An Okanagan family’s foray into show business was shut down quickly by a dad’s intuition.
John Wall and his family travelled from Oliver to Kelowna Saturday so his daughter could try out in an Undiscovered Talent Group audition at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
The company is based out of California and, according to claims on its website, it connects young talent with industry professionals like Disney and Nickelodeon.
His wife heard about it through a post on Facebook about a search for new child stars. His eight-year-old daughter wanted to pursue acting.
“They had this big room full of people… they had this big presentation like a mini movie showing the next undiscovered talent group,” Wall said.
But after the audition, the family was handed a pamphlet with an outline of costs which equalled $9,000.
Wall posted on a community Facebook for public input and contacted a friend in the industry explaining his situation and was met with skepticism.
“They had two rooms and the rooms were full with people still coming in. They made it sound all promising.”
But something was off.
“My wife was super excited but I was skeptical. Normally, you don’t have to pay for all that,” Wall said. “Nine thousand dollars is a lot of money.”
“They wanted us to come back on Sunday for a meeting and to pay them the money.”
He declined the offer.
Wall said he hopes no one got scammed, as there was a young boy from Vanderhoof who had saved all his money for plane tickets to the audition.
The Better Business Bureau recently released an alert on its website after receiving multiple complaints about the company.
“On May 9, 2018 your Better Business Bureau contacted this company due to the number of inquiries we have received. According to BBB files this company offers talent management, our records show that the company has a pattern of complaint concerning consumers alleging consumers allege not being able to obtain a previously agreed upon refunds.
“Furthermore we have been unable to determine that this company is licensed by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Talent Agency License with the State of California. On May 9 and 23, 2018 we sent requests to the address on file and asked the business to provide us with their contact and licensing information. Unfortunately, we did not hear back from the company after multiple contacts.”
Undiscovered Talent Group could not be reached for comment.
The Kelowna RCMP has not been notified about the agency.