Carnegie Career Partners in Pittsburgh (651 Holiday Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15220) contacted me by phone in October 2004 purportedly for an interview regarding a position that they were looking to fill.
The caller stated that she pulled my rsum from Monster.com where I had posted it. I was scheduled for an interview and it turned out to be a sales presentation for their services. I was promised access to a Special Database of Jobs, to key decision-makers and to a Hidden Job Market.
It was a very smooth presentation given by a very smooth woman, Catherine Slemenda, who had explained the advantages of working with this group. It was a very carefully crafted pitch. She was very good, and I was in a vulnerable spot. She picked on my Achilles heel. I was in need, and feeling pretty bad about my unemployment situation.
I noticed after reviewing the plaques on her office wall that the company had other names. I questioned the Bernard Haldane plaque. Ms. Slemenda explained the name change as somewhat of a break off from the parent company. I trusted her and when Ms. Slemenda said: We only agree to work with one out of 10 clients, I was hooked.
My wife and I attended a second meeting on October 29,2004. On November 2, 2004 I entered into a contract with Carnegie Career Partners in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for Career Counseling. I was charged $2,950.00 for the service. I found out later after some dissatisfaction with my career counselor and some detective work that the company does a very poor job of career counseling, and the name change is to protect them as they move on with their deceptive business practices. I find the name Barry A. Layne, President, showing up as President on companies including:
Carnegie Career Associates, PO Box 687, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550-0687
Carnegie Career Partners, 100 Princeton Overlook, Princeton New Jersey
Career Associates of New York, Inc. 100 Park Avenue - Ste. 1600, New York, NY 10017
Career Management, Inc., d/b/a Bernard Haldane Associates, a Chicago Illinois corporation.
Executive Carnegie Career, 100 Princeton Overlook, Princeton New Jersey
Robele Career Solutions, 1150 First Avenue, Suite 385, Princeton Junction New Jersey 08550
I was given the pep talk about a wonderful, energetic, one of a kind advisor that specialized in jobs in my field of interest. He was to be assigned to me. When I first met (Roland Vendeland), my counselor, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. He appeared to be a long lost soul that had been retired for many years and was just trying to make a few extra bucks.
I was again informed of the Special Database of Jobs that was for all intents and purposes, useless, and was basically a lesser version of Monster.com without the bells and whistles. I did not gain access to this database for three weeks after I signed my contract due to difficulties my counselor had to obtain a logon and password for me. I actually found more leads for jobs on Monster.com than on the Carnegie Careers database.
During my weekly visits he regularly supplied me with mounds of forms to fill out and forms with redundant information to fill out and complete. They were subsequently filed in my personal folder without any real discussion. These forms consisted of evaluations of career goals and concepts, similar to the ones I remember filling out in High School. Many of these mundane tasks seemed to be a method of wasting time and getting past the 45-day mark where refunds are permitted.
Meetings were held with my counselor only once a week for a two-hour time frame. Many times he appeared 15 or 20 minutes late without apology. The 45 day mark came very quickly with little accomplished other than various forms were filled out and I now had a shortened resume that many of the recruiters I visited with described as a Smoke and Mirrors resume, that was unacceptable. They asked if they could do a Financial Profile (Credit Check), of my wife and myself. This is the method of determining the amount they will charge to individuals. Each customer pays a different fee. Many unhappy customers exist and I find that in Kansas and Illinois:
The Information below is excerpted from the Better Business Bureau of Trenton NJ website,
http://www.trenton.bbb.org/, with regard to Career Management a/k/a Carnegie Career Partners formerly known as Bernard Haldane Associates, (Barry Layne, President).
In September 2002, Kansas State Attorney General Carla J. Stovall announced an agreement with this firm regarding charges of deceptive business practices. The Attorney General alleged that this firm misrepresented itself to clients and the public by claming that it has special access to hidden job markets and particular employers, disguising advertisements as classified job listings, contacting individuals with resumes available on the Internet for interviews that turn out to be sales presentations, claiming that their services were tax deductible when this was not always the case and charging clients for services that were not provided. The company admitted no wrongdoing. Under the settlement, this firm will pay up to $300,000 in restitution and $100,000 in penalties and fees.
In October 2003, the Illinois Attorney General filed charges against DRB, Ltd. d/b/a Bernard Haldane Associates; Jerold P. Weinger, individually and as president of DBR; Barry A. Layne, individually and as President of Career Management, Inc. d/b/a Bernard Haldane Associates; Jeffrey S. Zalay, Ben Acara, Mark Adams and Gary Herstein individually as salespeople, in Cook County Circuit Court accusing them of multiple violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and deceptive business practices.
The Attorney General's suit seeks preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against the defendants as well as civil penalties, restitution to customers, revocation, forfeiture or suspension of any certificate, license, charter or franchise held by the defendants to do business in Illinois. The Attorney General charged that the defendants engaged in trade or commerce in which they entered into a scheme to defraud consumers in their methods of advertising, offering for sale, and soliciting sales of career counseling services in the State of Illinois.
According to the Attorney General, the defendants: represented that they could put their clients in touch with a secret job market, where there was none; represented that they could provide an exclusive database of jobs, when the jobs listed were available to the general public; and taking a financial profile of each applicant and charging the clients varying amounts of money based on the liquid assets of each applicant.
They unfairly charged different customers higher fees for the same service. The suit claims that Haldane employees never found employment for many of their clients. The case is currently pending. The Illinois AG is asking consumers who believe they were mislead by Haldane to contact the AG's office at 1-800-386-5438.
BBB of New Jersey, Inc.
Square, Suite D-5
Trenton, NJ 08690-3596
I met with my counselor (Roland Vendeland) on December 16, 2004 to inform him that I was not satisfied with the service and would like to obtain a refund. H e gave me the e-mail address of the Client Services representative (Larry Keim). I contacted Mr. Keim and explained my situation and also mailed letters detailing my unhappiness with Carnegie Career Partners services to P.O. Box 687, Princeton Junction NJ, 08550.
I was given the proverbial runaround as it seems as though most people who complain to this company (or Companies) get. I was informed that since I had accepted full time employment that I was no longer eligible for a refund. I found out later that my Counselor had manipulated my paperwork to appear as though I had accepted a position and that I had left happy.
I forwarded copies of my unemployment compensation papers and they at least agreed that I might be eligible for some refund. I was offered a refund of $590 out of the total fee of $2,950. I refused to accept this amount since I was unhappy with the service and wanted a full refund. I was again contacted by Mr. Keim informing me that we are under no obligation to provide any refund. At this time he offered me a refund of $885. I made it clear that I wanted a complete refund.
I have researched these companies and have found numerous instances of complaints regarding these organizations and of rebuttals from Mr. Keim on the Internet. One of the popular sites that have a number of complaints listed is http://www.ripoffreport.com/. The instance below is taken from http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff113205.htm, where one of the reoccurring elements of his rebuttals is that Mr. Keim states:
If any client is not satisfied with their service, we will stop and re-do the work and if they remain unsatisfied we will provide a refund.
There seems to be no ands, ifs or buts about this statement. It has not been taken out of context. It was quoted directly from the above listed website. If he is a man of his word, then I want a refund. I have asked politely on many occasions for a refund with no reply. I have filed complaints with the BBB of Trenton New Jersey and also with the Attorney General Office in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
It is truly sad that CCP preys on people who are in need, and in a vulnerable spot, and feeling pretty bad about themselves and their unemployment situation. CCP meets prospective clients in beautiful office surroundings, presents a sales pitch that is purposefully fraudulent, paints a beautiful picture and makes unacceptable promises, leading to false hopes in many people's minds, including mine.
I have just been contacted by Becky Thompson local affiliate channel 11, WPXI regarding an interview for a story for these rumdums. Maybe you should have refunded my money. Oh well, live and learn you idiots.