A modelling agent has been ordered to pay almost $12,000 in fines, costs and compensation by the Perth Magistrates Court for taking payments from aspiring male models but failing to deliver what he had promised.
Chrystofa Stratton Aarons, trading as CSA Models, pleaded guilty to six charges of breaching the Australian Consumer Law by accepting payments from four male clients but failing to supply services as promised between June 2017 and October 2019.
Pay fines and compensation
He was fined $8,500 and ordered to pay costs of $69, as well as compensation totalling $2,750 to three of the models. The fourth client has entered into a repayment arrangement.
According to WA Consumer Protection, one man entered into an agreement with CSA Models to supply modelling agent services in April 2017 and soon after paid $500 for flights to take part in a photoshoot in New Zealand in February 2018. The photoshoot didn’t go ahead and no refund was provided.
A second man entered into an agreement to supply modelling agent services in April 2019 and paid $200 for a portfolio photoshoot and $185 for ‘composite cards’. Neither was supplied and no refund was provided.
Agent failed to provide refunds
A third man was approached by the agency in September 2019 and was then told that there was a “secret” opportunity in the UK in January 2020 which required him to pay a $2,000 deposit, but he would earn $11,750. After paying the amount, Aarons told the aspiring model the job would take longer so a further $750 to cover additional travel costs was required, which was paid. The job didn’t eventuate and no refund was provided.
The fourth man was approached in July 2019 and, in September 2019, was told of a potential photoshoot in Miami USA in December which required him to pay a $1,000 deposit to secure the flights. In October 2019 he was advised by Aarons of another opportunity in Chicago USA in January 2020 which required him to pay a deposit of $2,000. Neither of the trips went ahead and no refund was provided when requested.
Magistrate Tyres said Aarons had “preyed on young and naïve people who were trying to start new careers in the industry” and that he “eroded their trust”.
Took advantage of their ambitions
WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping, said Aarons used his perceived position within the industry to take advantage of the ambitions of vulnerable young people.
“These aspiring models put a lot of trust in Mr Aarons which he betrayed by failing to live up to the expectations that he created, choosing instead to resort to deception for his own financial gain,” Chopping said.
“We hope that Mr Aarons has reflected on the consequences of his poor decisions so we will not see a repeat of these offences in the future.”