As a service to protect our readers, this column is dedicated to exposing scams and other questionable incidents that occur at auditions and elsewhere. If you have experienced any suspicious occurrences during the auditioning process, please call the Back Stage West casting line at (323) 525-2358.
€ Regarding Hollywood Casting, a company which placed display ads in Back Stage West in summer 1998, we recently received a complaint from a man who with his wife paid a total of $60 to be considered for extra work the company was casting. The man said he was told by a representative named Melissa that she would submit his pictures to an upcoming Steven Spielberg film; he was also told that he could get a refund if he was not satisfied.
After a month of cancelled jobs and a hotline that currently lists only a modeling gig in July, the man wants his refund, but said the company refuses. Not only is Melissa gone from Hollywood Casting, the owner‹someone named TJ‹offers no refunds ever. A representative told Back Stage West the same policy over the phone.
In fact, California law mandates that any job seeker who pays a fee or deposit to an employment agency and later "fails to accept" employment (meaning either they don't like the jobs offered or no jobs have been offered) is entitled to a refund within 48 hours. After 48 hours, the company owes the dissatisfied job seeker double that amount and is subject to criminal prosecution. In a recent case against Matthew Frederickson's Premier Casting, L.A. city attorneys successfully enforced this little known law, and though Premier Casting tried to claim it wasn't an employment agency, the judge disagreed (BSW 3/18/99, 4/8/99).
In other words, Hollywood Casting: In your business, refunds are the law.