7 On Your Side: Complaint-ridden modeling company shuts down

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Friday, August 22, 2014
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Nina Pineda has 7 on your Side.

EAST BRUNSWICK (WABC) -- For the second time, Seven On Your Side has gone after a child modeling agency that parents complain preys on them. And this time, we uncovered more on what employees there say is happening to them.

Already under a state monitor in New Jersey, ex-customers and now employees of the InterFACE talent agency are not getting paid the money owed to them.

And since our first story ran, we've learned there are more than 300 complaints against interFACE in four different states.

The mom of 2-year-old Anthony Migliore's mom isn't afraid to admit what every mom believes.

"Everybody thinks their kid is the greatest thing," Wella Migliore said. "We just wanted to see if it was true."

So after being solicited by a sales rep at a local mall, she took her son to the East Brunswick-based talent agency. But after agreeing to pay InterFACE nearly $1,500 for a photo session, the Brooklyn mom changed her mind, sending a certified letter to the agency within their three-day cancellation period.

"And then you would receive your refund within 30 days," Migliore said.

But she never got the refund from InterFACE, and then saw our report last June where we helped a parent in the same predicament get her money back.

"I called my husband and said 'Oh my God, is that who I'm trying to get our money back from?'" she said.

Sued by the state of New Jersey for misleading customers, InterFACE agreed to pay $400,000 in restitution to more than 100 customers only last year. The company admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay for a state-appointed monitor and make its contracts clearer. But since that agreement, New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs says it's received nearly two dozen more complaints.

And customers aren't the only ones complaining about InterFACE.

Kathy Capasso worked as a recruiter for InterFACE at a kiosk in the Staten Island Mall. She's one of four company employees who've complained that InterFACE's checks wouldn't clear.

"They're terrible, honestly," Capasso said.

Weeks ago, when we went to InterFACE, we found their lobby packed with parents. A rep told us they were having accounting problems. But weeks later, the company was shuttered, evicted on August 14.

After our calls and before they closed down, InterFACE did pay Capasso in full, nearly $700 in back pay. They also credited the credit card account of Migliore the full amount owed, $1500.

"Thank you so much," Wella said. "Without you guys, we'd still be chasing them."

Court documents state before InterFACE was evicted from their East Brunswick offices, they owed more than $41,000 in back rent. While they were in operation, their company rep apologized for the problems but vowed InterFACE would pay everyone off. We tracked that rep down at another job, and even she says she's owed back wages from InterFACE.

Their owner didn't return numerous calls we made to him. Also, the attorneys general in the four states where InterFACE had offices report receiving more than 300 consumer complaints about the modeling company. New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs urges consumers, if they have a complaint against InterFACE, to contact them immediately.