• Report: #260922

Complaint Review: Bisk Education - University Alliance

  • Submitted: Sat, July 14, 2007
  • Updated: Thu, December 04, 2008

  • Reported By:Melbourne Florida
Bisk Education - University Alliance
9417 Princess Palm Ave Tampa, Florida U.S.A.

Bisk Education - University Alliance Inflated Book Prices, Cancellation Fee, Pushy Sales Reps. ripoff Tampa Florida

*Consumer Comment: Thanx you for stepping up

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Bisk/UA Can Cause Serious Mental Problems!!

*UPDATE Employee: This comany is a rip off true and treats employees like crap!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: 100% Correct- Former Employee Agrees w/report; It is AMAZING that this place in still in business - Bisk Education, University Alliance

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June 2006 I signed up for information regarding St.Leo University. Shortly after I received a phone call from a University Alliance Representative. I was very interested in attending the school, but I told him I could not afford it at this time. I am prior military and said I would have to receive my benefits and also elgibility first or I would need AID

Regardless, the Bisk Education Rep had convinced me to sign up anyways.

Basically , he was using aggressive sales techniques and made it seem like this was my one and only time to enroll and order books. Okay, I admit it I should have been more leery and cautious. Yes, I am idiot myself for "electronically signing while he was guiding me over the phone"

While electronically signing these documents, he then instructed I would need to order the books for $204 . You have got to be sh** me! I fell for it anyways .

Okay so I receive me books, ( Not to mention the Economics Book falls apart a few weeks after for no apparent reason) **Garbage**

So I drop the class 1.5 to 2 weeks into it, because I now realize my GI Bill will not cover it all because it is too expensive. ( Yes, I know dumb)

One year later I got an In-House Collection from Bisk Stating I owe $307 in a cancellation fee. Now on the phone I reluctantly agreed to the payment. So you know what, in the " Agreed Payment month of April she sends me a bill. I respond back stating that I was not obligated to pay this. She sends me another bill of $317

So whats this a late penality fee of some sort? I guess so. Looking over the agreement it does not say anything about a cancellation fee. Yes, it says I will be responsible for all costs. Now keep in mind a contract often becomes void if you are under pressure to sign.

So finally, I send a certified letter to Bisk telling them I was going to sue them and to stop trying to collect money not rightfully owed to them. I argued that I was pressured into signing online by one of their pushy sales reps , who did in fact know I did not have the funds to pay at the time.

Needless to say I haven't heard back from these bottom feeding scumbags.

The lesson learned here, never sign anything online with a sales rep, I repeat NEVER. It will come back to bite you in the a**

Just because you sign something doesn't necessarly make that contract enforcable. Do not do business with any brokering company unless you absolutely have too. Deal directly.

I read a post that signing up with the school directly would cost you more. WRONG! Paying a brokering company usually costs more, I'd hate to burst your bubble. Thats what they are. Pigs.

Melbourne, Florida

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/14/2007 09:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Bisk-Education-University-Alliance/Tampa-Florida-33619/Bisk-Education-University-Alliance-Inflated-Book-Prices-Cancellation-Fee-Pushy-Sales-R-260922. 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.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Thanx you for stepping up

AUTHOR: Jen - (U.S.A.)

Last summer, I was excited to start school with Florida Tech. My problem was that I am 42, single and on a tight budget facing a lay off and/or forced relocation out of state in Summer 2010. Due to the nature of my work, I can not afford to make financial obligations I can not afford to meet. I could immediately lose my job if something were to appear on my credit report.

That being said, I spoke with the first rep at length but they out and out refused any estimates of costs. I already did my FAFSA and knew what I would be awarded Federally. I spoke to Sallie Mae and had a breakdown of how the disbursements work right from the government office.

By the time I received a financial breakdown in email, it appeared out of pocket costs would be anywhere from $5,000 - $7,000 annually. I was promised three different scholarships to cover that dollar amount, but when I asked for information in writing as to eligibility - nothing ever arrived.

I dug around myself on-line looking for these grant opportunities. One, was an out and out lie. I contacted the organization allegedly sponsoring the exclusive scholarship program and they had a list of scholarships they supported and provided information. The scholarship they discussed was for high school students only, not returning professionals.

The second had a residency requirement that I was not eligible for.

The third, I could find absolutely no information on, so I didn't trust the promise as far as I could throw it.

Now I understand why the admissions advisors kept trying to mislead me into a financial obligation. I was told ridiculous comments that your average student with little work experience probably would not pick up on.

"The only thing standing between you and your career advancement is $75". Every time I heard this ridiculous dollar amount I patiently explained it wasn't the $75 or the initial book package of $69 (or whatever the nominal amount was) it was once the ball gets rolling, the bulk of the unmet need that I needed to account for.

When I refused to electronically sign a contract, I was transferred to a second rep. I emailed the second rep, the financial breakdowns the first rep sent out. I also provided my calculations based on what Sallie Mae said I would receive and requested assistance to help find a manageable way to cover the out of pocket expense. The second rep did not understand the breakdown provided by the first rep. WARNING WARNING sirens went off and all I could think about was the robot from Lost In Space in his "panicked" flapping of arms.

This led to a conversation and we went through the same saga. The pressure this time was this one said she would waive the first books for the orientation class with some "once in a lifetime" book voucher. I asked for a hard copy (PDF) of the student/institution contract outlining financial obligations and once I review it, I would be able to make a financial plan that makes sense and that I could afford.

This led to another phone call with a "supervisor". This call from this arrogant $#^*^% riled me up. I got the impression of a sleezy smarmy young punk snake oil salesman. He was telling me how valuable his time was and how "special" I was because everyone "respected" my professionalism and yadda yadda. I was busy, and really didn't have time for him so I apologized politely told him it was a bad time to start from scratch but I was looking for a complete financial breakdown so I could plan for out of pocket costs.

The guy said he understood my financial concerns and said he was waiving the $75 application fee as well as the first set of books. I again explained I needed to plan for the $5,000 -$7,000 annual out of pocket expense and the $150 or so was not even a factor.

That's when he told me I could have my education for FREE and if I could not budget FREE, I am not serious about my career and obviously TOO STUPID to make it in Florida Tech. Every time I mentioned the bulk of the out of pocket expense, this jerk just kept ignoring me talking about FREE. I told him to put in in writing they would provide the program FREE of charge and I would enroll upon receipt of that contractual obligation. Then I hung up on the cloacae (websters def - The common cavity into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open in lower vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, birds, and some primitive mammals).

I wrote to the Dean of Admissions at Florida Tech because I was offended by this arrogant punk for his unprofessional conduct. The Associate Provost for Online Learning at the Florida Institute of Technology, Mary Bonhomme, indicated she was responsible for the programs offered via University Alliance.

She reviewed my records and communication with UA concerning my experiences enrolling in the online undergraduate program. In response, she indicated she followed up with the University Alliance assuring me that they take all student and prospective student concerns very seriously. She genuuinely appreciated the issue being brough to her attnetion and the feedback on my experience.

Here is a quote from her response:

"It is apparent that you were seeking information concerning financial aid options, and our initial and subsequent conversations did not clarify the matter to your satisfaction. Neither the University nor University Alliance as our agent have any desire to intentionally mislead students or prospects, or to provide inaccurate information concerning aid that is available. We completely understand the difficult times facing many who wish to go to school, which is why we have worked hard to come up with payment options and aid packages to assist students in managing the burden. Our representatives are anxious to make students aware of the availability of those options, especially when it appears aid is crucial. Unfortunately, we appear to have caused confusion in your case.

Please understand that it is inappropriate and not permissible for our enrollment representatives to speak to prospective students about individual specifics on financial aid, or to promise anyone a particular package in writing or otherwise. Individual aid is determined by the University's Financial Aid Office only after proper consideration of all federally required financial documentation and a review of official transcripts. All that our new student enrollment representatives can officially do is discuss potential sources of aid, including FRAG if one is a Florida resident, and our need-based University grants for students who may exhaust all other aid sources while continuing to have need. It may be that you were unable to get the level of specificity and comfort you wanted in part because that was simply not possible at that stage of the process."

Again, they pushed that $75 again to enter into an unknown contract.

So take it for what it's worth. What I see is the desire of moving forward educationwise/careerwise is in reality putting folks in a position where they can not afford to meet their financial obligations, and/or pushed to take money out on credit cards, loans, and any other means just to complete their education. Not fiscally responsible, and even prohibitive to attaining a good job.

Frankly the government/ Sallie Mae should intervene. It is in their best interest that the student is not entering into unrealistic financial obligations that would ultimately damage their credit and prohobot them from getting a higher paying job.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Bisk/UA Can Cause Serious Mental Problems!!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

In response to the other ex employees that have posted on here, they are 100% correct. Bisk is truly a sweatshop, it does not care about its employees at all and they will cause you severe mental anguish. I previously worked at Bisk and am very surprised at the way they treat employees, it is almost like a totalitarian dictatorship. I showed up to work every day, on time and still was given grief. There are also some racist people who make comments all day about us "white folk"--not kidding, actually came out of an individual's mouth multiple times a day and not in a joking manner. I got really sick of that type of talk and that specific person's favoritism towards their own race. It really bothered me that I would come in on time every day, do what I needed to do and then some while others would waltz in late, socialize all day about their sex lives, spout out racist comments while management would look the other way. I know for a fact some of these individuals didn't get their work done because they would try and coerce me to do it for them. I got smart though and ended up staying away from people like this and I was much better off. I question their sales tactics, they are extremely pushy and passive-aggressive. The management will come back and bite you in the a*s if you reveal information such as prices of books to students before they sign their enrollment forms. The deception and lying was too much for me and I started not being able to sleep at night due to the culture of this company. I also question upper-management. It seems they are used to terrorizing their employees and it has been carried on and passed down through the years due to the nature of the founder and CEO and his cronies. Yelling and threatening people in my opinion is not the best way to motivate people. Overall, Bisk products are way too overpriced, the customer service department is one of the laziest teams I've ever seen, the management is passive-aggressive and uses nasty management tactics and if you let this all get to you, you will have an ulcer by the time you turn 40. My best advice would be to anyone, no matter how desperate you are, don't work here!!! You will be nothing but miserable and it's not worth your time or the measly pay!!
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#3 UPDATE Employee

This comany is a rip off true and treats employees like crap!

AUTHOR: Red29programrep - (U.S.A.)

I had encountered bisk university alliance through a staffing employment agency, I will not say when i started or how long i worked there only that I am leaving soon.

First of all I think its wrong to NOT explain everything up front to a possible customer, They have a "If they dont ask dont tell policy" What disturbs me is that we are not aloud to tell them about the books and how much they cost until after they fill out their application. Matter of fact if they dont ask were not supposed to tell them at all what their total is. For instance we are instructed to ask only how they are you planning to pay for your tuition and books visa, master card , america express. We are not allowed to even give them the option of using financial aid unless they verbally express that they cannot pay or would need a diffrent payment option. So the students card s charged without them knowing the total at all they send out an e-form hoping the student does not read the fine print, were instructed to tell them its just the terms and conditions nothing big, they trust us so they sign it. they are rushed into signing something they cant or are pushed not to read.

This is the catch: Once people pay the 75.00 they cannot get it back and are kind of pulled in by that, they dont want to lose the 75.oo so they buy the books anyways even though they cannot afford them. they end up signing the forms out of pressure from the sales rep its not ethical at all.

We are not aloud to tell them ANYTHING UNLESS THEY ASK, whether it be cost of tuition, books, materials length of time. I think that has to be against the law in some way- They state that if a student doensnt ask its non of our concern. Not everyone knows what questions to ask, as college might be a new experience for them. or older people who are not knowledgable either on how things work these days.

We are instructed to lie to students and tell them they cannot receive financial aid until they apply and register to our school. This is untrue they can fill out there FAFSA at anytime and choose as many schools as they want AND ADD THIER SCHOOL CODES: "until they find the school they want".

We are also instructed to let students perceive that all other online colleges are bad, or not as good as fl tech. however you are attending fl tech through university alliance and this is deceptive while fl tech is a good college it is not the same as attending the campus at all.

People trust other people and this company is taking that trust and using it to thier greedy advantage. It is wrong and a bad business practice.

We are forced to use nasty sales tatics and then we are dispiplined later for using them. i WAS DISCIPLINED FOR SENDING AN E-MAIL TO A STUDENT STATING EXACTLY WHAT THEY TELL US TO TELL THE STUDENTS ON THE PHONE! I am currently under suspension for doing what they told me to do. I stated in the e-mail that I wish you luck - iTS GOING TO BE VERY HARD FINDING a job in a slumping ecomomy without your education.

The lady did not want to go in the first place- but since they pay 50-60 a lead we are forced to work leads that have no intrest at all in attending our school over and over again. Even if you say you dont want to be called anymore you are recycled and will be called over and over again unless you disconnect your number.

I explained tothe student yes we established that you were not interested, I was trying to get the student to call in as we are trained to do that with obsessive phone calls 2-3 times a day and the thousands of e-mails we have to send these prospective students. Apperently the lady didnt have a job was seeking one and I was using her weekness "of not having a job" to get her to call me and enroll this is what i was trained to do.

We have been trained to make people feel guilty Using A) the economy B) Career advancment. Money, Higher salary, We are supposedly supposed to trick them into thinking they cannot get into are school unless we think their a good fit. Anyone can go to fl tech as long as thier 22 and have a ged they dont care what kind of student youll be.

it is true what the other employee said there is alot of back stabbing in the company, If you are not making money for them they will treat you with no respect and try and write you up for any little thing they can to furiate you, or to make you feel like your going to lose your job resulting in you working "as the other guy stated like your in a sweat shop"

I complained to HR about the way i was being treated and feel that this is a form of retaliation, they dug deep to find this little e-mail which is no way inappropriate "Its sales for christ sake" no ones going to get someone to change their mind by saying okay sorry for calling you or emailing you we didnt know you were not interested. Sales is not passive at all. And besides we were told to use every effort on the phone or in email if we got a hold of them. I was merely doing my job as instructed. if that meant questioning thier decisions as to why they did not want to attend our university, like students who decided to go locally - we were told to say" the local college has never moved its always been there why are you decideing to go there now" Now thats alot ruder than my email - its ridiculous- but its not about the e-mail i sent its retaliation for accusing them of discriminating against me and i will be contacting the Labor employment department about thier failure to follow equal employment oppurtunity laws.

and on behalf of all the students i enrolled i am sorry for youre loss, whether it be application fees tuition books, I apologize forthe way i was made to deceive you.

Especially for the students i was instructed to make beleive that everyone is approved for financial aid no matter what thier income is. i hope god and the customers can forgive me. In a way im glad i was suspended. I had only been have searching for a new job when this happened and now it has caused me to not want to ever go again to work ever with that company.

the last day of the selling session i had an enormous stomache ache i only get these when i am completely stressed to the point where i could faint. These people make you feel this way "it is indeed as if your working in a sweat shop"

I had already been job hunting before this incident accured , for health reasons this job stressed me out to the point where i would cry in the bathroom from immense pressure and guilt from lying and deceiving people constantly, I felt I was being harrassed in a sense to enroll students who did not want to go, I was exstremely stressed, i truly beleived if i did not mmet my goal i would be fired, although i was looking for a job i did not have another job lined up yet and since i have a large family i was worried. I worried day and night- I worried so much it made me sick, i constantly vomitted at work, from the immense pressure to get enrollments, the company in no way appreciates steller employees. I was a great employee, i was always there and made 127% to my goal. There are people who never come to work, are outside 50% of the day doing nothing however they dont get the slightest bit of discipline.

The company currently has no fresh leads -subjecting us to harrassing people who filled out leads like 6 months to sometimes even 5-6 years ago. They get exstremely upset and threaten us with our jobs if we dont close these ancient leads. when they hire you however they lie and say youll be working with warm leads. thats a freakin joke!

there is talks of firing at almost every meeting we have in the mornings to scare us into working 3x as hard, "like a sweat shop" they say stuff like we dont fire employees you choose to leave" this statment alone and others like it i feel are a form of employee harrasment "like a threat" "his whole objective was to make us believe if we did not get enrollmets we would lose are job" If were doing are job but cannot get enrollments " suddenly we are not putting enough effort" we are accused of this each and every day"

If you want to work here Id say dont. Its not worth it for $12 an hour. and forget about your 90 day raise unless you meet your sales goals you wont get it. Its not mandatory no matter what they say. Out of my training group only 3 people hit thier goals myself and 2 others. and I have been there 4 months still have not received crap. No one in the training class before usreceived thier raises either. this company lies to its employees just as much as it lies to its customers.

If youre a student got to AIU online your books are included its regionally accredited and thier program is shorter. you get more and thier technology is much better. thier tuition is so much cheaper. and they help you do your fafsa and assist you with everything every step of the way.

Im under suspension but I dont plan on going back to work there in fact i am going to make it my personal goal to blog and build websites "networks of them to help students not go to fl tech with the university of alliance"

If your getting great sales the comapny and managers are nice to you and allow you to get away with certain things you normally would be written up for like coming in late or takeing xstra breaks. while they verbalize this is okay. later on when your slumping in sales they will lie and say you did not have permission to do such things, and will write you up for it later. I have been the victim of harrasment and discrimination by this company. And am going to the labor employment department to file a formal complaint. as well as with the BBB.


Now that its over I and i dont have to go back i am relieved!
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

100% Correct- Former Employee Agrees w/report; It is AMAZING that this place in still in business - Bisk Education, University Alliance

AUTHOR: Been There - (U.S.A.)

So saddened to see this here, but not in the least bit surprised. For all investigating spending your money with Bisk, search at this site on them, especially the comments from a former employee in 2005. ALL 100% true.

I am bothering to do this, because I wanted to back up what former employee "Mike" had to say, BACK in 2005.

This is the absolutely most un-ethical, shady company I have ever had the misfortune to work for- seriously. No exaggeration at all in that statement. Though I tackled the job with gusto, and worked diligently, the only thing rewarded at this company is greed, avarice and questionable behavior (and I am being generous).

Though I prefer not to state when exactly I worked there, and will not use my real name on screen, it has been within the last 10 years. The management team is the source of all the company's sick culture; they need help. I often wondered how some of them slept at night. I guess money matters that much to people. It starts at the top, and tramples on down.

They practice a form of outright hostility and back-stabbing that I have not even seen in Fortune 100 corporate america. Truly stunning. As a manager, I was shocked by the company's "customer service" practices.

Forget about their stated policies and opt out. It is non-existent. They do not care if you are angry. They want your money- that is it. The minute you hit submit on one of their forms they will call you until all time, and then email you into the next lifetime.

If you ask to be removed from a list, the company will play lip service and continue to keep your data in the database until it just expires from age (ex you change address, email or phone). I had so very many certified professionals scream in my ear about removing them from the list. Because the requirement of continuing education makes the available certified credits such a limited pool, these people were forced in some instances to buy Bisk products as they spat with hatred on the phone. They have to get the credits from someone- Bisk is determined to be the one collecting the money.

The CEO and founder is a known, ranting lunatic, who terrorizes the organization. All practices in this company are NEGATIVE reinforcement. They are a KNOWN sweat shop, and they prey on workers with high school educations, who find they can not compete in the Tampa Bay market. They say they give employees an advanced degree ("A $50,000 value!") but that is not true either- it is not free to employees, simply discounted from their already highly inflated prices.

I take every single opportunity I can to spread the word in Tampa Bay about how hideous this organization is, and actively discourage professionals from train wrecking their careers by self inducing suffering. It is difficult for most people to walk away from a paycheck and benefits - no matter how paltry they are. I was fortunate enough to have a household with two incomes. I cut the household budget, shut off the cable and ate beans and rice for months, because I had to get out of there. Having a conscience and a shred of dignity will require that you remove yourself from their employment.

They know what they do, and they search the Internet for things such as this- I hope this is googled and spread far and wide. The company used to routinely buy every website name they could, stuff like bisk sucks.com and the like, to try to head off all the unhappy, harmed people out there - former employees and customers - WHAT does that tell you?

The CPA part of the business is not the point- the law degrees of some exec's are. They lawyer up for everything- so all those collection notices you read about here- Believe it. Some lawyer has made sure that any agreement you make with them (online form, credit card payment, etc), will absolutely be binding contract, and end up with you paying. They will not lose a PENNY. It's privately owned too- so wealth distribution starts there (not spread to the little people who make it all possible).

Do yourself a huge favor- I don't care what the nice sales person says (if you could only SEE what the room that person is in looks like on the other side of the phone!). Buyer Beware was made for places like this.

Tell two friends, and ask them to tell two. Spread the word. Karma is taking too long to catch up to this miserable operation. help a fellow human being out. Good luck!
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