Casting company just after cash
By Stephanie Zimmermann June 24, 2011 6:18PM
Updated: October 28, 2011 11:56AM
Dear Fixer: I called a toll-free number I found in an ad asking for people to appear in a movie as an extra. They wanted to know my credit card number.
I didn’t know that to make an appearance as a movie extra you have to give them your credit card number. What do you think?
W. Brown, Chicago
Dear W.: We called the toll-free number, too, and got connected with a heavily accented woman in a call center representing a website called Casting360.com. She also wanted our credit card number — which The Fixer wouldn’t give — to bill us for a $1.98 registration fee to post an online portfolio that casting agents supposedly look at. She read us a scripted pitch all about how casting directors are “always looking” for people to be in movies, TV shows, reality shows, dancing shows and modeling jobs and how some people make up to $300 a day! Well, The Fixer already was dreaming of being on “Real Housewives of Cook County” — until we figured out how Casting360.com is making its money.
According to its own posted terms and conditions, everyone who signs up is automatically enrolled in a $34.90-a-month subscription beginning on the 15th day after you first give them your credit card for the registration fee. This is automatically billed to your card. They say you can cancel the monthly subscription, but our guess is that it takes most people longer than 14 days to gather their photos, post their information and think hard about whether they want to continue. By then, the 14 days is up and Casting360.com got at least $34.90 of your money. If you take longer, they’ll get another $34.90 for the next month, and so on.
Interestingly, the guy behind Casting360.com is Igor Reiant, whose other company, Casting Talent Network Inc. (also known as Talent6), in 2010 entered into a consent decree with the San Mateo County, Calif., district attorney’s office. In that agreement, the company agreed to stop a variety of business practices including misrepresenting its casting opportunities, service charges and cancellation terms, and pay $45,000 in civil penalties.
Our advice? Steer clear of any advance-fee operation, whether it’s for supposed casting calls or modeling jobs or anything else. If you want to break into show business, this is not the way.
Dear Fixer: You are our last hope. This may sound insignificant, but it is important to us.
My wife and I are 79 and 80 years old. Two years ago, we ordered an extended subscription to Reader’s Digest. We are still paid up until 2014.
We requested the large-print version due to our ages, but for the past two years we have received the regular-print issues.
We have spoken to many people in customer service and management just trying to get what we ordered. All we get is more runaround.
Charles Ball, Homer Glen
Dear Charles: Your wife told Team Fixer that each time you spoke with someone at Reader’s Digest, they swore that the problem was being fixed. But that was a little hard to swallow, much less digest, as time went on and this still wasn’t resolved.
We got in touch with Reader’s Digest spokesman Michael Penn, who promised he’d investigate. Soon after, your wife got a call from the magazine’s customer-service department. They promised that the large-print magazine was on its way — and this time it was! You got the current issue as well as last month’s.