The future is definitely not orange…

“This isn’t a scam isn’t it?” I asked Laura from Orange Models. “I mean I know people do lure young girls in with the promise of an illustrious modeling career and all they’re really doing is selling them a portfolio.”
Laura assured me it was not. Several times. And as I normally do when someone answers a direct question, I believed her.
The reason I was talking at Laura at all was that my daughter Olivia had spotted an ad online. ‘Models needed’ it read. And gave an email address and instructions on how to upload pictures. Olivia has had some modelling experience. Well she did one job, for Centrepoint, a charity that helps homeless young people. So she figured she would give it a go. Minutes after the sent them her picture, Laura was on the phone to her. And then she had to talk to me, as Olivia is a minor.
“We really like her look,” she gushed. “She’s quite mature looking isn’t she for her age? She’s got a really interesting face. We think she’d be perfect for High Street brands like Top Shop and Zara and catalogues.”
Laura continued for about 15 minutes, telling me all about how the High Street brands are looking for new, young faces, girls aged 15 or 16.

“But she’s too short to be a model,” I said. “She’s only 5 foot six.”
“Oh there are no height restrictions for that age group,” Laura assured me and then proceeded to tell me what the procedure was.
Olivia was being invited for a four-hour assessment, where there would be people on hand to do her hair and make-up, a stylist to dress her and a photographer to take pictures of her.
“But this must be a scam,” I said. “You can’t possibly provide all that for nothing. What is this going to cost me?”
Nothing at all I was told bar a £50 deposit to secure the studio and staff. This would be refunded as soon as I showed up on the day. “We make our money by passing models on to agencies who get work for them.”
I asked her again if it was a scam or if we were going to be asked to buy the images. Not at all I was assured. They were simply assessing Olivia’s potential to become a model.
“So if you think she has potential you will take her on without me buying a portfolio?”
“Yes of course.”
Olivia was very excited about her future as a model. She recently dropped out of school and was facing the prospect of one mundane job after another. The thought of becoming Kate Moss was incredibly appealing.
I had by now started to believe Laura. She really did talk a good game and she seemed genuinely keen on my daughter, telling me again and again how interesting her face was and what potential she had.
As the day drew closer though and I was faced with the prospect of trekking up to London for it I thought I ought to just double check. So I called Orange again. Laura was out but her colleague asked if he could help me.
Again I repeated my scam question. Again I was assured Olivia was there for a genuine assessment, and that if she were successful she would become a model.
Olivia and I arrived at the studios of Metro Photography at the allotted time with her vital statistics listed and a bag full of clothes for her to change into for her various “looks”.
We were greeted by a girl called Gisela and her stylist Pedro. Gisela painstakingly filled out a form with us, all about Olivia and what sort of model she could become. Then came the photo shoots. Five different looks, involving five locations (outside in the freezing cold, in the studio etc), makeup and hair five times and so on. The whole process took hours. I had to dash off to a meeting so Olivia’s father had to come and take over while the team “assessed” her pictures and decided if she had a future as a model.

Olivia said it was lucky I wasn’t there for the so-called assessment. A man with a rather annoying lisp droned on for ages, keeping them in suspense as to whether Olivia had “made it” until the last minute. They looked at the photos, apparently she looked great, and then EUREKA! She had made it, she could be a model, she could be the next Kendal Jenner. Olivia of course was utterly thrilled. Rupert was happy too, until they told him he would have to buy a portfolio. For £700.

So they had repeatedly lied to me. I wonder how these people can sleep at night knowing they make their living giving innocent punters false hope. How could Gisela (if indeed that is her name) go through all this all day, day in, day out knowing it’s all a lie?
I have to hand it to Orange “models” as they call themselves and their partners, Metro Photography. The whole process was meticulously thought out, every detail made you think they were actually serious until of course they slap you with the bill.
By that stage of course there will be people who have been so overwhelmed and seduced by the whole “modelling” experience that they just can’t say no. And heaven knows what lengths they will go to in order to come up with £700 for something that will be of no use to them whatsoever. We saw two other people fall for it while we were there; one very sweet girl who was about the height of my 12 year old son so is never going to be a model and another woman who was even older than I am.
At best what Orange and Metro are doing is preying on people’s vanity, at worst on their insecurities and their need to be loved.
Whichever it is, they need to be stopped.

72 thoughts on “The future is definitely not orange…

  1. Hi All – I’ve spoken to Citizen Advice and they will report this to the Trading Standards. They have a link to your blog page (Helena I hope you don’t mind) and found it very upsetting and also interesting.

    I have also tried to get hold of Action Fraud Office. They work with the police, but failed to reach them. I’ll try tomorrow. The crux of the matter is that we all excepted to have our photos taken and paid for it. Therefore Metro are not in breach. However the issue is the way the photos were sold and fact that Orange go quiet after the shoot. This is reason for them to investigate as this is fraudulent miss-selling and that’s what needs investigating and stopping.

  2. Hi All – I’ve spoken to Citizen Advice and they will report this toi the Trading Standards. They have a link to your blog page (Helena I hope you don’t mind) and found it very upsetting and also interesting.

    I have also tried to get hold of Action Fraud Office. They work with the police, but failed to reach them. I’ll try tomorrow. The crux of the matter is that we all excepted to have our photos taken and paid for it. Therefore Metro are not in breach. However the issue is the way the photos were sold and fact that Orange go quiet after the shoot. This is reason for them to investigate as this is fraudulent miss-selling and that’s what needs investigating and stopping.

  3. For cancelling and obtaining deposit refunds, check the government website for consumer rights (cancelling and cooling down period for distance or off premises contracts). Then email the agency within the 14 days advising that you have changed your mind and request a full refund asap. This is the reason they push for you to pay the deposit and go for the shoot day so quickly before you get chance to investigate properly and legally cancel. Once you have attended you have received the service you paid for and won’t be able to get a refund.

  4. I used to be a photographer there. I have to admit we were worked really hard as photographers and believe it or not I had no idea they were charging so much because after each shoot they take the shots off of us and whisk the clients off for their ‘assessment’. However one day a mother stopped me outside – she was really upset because she didn’t have the money to pay for her daughter’s portfolio so then I asked her how much she had been charged and she told me £2000. I left as soon as I could find another job, I don’t believe in being a part of anything that rips people off. Now today reading your article and others I see the depth of the scam. As a photographer, there are are loads of things wannabe models can do to make money (I’ll tell you honestly the going rate is about £50 per hour for those who quickly build experience), yes you need a decent portfolio but no, it should NEVER cost that much. I think what is good is that your article really exposes the truth and looking back I can see how people would be seduced enough to fall into the trap. It’s Piccadilly, the offices are nice, two brand new studios, big images and videos on the wall (incidentally I was told that none of the photos on the wall were taken by any photographer from the studio) these flamboyant assessors strutting about. Every now and again I do miss the place – all of the lower staff were pushed very hard and I did make some good friends. But personally, for me work has to be more than just a cheque at the end of the week I have to believe in what i am doing and I just couldn’t once I knew what was happening.

  5. Complete liars and thieves, I actually feel for them, must be hard to sleep at night and get up in the morning to do something like this day in day out. I hope for them all that they find a better calling in life…

  6. My friend son went there last week they robbed him for 2000 and day aftwr his mom including me wrote cancellation email that we simply cannot afford (we alao found out its scam) they emailed that we cannot cancel or request the refund as ita clearly says on the agreement well how I can explain the mom of the boy who has the pictures taken is 14yrs old and the family except him cannot speak or read english aa they are polish, the paper was given to sign amd explained its paper where are bank details which they gonna use for takin the money off towards portfolio, its the boys bank details and he is 14! The parents never been told about cancellation policy that there is no option to cancel, they weren’t told so the son could not translate it to them, nothing was mention thos is a contract or any kind of agreement and they knew before they invited them for the pic shoot parents can’t speak English. How to get these money back? Amd will they put the debt on the boy (14) name or not? Im disgustied with these people so much

  7. Has anyone heard of B-A model.com bases in Hackney UK. One of the agents picked my daughter up at the mall. We went to the photos hoot then we got told my daughter had potentials that she had different looks which would be great. She has very little blemishes. But we got asked to pay 299 without zip card. Or 399 for zip card. 599 pounds for portfolio. We had to pay or they’d delete all the photos and we’d have to pay on the day. Only when I said I had to discuss w hub they decided I pay 50pound deposit to hold the deal n I had 2 days to decide. I don’t know sounds dodgy. No advice on rates she’ll get or any guarantees that my daughter may get jobs. We may never pick up a job.

  8. Hi Everyone – right spoke to Citizen Advice bureau who deal on behalf of Trading Standards. You have to call your bank and talk to them about Section 72 (consumer credit rights). They will raise a dispute with Metro for knowingly miss-selling goods and services, meaning as they told me i was getting work from Orange and the reason i was at Metro was directly contributable to Orange plus the fact that Orange have not made contact or fulfilled their part of the business, this is a service that knowingly miss-sold.

    Good Luck and hope this helps.

    my email if you need to make contact with me – markbottomley86@homail.co.uk

  9. Guys, I had same problem 2 years ago, a studio off Oxford St, same thing, sales person tricked me into it and nothing after.

    Went to my bank week after, pressed for “charge back” got my money back eventually but it wasnt easy to convince the bank. You didnt get any jobs, you paid for the goods that hasnt arrived..

  10. Hi All
    Just as an update I have got my money back via my credit card company as I filed a claim under Section 72.

    Hope this will others that read this blog.

    Helena – thank you for allowing us to use you web site

  11. I hope this helps, came in today:

    From: Ray Hoppkrofft
    Modelling Information Service
    5 Barker Street
    TODMORDEN
    West Yorkshire

    19th October 2016

    To: Helen Frith Powell

    Dear Mrs/Miss Powell

    Orange Models – getting money back:

    Thank you for your response.

    I would now set out details to help those who have paid money to Orange Models get their money back, and correct some of the misinformation posted on your webpage by those who have responded to it.

    (I have also put a post on my Modelling Information Service page on Facebook – “Orange Models – getting your money back” [https://www.facebook.com/Modelling-Information-Service-1003208516453095/]. If you want to put a link to this on your page, or copy the information in it to your page, please feel free to do so.)

    You state: “At best what Orange and Metro are doing is preying on people’s vanity, at worst on their insecurities and their need to be loved. Whichever it is, they need to be stopped.” As said, what Orange Models is doing is committing criminal offences.

    There are two fees to be looked at – the “administration” fee, and the charge for the photographs.

    Under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (as amended) (the Conduct Regulations), where an employment agency is providing services for the purpose of finding work-seekers employment as fashion or photographic models employment agencies can only take a fee from the work-seeker as a charge or commission payable out of the work-seeker’s earnings in any such work that the agency has found for the work-seeker. They cannot charge them an upfront fee.

    It is not clear from your item as to who you were required to pay for the photographs – Orange Models or Metro Photography. If Orange Models then the matter is simple, if Metro Photography not quite so simple.

    To correct the misinformation in the replies to your item:

    “Mark on 17th August 2016 at 6:11 am said: Hi All – I’ve spoken to Citizen Advice and they will report this to the Trading Standards.”

    Technically, Trading Standards cannot take any action themselves. The relevant authority is Employment Agency Standards. The contact details for which are:

    Employment Agency Standards
    Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
    3rd Floor
    1 Victoria Street
    LONDON SW1H 0ET

    enquiries@bis.gsi.gov.uk;

    Direct line: +44 (0)20 7215 5788
    Fax +44 (0)20 7215 6414

    “Angela on 20th August 2016 at 10:48 am said: For cancelling and obtaining deposit refunds, check the government website for consumer rights (cancelling and cooling down period for distance or off premises contracts). Then email the agency within the 14 days advising that you have changed your mind and request a full refund asap. This is the reason they push for you to pay the deposit and go for the shoot day so quickly before you get chance to investigate properly and legally cancel. Once you have attended you have received the service you paid for and won’t be able to get a refund.”

    Angela is wrong. Those making use of the photographic service are doing so as part of an attempt to find work as a model. As a person seeking employment (whether as a model or any other) they were using the services as part of their trade or profession. Where a person is purchasing goods or services as part of their trade or profession they are not “consumers” and are not covered by consumer law.

    “Mark on 30th August 2016 at 5:24 am said: Hi Everyone – right spoke to Citizen Advice bureau who deal on behalf of Trading Standards. You have to call your bank and talk to them about Section 72 (consumer credit rights). They will raise a dispute with Metro for knowingly miss-selling goods and services, meaning as they told me i was getting work from Orange and the reason i was at Metro was directly contributable to Orange plus the fact that Orange have not made contact or fulfilled their part of the business, this is a service that knowingly miss-sold. Good Luck and hope this helps. my email if you need to make contact with me – markbottomley86@homail.co.uk

    Again, as models using the service a part of their trade or profession they are not covered by the consumer protection laws. What they are covered by is a law which gives them more rights – the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (as amended).

    As set out in my post, the taking of photographs of work-seekers (models) is not a work-finding service, it is an additional (other service). Under the Conduct Regulations it is a criminal offence for an employment agency to make the provision to work-seekers of the agency’s work-finding services conditional on the work-seeker using any other services – whether these other services are provided by the employment agency or by any person with whom the employment agency is connected.

    Where the service is the “production of a photographic image” of a work-seeker seeking employment as a fashion/photographic model (and/or actor etc) the employment agency is prohibited from charging the work-seeker a fee for 30 days from the date of the agency entering into the contract with the work-seeker (whether the contract is oral or written), during which time the work-seeker is entitled to withdraw from or cancel the contract without suffering detriment or penalty, and without having to pay any fee to the agency.

    Therefore, and on the basis that the deposit or the whole fee is payable to Orange Models the “agency” has committed a criminal offence by making the provision of its work-finding services conditional on the work-seekers using the photographic service, and a second criminal offence by charging the work-seekers a fee without waiting 30 days.

    Both offences placing the “agency” in breach of the Conduct Regulations.

    Regulation 30 of the Conduct Regulations:

    “Civil liability
    30. – (1) Without prejudice to –

    (a) any right of action; and

    (b) any defence, which exists or may be available apart from the provisions of the Act and these Regulations,

    contravention of, or failure to comply with, any of the provisions of the Act or of these Regulations by an agency or employment business shall, so far as it causes damage, be actionable.”

    That is, because Orange Models has acted in breach of the Conduct Regulations, and the work-seekers have suffered damage – the loss of money, the work-seekers have a claim against Orange Models.

    Again, “Angela on 20th August 2016 at 10:48 am said:

    For cancelling and obtaining deposit refunds, check the government website for consumer rights (cancelling and cooling down period for distance or off premises contracts). Then email the agency within the 14 days advising that you have changed your mind and request a full refund asap. This is the reason they push for you to pay the deposit and go for the shoot day so quickly before you get chance to investigate properly and legally cancel. Once you have attended you have received the service you paid for and won’t be able to get a refund.”

    Others have also made reference to clauses in the contract about not being eligible for refunds. “Angela” and the others being wrong. As stated, because they are work-seekers using the service as part of their trade or profession they are not covered by consumer law. They are, however, and as said, covered by the Conduct Regulations. Because Orange Models has acted in breach of the Conduct Regulations the models are entitled – under Regulation 30 of the Conduct Regulations – to claim their money back (damages) from Orange Models, it matters not what Orange Models state in the “contract”.

    As stated, the question is raised – is the deposit or the whole fee payable to Orange Models(?) or is it payable to Metro Photography(?)

    If payable to Metro Photography then it needs to be established as to whether Orange Models and Metro Photography are “connected”. If they are then the models still have a claim against Orange Models. If they are not then the models do not have a claim under the conduct Regulations.

    The Conduct Regulations:

    “The meaning of “connected”
    3. – (1) For the purposes of these Regulations a person is connected with –

    (a) his spouse or minor child or stepchild;

    (b) any individual who employs him or is his employee;

    (c) any person who is in partnership with him;

    (d) any company of which he is a director or other officer and any company connected with that company;

    (e) in the case of a company –

    (i) any person who is a director or other officer of that company;

    (ii) any subsidiary or holding company, both as defined in section 736 of the Companies Act 1985, of that company and any person who is a director or other officer, or an employee of any such subsidiary or holding company;

    (iii) any company of which the same person or persons have control; and

    (f) in the case of a trustee of a trust, a beneficiary of the trust, and any person to whom the terms of the trust confer a power that may be exercised for that person’s benefit.

    (2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(e)(iii) a person is to be taken as having control of a company if –

    (a) he or any person with whom he is connected is a director of that company or of another company which has control of it;

    (b) the directors of that company or another company which has control of it (or any of them) are accustomed to act in accordance with his directions or instructions; or

    (c) he is entitled to exercise, or control the exercise of, one third or more of the voting power at any general meeting of the company or of another company which has –control of it.”

    I hope the above, and my post on Facebook, is of use.

    Yours sincerely

    Ray hoppkrofft

  12. We’ve been scammed by Orange Models recently. Utter scam, absolutely disgusting. It needs to stop! How can we stop them?

  13. They changed their names to Six Models and Mac Fashion Studios!! AVOID AT ALL COSTS! They scammed me the same way!!

  14. I got scammed out of my money for pictures with Orange Models, but I thought I would make the best of it and use the images I now had to start modelling. Applied to what I thought was an agency called Six Models and they ended up sending me to a studio for portfolios called Mac and they had the exact same staff as Orange!! The same lady that welcomed me at reception and everything! WTF
    Helena, please could you write a post with these findings! Re-apply to Six and you will see this for yourself!! SIX MODELS IS A SCAM!!

  15. I just did some research and the person that owned Apple Models, Orange Models and now Mac Fashion Studios is the same person! All under Oliver James!! They will rob your money and sell you false dreams!!

  16. Same thing happened with me , paid over £2,000.00 in total. Only to now realize my online e-folio has been removed.!!!!

  17. OMG!! Same thing happened to me. I paid the same money and they removed my portfolio after awhile, I tried to contact them but they are ignoring me…. People let’s do something about it!!!! Help!!!

  18. This scam has evolved into a slick operation preying on the vulnerable and the desperate (not to mention the delusional). Key players remain in place even though their business has been exposed as fake and a scam of epic proportions with regular name and address changes. How this is allowed to carry on in a modern, evolved society is truly beyond me. Disgusting.

  19. Many thanks for posting Brendan. The BBC is looking into investigating these people, I so hope they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook


*