we said we will think about it and tell our answer wed. i decided to go to there website to c if there ligit or not but this site caught my eyes and thank god. i will not go back to these people. from what i hear they are horrible people. thank you very much. :)

  • An
      6th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I went there I gave them the money Did anyone get there money back?
    How could I get my money back?

    Help me (: ?

  • Si
      8th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    There is a contract that anyone working with Via is to sign before handing over any money or anything. In the contract it states that there are no refunds and that when you do the weekend gigs at Sam's Club's Demoing, if you sign up to do it and take the kit and do not complete the task at hand you will be charged the amount of money they will not get paid because the demo was not done. All of this is in the contract that you are suppose to sign. I have yet to do my photoshoot and I have been with Via for a year. I also just got done doing my third demo. I do agree that it's ridiculous to wait for a month just to get paid and they send the demo people all over the state but don't put one at the local Sam's Club. It is very ridiculous that you have to go to mandatory demo trainings that you don't get paid for and that you have to waste time and money filling out the same three sheets and then calling in your results at the end of the demo's as well. They call you an independent contractor if you do the Sam's Club Demo's but you have to do six of them a year in order to claim them on your taxes and everything else. It's pretty ridiculous. I do not know an Eric, but here in Colorado Springs they send everything to a Nick in AZ.

  • Bi
      7th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    They are money sucking pieces of sh#&(*@T and should be in jail.

  • Ha
      9th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    Why is this place still in business and they say they are part of the better business bureau? Are they paying them off? They are scamming people hardcore. Both me and my boyfriend tried this place. The first time he went he told me that they liked his look and chatted him up but they would need 350 for a portfolio. He tried to get the money together but couldn't after which point he called them and told them that he didn't have the money and couldn't do it. The next day their "money guy" called him and when he told them again that he couldn't do it started threatening him saying that the so called fake a"colorado photagraopher" was already flying in and he gave them a verbal contract by saying that he would do it and that they were going to take him to collections for the 350. When i went i got the same deal but i told them i didn't have the money upfront. I could tell they were a scam as soon as i heard him pitching me the same story he pitched to my boyfriend "the colorado photographer flying down for the weekend." I really feel sorry for the children of these a**holes they are dirty sleazy scammers. ### of the earth.

  • Cr
      21st of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I'm in Texas but I'm dealing with the Colorado Springs office...they are only wanting me to do Demos at the Sam's Club's on the weekends since there is not an actual office here in Texas. Does anyone know if they actually pay you for the demos you do?

  • Be
      13th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    Has anyone had any success at getting the $350 photo shoot deposit returned???

  • Ga
      17th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    Haha i just see a bunch of people in capable of being competent, ive been working with the company for almost a year now, and ive gotten to be in a movie, done ad work and lots of promotional which are easy money.

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