ED Magedson – Founder
Boots On The Roof - Unitek4670 Auto Mall Parkway Fremont, CA 94538 Fremont, California United States of America
I was charged $6490 for a Masters Certificate in Renewable Energy (Solar-MCRE) which was comprised of 3 separate courses: 1.) Photovoltaic (PV) Electric 2.) Solar Thermal 3.) Wind Power. These courses were provided back-to-back over a 3 week period beginning 9/12/10 and ending 10/01/10. I traveled away from my home & family in Florida to California to take advantage of this opportunity in which I incurred additional expenses (travel, food, lodging) totaling an excess of $2500, for a grand total in excess of $9000. A Teacher, Kevin Kennedy, was introduced to us during the 4th day of the 1st weeks PV course in which he provided some history of the industry but mainly was to focus on system design, sales and marketing. My doubts about Kevins credibility began when he was explaining the earths summer & winter solstices to the class. Kevin held up a globe and proclaimed the northern hemisphere receives more or less direct sunlight (irradiance) during the winter and summer due to the earths axis changing from 23 degrees one way to 23 degrees the other way! The Solar Thermal (ST) Course provided during the 2nd week (9/20 9/25) was absolutely unacceptable for the premium fees charged for this program and what was advertised. Kevin Kennedy was our teacher for the entire week. No knowledge of system installation was evident. It appeared that Kevin often relied on the fact that his students did not have any knowledge about the systems and would provide false information instead of stating he did not know. For example, during a lab exercise, we put together a ST System requiring 2 water pumps to operate. These pumps were managed by a Control Unit which would turn the pumps on and off through monitoring water temperature through wire sensors. As the Control Unit only had 1 power supply for 1 pump, I asked Kevin if this was the correct unit to be using. He replied that you could hard-wire power to a 2nd pump through screws where an auxiliary sensor wire would be attached and moved on. Kevin began the class with bear with me as this is only the 2nd time I have taught from the Power Point presentation. It was disorganized, filled with misspellings and was illegible most of the time due to incorrect background/text color combinations. Kevin would present excuses stating he did not have time to fix these things, but would make sure they go fixed for the next class he taught. Due to Kevin not being comfortable with the presentation, he would jump around from topic to topic subject matter very confusing. When presenting complex formulas in determining system size, Kevin presented variables in which he could not explain or even how to obtain. When backed into a corner by the class, Kevin would proclaim he would find out for us and let us know, but there was never any follow through. The final examination was unacceptable, filled with misspellings and grammatical errors. We were instructed to answer questions incorrectly as they had been inputted incorrectly. I scored an 85% on this test looking up every answer in the text and my 25+ pages of notes taken throughout the week. During the 1st week, I scored a 90% on the PV exam not using any of my materials. Beginning the 3rd day of the ST Course (09/22/10) I spent significant time out of class meeting with Sanjay Bhuria, Corporate Sales Manager; Shahrooz Roohparvar, Director of Strategic Operations; Chuck Rames, Program Manager and Eli Soto, Director of Strategic Projects about my concerns. I was informed that there had been no complaints in the past, I should have expressed my concerns sooner and they appreciated me bringing my concerns forward as they would assure the next class was better. After negotiations, I was offered $500 as a consolation for a poor program only if I kept my mouth shut. Given the number of fellow Masters Course students dissatisfied I declined the offer as I felt the group should be reimbursed accordingly.
After complaining during the 3rd day of the 2nd week of the program, an initial refund offer of $500 was made as well as an offer of $2000 to leave the school now, which at that point in the program I would have been walking away with approximately $6000 invested in a single certification in the 1st weeks course, Photovoltaics. It would have been a poor decision on my part to walk at that time given what I was presented. There were 10 other students which had similar concerns but were reluctant to speak up. 3 or more students actually withdrew from the program during the end of the 2nd week because of the way the issue was being handled. A student who traveled all the way from Ecuador, had to be removed from the building by security and then again by the police due to becoming outraged by the way he was spoken to about his concerns. It was the administrations strategy to keep everyone separate and make their poor refund offer but only if they went quietly and did not share with any others. Everyone spoke about their experience as we all were living at the same hotel together for weeks and would speak about our frustrations on Kevin Kennedys teachings. After I had spoken up, it inspired others to come forward in which we all arranged to speak with the Program Director, Chuck Rames, as he was not available until the 2nd week. Mr. Rames met with each student individually during a lunch break the 1st day of the 3rd weeks class. Mr. Rames gathered concerns promising he would present some sort of resolution for us all before the weeks end, which never happened. This appeared to be a trend, as during the last week and final course of the Masters Program, I was pulled out of class by Eli Soto, Director of Strategic Projects about my concerns. During this conversation with Mr. Soto, I declined the initial offer of a $500 refund as I felt it was unjust for everyone involved. I proposed at that time that Mr. Soto consider doing what was ethically correct and refund all Masters Course students 1/3 of their tuition given the entire 2nd week (Solar Thermal Course) was so poorly presented. During that conversation, Mr. Soto agreed the course was poor and acknowledged a consistency from what was presented by all of the students that came forward. Mr. Soto admitted Mr. Rames had not done his job in assuring that we got the best product for our money. Mr. Soto apologized for the disrespectful way that Shahrooz Roohparvar had presented to us and described him as a young inexperienced family member with a Used Car Salesman approach to doing business. Mr. Soto agreed that the suggestion of a $500 refund was an insult according to the compilation of concerns that had been presented about the Solar Thermal Course. Again, I was promised that I would hear something back in regards to action that would be taken and heard nothing from Mr. Soto. I contacted the BBB as a last resort. Again, Unitek is marketing a Masters Course through Boots on the Roof at a premium charge. It has nothing to do with a contract signed. It is simply poor business. If you are going to use students as Guinea Pigs in finding out the best ways of teaching and tweaking your curriculum, you should charge accordingly. I cant believe the amount of time I was told thank you for your concerns, we will make sure we correct the class for the next group who comes through. There needs to be a formal investigation conducted on this school as I have found they have not kept the same instructors for any significant period of time and are subjecting people to teachers who have no experience. It is profound that the teachers proclaim it is only my 2nd time teaching this course so bear with me.
Boots on the Roof is now stsing that they have no obligation to refund me any money given I signed a contract which makes them not liable.
PLEASE RECONSIDER THIS TRAINING. THERE ARE MANY LESS EXPENSIVE PROGRAMS OUT THERE THAT WILL GET YOU THE EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS (NABCEP) NEEDED TO BEGIN WORK IMMEDIATELY IN REALM OF RENEWABLE ENERGY.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/25/2010 05:42 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Boots-On-The-Roof-Unitek/Fremont-California-94538/Boots-On-The-Roof-Unitek-Sanjay-Bhuria-Corporate-Sales-Manager-Shahrooz-Roohparvar-D-654777. 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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