• Report: #941406

Complaint Review: 123College.com TRUSTED BUSINESS | Ripoff Report Verified Safe™ …businesses you can trust. 123College.com assists students for all undergraduate years with: board exam test preparation, choosing a major, choosing a college or university, financial aid negotiations, FAFSA / CSS Profile filing, & maximizing financial aid eligibility to get the most grants, scholarships. 123College.com one of largest nationwide college planning companies.

  • Submitted: Fri, September 14, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, March 10, 2015

  • Reported By: Gee — Deerfield Beach Florida United States of America
123 College.com, IN
1701 W. Hillsboro Blvd, Suite 303 Deerfiled Beach, Florida United States of America

123College.com, Inc. REVIEW: 123College.com, Inc. dedicated to service quality and customer satisfaction. 123College strives to offer the most value and best service in the college planning industry.
*UPDATE: 123College.com, Inc. pledges commitment to Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy, Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. A program that benefits consumers, ensuring complete satisfaction, confidence when doing business with a member business. 123College.com, Inc. recognized by Ripoff Report Verified™ as a safe business service.

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EDitor's UPDATE: Positive rating and recognition has been given to 123College.com for its full commitment to quality customer service.

Ripoff Report's discussions with 123College.com have uncovered an ongoing dedication by the company to total client satisfaction. This means that clients can expect that the company will work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to any concerns. 123College.com listens carefully to client concerns and sees them as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and become more efficient as a company in the services offered and the support for those services.

123College.com's principal, Mr. Ronald Jay, shared with us his personal philosophy that building valuable relationships are the heart of the business. [continued below]....
..... As a successful business owner, Mr. Jay feels that listening to his clients ensures service value and quality. By always putting his customers first, Mr. Jay hopes to maintain 123College as a successful enterprise both now and for many years to come. Another top executive, Operations Director Steven Halpern told us that Mr. Jay's personal business philosophy is based on a model that "strives to add value in service, understanding that a successful business model is based on service quality, and personal client care". 123College's Ronald Jay says this, "We are the leading college planning company for helping families understand and truly benefit from the financial aid system. With us, you'll receive comprehensive services and personalized analysis to maximize the student's success and education value. We are a team that goes to bat to save our clients money and minimize student debt, with financial strategies tailored to the family's unique needs.”

One of the things Ripoff Report learned in the course of its review is that typical customer feedback reads, "123College.com really helped us understand our options and showed ways to save money on college costs that we weren't aware of. We are very pleased with the responsive, detail-oriented service. They are serious about meeting commitments, and deliver on their promises.”

123College.com is Ripoff Report Verified
Ripoff Report Verified™ .. part of Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program.A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business..

The information provided in this report below is based on comments made by Ronald Jay and Deborah Lester during an onsite inspection held by a third party verification company with no biases toward 123 College.com.

123 College.com is a college planning company that works with financial advisors, as well as educates parents and prospective students throughout the process of applying to college. Ronald Jay the President of 123 College.com further explained the companies vision, "we sell a prospecting tool to financial advisers and insurance agents all over the country. They make money two ways with us. We sell a prospecting tool that they pay anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 for. To get them setup we supply them with seminars. We get them into their local high schools. Basically, the whole business is parents that put dollars into their annuities. Those dollars aren’t accessed against their financial aid formulas so it lowers the parents EFC (Expect Family Contribution) or in other words their out of pocket costs. They sell our service and we do ten things for the family, to the parents for $1495, which the adviser gets $795 and 100% of the product sells commission. The ten things that we do for the family the most important are filling their FAFSA forms, producing a 80 – 90 page bound report that shows them all info on up to six different colleges that their interested in attending. We give them the SAT/ACT software, a pin number for a career assessment and college select program, and we negotiate with the financial aid officer playing school A off against school B, C, and D and three or four other things depending on the client’s needs."

The leads for 123 College.com are obtained in multiple ways, "we have a data base of every financial adviser and insurance agent across the country. We have telemarketers that call them and we do email blasts as well." After the initial contact is made Mr. Jay went into greater detail to explain the sales process of 123 College.com, "normally they are contacted in a seminar that 123 College.com sets up for them. The adviser does a seminar for them. Goes over what is called our promise, our ten points of the service that we provide for the family and we produce a report that shows the family why they should use our service out of the ten points and the insurance or financial adviser has an opportunity to sell their products."


During the onsite interview, Mr. Jay was asked to describe a situation where a client was not satisfied with the level of service they received. Mr. Jay began by assuring future clients, "we try to make everyone as satisfied as we can. I would say 95 percent of our clients are satisfied." He went on to explain that most of the complaints they receive are from the financial advisors and insurance agents who are selling 123 College.com's product. In order to counter this dissatisfaction 123 College.com made new management, quality control, and customer service their priority. Apart of this initiative involved Deborah Lester, the Sales Manager for 123 College.com, taking responsibility for customer service. Ms. Lester further explains by stating, "I’m in quality control as well as assisting Ronald Jay. So every call that comes in I pretty much take each call. I have it recorded actually on one of the phone pads. I make sure that I do follow up. With any issue I notify Ronald Jay immediately and then we get in resolved within 24 hours." This change has been exceptionally positive, "now we’re getting compliments and their saying 'thank you so much' and 'I appreciate that there is always a follow up'." Ms. Lester also makes a point to call each client and ask them about their experience, and if an issue is made known in that conversation she makes to resolve it then and there.

When asked to comment on complaints posted on Ripoff Report's website Mr. Jay informed us that he believes the comments are false, "one guy said that he was an employee and he wasn’t an employee." In regards to the comments Ms. Lester went on to state that past employee's struggled with drug addiction, which lead to a negative work environment, "that was a big problem that we had no control of. We didn’t know that in the beginning now we are implementing drug testing." Ms. Lester went on to assure us that she is heavily involved in the day to day practices of the office, and employee satisfaction is critical, "I manage everybody in our department so when I’m following up they say everything is going along well. The only time there is really a complaint is when they really can't close [a sell], and like I’m even helping them with marketing so that their closing ratio is getting a lot higher."

When asked what type of changes they have made to honor their commitment to make things right with the customer per the request of Ripoff Report, Ms. Lester stated, "Now that I’m involved it’s changed the whole business model. And we haven’t had any complaints since. For about the last eight months since the change." It should also be noted that the past operations manager is no longer with the company, and was cause for lack of proper customer service care.

123 College.com is pleased to be a part of Ripoff Reports Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program. Mr. Jay further explains by stating, "it is only going to help the consumer and it is only going to help us. It’s a good thing hopefully for both parties."


"We are the leading college planning company for helping families understand and truly benefit from the financial aid system. With us, you'll receive comprehensive services and personalized analysis to maximize the student's success and education value. We are a team that goes to bat to save our clients money and minimize student debt, with financial strategies tailored to the family's unique needs."

123College.com's team expressed confidence in their ability to deliver excellent service and support. 123College.com takes employee satisfaction seriously as well. Employee feedback and surveys reveal comments such as this, "123College provides a very positive environment to work. Suggestions for innovation and improvements are encouraged. Mr. Jay is truly concerned about our contribution to the company and providing growth opportunities for us. He takes the time to listen and communicate with employees and clients.”

Ripoff Report was pleased to learn that 123College.com, Inc.'s past and current approach to business is focused on its pledge to total commitment towards client and employee satisfaction.


"Guidance counselors and college financial aid officers are a part of your child’s educational team, and play specific roles in helping him/her get into college. 123 College supplements their efforts and provides services that they often can not. Guidance counselors can help students research schools, get information about the SAT or ACT, and help them with the application process.

However, what is the most financially beneficial way for parents to actually pay for college? And how can they position themselves to receive the most financial aid possible? These are questions that the vast majority of guidance counselors cannot answer. Why, because guidance counselors are great educational professionals, but they are not licensed financial professionals. Guidance counselors can certainly help you fill out forms, but when filing the FAFSA or CSS Profile a financial professional trained in college planning would be able to go beyond that and offer legal strategies that help to maximize financial aid eligibility.

Similarly, financial aid officers can give you information about their specific college and help you fill out forms. However, what school in your chosen area is the best financial choice for your child? This is not a question that financial aid officers often answer. Why, because they may be experts on their school but it is not their job to give students a cost comparison and send them to another school if it happens to be a better financial choice. Financial aid officers work for their schools, whereas our only allegiance is to your family."


"Every year millions of high school graduates look forward to entering a college of their dreams. Often, acceptance letters do not equate to admission. Finances stand in the way of many children attending colleges that have already accepted them. Education, however, is a necessity; it is not a luxury. Financial aid encourages young adults to continue education without worrying about finances all the time.

One of the preliminary prerequisites for obtaining monetary aid for education is the completion of the online FAFSA (Free Application for Student Federal Aid). Filling out the FAFSA is generally a long and tedious process, which 123College handles completely for the family. Tax documentation of the family as well as W2s should be collected prior to FAFSA preparation. This aid form will request every possible financial detail about the parents of the student and the student herself. Federal requirements mandate that this form be completed between January 1 and June 1 of each year, beginning as early as the student’s junior year of high school.

Another step involved in the aid process involves the College Board. A CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile, also called the Financial Aid Profile, has to be filled out for certain schools and sent to the universities of the students’ choice. Most prestigious schools, such as New York University and Harvard, require the filling out of this profile. Colleges then request any additional information needed via mail.

Again, this is done via the CSS Profile. The College Board sets up an IDOC account for the student. 123College prepares and submits this on behalf of the students. Afterwards, the student can check the status of the materials sent in IDOC. The CSS Profile and IDOC requirements are not easy to fulfill without the type of assistance provided by college planner such as 123College.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form allows a student to be eligible for quite a few kinds of college grants. Grants are financial aid awarded by the federal government. Generally, aid is awarded by the federal government, the state government, private universities, private colleges and public agencies. Also, private companies, corporations and foundations try to partially support a student’s education.

Amongst the college grants that are handed out is the Pell Grant. In one way, one can consider the Pell Grant to have been paid by the citizens of the United States. The amount handed out to each student depends on the student’s financial background, including the income of the student’s family. For the 2012-13 academic year, the maximum amount paid by the Pell Grant was $5,500.

If a student is awarded the Pell Grant and needs further assistance, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant comes into play. This Grant is reserved for the families with the lowest incomes. For students who graduated from high school with honors and have completed at least the first year of college, the Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant is available. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is awarded to third and fourth year college students who would be unable to otherwise fund their education. It is a degree-specific grant.

Grants do not have to be paid back. However, student loans are required to be paid back. Nonetheless, most of these loans have little interest. The interest is also tax deductible for most people. Work-study is another way to help finance one’s way through college. This is one option that many students of undergraduate programs choose.

Another way to finance education is to apply for college scholarships. Scholarships are available to average students who have other talents, which are not necessarily academic. A GPA of 4.0 is not an absolute necessity for scholarships. Private institutions usually sponsor college scholarships. Philanthropists sponsor them as well. Different kinds of scholarships are available, even those for left-handed students!

The American Rhodes Scholarship is one great example of a scholarship. It chooses 32 intellectuals every year to sponsor. The value of the scholarship is a whopping $30,000. This trust even covers some adequate vacation and traveling costs for the scholars! The student is elected for two to three years.

The Coca Cola Company sponsors a program that allows eligible candidates to apply for 250 four-year scholarships based on achievements. Roughly 2200 students are selected as semi-finalists towards the end of the year from the applicant list. 250 final candidates are chosen. Each of these candidates is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $10,000. After a national selection committee reviews these 250 candidates, 50 special pupils are chosen and awarded $20,000 each.

After the students have filled out and submitted all the aid forms, sometimes the offers they get do not match their hopes or needs. This is when 123College comes into the equation. The main aim of 123college.com is to help all college-aspiring students. This website helps subscribers with preparation for board examinations, choosing a major and college, and minimizing that college expense.

Most importantly, this website helps to maximize aid eligibility. Once again, 123College helps pupils fill out the FAFSA, the CSS Profile and applications for scholarships. At 123College, aid officers cater to each family’s needs individually.

They let each family know about the colleges in their area and in any other part of the country and which school provides the best aid. They review the aid package given to students and send a response via mail to the family within ten business days. If the aid package is above average, the review tells the family how much more the student is getting and congratulates the student. If the aid package is below average, the aid officers fully go to bat for the family by first preparing a letter for the parents’ signature. The letter requests that the college offer aid up to the last penny of the total cost and asks for scholarships and grants too.

Choosing 123College to help with college decisions helps the child massively. The student receives a 75 to 90-page report talking about each and every individual aspect of aid according to income and assets.

For every aspiring college student or high school student’s parent out there, all aspects of financial aid have been explained. Now it is your turn to make the decisions wisely!"


123College.com, Inc. recognizes that complaints posted on Ripoff Report (whether true or not) are issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. If handled correctly, complaints can be valuable learning opportunities. With the feedback generated by Ripoff Report's review, 123College.com has made organizational changes allowing its clients and employees a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a commitment to a great client experience.

In summary, after our review, which included discussions with Mr. Jay, Ripoff Report is convinced that 123College.com, Inc. is committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction.

Read more about why consumers should feel confident when doing business with a member of Ripoff Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Yes, it’s a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike.

Read about Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program, a program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. This program works.

As a matter of policy, when a business becomes a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program they agree to allow Ripoff Report to contact every client who filed a complaint so they can make things right with them. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer.


123 College.com, IN Financial Advisors BEWARE! Parents of college-bound students, save your money! Deerfiled Beach, Florida


Ripoff Report would like to let readers know that Ripoff Report emailed this customer so the member business could make things right with them. When a business joins the Corporate Advocacy Program, Ripoff Report emails everyone from the past so the member business can make things right with them. Of course, everything within reason. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer. Sadly, the author of the complaint below never responded to our request so 123College.com could have the opportunity to make things right with them.


As Robert L.'s rebuttal states, the person complaining made some questionable decisions to invest in something, intending that someone else would work it, and when they didn't, they used Ripoff Report to to try to scare off legitimate collections. Nevertheless the account was settled for less than what was owed. We take care to make sure our prospects understand their marketing costs, and since this incident we also take greater care to investigate our prospects' business maturity and stability.


I wish I had seen some of the reviews from other advisers before agreeing to associate with these clowns.  The "services" they offer can be helpful in getting more financial aid for some families, but what they offer is mostly common sense and the high school guidance counselors can do almost the same.

They pretend that they have this foolproof system that will have families beating a path to your door.  Don't bet on it!  We had a fledgling college planning business that we wanted to grow.  123 College owner Ronny Jay promised the moon and stars with his "foolproof" system that would "have you making $10,00 per month!"  After nearly $10,000 in fees, marketing costs, rental costs, mailing lists, and everything else they could suck out of us, we had to shut down that business because we had dug such a deep hole without any hope of getting out with these clowns.  The company went out of business Dec 31, 2011, and these clowns called me today demanding that I pay the annual renewal fee! 

Now is where it really gets interesting.  The contract expired two months ago and the only reason it appeared on their radar screen is because some new girl from 123 College called me to ask why I wasn't scheduling any seminars with them!  When I informed them that the company I had been working with was closed down by the owner (who, incidentally, doesn't happen to be me!), they asked if I wanted to renew the contract.  I WAS DUMBFOUNDED!  I had just finished telling them the company went out of business almost 10 months ago, which should have come as no surprise, because I told them the exact same thing in May when some other dipstick called me!  How dense are these people?!

When I told them, "No, I wasn't willing or even able to renew", they hung up on me without any further discussion.  Then, two hours later, some other broad named April calls back and starts personally threatening me!  They actually sent ME to collections within 6 hours of talking to someone for the first time!  They have already started emailing and calling me personally at my work because they can't seem to reach the former owner of the company that went out of business because their "foolproof system" turned out to be a load of crap! 

I have my own company as a financial adviser and worked with the college planning company to help execute the suggested aid strategies, but because I'm still in business, it's me that they have come after.  What scumbags!

College planning is a much needed and worthwhile service that can help so many families, but if you are an adviser wanting to get into this arena, avoid 123college.com at all costs!  These people seriously take advantage of planners, rip off families by charging ludicrous prices for common sense solutions, and they'll go after anyone and try to ruin theier business just for a stinking buck.  I'm sure this will cost me more to legally defend myself because I'm certain the former owner of the planning company is not going to do anything to resolve the issue.  Why should he?  These scumbags aren't coming after him because he's already out of business!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/14/2012 05:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/123-Collegecom-IN/Deerfiled-Beach-Florida-33442/123-Collegecom-IN-Financial-Advisors-BEWARE-Parents-of-college-bound-students-save-y-941406. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Aaron R

AUTHOR: Aaron R - (United States of America)

Regarding the comments posted by the past employee: They are accurate but he did not present himself well. I am a former "employee" and have found the same experiences to be true. Does not matter that this guy was his brother. 123college uses predatory practices and contracts. For what it is worth, I did not pay these excessive quarterly fees and was willing to go to court to fight it. If you join, then keep thisin mind as a road that may have to be travelled.

I am an outstanding and succesful salesman and have a great track record. The person who wrote the rebuttal is one of the owners of the company and has a bad temper. When asked why he would not confirm the verbal warranties made by his boss, the owner, his answer was all anger and steam, nothing factual. Rather than discuss results, he prefers to angrily express collections and lawsuits.

I also filed a complaint report to substantiate the previous complaint/claims. I tried to make it as objective as possible. Rather than take my word, read it and approach 123college.com with your eyes wide open. Also go to YELP.com. My advise is have an attorney review your contract and ask his/her opinion. At that point you will be well informed. The most anyone can hope for when reading these things is that you will be very aware of how 123college really operates. That it is about getting your dollars not about getting seminars. that's the most we can hope these articles will do, nothing more. Buyer beware!
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#2 UPDATE Employee

The Real Truth about Doug K

AUTHOR: Robert L - (United States of America)

Doug K just happened to leave out one glaring factor. This company that dissolved was owned by his brother. It happened to be his brother that would not speak with him or share the expense. Doug K is claiming we could not get in touch with his brother. I would assume most honest people would know how to get a hold of their own blood in this day and age. Nonetheless, 123College.com did hold Doug K liable for his fee as the contractual agreement and everything about the account was in his name, not his company name or his brother's name. Doug K paid the money he owed despite his ludicrous claims. We also settled the account for less than less than he owed due to his struggles. There is a fraud here and it is not 123College. 123College is a great system for those who
know what to do when they get in front of potential clients and have obtained their financials. 123College is not the system for individuals whom are inexperienced with sales and have a weak financial background.

Doug did not make it in the financial sales industry as he began to explain. 123College did what we claimed we will do...that is set up seminars, put bodies in the seats, and gave Doug K every chance to succeed. This business is not for everyone. 123College does not teach you how to become a salesperson. Our job as a marketing company is to get you in front of more people. We wish the best of luck to Doug K in his future endeavors.
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