Anger over agency's £250 model fee

LITTLE Amy Dent's modelling dreams were dashed over a £250 fee an agency asked her mum for during a photo shoot.

The two-year-old was taken by her mum Lisa Houghton, from South Shields, to The Roker Hotel in Sunderland on Saturday to be photographed by Elite Management.

The London-based company had advertised test shots for adults and children interested in modelling and TV extra work in the local press, including the Gazette.

But it failed to mention in its advert an on-the spot charge of 250.

It wasn't until Miss Houghton received a leaflet on the day which stated 'We can also give you a set of separate photographs on a CD to start or add to your portfolio. 249.50 covers the cost of all the photography, and is payable if you are selected' – that there was a costs.

Miss Houghton, from Horsley Hill, said: "We'd seen the advert, so we thought we'd pop along."

When the 26-year-old arrived, police were in the hotel car park in Roker Terrace, where agency reps said the location of the shoot had moved to the nearby Pullman Lodge Hotel, and were handing out the leaflets which hinted at the price.

Miss Houghton said: "We thought it was all a bit strange, but we still went along to the new venue and had to fill in an application form.

"It was soon Amy's turn, but it was a disgrace. The picture they took was awful, they hadn't even given me time to take her dummy out, so it looked like she was growling.

The full-time mum was then handed a picture and given a lengthy talk by the agent.

She said: "The woman appeared to be miles away – then she finished with saying 'that will be 250 please'.

"When I asked her what that was for – as there had been no mention of it beforehand – she said it was to cover the cost of a portfolio which they would make and send to agencies to get work for Amy.

"The leaflet we had mentioned the cost, but that made it sound optional.

"It said 'we can also give you a set of photographs' which cost that much, not that you had to buy them."

Miss Houghton refused to pay.

A spokeswoman for South Shields-based Tavistock Leisure, which owns the seafront hotel, said: "When they have been advertising, they haven't been given the full facts.

"Hundreds of people were turning up, and they were being charged 250 for a photographic test, plus another 100. We made the decision to cancel the event."

No one from Elite Management was available to comment.