How to Avoid a Beauty Pageant Scam

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — In response to the numerous inquiries it has received from parents about child beauty pageants, the Better Business Bureau has released some steps families can take to verify a particular pageant’s authenticity and cost.

The first step parents should take when looking to get their toddler a tiara is to look up reviews of the organization running the pageant on the BBB’s website.  This is because, while many pageants are legitimate, others exist solely so that the organizers can turn a profit.

“Beauty pageants can carry big price tags,” Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said in a blog post.  “Before finding yourself scammed out of thousands of dollars, it’s important to check out the pageant operator with BBB first.”

To avoid getting scammed, here are some tips the BBB says parents should follow before they help get their toddler a tiara.

Calculate the total costs.

According to the BBB, it’s very common for pageants to require that participants pay a sponsorship fee intended to cover hotel rental fees, awards, administrative costs, salary for company personnel and also to make money for the organization. However, parents need to assess whether this fee and the other costs associated with the event, such as clothing, makeup, food and lodging for family members is worth the experience before agreeing to pay the organizer.

Verify the details.

Parents should confirm where and when will the actual pageant will be held with the venue. The BBB also says they should inquire about, and subsequently verify the accommodations that pageant organizers are providing for contestants, including whether or not there will be supervision. Other questions that parents may want to ask the organization before signing their child up for the event include:

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