• Report: #332990

Complaint Review: The College Network

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  • Submitted: Fri, May 16, 2008
  • Updated: Mon, May 03, 2010

  • Reported By:Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
The College Network
3815 River Crossing Parkway Suite 260 Indianapolis, Indiana U.S.A.

The College Network The College Network is a scam. Indianapolis Indiana

*UPDATE Employee: Best wishes for success!

*Author of original report: Your company is still a rip off.

*General Comment: Ripped off in Pasadena, Texas

*UPDATE Employee: Response to your complaint

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The College Network is a scam. I was an unlucky individual who fell for the scam, and it works like this. If you contact The College Network, they will send an "advisor" to meet with you (please note this terminology that is similar to that used by legitimate colleges and universities). This person may have the title of advisor, but they are NOT affiliated with any college or university, they are an employee of The College Network and basically a sales person. They will then tell you about the different programs that "they" offer in conjunction with their "partner" universities. The program that I was interested in was program offered by Excelsior College.

Please be advised that Excelsior College is a legitimate program but The College Network has absolutely no affiliation with Excelsior College, and Excelsior College even warns you about businesses attempting to sell study materials using the Excelsior College name on their website (they failed to tell me this). Excelsior College offers various college degrees for completing a prescribed course of study and tests, but they do not offer the classes, instead you mostly have to study on your own and pass their tests to earn course credit. I have not researched The College Network's relationship the other "partner" colleges and universities that they clearly claim to have an association with.

The College Network representative will then give you the sales pitch about their "learning modules" that their "partners" offer. They will ask you about your past education and check off boxes on a paper that lists the courses that they believe you need. This at first appears to be a college course planner that most legitimate college advisors use, but this in fact is a contract that you are about to sign.

Again this person is not a college advisor, which means that they don't really know which classes that you actually do or don't need to take. Whatever boxes they check has no bearing on whether you actually will get credit for your previous college experience or if you even need these classes to complete the program, so you could end up paying for a class that you already have credit for and don't need or don't need at all. They will then ask you if you wish to finance the tests too. They lie about how much you are paying per class which is a much lower amount than the actual cost.

What they conveniently fail to tell you is that the price that they quote is for their study guides excluding the test fees, and the actual tuition for the school. To illustrate this point, I'll list what my personally estimated costs were for Excelsior College and for The College Network. For the Excelsior College program (please contact them directly for current and exact fees), I estimated $800 for tuition, $400 annual fee, and $3,000 testing fees (assuming that I did not have to retest at any point, and that I needed to complete 10 tests).

The tests are about $300 each, and I estimated that I needed to complete 10 of them. I estimated that my total Excelsior College fees would be about $4,200. The College Network fee is in addition to the Excelsior College fee, and this what I would have received for my money. The College Network charges about $500 per "learning module", which is a three ring binder that contains a Xeroxed study guide that their company produced, and access to a tutor and study planner, which you may or may not need. I would have required about 10 "learning modules", 1 per Excelsior College course taken. This would have been about $5,000 + $2,000 finance charge (if you had to finance their outrages price like me).

Taking this into consideration, I would have been paying Excelsior College about $4,200 and would have received an Associate Degree and eligibility to sit for a state licensing exam. If I had bought The College Network's product I would be paying about $7,000 for a set of 10 three ring binders containing what appear to be Xeroxed study guides and access to a tutor, that I may or may not have needed in addition to the Excelsior College fees.

I believe that The College Network price is grossly overpriced for the product that you receive from them. You can buy similar study materials else where for a fraction of the price, and you could hire your own tutor on a pay as needed basis. This is how I handled the situation thus far. I luckily figured out that I was scammed the next day. They clearly state that the transaction can be cancelled within three business days of the transaction, and they provide you with a cancellation form (the cancellation form was very briefly mentioned, and I was told that I didn't need to known about it during my meeting with the "advisor").

That night I faxed my cancellation form to them, and to the credit union that I financed their costs through (which by the way is not The College Network, another fact that they conveniently omit). I wrote and signed a letter explaining that I was cancelling the transaction and why I was doing so. I faxed that to them and the credit union as well. I then scanned all of the forms and sent them via email to their email address.

The next morning I went to the post office and sent them the forms via 2 day express mail. I also cancelled my deposit check of $500 the next day. They still attempted to cash my check, but luckily the bank stopped it in time. It has been about 2 weeks since all of this happened, and I have not heard from them since. I plan on writing a follow up letter to them, since I haven't heard anything from them. That is the scam in a nutshell, and my experience with it.

My personal advice to anyone interested in Excelsior College is to deal directly with them and using the contact information that they provide on their website. I have not actually enrolled in Excelsior College as of yet. I am still considering whether I'm going to enroll or not, this whole experience has left me with a bad feeling.

Geoff
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/16/2008 02:59 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/The-College-Network/Indianapolis-Indiana-46240/The-College-Network-The-College-Network-is-a-scam-Indianapolis-Indiana-332990. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Best wishes for success!

AUTHOR: Customer Support - ()

Mr. Abner,

According to our records, your TCN purchase was cancelled in May of 2008 as requested.

To answer your question, Excelsior’s name is mentioned repeatedly in the paperwork in order to state that we are not affiliated with them in any way.

It is our sincerest hope that you were able to successfully meet your goal of completing your degree.

If we can be of any assistance, please contact Customer Support at 1-800-634-1443. 

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#2 Author of original report

Your company is still a rip off.

AUTHOR: Geoff - ()

Don't worry Rick, I've returned your $500 three ring binder of paper.  If you have no direct assosiation with Excellsior Colege, then why do you admittedly list their name repeatedly on your paperwork?  Thanks for a giant waste of my time, and if you still work for this company, I don't know how you sleep at night.

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#3 General Comment

Ripped off in Pasadena, Texas

AUTHOR: wanda koutougeras - (United States of America)

I too was ripped off by someone stating he was with College Network and even had a buisness card with college network on it. He came to my job and talked with us encouraging us to get a higher degree since I am a LVN. It really sounded exciting since I did not have to sit in a class room. I told him that I was not ready to start the classes and he informed me that with a down payment I could hold my status with the books at the current prices. Little did he tell me that it was a contract to start taking money from my bank account even though I did not start the courses. I have been paying now for over 1 1/2 years at 231.00 a month. I have tried to get out of the contract but I have no idea who to contact other than a 800 number on my bank statement. Mind you I have not nor have I recieved any material or taken any of the courses. All I am doing is making payments for something I have never recieved. Any advise on how to get rid of this nightmare, it can't be legal for them to continue.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Response to your complaint

AUTHOR: The College Network - (U.S.A.)

Geoff,

You have expressed several concerns and I would like to take the opportunity to respond on behalf of The College Network.

Your first concern was with the label advisor and the fact that the advisor is not affiliated with a college or university. The person with whom you met was a Program Advisor. The primary function of the Program Advisor is assist potential customers by advising them on the programs and subjects of study offered by The College Network. These individuals are well-versed in the degree requirements of our offerings, thus they are able to fairly accurately determine the courses that will be required to complete a selected program.

The College Network also partners with several colleges and universities throughout the country to offer degree and certificate programs. Many of these programs are exclusive offerings through The College Network and the partner institution, meaning that you would have to be a College Network customer to participate. If you would like to speak to a representative at one of our partner programs, we would be more than happy to provide you with contact information so that you may verify our relationship. The College Network, though not affiliated with Excelsior College, as stated throughout our paperwork, does have an open line of communication with Excelsior College should issues arise. For a complete listing of our partners, please visit www.college-net.com.

You have also stated that a person could possibly have to pay for unnecessary courses (Comprehensive Learning Modules) where transferrable credit may exist. Our Program Advisors complete a course analysis based on the degree requirements of the selected program with the information that is made available at the time of speaking with a potential customer. Once the file is received by the Academic Support Department, college transcripts are ordered and reviewed. If it is determined that a course is not necessary, due to previous credit or a transferrable equivalent, the course is removed, and the customer is credited. The College Network does not charge for or require customers to complete unnecessary course work.

With regard to your concerns that we fail to mention all the costs associated with the program, our paperwork has the appearance of a college course planner, and that we misinform about the costs associated with our products and school-related fees, I would like to state that all of our paperwork is clearly labeled as it relates to costs and function. Our cost estimate form, for example, provides an estimate of all costs associated with the program that one chooses to pursue, including module costs, exam fees, and school-related fees.

Our records indicate that cancellation of your account was processed on May 12, 2008. An attempt was made to cash your deposit, as you have not returned the Microbiology module that you were given at your initial meeting. It is standard operating policy that refunds are not issued until all products have been returned.

Your purchase with The College Network is much more than a set of 3-ring binders. Our modules are prepared by educators of leading universities. Additionally, you receive access to Academic Support, The College Network Resource Center, the Academic Support discussion board, as well as a host of additional educational resources and services.

If I can be of any assistance in answering any questions, or clearing up any misconceptions, please feel free to contact me at the number below.

Sincerely,

Rick DeGeeter
The College Network
1-800-395-3276 ext. 2552
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