BBB receives a number of consumer inquiries regarding various beauty pageants & contests. Typically, most pageants are usually operated by for-profit companies or promoters that solicit prospective participants by mail, print advertising or by broadcast media to compete for recognition and prizes from the promoting company. The competition may be based upon several categories, such as: personality, appearance, talent, civic achievements, etc. Some promoters may encourage contestants to sell ads for pageant programs and tickets to the pageant by offering cash prizes, awards or titles at the pageant for the person who sells the most. Many pageants obtain names of persons to contact through referrals from past participants, or by purchasing mailing lists, or by soliciting schools and civic groups for a list of names to contact. Sponsorship fees are paid to the promoter of the pageant and generally cover the cost of the pageant, hotel rental fees, awards, printing costs, administrative costs, salary for company personnel and company profits. For each subsequent pageant level, a winning contestant may be asked to provide additional sponsorship fees, which are reportedly paid to the promoter by businesses, friends of the contestant and/or family members. Prizes offered in a pageant will depend upon the pageant promoter, and vary from merchandise to tuition scholarships. Before entering any pageant, prudent questions to ask are: -How long has the company been operating pageants? Who are the directors? -What is the total cost of pageant participation? -Can the location of the pageant company be verified? Where and when will the actual pageant be held? What accomodations are provided for contestants? Will there be adequate supervision? -Who are the judges and what are there qualifications? Do they have any affiliation with the promoting company? -Are refunds possible if a contestant withdraws from the pageant? -How are winners chosen? What criteria are used for selection? -What are the obligations of the winning contestant? -What do former contestants and winners have to say about the pageant? -What benefit will be derived from participating or winning?