Citing numerous complaints of failure to deliver photographs, portfolios, modeling jobs, a pageant, and other services to customers, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has sued Scotts Depot fashion photographer Stephen R. Ross and his WV Modeling Agency.
McGraw’s suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, details repeated violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act by Ross and his modeling agency. It demands an immediate halt to the illegal activities as well as full refunds of fees paid by affected customers.
McGraw’s office alleges that Ross promised but failed to produce photographs he had taken of customers, to create books featuring sets of modeling photographs known as "portfolios," and to obtain modeling jobs for any of his customers.
In one case, a Charleston woman hired Ross to act as a modeling agent for her teenage daughter. She paid Ross $1000 for a fashion shoot and assistance in building the girl’s portfolio. The woman also entered her daughter into a modeling pageant, to be arranged and promoted by WV Modeling, that was cancelled several times and ultimately never occurred. In a flyer promoting the pageant, Ross misrepresented that his company was conducting a model search for top New York agencies including Ford Models, MC2, and Icon Models.
"Sadly, an entire industry has developed to fleece those who dream of becoming a model," Attorney General McGraw said. "These enterprises prey upon people’s hopes while betting on consumers’ lack of knowledge about how the modeling industry really works."
McGraw’s office began investigating Ross and his WV Modeling Agency, also known by several other names, after receiving complaints from consumers in the Kanawha Valley area.
Ross, who claims to be a fashion photographer and model trainer and agent, promises to schedule fashion shoots and assist consumers in building their photograph portfolios. He also claims that he has connections with some of the top modeling agencies in the country. The investigation by McGraw’s Consumer Protection Division of Ross showed a history of not delivering on those assurances.