Stratford Career Institute Falsifying records, making false billing claims, hiding behind multiple addresses Washington Internet
In September I sent for information from the Stratford Career Institute, indicating I was interested in their Veterinary Assistant program. They sent me an information packet, and on October 12, 2005, I signed up for the course via their website. I did so because after reading their student agreement, I understood that they would send me my first set of course materials immediately, and that I'd have 14 days to examine the materials and decide whether I wanted to pursue the program. I should have printed out the agreement, because once I'd paid my $10 deposit, I was unable to access any of the enrollment pages on their website again, so I was unable to review it. After many days of searching, I'm still unable to find any copy of their student agreement/contract on their website, and it was never sent to me via postal or email for my review.
I still had not received any email or postal mail correspondence from SCI as of October 24th, so I decided it was in my best interests to cancel my enrollment. I didn't like the fact that my course materials were taking so long to arrive, and I was also bothered because the student login area of their website seemed to be constantly down for maintenance. Their website was full of spelling and grammatical errors. I worried that my evaluation period might be 14 days from the time I signed up, not 14 days from the time I received my course materials, so I wrote and requested my enrollment be cancelled. My letter went in the mail on October 24th and would have been postmarked no later than October 25th.
I know my cancellation request letter was received by SCI, because on November 1, 2005, an SCI employee I'll call Jay left a message on my telephone answering machine, apologizing for the materials I hadn't received, and he referred to my letter in his message. He then sent a follow-up letter via postal mail (dated November 10th), confirming my account was cancelled.
On November 15, 2005, SCI sent me a bill for $237.25, claiming that I hadn't cancelled my course within my 14 day window, and claiming that I hadn't returned the course materials (the ones I didn't receive). They dated my cancellation November 15th, which is a full 22 days after my original cancellation letter to SCI was written and postmarked, and a full two weeks after SCI employee Jay acknowledged via telephone that my cancellation letter had been received.
SCI continued to harass me via email, telling me that delivery confirmation proved I'd received my course materials (on a date well after the 14 day trial, as a matter of note). I did not receive them, so perhaps they were misdelivered. Jay from SCI told me I'd have to get compensation for the materials from my local postmaster, despite the fact the package from SCI was not insured, nor certified, registered, etc.
I rectified the matter quite quickly after I sent Jay a link to the USPS website, where they said that Delivery Confirmation did not constitute legal proof of delivery. I also sent him a link to another site which said that Delivery Confirmation only proves that the item in question made it to the local post office, not that it was ever delivered beyond the post office. To that, I added that I would sue Stratford if necessary, and that their lack of legal proof would mean I would win a case against them. Oh, one more thing -- I filed a complaint against them with the Education Licensure Board of the District of Columbia.
Within 24 hours, I heard from Jay that all charges had been cleared from my account and that my account was closed.
I say, stay away from this company. They've communicated to me on four different letterheads with four different mailing addresses (including an address in another state). Also, the address you're supposed to send a cancellation request to is yet ANOTHER address, one which they don't offer until they accuse you of not cancelling in a timely manner.
Las Vegas, NevadaU.S.A.
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