Test Preparation or Predator?

Career College Central Summary:

  • It was a hard sell in a Starbucks.
  • The woman from Indiana was a licensed practical nurse hoping to earn a bachelor's degree — and move on to a higher-paying nursing career. The salesman, from The College Network, had pitched the company as a relatively cheap and fast route to a degree from Indiana State University.
  • TCN sells online test preparation materials and academic support for customers to pass equivalency exams for college credit. Customers often commit to large up-front purchases of material for several exams. But the woman said the salesman left out that she would have to apply separately to Indiana State and might not be accepted. She recalled that he was impatient and said he was in a hurry. He just needed her signature on some documents. She signed.
  • More than two years later, a letter from attorneys for a collection agency arrived. It said she owed more than $9,000.
  • The woman — whom The Star is not naming to protect her from possible retribution — said she thought she had canceled the contract she signed that day at Starbucks. Now she's among hundreds who've complained to state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission about TCN, a for-profit Indianapolis company operating out of a northside office building.
  • In public records and interviews, a Star investigation found more than 200 consumer complaints about TCN filed to the Indiana attorney general since 2013, plus almost 100 in Ohio, Texas and Florida. They allege deception or outright fraud by salesmen, and high-pressure sales tactics to entice people to sign for thousands of dollars in up-front purchases financed by long-term personal loans.
  • The company denied those allegations in written responses to questions from The Star, saying the people complaining are a tiny percentage of its customers.
  • The FTC and the Indiana attorney general's office are investigating TCN. Terry Tolliver of the Indiana attorney general's office told The Star he's "concerned about the volume of complaints." Last week, a class action lawsuit against TCN was filed in Ohio.

Click through to read the full article.


Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of