BBB Business Review
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This company offers modeling training.
This business is not BBB accredited.
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of No Rating. The reason is as follows:
- This business has no rating because it is out of business.
Customer Complaints Summary
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Additional Complaint Information
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According to information supplied by the company, Excel Modeling began business in April 1992. The BBB opened its file in August 1992. The company has been responsive to complaints brought to its attention by the BBB.
In March 1998, Kelli S. Harman and Excel Model Management signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the State of Pennsylvania to settle allegations that the company and Ms. Harman individually violated Consumer Protection Law, the Goods & Services Installment Act, the State Debt Collection Regulations, & the Federal Trade Commission's Credit Practices Rule.The Assurance alleges in part that Excel:
1. Misrepresented that employment was available by running ads in newspapers seeking people interested in doing part time modeling work for $10 to $75 per hour when in fact Excel had numerous consumers under contract who were not receiving work assignments and few if any were receiving the advertised pay.
2. Failed to disclose in their ads that in order to be eligible to receive modeling assignments from Excel, consumers were required to pay for goods & services including but not limited to fees for a video tape audition, required training seminars, and a required photo shoot.
3. Required consumers to use particular hair salon & photographyservices and failed to disclose that in exchange Excel either received commissions or discounts on services provided to staff.
4. Misrepresented that consumers would receive gainful employment if they went through the company's training program.
5. Failed to use contracts that contain the contractual provisions and disclosures required by law in connection with installment sales transactions.
6. Charged consumer interest in excess of the amount permitted by law.
7. Attempted to collect debts from individuals who were not the primary parties.
8. Advertised and accepted deposits from individuals for a soap opera acting seminar then failed to schedule and present the seminar or refund money to those individuals.
While not admitting to any wrongdoing, Excel agreed to pay the Attorney General $2,045 for civil penalties, costs of the investigation and reimbursement of filing fees and agreed to comply with State Law in the above allegations.
The company also agreed to stop collection activities for all consumers named in the assurance and to correct any negative information relating to these collection efforts that may appear in these consumers' credit files. The company further agreed to resolve all past & future complaints filed with the Office ofAttorney General by refunding money paid for seminars not conducted & refunding money to those who did not receive work paying the amount advertised.
In response to the BBB regarding this matter, Excel Model Management stated that they "offer a professional and ethical opportunity for all men, women and children who are interested in modeling or acting part time." The company stated that the Office of Attorney General's investigation began following the closing of their Johnstown office, when clients who did not want to report their State College office filed complaints. The company sent the BBB copies of invoices and letters from clients to demonstrate they have satisfied clients and that some clients have been hired for modeling jobs. The BBB has not attempted to verify this information.
The company filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on April 14, 1998. Consumers with monetary claims can contact the Bankruptcy Court at 412-644-2700 to obtain a proof of claim form or may contact the Attorney General's Ebensburg office at 814-949-7900. According to the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, the consumer restitution, penalties, costs and filing fees are not dischargable debts under any bankruptcy.
Also in April 1998, Ms. Harman opened a new agency called Millenia Model & Talent, operating at the same address as Excel had. The BBB has a separate report available on Millenia.
On June 30, 1998 the Attorney General filed a petition for sanctions in court alleging that Ms. Harman and Excel haveviolated the terms of the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. The petition states that Harman and Excel violated the agreement by stopping payment on the check to the State; by running certain types of advertisements and not including required disclosures in the ads, including that fees were required; by stating that the company was licensed when the renewal license was not issued; and by failing to make refunds to certain consumers.
The petition also alleges that Harman and Excel are further violating the Assurance by attempting to discharge the debts relating to the Assurance by filing bankruptcy.
The petition asks the court to direct Harman and Excel to pay the restitution, fees and penalties, along with an additional $5,000 penalty, to appoint a receiver to martial the company's assetsand satisfy its financial obligations, and to dissolve Harman's modeling agency and forfeit her right to do business in Pennsylvania. Harman has 20 days to respond to the petition.
The BBB will update this report as new information becomes available.
As a matter of policy, the BBB does not endorse any product, service or company.
Business ManagementMrs. Kelli Harman, President
MODELING & TALENT AGENCIES