A.G. Schneiderman Stops Nationwide Talent Agency From Deceiving New York Consumers
Company Took Advantage of New Yorkers With Deceptive Advertisements Promising Meetings With Talent Agents
POUGHKEEPSIE - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with ProScout Inc., a nationwide talent agency, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. ProScout, has agreed to pay $35,000 in penalties for misleading consumers through deceptive advertising. The ads promoted "open calls" for prospective talent free to the public but misled consumers into thinking actual talent scouts would be present. Instead, when consumers arrived they were greeted by employees of ProScout who were promoting a regional event that would carry with it a mandatory cost of $700.
"This company took advantage of consumers with false advertisements promising the opportunity to meet with talent agents, but that was not the case," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "My office has zero tolerance for scams that deceive New Yorkers, and will continue to fight to protect people’s hard earned money."
The Attorney General's investigation found that during ProScout's "open calls" select consumers were pressured to sign up for regional events which cost as much as $700. They were also told that at that paid event, they would have a brief runway walk in front of a group of talent agents. Many of those who attended these "open calls" were parents with small children and young adults aspiring to be actors and models.
In 2010, ProScout held several "open calls" throughout New York, including three in Poughkeepsie. They advertised on area radio stations with dozens of spots for each open call. ProScout's deceptive advertisements violated the General Business Law (Article 22-A) and because the violation was repeated, the Attorney General also finds that ProScout violated Executive Law 63 (12).
As a result of the Attorney General's investigation, ProScout has entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance. Under the agreement, ProScout will no longer use misleading advertisements and pay $35,000 in civil penalties to the State of New York.
The investigation was handled by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Garin and Investigator Mark Hoops under the supervision Attorney General In-Charge for the Poughkeepsie Regional office Vincent Bradley.