Many young girls dream of being a beauty queen.
That's why when a letter shows up in the mail saying your daughter has been selected for a pageant, it's tough to say no.
But one family found a lot of questions concerning one new contest.
A 13 year old -- who asked that we not show her on TV -- was thrilled when she received an invitation to a pageant called the "2012 Teen" contest, locally known as "2012 Miss Teen Cincinnati," "2012 Miss Teen Nashville," etc.
"We got a letter at the house, and it said someone had referred her to be a participant in this pageant," her mother Nickkie Blaney said.
So she took her daughter to the information session at a local Holiday Inn.
"Through the interview they said we had to ask sponsors to participate, and collect almost $500," Blaney said.
That had her concerned, so she got online, and found complaints saying the $495 sponsor fee was just the beginning of what they would have to pay for photos, gowns, travel, and tickets.
"I just started doing some more of my own research, and everything didn't add up," she said.
Questions surround pageant
For instance, the invitation claims the 2012 Teen pageant is endorsed by some local radio stations: But two of them told us they simply accepted ads from the pageant, and never "endorsed" them.
While its website says it is based in Chicago, the Better Business Bureau reports that the phone number actually connects to "America's Beauty Pageants," a Virginia company with an "F" rating from the BBB.
And we learned this 2012 Teen pageant is not connected with "Miss Teen America" or "Miss Teen USA," two pageants with long histories and good BBB ratings.
In the end Blaney's daughter backed out, saying "I didn't really need a real beauty pageant. I have beauty inside, and that's all that really matters."
UPDATE: Pageant defends itself against complaints
After our initial report aired, a spokeswoman for the 2012 Teen pageant returned our calls, defending the complaints against the company. She said:
-It is a legitimate beauty pageant, with thousands of participants, and finals in Orlando.
-All pageants have entry fees, and all their fees are disclosed in advance.
-Girls are not required to buy a gown or pay for extra photo sessions.
-The pageant hands out thousands of dollars of scholarship checks to winners.
-The letters claiming they were "endorsed" by local radio stations were an error due to a third party misunderstanding.
Other than those questionable radio endorsements, the 2012 Miss Teen pageant is not being accused of doing anything wrong.
But do your homework before signing on with any pageant, so you don't waste your money.
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