• Report: #394792

Complaint Review: Entertainment Career Connection - Entertainment Connection - Jimi Petulla - Brian Kraft

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  • Submitted: Mon, November 24, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, August 31, 2012

  • Reported By:la California
Entertainment Career Connection - Entertainment Connection - Jimi Petulla - Brian Kraft
6253 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, California U.S.A.

Entertainment Career Connection - Entertainment Connection - Jimi Petulla - Brian Kraft SCAMMERS IN HOLLYWOOD! DON'T PAY THEM! HAVE AN F RATING WITH CA BBB! Los Angeles California

*Consumer Comment: Not gossip

*UPDATE Employee: Internet Gossip

*Consumer Comment: Entertainment Connection waste of money, misleading advertising

*Consumer Comment: Thank you Jimi Petulla

*Consumer Comment: Food for thought

*Consumer Comment: still getting worse...

*Consumer Suggestion: School Seeker

*Consumer Comment: Entertainment Career Connection Radio Connection Ripoff Report is True

*Consumer Comment: It gets worse...

*General Comment: Entertainment Connection Rocks!

*Consumer Comment: Here we go...

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: That's the best you can do, eh ECC?

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Beau Just Doesn't Know

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: truth

*Consumer Suggestion: A little more...

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: it's all true

*Consumer Comment: The Ripoff Is By The BBB

*Consumer Suggestion: yes they are a scam, my friend works at the BBB in colton, she confirmed this company is a rip!

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do not pay this company!
They tried to scam my husband into paying a lot of money!
they use big name actors to make it seem like they endorse the company!
Don't believe it!

I recently (last week) telephoned the BBB in Colton. They said this company is now trying to sue them but they stand behind portraying them as a scam. I spoke with a man named Gary Almond, a supervisor of investigations there. He laughed and said 'many scams like this (referring to Entertainment Career Connection) try to sue us for exposing them, they never win...a scam is a scam'. He also stated that the company uses misleading advertising on it's website and literature. He said they have hundreds of complaints pending and this company has lost many lawsuits. He said they're excited to go to court.

I'm so glad we did our research before paying them.

I hope if you're thinking of going with this company, you change your mind.

Britni

p.s.- thanks Gary Almond for speaking with me the other day!

Their BBB report-


BBB Reliability Report for
Career Connection


F
Rating Explanation
If you have a dispute with this company, you may file a complaint. The BBB will try to mediate the dispute through our complaint process.


Company Profile
Career Connection
23852 Pacific Coast Highway Suite 802
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 456-9627
Fax: (310) 826-8064
http://www.careerconnection2000.com
Contact: Jimi Petulla - Owner
Business Start Date: 1/1/1980
Company ID: 13134620


Nature of Business:
This company's business is providing on the job training for apprentices or interns at a radio station, television studio, recording studio, or video and film production studio. The company collects tuition fees for their services and promotes job placement assistance.


Complaint Experience
Bureau Summary and Analysis of customer complaints and company responses:

Complaints allege failure to provide services as represented and not contacting clients to provide assistance. Clients complain that the company fails to issue certificates, provide job placement assistance, or final grades. They also complain that calls are not returned, and unexplained delays occ... >More



Accreditation
This company is not an accredited business. This fact does not disparage the company in any way.


BBB Comments and Analysis
Bureau's Comments and Analysis of Company's Business:

We have no further comment about this company's business practices or analysis of its offer that may assist you in your consideration of this company.


Customer Reviews and Rating
Do you want to see what other consumers have to say about this company? Click on the link below to view customer reviews or to post your own review.


Government Actions
We know of no government action taken against this company.


Licensing
Agency:

License Number:
Status:

California Law requires these companies to maintain a $10,000 bond for each business location. The bond must be issued by a surety company admitted to do business in California. A copy of the bond must be filed with the California Secretary of State. To verify bonding, contact the California Secretary of State's Office, at (916) 653-3984. Or, you may write to, Special Filings Unit, P.O. Box 942877, Sacramento, CA 94277-0001.

> View All Licenses


Complaint Closing Statistics
The following grid displays the number and responses to complaints over the last 36 months:

No. of Cmpl Type of Response
3 Making a full refund, as the consumer requested
1 Making a partial refund
26 Agreeing to perform according to their contract
0 Refusing to make an adjustment
5 Refuse to adjust, relying on terms of agreement
2 Unanswered
0 Unassigned
37 Total

Other Considerations
We know of no other matter or practice relating to this company that may assist you in your consideration of this company.

Advertising Review
We believe that the use of clips of George Lucas and Jeff Goldblum, along with the editorial surrounding the link, suggest that these celebrities endorse or sponsor this company's program. We have asked that the company modify this advertising on September 8, 2006, but they have not modified it to be clear that these are not en... >More





Britni
la, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/24/2008 11:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Entertainment-Career-Connection-Entertainment-Connection-Jimi-Petulla-Brian-Kraft/Los-Angeles-California-90028/Entertainment-Career-Connection-Entertainment-Connection-Jimi-Petulla-Brian-Kraft-SC-394792. 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 Consumer Comment

Not gossip

AUTHOR: imispgh - (USA)

My report as I am sure many others are not gossip.

I have no doubt someone, maybe yourself, had a good experience. 

The issue becomes are the good experiences more prevalent?
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Internet Gossip

AUTHOR: Who? - (United States of America)

I know this company pretty well. They have enrolled thousands of students, and it's impossible to please everybody. Some people are just complainers. The bottom line is they put you in a situation (an apprentice with a mentor) and if you work your ass off you'll go really far. If you're lazy or can't commit, you won't. It's pretty simple. 

I also know in past years things have not run perfectly. It was a company growing and there are sometimes growing pains that go with the territory. Since these posts were made the company has changed and improved a lot. 

I would call in and ask all your questions before dismissing it because of internet gossip. 
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#3 Consumer Comment

Entertainment Connection waste of money, misleading advertising

AUTHOR: DeadMetaphor - (United States of America)

I was a Recording Connection student, which is the same company as Entertainment Connection. I do not know about their other programs (Film Connection, Broadcast Connection, etc.) but I would not be surprised to find that they are all a complete waste of time and money. Here is the text of a complaint I already filed:

Recording Connection is mostly a waste of time and definitely a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY!!! Sadly, I enrolled in Recording Connection and went thru the program in 2011. Before starting, I had already done a little bit of live recording in my rehearsal loft, but I knew very little about ProTools (only enough to do live stereo recordings - all the mics going into a mixer and then into the 2 ins of a FW410 - and then cut them into individual songs that I distributed on my band's fb,lastfm, etc.) and nothing about mixing. I thought that taking a course would be a good way to learn every thing thoroughly instead of relying on books and forums and doing it by myself.

I explained to the recording connection staff exactly what I was looking for and they assured me that with their program I would come out a competent engineer, able to work as the sole engineer on a project. I paid the $7750 up front. The studio I was set up with was cool, they had a great business, I got to see all types of sessions, I even got to see a few well known musicians in the studio (Warren Haynes, J. Mascis, some others less known) as well as talented local acts. But my mentor, who was the studio owner and one of the 2 engineers, really didn't care about teaching me. He
never taught me what I had come there to learn. All I was doing was setting up mics, plugging things in and rolling up cable. The program is supposed to consist of some time where you intern - basically working as an assistant, and some time where your mentor teaches you and gives you lessons. My mentor was always late for lessons, sometimes an hour late. He never prepared, not even so much as to know what he was supposed to be teaching me, as we simply followed
the RC workbook. And then he would constantly interrupt our lessons to chitchat with random people who walked in or with his staff engineer - and I don't mean that he was talking about important work-related stuff that couldn't wait or interesting studio-related things that I could learn from - just random BS. I would sit thru lessons where he arrived so late that the lesson was basically canceled, b/c his next session was starting, or where he interrupted the lesson to chat with some dude (or his staff engineer) for an hour and then the lesson was over (once again b/c the next session was
starting). So we moved thru the material really slowly - I think it was about 7 months at least before I actually got to sit at the desk, open ProTools and hit the record button - and that was all I got to do.

The RC agent or counselor in their LA office that I was set up with was this incredibly dumb, vapid girl whose "check-ins" with me simply consisted of her repeating stock self-help/positive-thinking quotes completely out of context, so explaining the situation to her seemed useless. I was certain she would probably f**k everything up even worse if I told her about it. I was really stuck in a bad place, b/c this was in a small town where this was one of only 2 studios that good local acts recorded at that weren't basement/project studios. I was trying to be as cool about the situation as possible b/c I was hoping when the program was finished that I could work at this studio, as well as others, as a freelance engineer. But since my mentor wasn't teaching me what I needed to learn, there was no way I could work as an engineer - I
still can't. But yes, I got tons of time assissting and looking over shoulders.

Finally, after 10 months of this, I spoke to my mentor about the situation. He was sympathetic, but also indicated that perhaps I misunderstood what the RC program was about. He said he did not think their program was supposed to teach you how to use ProTools or how to mix. He said that he considered it more of an introduction to recording. Looking over the course materials, I have to say he is right.

When you sign up they send you a textbook, a workbook and ProTools LE. At the time I signed up, PT9 had already been out for a few months, but sure enough what they sent was PT8 with a damn M-box. I imagine they had bought a bunch and hadn't gotten rid of them all. I should have canceled right away - I know. Furthermore, the textbook they send is just Modern Recording Techniques by David Miles Huber, which you can buy at Barnes & Noble. If you are
familiar with this book, then you know that it is just an intro book - it doesn't cover how to use PT or any other DAW, it doesn't cover mixing. The RC workbook is their own book, which contains the lessons and exercises, but in reality it is completely based on the Modern Recording Techniques book. For each lesson, it tells you which chapter(s) to read, it has a page or two summary of this material and then a little quiz. I think 2 chapters have material that is not covered in the textbook - that is all. So yeah, 1 little chapter on PT, nothing on mixing. Anyway, I know I should have canceled the program as soon as I received these materials, but I was a little naive and the RC staff assured me that the course covered everything you needed to know to start working as an engineer. They also said that the mentor will
show you much more than what's in the lessons. Anyway, it's all bullsh*t. I don't know how anyone can claim that a course prepares you to work as an engineer if you doesn't teach you how to use a DAW or how to mix. It's a complete lie.

All their advertising, all the testimonials where an RC student got hired as a chief engineer or staff engineer or whatever is either a lie or one very lucky student who had a mentor who was actually willing to teach him/her how to engineer instead of just following the RC lesson plan. They do pump you up going into it - you have to work hard, you
have to prove yourself, not everyone will make it, etc. But it's all part of the game to get you to part with your money. What it boils down to is that you need someone to teach you how to engineer (or you need to read books, consult forums and figure it out for yourself), and this course does not do that. It just sort of introduces you to some of the background theory and lets you hang around a studio and help out. Obviously, if I knew that going into it, I would not have spent $8k on it, b/c an intro to recording is certainly not worth that. Also, for me personally, I had already been introduced to recording - I had been in really nice studios with all kinds of bands I was in, I had recorded some things myself, I knew a lot of the theoretical background, etc. - I just wanted to get to that point where I could do everything that engineers who have recorded me in the past could do and where I could confidently say to any studio
owner, any engineer who needed a freelance sub, any band who wanted to make a record, etc., that I could take care of that for them.
What's really upsetting to me now to is that not only do I not have any more audio-engineering knowledge and skills now after taking this course than I did before beginning, I am still paying for the damn thing (I financed it myself with a low-interest credit card - lower than the interest RC charges for financing) and I can't afford now, or for the forseeable future, to take a real audio-engineering course, if indeed there is one out there. I really wanted to try to
see what kind of career I could have as an audio-engineer. This is a really dead dream.

So please, if you are interested in becoming an engineer, do not waste your money on this course. You will not learn how to engineer. You will get to assist in a studio and learn some background knowledge related to recording that you may or may not already know, but you won't learn how to go into a studio by yourself with a band and come out with a finished song or album. That's not really worth $8 Grand, is it?
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#4 Consumer Comment

Thank you Jimi Petulla

AUTHOR: Brandon S - (United States of America)

I have to tell you I was NOT going to work with Jimi Petulla's company but I am so glad I did.  It totally worked out for me.  I asked Jimi himself about this complaint.  Rather than trying to justify or get defensive.  he merely stated that there are always two sides to the story.  He told me if I was serious about a career he could provide me with literally 900 success stories he has from just the past 14 months.  I can thumb through them and talk to anyone who has already gone through our program. Well I toll him up on it and talked to several people who in fact have received paying jobs in both film and music recording. Frankly he saved my on another school that wanted to charge $80,000.00 and they could not provide me with even ONE success story or person to talk to.  I'm in the program and I love it.  I'm already working part time at Open Call Studios and my mentor Donny Baker has been an unbelievable mentor to me. 

Thank you Jimi!
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#5 Consumer Comment

Food for thought

AUTHOR: imispgh - (USA)

I want to relate my recent experience with Recording Connection.  This experience kept me from trying the service.

First let me say that I think the premise of the school is excellent and it appears no one else does it.  As opinions vary on whether or not audio or recording schools are worth it everyone agrees time in the studio as an apprentice is extremely valuable. Given this it seems Recoding Connection provides the best of both worlds - time in the studio on-on-one and the necessary course curriculum.

What stopped me from using the service was the extremely heavy handed, over the top and worrisome hard sell.  The entire pitch is geared towards them choosing you and that they dont select just anyone so you are special.  I am 46 and not 18. The entire approach is tailored to teenagers and may be beneficial or necessary
given the average characteristics of an average teenager but it worried me that it went so far.  As a 46 year old professional I found the pitch and the excessive pushing insulting and very unnecessary. The company rarely seemed to understand that I was paying for a service, I am the actual customer and that they were not doing me a giant favor.  My concern is they use this approach to make the average teenager and their parents feel far more special than they are so they can control everything that goes on and them as well.  You are just so fortunate and lucky to be one of the few they choose. While I do agree that a teenager surely needs guidance in how to act professionally and interview I felt it went way too far.  At the end when I voiced my reservations the producer went even farther and told me he knows everyone in the business tried to close by doubling down on the same heavy handed, over the top schtick.  This is when I terminated the conversation. (Meanwhile this producer is in a room where I can hear a bunch or people trying to make sales. Wouldnt a top notch producer have an office?)

In the end it is very possible that everything would have worked out, especially given the studio they chose to work with me seemed to be top notch. (Coincidentally I had actually contacted them before I knew about Recording Connection to ask about an apprenticeship).  As such it is possible my apprehension is misplaced. 
Having said this I suggest that people take my comments as food for thought and form their own opinion.

(Given my verification of what Brant states as well as some others I am not so sure it is "very possible" that everything could have worked out.  Seems to me it all comes down to everyhting being perfectly lined up especially the people and the studio you are assigned to.  This is all a shame because the premise seems unique and could work well.)
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#6 Consumer Comment

still getting worse...

AUTHOR: Beau - (United States of America)

Brant,

Thanks for coming to this forum.

I also noticed the litany of websites that now pop up if you type Entertainment Connection into a search engine. They obviously think that if they buy out space and flood the internet with Entertainment Connection is not a scam themed websites, it will drive threads like this tens of pages into the search results.  It certainly hasnt worked.

As far as iffy accreditation goes, ECC takes the cake with this USBAS business. Thank you Brant for high-lighting this. Until they recently changed their website, they were actually using another (I assume self-generated) accreditation website to tout their name. What is going on in this country? Could someone (or some entity) who is involved in regulation and/or prosecution of businesses falsely claiming government sponsorship please step in here? This company has quite obviously created a website that feigns partnership with the U.S. government in order to advance its own bottom line.  Dont believe it? Follow Brants links and check for yourself.

Let me  add a few new bits of information to this discussion. ECC has now modified their website to include a refund policy, an action that I believe is a direct response to my previous posts in this thread.  I would almost call it a step in the right direction, except that it leaves behind so many past customers. What is a student who was lied to in 2006 supposed to do with regard to the money they lost? Will the company declare this new refund policy retroactive? I also believe that even with a refund policy posted online, ECC will simply end up arguing with wronged students over times and dates completed. Their strategy will ultimately be the same; obfuscate the details to make it look as though there is no fault on their end. And, as always, theyll keep the money.

To the ECC folks reading this, let me be clear: I didnt make the criticism of your refund policy because I had some degree of hope that the company could be reformed. The point was to elaborate on the lack of structure and basic ethics that has become a sort of bedrock for what you do.  Look at the dichotomy of how youre going about this even now. Youve finally devised some sort of refund policy, and at the very same time youre creating illusory websites to distract potential customers from the negative press youve received. On top of that, there is this very forum where someone from the company has been caught in a blatant lie. My contention, years ago and today, is that you cant be honest. And that you should be forced out of business. I really want to make sure Im clear about that.

The loss of the BBB lawsuit should be the tip of the iceberg. In any rational world ECC would not exist as soon as tomorrow.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

School Seeker

AUTHOR: Brant - (United States of America)

I've been thinking about trying to find a good school for being in audio engineering, and music production. I've checked out plenty of college websites, full-sail, sae, etc.
I came across Recording Connection, I think I may have ignored it in the past for some reason, not really sure.
Regardless tonight I checked out the website. I was blown away. I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was a dream come true. And I actually took my time to read through every single word on their website. I watched their videos, looked at their staffing, looked at their mentors, and success stories.

I saw the amazing rates, only about $7800 for about 6 month  schooling learning everything you need to know and a year of job placement (my biggest seller for the school I want to go to)

I was ready to sign up. I saw that they had "interviews" and if the mentor you met didn't think you were right, then you couldn't get in. Which made me want it more. One on one training from a real professional? It sounded too good to be true. Something that is actually even listed on the website.

Then I typed Entertainment Career Connection on google. (The name I saw in the top right hand corner) just to get some more info, maybe reviews.

It was flooded with "scam this" it's a "scam" and I read article after article. Page after page of it being a scam or not. 

The fact that there was a website titled recordingconnectionscam.com which focuses on how Recording Connection isn't a scam. Made me immediately realize. Yeah, that's a most likely a website owned by ECC.

I kept looking, and reading. I started reading this Ripoff Report. I read every post. Astonished by how the person named Moe completely made up a story about someone who posted, using the WRONG poster's name. Read it all again, an anonymous ex-employee said something negative, followed by a comment by a person named Beau who was just stating things he knew, and never once mentioned ever being in employment.
Then you can obviously see a fabricated story about the  ex-employee Beau. Who I'm quite confident never existed in the history of ECC. Moe stating he had a desk next to him (the whole time using the wrong commenter's name)  

Then later claims he didn't work for ECC and just did freelance. The most contradictory thing in the entire list of comments.

I made this post to point out two things. First off their website is so well crafted, it's remarkable.
 
However two things should be taken into consideration. They have a location in it seem over 40 States in the U.S. a very .. very large number of branches for a school of this sort.. how can they find that many mentors to work with that many students in that many locations? And if you try and find evidence of their supposed location in any of those Cities and States you will find nothing. 
You would think there would be.. I don't know, a google map location coming up when typing Recording Connection in one of the many many locations. Anything at all. I couldn't find anything.

The second thing I wanted to point out was their claim to be an accredited school.
you can read this all on recordingconnection.com/accreditation

"As an accredited audio recording and engineering school for the last 29 years, we have worked very hard to maintain the highest academic standards and graduate success rates. We place great value on our accreditation and we want you to feel comfortable with our school. 

We understand the importance, especially in these tough economic times, of doing your research before making a decision on your academic and professional future.  We place great value on our accreditation, and we want you to be assured that our school meets the highest standards of quality. Here are some of our credentials."

And then they list about ten or so of their supposed credentials.
The first one listed is:

1.) The United States Bureau of Accredited Schools (USBAS) has recognized all of Recording Connection Audio Institutes programs, teachers and training facilities/one-on-one classrooms in professional working environments. Visit the bureau at www.usbas.org

So I did, and found it to be the most obviously fictitious site ever. Please go to the website. The first thing you'll probably do is look up the school. Which you will find on there. 
The homepage of this site for some reason shows a picture of the current President Obama, and in the back you can find what seems to be an emblem of what I would assume to be a Government organization for the USBAS.

Well it certainly isn't a real Bureau from our United States government. And I might be wrong but I'm fairly certain all government websites end in .gov not .org
And the government doesn't technically accredit schools, (the site does mention this) accrediting agencies do.
However the government does list accredited schools on many government websites. Good luck finding this school on one. And good luck finding this accrediting agency on any government website as well.

This website only contains a handful of schools accredited, all of them in recording and film arts. These all of course include every school in ECC.
And ECC is the only school to acknowlege being accredted by this supposed accrediting agency.
There is no address on the website either, no e-mail. You can click "Contact Us" which I did,  I asked them to please provide evidence of being a real site. Oddly the contact us form didn't actually work.

And the "USBAS" claims to have been founded in 2003, this site was registered and created in 2010 under godaddy and had all of it's register information hidden by proxy. Seems like a long time to wait to make a website for your accrediting agency.

I feel very confident in saying that this is a fake site created by ECC to give false accreditation with The ECC schools, which I can safely assume now is a scam and ran by con artists.

You decide. To my dismay I am going to have to go with the elephant in the room. 
If this school were real and true it'd be the greatest thing in the world.
I went from Happy to Sad to Disgusted researching this tonight.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Entertainment Career Connection Radio Connection Ripoff Report is True

AUTHOR: TruthsSeeker - (United States of America)

You deserve to lose your money if you turn over one nickel to this company.

In spite of the false bravado coming from the Entertainment Career Connection representative, I just noticed that they lost their lawsuit against the Better Business Bureau.

(((ROR Redacted)))

Since the court ordered them to pay the legal costs to the BBB to the tune of $283,000, I can't imagine this company will be in existence much longer.

I was considering going with this company until I noticed something very strange when doing my due diligence. When looking to do business with ANY new company, I always Google the term < Company name> + scam.

I noticed with this company, a lot of self generated articles were written to state that the entertainment career connection is NOT a scam. Go ahead and Google the phrase Entertainment Career Connection scam... And see for yourself.

Fortunately, this ripoff report is at the very top, but their reason for doing that is to push all of the legitimate scam complaints off of the first page results.

What does that tell you about a company that has to spend time and money writing articles to cover up for their scam tactics?

If the Entertainment Career Connection is able to survive as a company, it's only because enough people didn't do their due diligence by checking them out before turning any money over to them.

The best way to run crooks like those found at the Entertainment Career Connection and Radio Connection out of town is starve them to death by not giving them your business.


 CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#9 Consumer Comment

It gets worse...

AUTHOR: Beau - (United States of America)


Moe,


Did you just completely and totally ignore the fact that I caught you in a lie? I mean, re-read the last three or four posts in this thread. You made up a fictitious story about a guy named Beau, claiming you worked with him, that he skipped out on child support payments and moved to Los Angeles, etc. Its all bunk. You lied. Then, after being caught in that lie, you returned and posted again as if nothing happened. As if things would just keep rolling along. As if nobody would notice. Youre not just a freelancer, youre here on behalf of ECC. And like I said before, I have a pretty good idea as to who you are. You have the same writing style youve kept with on numerous message boards, and you actually go as far as to inject ECC pitches/slogans into your objective defense of the company. Its all so over-the-top and ridiculous (Entertainment Connection Rocks!Really?) it leaves me with few words.


I already addressed your point about the use of clips by Jeff Goldblum and George Lucas. ECC used these clips on their website for many years, with the very obvious intention of linking the program to celebrity. Only after years of pressure did they create an addendum that stated these were not official endorsements from either celebrity. Again, I wrote all of this already. Re-read the above posts carefully.


And again, feeling very redundant: the tuition argument is only viable if you provide an actual and similar service to a traditional college. This has nothing to do with whether or not you think college is immensely valuable or absolutely worthless. Colleges have stringent refund policies that are defined in print and made available on the web. ECC has nothing of the sort. The entire refund process is managed by one or two individuals, is unchecked by any higher licensing or regulation, and is therefore meaningless. I know firsthand that the company always decides in its own favor, and I think the ex-employee responding in this thread seconds that.


I still have a paper contract from ECC circa 2005 that Id be happy to scan and post here. Just so outsiders reading this back and forth might understand what Im talking about. Its left so open-ended as to render ECC innocent no matter the transgression.


From here on out Moe, this is going to get a little more tangible. When my integrity is called into question, and when I know Im being honest, I feel as if I must substantiate it. I have no problem posting exchanges Ive had with ex-students and ECC reps. We can go there very quickly.

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#10 General Comment

Entertainment Connection Rocks!

AUTHOR: Moe - (United States of America)

I am not an employee of Entertainment Connection, but have had numerous dealings with them over the last five years on a freelance basis.  I have found them at all times to be folks with more than the normal integrity and high moral ground.

What I do find ludicrous is somebody using the so-called reliability reports of the BBB to prove their case.  Anyone who has ever dealt with the BBB knows that when it comes to the term SCAM, the BBB personifies the word.  A great website to see just how insidious the BBB is at http://bbbroundup.com. 

As to the specific allegation at the head of this complaint I'm responding to, the issue seems to revolve around Entertainment Connection demanding lots of money from some anonymous women's husband.  This begs the question of why wasn't the husband the one who filed the complaint.  Also, it makes mention that the Entertainment Connection uses big name actors to seem like they endorse the company.  What big name actors?  Could find anything like that on the website.  Considering that the Entertainment Connection offers courses in film production (BUT NOT ACTING) what possible relevance is there to the so-called use of said big name actors?  Finally, it talks about a lot of money.  The tuition Entertainment Connection charges is under $8000 which is a fraction of any similar Film School  This complaint is counter to everything I know about Entertainment Connection and makes no logical sense.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Here we go...

AUTHOR: Beau - (United States of America)

This is just about the perfect response from ECC. It's certainly the one I wanted. There are few things as gratifying as catching hucksters mid-lie, and I've done this...oh...about twenty times with this company. Here's number twenty-one. First of all, there is no Beau. Or, I should say, there isn't one typing this sentence right now. I used a name, any name, with a hunch that an ECC rep (I believe the COO wrote the above rebuttal--his signature style is all over it) would attempt to fabricate a story. That they did. Indeed, I have never worked for ECC, and in fact I've never even set foot in the city of Los Angeles. I'm not so sure "Moe" fully read my previous message, because I never claimed to be an ex-employee. What I said was that I'm an ex-student, which is completely and totally true. As was my claim that I had spoken with other wronged customers and assisted them in getting money back frrom ECC. And make no mistake about this: the ex-employee responding in this thread is another person, not just me posting as someone else. We aren't in cahoots, and haven't even had any contact outside of this board. We're simply two individuals who take issue with the fact that a company like ECC is allowed to exist.

Note that the ECC rep actually repeated the very offense I accused the company of in my earlier post. I mentioned their tendency to invent things about students, gave a concrete example of this, and here they have delivered once again. I'm not even trying to get a barb in here, but these are some of the most disreputable folks I've ever come across. Like an amalgam of shady wall street trader, slippery used car salesman, and some other hard to define brand of small-time quackery. They've gotten so far down a path of lying that it's actually become a business mode. Every single time these complaints come to light they dispatch a rep to "shoot down" the accusations, be it on this website or tens of others. And while we're on that subject, take a look at this thread from the website cinematography.com:

(((Redacted)))

A little less than halfway down a poster by the name of Moe Hawke comes to the defense of ECC. Read the post and pay attention to the language; note its similarities to what the ECC defender above posted. Pay attention to the feigned impartiality, and to how the post sounds less like an actual thought than a recital of blurbs from ECC's website. Lastly, and maybe most damningly, note that the ECC rep/defender in this thread is also named Moe. I'm not stepping out on a limb when I say that it's the same person, and I have a pretty good idea as to who that person is.

It's unnecessary for me to go any further.

And by the way Moe, being a resident of Ithaca and all, I would think you'd know how to spell it.

Sad. In all kinds of ways.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#12 UPDATE EX-employee responds

That's the best you can do, eh ECC?

AUTHOR: anonymous - (USA)

LOL

I'm not Beau but if I was I would be dying laughing right now.

Being fired from ECC is easier than actually doing the work.

Like that one time they crafted a false letter from the manager of the building they are housed in accusing an employee of smoking weed on the roof so they could fire him.

Or being too chicken shit to fire one of the thousands of receptionists that worked at that revolving door of a company so they told her she had been laid off (which would make her eligible for unemployment) and then denying her the unemployment.

Employees there are told every day they are going to get fired for one reason or another.  Whatever Beau does in his personal life is his business.  This isn't the rip-off report for Beau, this is the ripoff report for ECC.  If anything Beau probably couldn't pay his child support because ECC didn't pay him enough. 

Beau isn't the one ripping off students left and right.  It's you, ECC.  YOU have the burden of proof to show us how all these countless reports of your terrible service isn't your fault, and if talking about the personal life of one of your employees is the best you can do... then I think all of our points have been proven, haven't they?
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#13 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Beau Just Doesn't Know

AUTHOR: Moe - (United States of America)

In the post above, Beau complains about the company he used to be employed with. But can we trust a former employee to give us accurate info. on a company especially when that employee is himself was fired? Yes that's right, what Beau fails to mention is that he was FIRED from the company that he now tries to sabotage.


I know, because I too used to work at ECC. Matter of fact, my desk was adjacent to Beau's for awhile.  Beau was fired from ECC for throwing numerous temper tantrums, for being inappropriate and unprofessional on the phones and for creeping more than a few of the female employees out.


I also know for a fact that Beau skipped out on his child support and moved to Los Angeles to try and be a movie director or writer. How original. The reason I know Beau skipped out on his child support is because I was in the Administration Dept. of ECC and I saw the letter demanding he pay his ex wife the money he owed his kid.


So I'm not sure you want to listen the ramblings of a creepy, weird, anger-prone, child support ditching former employee that was fired. Obviously he has an axe to grind. ECC was not a scam.


More importantly, my former boss Brian Kraft was a good guy and he cares about his students and his employees. The program they offer is a good one. The Internet is a good tool to help people decide if a company is a good one or not, but when former employees like Beau get on here and go on an one it really makes one wonder. I also knows that ECC has a policy where a a parent can talk to any other parent of a current student or another student and as many teachers as they want.

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#14 UPDATE EX-employee responds

truth

AUTHOR: anonymous - (USA)

The above comment is 100% correct.

I am the same ex-employee as before. 

Let me address the BBB complaints:

ECC will do everything they can to defame and tarnish the person making the complaint.  They spend a lot of time nitpicking the grammar and tone of these complaints to distract you from the common thread in all of them, which is that this school is a scam.  The people complaining are upset.  I consider myself to be quite a whiz with spelling and punctuation, but when I am upset these things become less important than getting my point across.

Another interesting tidbit about ECC, Recording Connection, Career Connection, MASA, or whatever 100s of names they call themselves now:

A student applied for the Recording Connection.  He pays his down payment, and was set up with mentor interviews.  Before he could even begin interviewing with mentors, he was given his deployment notice to go to Afghanistan.  Of course, this meant he would not be able to attend the school as planned.

Now remember, he hasn't been assigned a mentor and has not begun any sort of schooling.  He has not even received his books.  By law, he is entitled to a full and complete refund at this point. 

He is denied a refund by the ECC board of directors.  He explains his situation in more detail, stating that he does have a wife and child at home who could use the money while he is gone.  Sympathetic to his situation, the Student Services rep goes to Brian Kraft, the COO and Board of Directors for ECC, and asks again to consider a refund.  He is told no and that the student can complete the course when he is done serving his obligations in Afghanistan.  When asked about the possibility that the student might not make it back (since he is fighting a war and all) the COO replies, "Then we just get to keep his money."

I wish there was a way to intercept every person considering this program so I could tell them that story.  I hope at least in this forum it helps at least a few people make the right decisions.


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#15 Consumer Suggestion

A little more...

AUTHOR: Beau - (United States of America)

Career Connection, Entertainment Connection, Entertainment Career Connection, or whatever variation of the name theyre going with at the moment, is a scam. Regarding the BBB conflict, there is a way for consumers who are looking at the company to weed out the extraneous details and see what Entertainment Connection is all about.

Look at the nature of the complaints logged to their BBB profile. Look at the fact that almost case to case there is a total breakdown of communication between Entertainment Connection and the student. For instance, you will read over and over again that calls to the Entertainment Connection offices go ignored for weeks, months, and even years. You will also notice that the company uses a bleeding out process for issuing refunds, even when they admit to wrongdoing or negligence on their own behalf.

What I mean by this is that once a refund request is made, you will be continually bounced around to representatives, told the decision will be sent to the board for review, then ultimately, you will be told that the board didnt approve your refund. In my case, I had the actual CEO of the company admit in conversation that Entertainment Connection had acted inappropriately, only to be told later by the COO that, and I paraphrase: "You will never see your money again."

A previous reviewer claims to have worked for the company, and based on what he/she wrote, it sounds as if they are telling the truth. Principal running of day to day operations seems to have been passed on to the COO, and this is the man you will find yourself dealing with in the unfortunate event that you send them a check. His primary role seems to be holding on to all monies through strong-arm tactics and outright refusal.

As a matter of fact, I helped another wronged student get money back from Entertainment Connection a little more than a year ago. What ensued was an astonishing feat of attempted character assassination that affirmed what I already knew. Entertainment Connection invented stories about the former student, said hed arrived late to a studio he never even visited, and ridiculously enough, claimed he had emotional problems that caused a breach of contract. These were the reasons given for denying a refund. They quite literally made things up, not just once but repeatedly.

This happened in my case as well. Entertainment Connection claimed they had multiple apprenticing students working at a studio I interviewed at. I went to the studio, asked around, and nobody in the building even knew what the program was. When I called Entertainment Connection back they simply restated over and over that they had three students there, even though it was just physically, visibly, and totally untrue. To this day I cannot explain why they thought that strategy would work. I can only say that there is a heavy dose of delusion at Entertainment Connection, as if they are crossing their fingers while fibbing to you, thinking the situation will just magically sort itself out if they string the lie a little longer.

I want to comment on the advertising. For many years, and as recently as a year ago, Entertainment Connection used those clips of George Lucas and Jeff Goldblum without an addendum that stated neither man endorsed the program. The implication was that both men were speaking about Entertainment Connection, when of course they were not. Only recently did the company modify this.

Secondly, I want to tell those individuals out there considering the program not to be taken so easily by the anti-intellectual bent of the advertising. The website is littered with these anecdotal blurbs about how traditional colleges only have teachers, while Entertainment Connection has working professionals. I dont know what schools the company is referencing, but at a college I attended, one of my teachers wrote for the NY Daily News, another wrote and edited scripts professionally, and yet another was a published and, ahem, very much working author. EC tries to distance themselves from academia in order to carve out a niche in the market, but its mostly built on a fallacy that teachers arent simultaneously active in their field of choice .

Here is how Ill frame it: Entertainment Connection bandies about their cheap cost of tuition (just over $7,000) as if it is such a bargain in comparison to traditional film, radio, or broadcasting school. And, if properly staffed and administrated, as well injected with some semblance of basic ethics, it probably would be. Imagine though if you plunked down seven grand on your first year of college, then walked to class the first day only to find nobody was there. Back at the financial aid office the assistant who took your check is gone, but she left a phone number you can call for a refund request. You call for weeks, months, maybe a year, and she never answers. When she finally does, she says the complaint will be put before a board...you can see where Im going.

The price tag only invites comparison to college if an actual and similar service is rendered. EC has a laundry list of students who never even began training/apprenticing due to the companys negligence, and in some of these cases the program is still holding on to thousands of dollars they know should be returned. This illustrates a complete lack of accountability and, going further, it tells you the sort of wild-west space the company occupies, subject to little or no licensing, guided by nothing but a bottom line.

Circling back to this BBB vs. Entertainment Connection conflict: I dont necessarily doubt that the BBB is grading some companies unfairly while giving others preference. However, just because the BBBs rating system is flawed or corrupt, does not mean Entertainment Connection is an ethical business. Actually, I would search the web for information on the company, as there are a number of forums where you can read firsthand accounts from customers who have lost large sums of money in dealings with Entertainment Connection. As I said before, the greatest slight against them is that the complaints are very uniform, with nearly every disgruntled customer relating the same story. ECs problems go way beyond grievances filed with the BBB, or the BBBs arbitrary rating system, or anything related. They have established a pattern of behavior that is unmistakably deceptive.

I must also mention the New York BBB profile EC refers new customers to. The problem with doing this is that Entertainment Connection does not exist as an operation in NY, at least not in as substantial a way as they do in Los Angeles. All materials are mailed from the LA offices, all calls are made to EC headquarters in LA, all employees, including the CEO and COO, are headquartered there as well. Creating a NY profile looks like an attempt to distract potential customers from the messy evidence that is the LA BBB profile. EC even has a different CEO named to this NY BBB profile, a man who is never mentioned on their website or in their print literature. Perhaps the company wants to reinvent itself on the opposite coast, to maybe have a stronghold there. That wouldnt matter. The self-destructive tendencies theyve exhibited have nothing to do with locale. You either run a business honestly anywhere or you drive it into the ground everywhere.

I personally told the owner that I felt his company would eventually fail. I said that he would watch his affiliations dwindle, that fewer and fewer people would want to work with him in time. What I said wasnt rocket science. Its like telling sub-prime lenders that borrowers might have trouble paying those bad loans back once they come due. Its basic, obvious. I said this years ago and he hasnt even budged. EC is a great idea, and in theory, it would be a great alternative to traditional schooling. However, at the moment it is a game of craps, a roll of the dice. You have absolutely no idea what will happen when your money is sent. When you do business that way there is an almost certain implosion in the cards, its just a matter of how long it takes. If this began as a noble endeavor for EC, how the mighty have fallen.

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#16 UPDATE EX-employee responds

it's all true

AUTHOR: anonymous - (USA)

I worked at this company for quite some time and they are indeed a scam.  They take your money before they know they can actually place you somewhere, and if you want to do one program that they have no available mentors for they will actually just try and convince you to switch programs rather than give you your money back.

They say that you need to speak with the "Board of Directors" to get a refund, when in reality it's just the COO who decides.  He will say no to your refund request regardless of the reason, and oftentimes will instruct the employees to just dodge your calls.

I won't go into how they treat their employees, only to say that the people you are dealing with on a daily basis there are people who have little to no impact on the outcome of your situation.  They are just trying not to get fired.  The owner doesn't even have much of a hand in any of the day to day problems and resolutions (if there ever are any resolutions) it is mostly the COO who has turned this place into a scam.

I think honestly the company was started by the owner with good intentions, but by him giving over the control to the COO, they lost their ethics and morality.  Now it's all about sales and not about education. 

So no, you should not give this company your money.  Ever. Not even if they offer you an extremely discounted rate.  Do not give them a dime.
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#17 Consumer Comment

The Ripoff Is By The BBB

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

Let's take Britni's comments one by one:

1. She says that the entertainment connection charges a lot of money. The fact is the entertainment connection charges $7450 for their courses in film, radio and recording. If you check out others in the same business (full sail, sae, etc.) you will see that the fact is, entertainment connection charges substantially less than their competitors for what is arguably a much better course curriculum and job training program.

2. She says the entertainment connection uses big name actors to make it seem like they endorse the entertainment connection. The only big name actor I could find on the entertainment connection website is Jeff Goldblum. He appears in a brief clip, along with George Lucas, talking about the benefits of mentor apprentice education (the method of training that entertainment connection uses). Immediately above Jeff's picture is the wording "They Could Have Been Talking About Us" and immediately below Jeff's picture is the wording "Neither Mr. Lucas nor Mr. Goldblum have endorsed the Recording Connection." I do not see how anyone could mistake this for misleading the public into thinking a big name actor is endorsing the entertainment connection.

3. My understanding is that entertainment connection legal fees are well into the six figures at this point in their case against BBB. The BBB has legal insurance so they use a tactic of delay, delay, delay and basically bankrupt the small businesses that have sued them in the past. I find it most interesting that their is no mechanism to complain about the BBB on the BBB website. If the BBB is so excited to go to court as Gary Almond is quoted as saying, then why are they filing delaying tactic after delaying tactic?

4. There is a statement attributed again to Gary Almond that there are hundreds of complaints against entertainment connection, yet the BBB only shows 37 with the most recent being in 2006.

5. The BBB has the wrong address for entertainment connection which makes you wonder, if they can't even get the address correct, what else do they have wrong?

Perhaps most revealing, is the number of high profile articles against the BBB that have appeared in newspapers and articles from the Los Angeles Times to Consumer Affairs that have exposed the BBB's practice of giving good grades to paying members and bad grades to non-paying members. In fact, BBB's national spokesperson recently admitted this is the case. Since the BBB has now admitted accepting payola, I would suggest they have lost all credibility. In fact, a Florida senator has introduced legislation against the BBB for what she calls extortionist tactics. So, if you think having the fox guard the hen house by all means trust the BBB blindly. However, if you are interested in a real-world education in the film, radio or recording business, I suggest you do your own research. There are a number of testimonials, both video and written on the entertainment connection's websites from students who have completed the course and gone on the hugely successful careers in radio, film and recording.
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#18 Consumer Suggestion

yes they are a scam, my friend works at the BBB in colton, she confirmed this company is a rip!

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

my friend (i'll keep her name private) works for the bbb and she said that her office has been working on closing this company down for a few years. they are a complete rip off.

don't waste your time going there. here's more on the BBB report-

http://www.labbb.org/BusinessReport.aspx?CompanyID=13134620

Significant Complaints


Career Connection
23852 Pacific Coast Highway Suite 802
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 456-9627
Contact: Jimi Petulla - Owner
Company ID: 13134620

The table below includes a brief summary of significant complaints relating to Career Connection , and the company's response if available. (In some cases, the table may include all complaints against the company.)

To view the entire complaint or response summary, position your cursor over the text and the summary will appear ina pop-up box. To view complaint and response details, click the "View" button on the appropriate line to access a "Read-Only" detail screen.

Date Complaint and Response Summaries Details
11/07/2002 Complaint: Failure to fulfill terms of contract, Ignores messages for weeks, Hostile custom...

Response: Their records show they never received her resume to give her a complete package...
>> View
11/14/2005 Complaint: Breach of Contract One on One training service not being provided

Response: Flanze has completed the program she needs to email or fax me a resume so we can...
>> View
10/14/2005 Complaint: Company is refuisng to allow him to complete the program.

Response: We have no problem tranfergin him to a new studion to complete his 1/2 way point...
>> View
01/30/2006 Complaint: Company has failed to provide services paid for.

Response: We have no problem honoring our transfer privleges. I left him a message lettin...
>> View
01/30/2006 Complaint: Company has failed to provide service agreed.

Response: We have offered to transfer him to a new studio, all he needs to do is contact m...
>> View
01/30/2006 Complaint: Company has failed to provide service agreed to.

Response: We have the proof and tests that show she completed the course and that we paid ...
>> View
01/30/2006 Complaint: Company failed to provide services paid for,

Response: Certainly there would be no refund due in this case. If he would like to submit...
>> View
01/30/2006 Complaint: Company has failed to provide service nor issue a refund.

Response: Certainly no refund would be due in this case. At the very least if he would li...
>> View
02/06/2006 Complaint: This company's advertisement about job training placement seems false and mislea...

Response: We are still willing to help him with job placment. All we can do is assit and...
>> View
02/07/2006 Complaint: Consumer alleges you did not honor the contract.

Response: Certainly no refund would be due but we have no problem trying to assit with job...
>> View
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