A Vancouver family's child acting audition woes
A mother's attempt to get a refund from a Vancouver modelling and acting school has turned into a year-long ordeal.
Christine Siebenga's son, Aidan, has a dream to act.
One day she learned about an audition - or what she thought was an audition -- at John Robert Powers in Vancouver.
"My son was getting pretty excited as this was something he wanted to do," she said.
After standing in line and doing a practice commercial, they received good news.
"They called me that Saturday evening to tell me Aidan had made it to the next stage," she said.
Siebenga described John Robert Powers employees as polite and professional.
But when they went in the second time, they learned that the company was a school -- not a talent agency.
"And if you didn't do the classes you wouldn't get the auditions," Siebenga said.
Siebenga signed up her son for $5,900 worth of lessons but then had second thoughts because it was a lot of money.
"I looked over my contract and it was very clear in there that I had 10 days to cancel the contract," she said.
Siebenga said she cancelled via fax and followed up with a phone call. She was confident that she would be refunded quickly.
But the months went by and she still had no money. She documented all the calls and all the promises.
She got half her money back in August.
CTV News called John Robert Powers offices in Vancouver and were referred to offices in Toronto. A man, who identified himself as John, the school's director, took the call.
When informed that Siebenga hadn't received her full refund, the man said he was just the receptionist.
He referred the call to a woman named Mimi, the national director.
Mimi told CTV News that she was unaware of the problem and that the person who was dealing with Siebenga's refund no longer worked for the company.
Mimi promised to courier Siebenga's refund overnight.
"That's all I really have to say about this. Because as I have said I can have it resolved in the next 48 hours and I don't really think there is a story here. And I really, you know, we pride ourselves again on promptly taking care of matters like this," Mimi said.
The company has an 'F' rating with the Better Business Bureau in Vancouver and South Western Ontario.
Among the problems cited: a failure to provide refunds.
"There has been a lot of concerns in the marketplace because we've had about 3,000 inquiries over the last three years and about eight complaints filed," said Lynda Pasacreta of the Better Business Bureau of Lower Mainland.
Siebenga said if she could do things over she'd have taken more time researching the company before signing up.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen