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Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 04/01/2000

Seattle Talent

Phone: (206) 903-6900Fax: (206) 903-0302

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Customer Complaints Summary

2 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 0 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues2
Billing / Collection Issues0
Problems with Product / Service0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints2

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (2)BBB Closure Definitions
12/16/2013Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Seattle Talent engages in bait and switch marketing tactics. The company advertising and marketing offers a meeting with an agent after an "audition." There was no mention of classes or any fees. The result of the audition is a sales pitch for very expensive classes. The process also preys on vulnerability of young people wanting to advance in theater or show business, and the resulting pressure on parents when suggesting that the expensive classes are necessary for agent meetings.

I wound up paying $4900 for these "classes" and hours later regretted my decision. I contacted the company less than 24 hours after writing a check for their classes and was told that policy required that they not provide a full refund. Instead they refunded $4400 and kept $500. The use bait and switch marketing tactics, hi pressure sales techniques, provided no service whatsoever, and didn't provide a full refund.

Desired Settlement
I want a full refund of the money I paid them as a result of their deceptive marketing practices and high pressure sales techniques. The amount that is still not refunded is $500.

Business Response
*** **** willingly signed a contract that states "Parent hereby acknowledges that she enters int and executes this contract voluntarily and without any reliance on representations, promises, or inducements made by any agents or employees of Seattle Talent". The contract that she signed also states "The Parent may cancel this contract within 72 hours after its execution by mailing a certified letter to Seattle Talent. The Parent will be refunded the tuition, but not the non-refundable registration fee".

**** **** did not follow what the contract very clearly said to do, rather she phoned the next day. *** ******, the owner, accepted her cancellation, which **** **** said was because of a family matter, making no mention at all of "bait and switch", and *** ****** offered to help her in a way to salvage the situation where it would be fair to both parties, and told her to think about the option he offered her, and to give him a call back.

She never phoned him back, unfortunately. *** ****** is still open to making certain this is resolved in a way that everyone would be pleased with the outcome, but this could have been resolved already if *** **** had followed the contract she signed, and followed up with *** ******* offer. **** **** can contact myself directly to help get this resolved satisfactorily as quickly as possible.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
We never received the email from Seattle Talent (nor return phone calls from the vmails that we left for them). However, upon receipt of the BBB response today, we were able to verify the $500 refund with the bank. Thank you.

Final Business Response
*** **** is correct, in my response I indicated we had not received a letter. The person in the office who received the certified letter did not inform me of that until after I had written the response.

I am copying and pasting the response from the Owner who *** **** dealt with on 11/26, on that same day, we refunded her $500, though we had no legal obligation to do so. Her reply on the 29th is curious.

-----Original Message-----
From: **** ****** mailto:****@seattletalent.net
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 5:49 PM
To: '*****@rocketmail.com'; '*******@yahoo.com'
Subject: FW:

Hello ******* and *******

I wanted to reach out to you since I haven't heard from you since last we
spoke. When we did last speak, you told me that you were going to speak to
your very upset husband and get back to me regarding my offer to have ******
participate in the photo shoot you signed up for, as well as attend some of
our agency auditions . You did mention that he had no interest in having
her pursue the entertainment industry and wanted you to cancel the contract
you signed the previous day. I asked that you share my offer and get back to
me. You agreed. I have not heard to date. I did however see the BBB
complaint you filed. So unnecessary. My company, it's representatives and I
have done everything we said would, and if given a chance you would have
been very pleased with the results. I know ****** wants to do this, and as
you mentioned several times in our office "this is all she has ever wanted",
we didn't talk her or you into anything. You made a decision that your
husband didn't like that is all that happened. A simple return phone call
refusing my offer is all that needed to happen.
Please see the above attachment as proof that I have refunded your husband's
credit card. I am truly sorry this experience wasn't handled differently. I
will be supplying the BBB with a copy of your refunded credit card.


Attached is the CC refund that we did on the 26th, which was also attached to the above email, so the ****'s knew they had been refunded the monies before their response. Though we had no legal obligation too, the contract is nullified, all monies are returned, hopefully this matter and the miscommunications that happened on both sides are settled satisfactorily. We certainly feel they are on our end.

Best regards,

******* ** *****

***SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REDACTED BY BBB***

05/16/2013Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Claimed to have discovered and represent clients they do not. Lied to out children claiming famous actors will be hanging out with them when they are not even a part of this company we found out after. We contacted the child actor and he claims he barely went to any classes at Seattle talent and it was a waste of his money.They also said the actors still live localy in WA which is a lie, he lives in Los Angeles. We went back immediately and they refused to give our $500 back. We would not have signed up our children if he had not mislead them and got their hopes extremely high with blatant lies. They claim to sell acting lessons which were just people videoing kids reading a piece of paper

Desired Settlement
Our $500 deposit

Business' Initial Response
To address this correctly, first it must be said that each and every person that is listed on our site has been a part of Seattle Talent and its parent company "Willy Inc". That being said, the reason for Mr. ******* overstating his reason's for a refund is because he failed to follow what his contract stated, and thusly ineligible for a refund, as his credit card company already ruled in our favor.

It clearly states in the contract that he signed (attached) that there is both a $500 non-refundable deposit, as well as a 72-hour period for canceling the entire contract, by sending a certified letter. The contract had a $500 deposit, with $1450 to be paid at a later time. Mr. **** did not ever send a certified letter in the proper time frame. Mr. **** signed up his two boys on February 14th, with their first workshop being on February 16th. Both boys attended the workshop. On Feb 17th, Mr. **** sent an email (attached) stating that because of his large family and financial constraints, they would not be able to follow through, acknowledging he had a non-refundable deposit, but would like it refunded anyway. In a follow up email, he stated that he wanted to ask if people were making money from auditions, and that the $500 was his "rent" money. We offered to waive the remaining $1450 of his contract despite him not following the cancellation, and still allow the boys to attend their 8 week workshop and be able to audition with Agents, but that was met with no response. We have tried to accomodate Mr. **** as best as possible, from lowering the price to let both boys participate, to trying to put a payment plan together that works for the family, to waiving their remaining balance, to offering to let the boys finish an eight week workshop with no further obligations, all despite Mr. **** not following the Contract that he signed.

Mr. **** should feel free to contact me directly a *******@seattletalent.net

Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
A copy of my response sent May 9

Dear *******,

I sent you a response a week ago and have not heard back. We have no problem discussing this issue further or backing our claims. I previously stated that we have been in the process of moving back to California and during this time have also had limited internet. ***** works nights doing construction and sleeps during the day so it is probably difficult to contact him although during your last interaction he felt like you were just trying to cover your tail and had the feeling you would just side with your employee. We will make ourselves available if you really want to get to the bottom of this but we are not interested in wasting our time. ***** was present when the majority of the claims were made with our 12 year old son who I invite you to talk to as well. He will have no problem recalling the promises he was told by *****. I was present when I heard ***** tell the whole group during orientation that ***** **** still lived in WA and you would not have to move if you were hired for any work.


****** ****

Business' Final Response
Hello,

Since reading the response, I phoned ***** ****. We had a brief conversation, where he did not know that his wife had filed with the BBB. I recapped her response for him, and asked him a few questions about the allegations his wife had said about *****'s statements. He said that he was not present during the whole meeting, as he brought their entire family, but he did hear several things that she had printed in her BBB response. I believe he was at work, and had to cut the response short, I phoned him back asking to call me back, and that I would be sending him an email. Here is the text of my email :

Hello ***** and ******

*****, I regret our not being able to have a fuller conversation today, as I think there was more to cover. I was very surprised to read ******** response to our statement to the BBB, and to have a few of the things she brought up echoed by you in our brief conversation. The unfortunate side of our business, is we have more than a few Parents that bring their kids in, thinking it is going to be like American Idol, and they are going to get swept away by fame and glory, and start making money right away. Even worse, is when the Parents far overestimate their own child's talent and skill level, and then blame us because they are not millionaires in six months, or to be blunt, some people are just flaky and come up with a million stories to cancel their contract far past any reasonable time. Thusly, I responded very generically to the BBB.

However, hearing that ***** said that ***** lived in Washington, that ****** or **** might run into him or his Sister on some Saturday, causes me a lot of concern. Obviously we are a successful business, and you can see by our A+ rating and well liked Facebook page, that we have plenty of happy clients. That being said, I am very uncomfortable with some of the statements you have said that ***** stated in front of the boys, as that is not how we operate. If you can take a couple of minutes this weekend, and send me an email with a little bit more detail about what ***** claimed, I will take that and have a meeting with *****, and then be able to make the correct decision regarding refunding the deposit you made with the boys quickly. I will be handling this personally, and I would like to make certain this is not a negative experience for the boys or your family.

Kind regards,

Michael M. *****
Vice President, Seattle Talent
206.903.6900, ext 114
*******@seattletalent.net

I sent that on April 19th with no response. I forwarded the same email to ***** on April 23rd with no response. I have left messages for *****, on ******** cell phone, as well as two messages on their home phone. In my phone messages I indicated that I was eager to come to a conclusion that would make both parties happy. I have yet to receive any contact from the family.

At this point, it is hard for me to give credibility to their claims if they can't take five minutes to email me so I can fact check. They seemed like very nice people who wouldn't make up random facts to try and get their money back, but I do not understand their lack of contact, especially as I was willing to take their complaints seriously.

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BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.