WASHINGTON — The ads for the talent marketing firm InterFACE say “It’s your time to shine!” But former clients and staffers say it’s time for the business to pay up.
Last month, WTOP reported that several former employees complained they hadn’t been paid after working at InterFACE’s Gaithersburg office. Those staffers say they’re still waiting.
One former employee who spoke to WTOP as long as we didn’t use their name says, “Anyone who worked for InterFACE in July or August was basically working for free,” because the company was struggling to pay its bills. Former employee Shea Winpigler, a student at the University of Maryland, told WTOP that when she finally was issued two paychecks for her work this summer, those checks bounced.
And the news may have gotten worse for anyone who feels they’re owed money by the business: A call to InterFACE’s Gaithersburg office went directly to an automated message that said, “Unfortunately, InterFACE is no longer accepting any new clients. We are currently in the process of downsizing in order to focus 100 percent of effort on marketing our current, active clients.”
That would include clients who paid in advance for a service that promises a client’s company-generated web profile would be promoted to agencies who hire models, actors and musicians.
While the company says it’s downsizing, the same former staffer who didn’t want to be identified said that the company in fact shut down, closing its Gaithersburg office in advance of an eviction. Joe Rosado, an investigator with the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, says the eviction took place Aug. 22. Rosado says he was present at the eviction. Court records from a Maryland Judiciary Case search indicate that InterFACE was in default on expenses related to the Gaithersburg offices for up to $52,416.
Rosado says when WTOP talked to his office about a month ago, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection had three client-related complaints. Since then, two were resolved; one is outstanding; and he’s got four new cases of clients who complain they can’t get refunds even though they say they complied with InterFACE’s refund policy on services.
WTOP has sent emails and called the offices of InterFACE and iTAlent seeking comment.