This article is my opinion and mine alone, however, after reading the 50+ comments you will see that my opinion is not unique and matches that of many people.
Scroll to the bottom of this article for the most recent updates.
12/28/2006 A couple months ago I received an email from someone wanting to know my experience with Cosmo Model & Talent. I gave an honest answer that got me thinking about my own experience with Cosmo. The same person emailed me a few weeks later to let me know they decided not to join after meeting with Tammy, they did not say why.
Below is my honest and factual opinion of Cosmo Model & Talent. It’s from my own experiences.
I think we fell into that easy target category because I own my own business and my daughter is home-schooled. Cosmo convinces you that home-schooled kids will have better availability for appointments because their schedules aren’t dictated by the school system.
My first impressions of Cosmo Model & Talent. The first thing I noticed was that they are in a small section of a business building. The hallway to Cosmo had an unpleasant odor on more than one occasion. I was surprised that hey didn’t have their own dressing rooms, they use the office buildings restrooms. Overall I was very unimpressed. The second thing I noticed was they didn’t have computers for communication like email and such. They had a computer or two for printing invoices but no over-all cohesive computer system or network. Mike, the photographer, had an old Mac and a new Mac but their office had no high speed internet. Mike had a laser printer which most comps were printed on at the time. When you were given something to sign it looked like it was a copy of a copy of a copy. Their office was run like they were back in the early 80’s. I didn’t hold their lack of technology against them because I was not familiar with the modeling world and what they considered acceptable.
Their website was bad. Click this link to see what it looked like through most of 2006. I mocked up a new website for them in 2005 and showed it to the owner, Dona Downing, but she said when she was ready she was going to spent 20K and do it right. That’s not the direction the site took but it looks much better. Only a couple months ago did they change the site. Click this link to see the new sites progress. Then they change their URL from models to model breaking my previously listed link.
This is a chronological order of events through the our Cosmo experience.
7/30/2005 My daughter tried to get into an American Girl show in the summer of 2005. She didn’t meet some specific height and clothing criteria but Cosmo was waiting outside for anyone who might be interested in modeling. The American Girl show and Cosmo are not related.
8/1/2005 We stopped and got some information. It all seemed harmless and Allyson was interested. Most little girls are. Anyway, we went and met with Tammy Moore who signs up new models for Cosmo. No promises were made about any real work. It was more like we were given the impression that work was a given and it would’nt be long after her classes that she would have her first gig.
8/2/2005 Tammy asked if I was interested. Of course I laughed, but she said they always need men. After letting that sink in for a day I went back and talked with her more. It seemed like since they needed men as she suggested that work would be easier for me to get than Allyson. I decided it was obviously an easy way to earn some extra income so I did it.
Most of the classes were taught by former employees or Cosmo models and some classes are taught by the same person who answers the phone. The employees themselves were very nice and professional at all times.
We paid for Allyson’s classes up front and her comp cards later, children are expected to update their comp cards every year. I paid for part of mine and was told the remaining balance would be deducted from the jobs I would get. After a couple months of no calls I received a payment plan from Cosmo for the remainder of my balance. I called and asked why it was sent to me when I hadn’t even received any jobs yet. Tammy’s response was that they never guaranteed I could get a job soon and that the balance was due. I was obligated to pay the balance because I signed the papers of my own free will. So I paid it.
7/6/2006 Now the wait for a phone call. One year after Allyson signed up she was asked to come in for a preliminary interview. She didn’t get it. I have never been called. I’ve listed the expenses of being associated with Cosmo. It does not take into account all the other expenses like fashion magazines, time out of our schedule, makeup, new clothes for photo shoots, etc.
The photography of the models is great, however the printed comp cards are completely generic. They are printed on a color laser printer not photographic paper, but maybe that’s what all model agencies do, I don’t know. The comp cards price seemed high for what you were getting, but as I say “It costs what it costs”.
From my current point of view (1.5 years after signing with Cosmo) not one penny I spent with Cosmo was worth it. Because they didn’t provide services that we paid for.
I don’t feel that I’m being impatient. I actually felt like I waited some time after my patients ran out before posting this article.
Does Cosmo actually have models getting jobs? Yes, they do, but I would speculate it’s small percent of the total applicants they sign. That means you’re probably not getting a call, ever. Consider yourself lucky (I suppose) is you ever heard from Cosmo again.
Do I feel foolish for getting ripped off by Cosmo, Yes. I think everyone feels foolish when they get ripped off and then they don’t want to admit it because it’s embarrassing. I’m willing to forego my own embarrassment if this information helps others.
List of expenses to Cosmo for Allyson.
$500 8/1/05, modeling classes
$40, 9/12/05, modeling portfolio
$125, 10/28/05, half of the photo shoot payment
$125, 1/20/06, balance of the photo shoot payment
$60, 1/20/06, 25 comp cards and 1 8×10
List of expenses to Cosmo for Rob.
$275 8/2/05, partial payment for modeling classes
$60 11/3/05, 25 comp cards and 1 laser print
$100 1/20/06, payment 1 of 5 for balance of modeling classes
$100 2/14/06, payment 2 of 5 for balance of modeling classes
$100 3/23/06, payment 3 of 5 for balance of modeling classes
$100 4/20/06, payment 4 of 5 for balance of modeling classes
$100 5/23/06, payment 5 of 5 for balance of modeling classes
$1685 TOTAL PAID to Cosmo for Allyson and Rob
You can contact Cosmo Model & Talent at:
808 Lyndon Lane, Suite 211
Louisville, KY 40222
2/7/2007 Today I’m emailing this information to Cosmo per the suggestions of the Better Business Bureau.
2/23/2007 Today I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, my complaint number is 4758922.
I never received a response from Dona or Tammy, both were sent an email about my pending complaint.
My complaint has been received (2/23/2007) and is being handled by my local BBB.
The Better Business Bureau, Inc. (Louisville, KY)
844 S. 4th Street
Louisville , KY 40203-2186
3/2/2007 I received a call this morning (10 AM) from Craig at Cosmo. I immediately assumed he was calling about my complaint. He said there was a trade show looking to do a spoof on Deal or no Deal. He wanted to know if I was interested in playing the part of the host. I replied “I’m sorry, I’m not available”. He mentioned it was $350 per day, I repeated that I wasn’t available. Seeing as this is the one and only call from Cosmo I’ve ever received for work and the fact that it came after I filed a complaint, you can see why I turned it down. And you can’t deny the ironic timing of this job offer.
3/3/2007 I received a call from Dona Downing today (1 PM) about my complaint. She wanted to make sure that I understood today (3/3/2007) was the first time she was aware that I had a complaint with Cosmo. She received a letter from the BBB but never received my previous email. She wanted me to be aware that Craig had no knowledge of my complaint when he called me about the job offer the day before. From her point of view she felt as though she need to defend herself. Some of the things she mentioned on the phone about this article I have removed because they were irrelevant to my overall experience. She mentioned repeatedly that they are not some scam company and that she’s been doing her job for 30 years. She pointed out that her company has booked “Millions (with and S)” of dollars worth of jobs throughout their history. She pointed out somethings that I would have never known, again I can only give my point of view.
She mentioned that if this article hurts her business she would take legal action. I would expect no less, I would do the same.
She said she didn’t think refunding my money would make me happy, actually it would. Like I said earlier they can’t make everyone happy and I’m one of those people. But receiving a full refund would actually make me feel good that I wasn’t out any money on this whole experience. Dona also pointed out that I wasn’t charged the full price in the first place, so apparently I received a discount. My wife and I decided months ago to no longer proceed with modeling for myself or my daughter, so that’s not an option.
Dona, I want to thank you for the phone call and I appreciate your professionalism about my complaint. I genuinely felt as though you were hurt by some of the things in this article. And others you knew were lacking in information. The only thing I tried to impress upon you was that this was my actual experience with Cosmo. Running my own company I can understand that you must feel disappointed with my experience as your client. I would never want one of my clients to be disappointed with my service. And if they ever were I would fix it. And if they posted an article about it that would bother me too.
Dona, I apologize for some of the irrelevant items that I had in this article. Being a computer person I tend to over detail things (partly because I have such a good memory) and my point can be lost. I can’t change my overall experience with your company but I can make sure this article only represents my experience sans emotion and excessive detail. You will be receiving an email about my changes to this article.
3/3/2007 After speaking with Dona Downing today I felt is was my responsibility to review my entire post and make sure that I have in no way fabricated anything or speculated. If this post previously had my own speculation then I removed it. A few other things were removed because I decided they were irrelevant even thought they were not made up. That’s not what this post was suppose to be about. It’s simply suppose to represent my experience, nothing more.
3/14/2007 The BBB has yet to receive a response from Cosmo.
3/26/2007 I received a response from BBB today. Apparently Cosmo responded with the same info I’ve already posted about above. They made no offer to reimburse me. I’m continuing my complaint.
There seems to be some confusion about my complaint. So let be very clear, it has nothing to do with the computers that Cosmo has or their website, those were merely observations.
My complaint is only about the nearly $1700 I spent for services that they did not provide.
As for two jobs Cosmo claims I turned down.
1. The first was not formally offered to me, when I stopped in to get something for Allyson, Craig said that he included my Comp Card for a commercial where I would have to dress up like a fairy. He then said to me “But I didn’t think you take it because of you other business” I replied “You are correct”. That was the end of that conversation.
2. The Second job Craig called me for is the listed above, after I had already filed my complaint with the BBB.
4/2/2007 I received a response today from the BBB indicating they regret thier efforts were not been successful in resolving the matter to my satisfaction.
I’m seriously confused by this because they didn’t really do anything yet they’re closing the case.
4/2/2007 I sent an email to the BBB indicating that I don’t understand how the case could be closed. I received no response.
4/10/2007 I sent another email to the BBB indicating that I don’t understand how the case could be closed. I received no response.
4/30/2007 I sent another email to a different person at the BBB and they replied the case had been closed and there was nothing more the Bureau could do to resolve this complaint. From my point of view this is all the BBB did. I filed a complaint, they sent the complaint to the business, the business issued a bogus response, the BBB closed the case.
It’s no wonder Dona made fun of the fact that I filed a complaint with the BBB. And she called it a silly club that costs her about $500 a year. It’s no wonder she gave the response that she did, she must think the BBB is a joke. I don’t know if she has settled in the past but I’m guessing she hasn’t.
If this is how most of the BBB cases are handled I can’t say that I would recommend people even bother with using the BBB. I guess since this is my first use of the BBB I expected more. It’s not their fault, my expectations were too high. I figured Cosmo would put more value into a bad or unresolved case. I figured wrong.
7/15/2007 I’ve been completely ignored by Cosmo and was never offered a refund of any kind. My best recommendation to anyone looking for modeling info for themselves or their kids is to look past Cosmo. I wouldn’t be in business If I ever had a disappointed client and treated them the way Cosmo has treated me.
2008/01/28 Today I’m filing a new complaint with the Better Business Bureau (ID 5992301). In my original conversation with Dona Downing (3/3/2007) she informed me that my daughter’s comp photo would be removed from their website. As of today (nearly 11 months later) her picture remains listed. I’m requesting my daughter’s picture be removed and a full refund ($1685) for services they never provided.
I think the fact that they never removed my daughter’s photo (even after my first complaint), goes a long way to show that I was told by Cosmo what I needed to hear to either get my money or shut me up, then they never followed through with the services or the removal. The image below was taken today (2008/01/28) to show that Cosmo has not made good on anything they’ve said so far. My daughter is the main image holding the sun glasses.
They finally took down her picture but only after the BBB contacted them again. The BBB was again unable to satisfy my request for a refund.
2008/05/25 After receiving a few comments on my article I decided to add back some previous details that I removed.