My involvement with Bernard Haldane Associates (BHA) began when I posted a resume on a website unrelated to their firm. Soon afterwards, I received an e-mail from a person named Tom Kindal, offering his assistance in my job search. (This was verbatim the same e-mail cited in at least one other complaint on the Rip-Off Report website.) Kindal suggested that I try BHA's self assessment on their website, which entailed submitting my resume to BHA. After submitting my information, I received a call from a very disorganized young woman in Princeton, NJ (apparently BHA national headquarters); she set up a meeting for me in the local Haldane office in Vienna, VA.
My first trip there should have made me suspicious. BHA is apparently sharing common space on a floor of an office tower with several other firms; when you arrive at their floor, there is not so much as a sign indicating that they are located there. My experience began with being handed a form that must be used for screening out those with insufficient means to pay their sizable fees; it asked questions about things like whether I owned my own home and car, my latest salary, and my spouse's salary.
I met with one of their VPs--I have the feeling that many people in the organization have the title VP--and while the conversation was cordial, it was remarkably one-sided and short on details. The interview ended with my being handed several forms to complete and submit to them. After those were submitted, I was told that I would receive an estimate about how much their services would cost me. (I should also note that as several other complainants report, I was pressed to bring my spouse along to subsequent meetings; I chose not to do so.)
At the outset of my second meeting with this particular VP several days later, I experienced some unpleasantness when I told him that both my wife and I were "skeptical" about whether BHA could deliver a job for me. His first reaction was to cancel the interview on the spot--though it had taken me an hour to travel there. I told him that I needed some specifics about what their job help might entail, and he proceeded to tell me about several types of assistance they offered. (Curiously, none of this is spelled out on the agreement they make the client sign.)
He then asked me if I had any further questions, and I said my big question was how much all of this would cost. He asked me to guess how much, having told me previously that it would cost somewhere between $3,000 and $20,000. After I played the guessing game, he cited a figure of $7,700--far more than I was willing to pay, as I told him. He then cited a "distress" figure, given the fact that I had been unemployed for a significant amount of time, of $4,000. He suggested that I charge this amount on one of my credit cards--a suggestion that I found troubling. Finally, he gave me an agreement to sign, which I said I had to take back to review with my wife, whereupon he wrote "void" across it--ostensibly to prevent my using it for tax purposes to subtantiate a deduction for job-search expenses that I had not incurred.
I took the agreement home and found it to be seriously deficient. It was disturbingly short on specifics, and clearly indicated that once I had paid the fee upfront, there would be no refund. It also stipulated that it did not constitute a promise of employment.
After reviewing the agreement, I decided to do some further research on the firm on the Internet, and I then discovered that BHA is facing legal action for fraudulent practices in at least 6 states, most recently filed by the Illinois Attorney General. I also found the Rip-0ff Report website and learned that I was not alone in my suspicions. I informed the VP by e-mail that I decided not to do business with them.
I can only thank those of you who have taken the time to share your experiences with BHA for saving me from spending a lot of money that I could ill afford to lose. Let the buyer beware--indeed! Thanks...
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Bernard Haldane Associates CLICK HERE, You must read this!! ..Financial Post Article LINK - Haldane not up to the job ..exposing this company for what it really is - a huge scam