Aveda Institute

Aveda Institute review: bad experience 24

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1:36 am EST
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Be aware of Aveda Institutes. Before I enrolled at Aveda they promised me all the one on one instructor/student time that I would need, small class size, the best training, and more...Aveda Instututes do not let the student have their tips from clients. Aveda threatened the students on a regular basis, that if we kept any time, even one-dollar, the student would be terminated on the spot. The first day of class, there were not enough chairs to accomade the 35 students (I was told classes were no more than 10 to 15 students). We colored for five weeks with crayons. Reverse discrimination became a problem. It was ok for some students to say white remarks and the instructors reversed discrimnated too. Once on the clinic floor, I was refused live model-services by the school. I repeatedly asked to be given some walk-ins but was neglected. After I completed 51% of my hours, I was terminated and charged 100% tuition. Aveda charges $22, 000.00! Subsequent to my termination, I was harassed by the AVeda staff, Lisa, Cara, Kim, Alley, Jessica, Jimmy, Sean. I was called into a tiny office where Lisa and Cara accused me of being rude to a customer. I told them that I was not and did not understand why they were saying this. I began to break into uncontrollable tears and asked to talk later. They didn't care how I felt and refused to listen to me. I eventually couldn't take anymore of the browbeating and stood up turned away from them and tossed the brush into the air and left the room. It is not illegal or criminal to toss anything into the air, by the way. Once I walked outside of the building, I as surrounded by Lisa, Cara, Kim, Alley, Jessica and Jimmy. I was in tears and couldn't get any words out to talk. I sat at the picnic table while they harassed me even more. I as told to take a week off and come back to school the following Tuesday. THe next week I arrived at Aveda and was told to meed Kim, Alley and Jessica in Jessica's office. AGain, I was surrounded and harrassed. Kim told me that I was not a good fit for the school and that I was a good student and could transfer to another school. I asked Kim for a second chance at Aveda, but she said no. I still tried to get back into Aveda but they ignore my emails and phone calls.

I realized that AVeda terminated at 51% of my completed hours. Once a student completes 50% of the hours, Aveda claims 100% tuitin, which is $22, 000.00. I don't have this kind of money. I can never get another Pell Grant for cosmetology. I have thousands to pay back in student loans because of Aveda. I reported Aveda to the Office of Inspector General, Department of Education, NC State Board of Cosmetology, NACCAS (National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences), Better Business Bureau, Congress, Senate, Ombudsman at the US Dept of Education and Federal Trade Commission. I have any attorney for a civil suit against Aveda.

If anyone has been wronged by Aveda or any other Cosmetology school, please email me at [protected] would like to start a class action lawsuit

Update by Angela wrongfully terminated at Aveda
Mar 15, 2011 5:32 am EDT

I will send out love and compassion for you!

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, US
Jul 15, 2019 4:43 pm EDT

As much as I hate to say a Tallahassee Aveda Institute are 100% correct. Students are put on the floor to do hair for 10 hour days with little to no breaks. You are required to sell products to pass as well as teachers retaining tips that were meant for students. There are not enough teachers on the floor to keep work flow running quickly so you wait for approval to move forward on your client. As your wait your books for the day get more and more backed up. And in Tallahassee the books are overflowing. You are more like an employee who is paying to learn by trial and error. Fake it till you make it is their motto. You are paying them to make them money. Any days that you miss are spent on a make up day cleaning the entire school. And I truly watched students being kicked out left and right that I did not believe should have been. You are treated as a child and it’s quite frustrating to make it through to graduation. It is truly sad because it could be such a wonderful experience and it’s such a let down. Given the choice again I would not attend Aveda. And if I encounter anyone who asks me I tell them to RUN the other way.

, US
Jan 28, 2019 12:45 pm EST

Any updates on the class action lawsuit? Anyone pursuing one at the moment?

angry client!!
, US
Apr 08, 2017 8:34 am EDT
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Aveda DC ruined my hair! I went in for highlights and ended up having to go back three times for color correction to revert my green-grey hair back to the color I originally walked in with! Now my hair doesn't sit on my scalp the same way and feels like straw! I complained and they don't care! Where can I get recourse?!

Heather Carr
, US
Aug 29, 2016 11:48 am EDT

I would not recommend any Aveda Institute program for anyone. My experience in Columbus was a substandard esthetician program run by cliquish "instructors". They used to go in and clean out the ex-students lockers periodically and laugh as they claimed dibs on all of the expensive products that broken-hearted students had left behind when they gave up and left the program. My class was packed full and it was very stressful. My stomach hurt from day one until the day I finally had enough and walked away. Students are taught a curriculum that pushes Aveda products, but very few advanced techniques using any outside products or equipment. Our clinical training consisted of sitting on the cold concrete floor of an old downtown Columbus building folding towels and hoping for a client to come in so we could earn a few credit hours towards graduation. No chairs or tables, just the floor for hours on end. It was a den of junior high-ish gossip and backbiting and the instructors were usually absent. Our make-up artist training consisted of coloring book print outs of faces and a collection of old broken colored pencils. We were told to "be creative" and they would give us a few minutes worth of credit hours for each one we said we completed. When your graduation depends on it and there aren't enough clients you would desperately scribble out several of those a day. After one particularly frustrating day and some ridiculous bullying by a completely unknown "managerial student" I had had enough and I walked out. Fortunately after everything I had witnessed in my almost 4 months there I knew not to trust these people. I walked straight out the door, rapidly walked the 5 blocks away to get my car, drove back and found a parking meter, walked back in un-noticed and cleaned out my locker. After I had all of my personal possessions in my custody I then wrote them a letter outlining all of the issues and making sure that they knew I knew that I wasn't at the 50% completion date and they should not be expecting the full tuition. I ran into some of my sweet classmates on the way out and they were concerned about me. In hushed tones they asked if I was ok and let me know that they would tell the instructors how ridiculous my treatment had been. Since then I have talked to others locally who had their own bad experiences there and have read many sad experiences online. I definitely would openly discourage anyone from wasting their time, money, and dreams on these name brand franchise "schools".

victoria rising
, US
May 09, 2016 11:51 am EDT

Aveda is nothing what they say they are. I attended in Orlando and it was exactly like what is being described by other people here. They didn't care at all about me, just the money they could get out of me.

Ginnie Donald
, US
Nov 21, 2015 11:09 am EST

Aveda has extremely shady practice and since their bottom line is first and foremost they look for was to drop students once they've received full payment from your financial institutions.

, US
Jul 31, 2015 1:28 am EDT

I went to Paul Mitchell The School Cincinnati & They Terminated Me 3 Months Before My Graduation Date. I was out of school for a month due to my fiancé getting into a car accident and totaled our car. The 3rd day back the instructor Amanda rudely asked me to leave the classroom for trying to study on my iPad (That I purchased through school to use for school) before a test since I was gone for a month and didn't want to fail my test. (Mind you they told the students that we can use our iPads to take our test online and use to study since I have my textbooks online). I was then pulled in the office and they did not want to hear what I had to say what so ever and he kept trying to take up for her so I told him that I'll just call state board and let them handle the situation since they were trying to make excuses for why I was wrong. 20 minutes prior they said I was being terminated for insubordination. They told me get get all of my belongings and leave. I didn't have enough hands to carry my things so I asked for help and they told me no. I guess I wasn't moving fast enough because they called the police on me even though I was struggling to collect all of my things and get them to my car. If anyone can find a way to get justice with these schools please email me

Lansing, US
Nov 18, 2014 6:59 am EST

I attended Aveda in Atlanta, GA they were beyond unprofessional, My class and I were on lunch in the very small and dirty break room a instructor came in and told us all to get out now so he class could clean or do it ourselves so we got up and she yelled for us to leave again. Next time was model day and I had been working on my models hair for about 4-5 hours and missed my breaks so when I finally finished I go to get my lunch and on the way back it started storming and I got soaked, I sat in the cornor to dry off for awhile then I practiced my foil as instructed after the foil we were told to practice the pin curls as well. I missed the day for the pin curls so I asked the instructor to show me how to do them so I could practice she refused to show me then threatened to kick me out and send me home for not doing my work, she later marked me down and wrote me up stating I refused to do the foil and pin curl practice. The last incident I was in class and I'll admit I'm wrong I shouldn't have been asleep I didn't even know I had dozed off I was so tired, but there were about 4 other girls in the class sleep as well. I was woken up by a man yelling at me threatening to kick me out he caused a huge scene I later found out he was the Director, I was beyond embarrassed a few girls in the class started to laugh at me. A few minutes later I leaned to to side to take notes because I sat in the back of the class and I couldn't see so another intructor comes and threatens to kick me out for leaning, I got so frustrated because they didn't say anything to the other girls who were still asleep they kept coming for me so I walked out of class and went home. The Aveda Institute in Atlanta, GA is a great school but the staff/instructors are very rude and they don't know how to speak to people, after they constantly threatned to kick me out and I'm not the only they want me to pay for leaving, I regret ever going to that school

very angrey student
Atlanta, US
May 24, 2014 12:28 pm EDT

From an very angry student:
I was accused of taking a pack of combs from another student’s station that had my name on them and I was kicked out of Aveda Atlanta for it. After I reported an educator using racial slurs to students and clients. Hours later I was falsely accused and thrown out without proper investigation.
I tried to explain that the comb had my name on it, when I was falsely accused of theft. I was appalled and upset at the accusations. In my defense I had clearly stated that the combs were mine. This was a big misunderstanding, and not once was my story investigated. Ultimately the administration didn’t know who combs they were and never considered or went to the proper procedure to investigate both allegations. I was totally ignored in this situation, like my voice didn’t count. I told the director that my name was on the combs. I offered to show the combs with my name on them to resolve this and the director declined to see
them. At this point I was accused of stealing and unjustly dismissed from the school for good. I even had a witness. The other party wasn’t approached and is still attending school while I’m at home expelled.

I feel like this could have been racially motivated. I had just had a nervous breakdown about an educator saying major racial slurs to clients, students and myself. That next school day, April 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm, I went to the assistant director and reported the educator. I was expressing my feelings on how uncomfortable I was going to be, having to learn under this person who got away with saying racial slurs to students such as, “I’m going to chain you to your station like you were back in slavery, ” and not even an hour later I was expel from school without any remorse. I work very hard for my education. I’m a 33 year old Army Veteran and am very serious about my life and my career. I have no room for wasting time or money.
I also have witnesses on the racial jabs and slurs.
I’ve given Aveda nothing but 100% of my dedication. I am a model student. My attendance is 100%. I was running for student council president with classmate. I entered into the Beacon Competition and also Full Potential Competition. I also was in all the fashion shows on and off campus. I was in the process of entering into the Orlando Premiere Competition in Orlando, FL on June 2, 2014. But I have been expelled from school and you can only enter as a student or licensed stylist. I’m also a veteran who has served my country in Iraq. I’m everything but a thief and am very distraught about the outcome of this.

I have to thank Aveda for helping me find my passion for my art, but now I feel like something that was mine, was snatched from me, that I want back.

Thank You

Monique Hardnett

t r m
Fairfield, US
Mar 26, 2014 11:28 pm EDT

I feel sorry for all of you that have been treated unfair by aveda. I have been with aveda 26 years and now they are dropping my salon
as an aveda one and saying I do not follow there rules and to send my products back for a refund. They are only dropping me because I don't sell enough product for them. Know where in my contract does it say I have to sell a certain amount I would think after ordering 25 thousand $ worth in 3 years was a lot for a small town. So after deciding I didn't need them, I send there products back thinking that they would send me a check like they said. I get no check. After some time had passed I get a credit on my charge card. I only find that out after getting a statement from my card nothing from aveda. After I called them and insisted I need a statement on what they paid me for. I get a statement emailed to me on what they paid me for. Forty two items they did not pay me for and said they will not pay me for or will they send them back to me. Claiming that they are no longer in there system and they are throghing my products away, when I had to pay for them. I don't care what they say this is stealing. In the last ten years they have been about the money and only about money and how much they can make from everyone.

KayLeigh W
, US
Feb 10, 2014 2:09 pm EST
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aveda dropped me because of my attendance. my car broke down so i started riding with a friend to school. then they got sick and were allowed a leave due to having doctors excuses. I was not allowed a leave because i didnt have a 'legitimate reason.' even after i explained my transportation issue they refused to give me even the minimum length of time for a leave. therefore i missed more and more days. theres a lot more reasons as to why i grew my distaste for the school, but they have already been mentioned.

, US
Mar 07, 2013 4:43 pm EST

The girl below me should probably shut her mouth because I go to Aveda currently and I could not agree with her more. If I could go back I would not choose Aveda. They do wrong there students in so many ways. When you come to the school to take a tour they make it seem like it is the best school in the world. The instructors are terrible and do treat the students as she said. I am one of the top students at my school and am very involved and that is the only reason why I have not transferred to a different school. Since I have attended Aveda I have seen close to six people in my class alone drop out. The school is pretty much a joke.

Minneapolis, US
Nov 12, 2012 2:01 pm EST

i had tweeted on my own time my opinions of others in my class and they are trying to kick me out saying that i am a mean girl and thats bullying. i didnt pay school 20, 000 to go on my twitter. its NOT a professional school.

Terri fe
Washington, US
Aug 14, 2012 4:15 pm EDT

I'm starting there in October! I'm so sad that this happened to you and I'm also sad that it seems everyone is against you. I can only pray your situation gets better I won't point fingers or call you a liar because I'm not in your predicament nor do I know what happened. Some people actually do go through things like this I just hope it doesn't happen to me. It will get better for you though just pray.

Cary, US
Aug 14, 2012 6:17 am EDT

After attending the same school in Chapel Hill, I can tell you Angela is 100% correct! I was in the esthetician program, but either way...bad business is bad business. These people discriminate against the mentally disabled ( I have bipolar) and they also tolerate (and even laugh at) reverse racism. The school is a joke. And an extremely expensive one at that! I would do my research before attending as well as looking into the other lawsuits that have been brought against this company. Perhaps that's not something you want to attach your name to?

Another Angry Student
, US
Aug 02, 2012 8:47 pm EDT

I attend the Aveda Institute in Jacksonville, Florida and this kind of stuff sounds all too familiar. Profit comes first, and students are treated unfairly and expected to shut up about it. I would love to hear more about what resources you contacted in your state government because I know many students at my school want to know who we could possibly contact in our own state to file a complaint against this joke of an educational institution. Aveda Institutes are run by different companies in different regions of the US but it's all the same crap and unfortunately a lot of the students don't know any better. I graduated from a well respected university and the Aveda Institute seems to be less organized and respectful than even the completely student-run groups I was a part of in College. I am counting the days until I graduate.

Living with pride
Los gatos, US
May 26, 2012 8:40 pm EDT

I am not surprised AT ALL by these stories I have read. I on the other hand worked for Aveda Santana Row San Jose. Never attended the school. But this sounds exactly the way people are treated their. And I have heard same complaints about other Aveda salons. I am trying to figure out, is this type of lack of professionalism encouraged by corporate? Or for what other reason on earth these people think they can treat their students/employees this way?!

Houston, US
May 18, 2012 4:01 am EDT
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To Whom It May Concern:
I hope that after reading this letter you will fully investigate my complaint. (Giving me the time to refute anything Kathy or Holly have said when you questioned them… and to provide witnesses for my allegations.)

My name is Jeremiah and I, until just recently, was enrolled as a student at the San Antonio Aveda Institute. I was enrolled in the Institute's first cosmetology class… until I challenged one too many of Kathy and her daughter Holly's unfair policies. But I guess it is best to start at the beginning…

After 6 years as Director of Human Resources and Training for Omega Cable and Communications, Inc., I decided that I would use my experience to start my own cable company. I found some investors, bid on a contract with Time Warner Cable, moved to Texas and started Pulse Cable and Communications.

My company did really well for a year or so, I had over 100 employees, until Time Warner Cable reneged on their contract by moving most of their installation work in-house. My lawyers filed a 10 million dollar breach of contract lawsuit while I laid off half of my employees and moved into private corporate bidding of fiber optic contracts. About the same time my doctors informed me that I was terminally ill and would probably only have 3 or 4 years to live unless they could stabilize my condition.

I don't know about you, but being told that you're going to die makes a lot of things look very different…all of a sudden you realize that there are things you've always dreamed of doing, but that you've never quite found time for. I looked at the last ten years of my life and decided that I didn't like the cable industry, I had never liked the cable industry, and that I would sell my company and do what I had always dreamed of doing… hair. (I know, I know… it's quite a career change, but a friend gave me this book about becoming a Daymaker and I knew right away that it was what I wanted to be.)

After researching the idea, I went to visit a number of different schools here in San Antonio, to look them over, and talk to the students… none of them were quite what I was looking for. After deciding that I would move to San Francisco in order to go to the Vidal Sassoon Academy, a friend told me that they were going to open an Aveda Institute here in San Antonio. I was so excited! I started doing the research and discovered Horst, the Aveda philosophy, and what a great reputation their schools had in the cosmetology industry… I was sold, I had to go to an Aveda school!

The rest was easy, I got the email address for the Aveda Institute, sent an email to Di, and within a week I had an informational packet for the Institute.

After looking the packet over I had a couple of concerns:
1) The attendance policy was very strict, miss 10 days and your terminated from the program. (I knew that I was going to need more than 1 day a month off from school because of my illness… between visits with the specialists and the disabling nausea I experience every now and then, 10 days would never be enough.)

2) The school seemed a lot more expensive than the other schools I had spoken with here in San Antonio
I decided that I would talk to Di about my concerns when I scheduled the interview/tour. The interview and tour were wonderful! The school was beautiful! Di was awesome! (She seemed like a real southern lady, like the women I grew up around back in Virginia.) I discussed my concerns with Di. She explained the increased tuition by telling me how experienced the instructors were and how expensive supplying all of the product for us to practice on each other would be. Then she explained the financial aid packages, that there was not any real “aid”, but as long as I had a credit score of 640 or above I was guaranteed a loan from Sallie Mae to cover it.

Then we discussed my fears about the attendance policy, so she called in Holly Zapada, the school administrator and owner's daughter. Holly was very understanding about my condition and assured me that as long as I could provide documentation from my doctor then the school would not penalize me for my attendance. She felt that it would be easy for me to make up any missed work, assignments, practice, or classes with the way the school would be set up, so that my request for exemption from that policy seemed reasonable under ADA.

I also explained that I might have to go to court for my breach of contract lawsuit against Time Warner Cable and that trial could last up to a week. Holly patted me on the shoulder, made a joke about taking on the “big guys” and told me that as long as I had documentation from the court then it would not be held against me. Holly then told me to get a letter from my doctor explaining my need for additional absences while she found out what other documentation would be necessary.

After that I was really excited about starting school! Di explained that we had to wear black pants and either a white or black shirt, so I want out and bought every cool shirt I could find. (Okay I admit it, I wanted to be the best dressed guy in my class and “look like a stylist”.) Finally, after being postponed a couple of times, the first day of schooled rolled around. The school was BEAUTIFUL! It was just like I had imagined a cosmetology school to look like. The other students were great, I had made friends with many of them within minutes. And the instructors seemed very nice and “hair-stylisty”.

Seeing a number of us wearing all black, Holly told us that we were expected to wear black pants and white shirts only. I raised my hand and explained that Di had told me, (and after looking around and seeing many girls in all black), other people that we could wear either black or white shirts. Holly said that she had decided to reserve black for instructors and that those of us who had purchased black shirts would be able to use them in a salon after we graduated.

Since I had spent over $1000 dollars on mostly black shirts I appealed to Kathy, Holly's mom and the owner of the school, but was told that I could write a “challenge/solution”. I didn't feel it was the end of the world that I couldn't wear my black shirts… but I also didn't think it was right for them to tell us we could wear them, then just change their minds…so I requested a complaint form and turned it in.

The first few weeks of school were great, the media was there regularly. I was in the newspaper and even interviewed by two different television news reporters! It was fun to send my family back in Ohio articles from the newspaper and video clips from the 6 o'clock news that had me in them. (They weren't totally sold on me switching careers or living in Texas instead of closer to them since I was diagnosed.)

While the media attention was great and the novelty of learning new things was even better, there were problems from the start. For one thing, only one instructor in the whole school, (cosmetology or esthiology), had any experience as an instructor! Di had told me that part of the reason tuition was higher was because we had experienced instructors who knew and used 4 different teaching methods to make sure that everyone's learning style was covered.

In Cosmo it was apparent that all of our instructor except Jo were totally new to teaching. In fact, Dana was so confused as to her role as a teacher that she became irate and abusive to many of the students, reducing more than one to tears. Heck, we had it good compared to Esthiology whose only teacher was not even an Esthiologist, but a hair stylist from K. Charles and Company, (Kathy's salon), who had never even given an Aveda facial until a few weeks prior to the school opening!

If the lack of experienced teachers wasn't enough to make us reconsider our “investment in our future”, then the funding issue should have been! We were told by Di, (and I have over 30 people who will back me up on this), the school would be using Sallie Mae as its primary source of student loans, if you had a credit score of 640 or above then you would have no problem qualifying for a loan, and if for any reason you were not able to get a loan through Sallie Mae then the school had a back-up program you would be able to use that had a higher interest rate but would give a loan to you regardless of credit history. So we all started school having been told all of the above… but without having actually filled out any of the forms for our loans.

In case you're not catching what I just said… “we started school having been told all of the above… but without having actually filled out any of the forms for our loans.” We started school… and kept going to school… without ever resolving loans or manner of payment!

We were in school for over a month before they ever allowed us to fill out the financial aid forms. Every time I complained that we still hadn't addressed funding I was told, “We are working on getting everything together. Jeremiah we are a new school and we need you to work with us. Don't worry, we'll get there together.”

After about a month we got the forms, but then the real bullsh** began. The school ended up not being able to use the real Sallie Mae, they had to use the high risk branch. So everything Di had said about only needing a credit score of 640 or above was not true, I have a credit score of 720 and couldn't get a loan without a co-signor.

People felt angry and betrayed! There were almost no students who were able to get the loan without a co-signor! And many couldn't get a loan even with one! We were given less than a week to find a funding method or to get out! This is after we had been in school for a month waiting on them! Needless to say, some people were forced out, and many who remained were bitter. So I wrote a complaint!

I never received anything back but a verbal response from Holly telling me, “it wasn't the school's fault… it was misinformation from Sallie Mae.”

One of the things I was told during my tour was that the school would have a fully stocked retail store of Aveda products that customers of the school and students could purchase from for their own personal use. Di said that students would receive a discount so that they would be more likely to familiarize and use Aveda products themselves. Di was right about the retail store, it was beautiful and larger than the Aveda stores in the local mall, but there was no discount. Holly demanded that students use only Aveda products on their hair, that students wear Aveda make-up, and that we were only permitted to use fragrances made by Aveda… but she didn't want to give us a discount!

I wrote a challenge/solution form stating that Di had told us about a discount and after a while Holly started giving us “Aveda Bucks” for rewards… pretend currency that could be used for .25, .50, or $1 off. Some of us amassed a few dollars worth of these coupons but it still sucked as a discount.

I wrote another challenge/solution and soon the Aveda Bucks were announced worthless and Holly agreed to give students 10% off from product! Wow, 10% off… we get more of a discount from Sallys or Armstrong and McCall! Holly also announced that when we ran out of product in our kits that we would be required o replace it… receiving our 10%. Some of us were very irate… so we filled out more challenge/solution forms.

Things with Dana became increasingly horrible. Dana was verbally abusive to a number of students. Many of us went to Jo and/or Holly and were told that they would “speak to her”. It became really bad for me once I told her that I was gay and not interested in her sexual advances. She bullied me for awhile… then she focused more of her attention on Aaron and pretty much ignored me. After a day when she became abusive towards me in front of a number of witnesses, I spoke with Jo and Holly about Dana's behavior. Holly advised me to write up an incident report, which I did.

As soon as students had 150 hours of class theory, the school opened its doors to paying customers. Many students were uncomfortable with the thought of cutting and coloring hair after only 150 hours of practice, but we were told that teachers would be there to help us. Understand, the State of Texas Cosmetology Commission requires students to have a minimum of 150 hours before they can work on guests.

There were multiple students who did not have 150 hours of training who were still forced to take guests! And I can prove it because both the record of hours and the records of guests taken by students are all computerized and recorded! I can show you on the Institute's own computer system that they violated the law because they were in a hurry to start making money off from student services! (At least one of these students repeatedly voiced her fear and was still made to take clients! She hadn't even finished the rubrics we were supposedly required to do before going out on the floor to do guests!)

We were told in class that we were not going to be cutting the hair of small children because:
1) We were not experienced enough to deal with their moving
2) The school did not possess child size capes
3) There were no booster seats or children's chairs
4) Holly did not want children running around the Institute.

But one day Chase scheduled me to cut his 3 year-old's hair. I explained to Holly that I did not feel comfortable doing a child's cut, especially on such a small child, but was told that I needed to learn sooner or later so just do it. I protested that we didn't have a booster seat or a cape, but Holly told me to put a cape on Chase, drape a towel around her nephew's neck, and have Chase hold him while I cut his hair.

I did as I was told, but the child was squirming so much that I decided to use my clippers instead of scissors… because I felt it would be safer for both of us. Holly saw me starting to do clippers-over-comb and took the clippers out of my hand stating, “We don't use clippers on members of my family… use your shears.”

I pointed out how badly the child was squirming and Holly finally said that I could use my blending shears for the whole haircut. Chase's son was squirming so badly that Chase started bouncing on his knee while I was cutting the kid's hair… causing me to cut a huge gash in my hand. We couldn't get the cut to stop bleeding and there was no gauze or tape in the first-aid kit, so I was forced to wrap my hand in a towel and go to the emergency room where I received stitches. I wrote a challenge/solution form for the lack of bandaids, the lack of proper supplies for a child's cut, and for Holly making me do the cut when I knew it was beyond my ability.

In June I had to have surgery, so I went to Holly and spoke with her about the time I was going to be off. I asked her if they had finished drafting the forms they had originally discussed making for my doctors to sign, but Holly said they hadn't gotten around to doing that yet and assured me that the letter my doctor had written was sufficient as far as the school was concerned and that because of my disability the school would not be holding my absences against me. She then gave my arm a squeeze and told me just to hurry and get well after my surgery so that I could come back since everyone was going to miss me.

Originally the doctor wanted me to be on bed rest for 2 full weeks after surgery, but I missed everyone so much that I came back after only 1 week.

Over the course of the next month and half things at the Institute happened pretty quickly. During the tour Di had told me, and many other students, that a lot of our experience would come from practicing on each other. Before the school was open for clients they allowed us 1 day to work on each other, but they also made us clock out if we were the one receiving the service.

But after that the school strictly forbade us from cutting each other's hair or doing any services on each other. They had a meeting and told all of us students that the State Cosmetology Board had changed their policy concerning students working on each other and that any student receiving services would have to clock out, so that's why the school did not allow student on student services.

Now sir, I knew from the tone of Jo's voice that she was lying. Having been in management for 10+ years I know a lie when I hear one, so I asked what the TCC policy number was on that policy. Jo said it was a recent policy change and that it wasn't in the State Board Handbook yet. Holly agreed. Now remember, this was said to all of the students!

So I called Mike Rouff the Director of Education and Enforcement for the Texas Cosmetology Commission, and he said that he had never heard of any such rule. I went to school the next day and told Holly, who assured me it was a rule and that Mr. Rouff was mistaken. So I sent an email to Elizabeth Perez, the Director of Credentials, who also replied that we didn't have to clock out if we were practicing something we were learning at school.

I then filled out a challenge/solution form and turned it in the next day with a copy of the email. Holly told me that I had no business contacting the State Board of Cosmetology and Jo said that I had ruined the” surprise student service days” that she and Holly had planned for the following week. (Yeah right! But hey, at least we no longer had to clock out when receiving a service.)
Soon after we all went to the Serious Business hair show Dana quit. They said that she wanted to go back behind a chair, but the real reason was numerous students had filed complaints about her and there was a pretty bad argument between her and another instructor whose side Holly took.

So Dana left, and very few students missed her. (Holly had to re-teach the cutting techniques Dana had taught us because they had been taught so badly. When your investigating this complaint ask some of the students about Dana… especially the male students who she sexually harassed!)

One day the school hung a note next to the time-clock stating that they were changing the attendance policy so that the school would no longer be responsible for warning students about their attendance or when that attendance was about to go over… that same day they kicked out a bunch of people who they had not warned over their attendance. (Pretty shady considering the note went up the same day.)

I wrote a challenge/solution about them changing the policy and turned it in. While I was turning my challenge in, Michelle came up to me and told me that she had been in Chase's office talking to him about her attendance and had requested the ability to ask for an attendance exemption like I had, but that he had told her that the school was not going to change the policy for people with illnesses.

After Michelle told me that, I requested a meeting with Chase. Chase explained to me that my case and Michelle's were very different, she had an illness and that I had a disability. Because my case was so much more severe the exemption had been warranted. I asked him if there was any other documentation he needed from my doctors and he assured me that they had everything that was necessary. (A copy of the request/reason I needed to see Chase is in my file.)

About this time I ran out of an Aveda product called “Hand Relief” which student purchase and are required to use on guests for hand massage. Since I had used all of mine on guests, I asked to use the Hand Relief in the dispensary… and was told that I would have to purchase more.

I refused! I felt it was absurd for me to be forced to purchase product to use on a guest… a guest who was paying a product charge to the school for the service! I filed a challenge/solution with Holly and was told that my contract required me to buy miscellaneous products up to $700 and to keep each of the products available in my kit fully stocked for use on a guest! I told her that I would use Jergen's Hand Cream before I bought expensive product to use on guest.

Holly informed me that if I did then she would kick me out of the school! But she did agree to supply Hand Relief for students performing Manicures because the school supplies Foot Relief to students performing Pedicures. While this may sound like a small victory for the students… it is utterly ridiculous!

Think about this: A facial at K. Charles Salon is $80… $40 goes to the Esthiologist and $40 goes to the salon… but the salon supplies all of the product. Here at the Aveda Institute the school gets $40 for facial, but the Esthiologist are responsible for using the $1000.00 worth of product from their kit! So the school actually is making more of a profit than the salon!

Do you understand, students had to buy the original product for $1000, the school gets paid by a guest for a facial that the school does not have to supply product for, and the students have to replace anything they use from their kits when it's empty… buying it from the school! Holly told me that if I didn't like the policy then I shouldn't have signed my contract and left the room.

Soon after this, a number of student's cars were broken into in the parking lot. We had been assured at a group meeting, (remember, I have over 30 witnesses to this), that there were cameras aimed at the parking lot and that there would be security on patrol… neither of which was true. I wrote up a challenge/solution form about the promise of security in the parking lot and turned it in. The next day Holly called me into her office and told me that the school had never promised cameras and/or security, to which I responded that she should go ask some of the other students here at the institute. Holly declined and told me to remember that it was her school and that she set the rules… not me!

I reminded her of the State Cosmetology Commission's Policy #1602.457, “The holder of a private beauty culture school license shall maintain a cancellation and settlement policy that provides a full refund of monies paid by a student if the student entered into the enrollment agreement of contract because of misrepresentation made in the advertising or promotional materials of the school; or by an owner or representative of the school.”

I told her that there were many things we were told about this school which were not true and that the lack of security in the parking lot was just one of them. Holly told me that she was helping me with my medical situation by granting an exemption and that I needed to work with her to make things better… like she was working with me. The school had security guards hired two days later.

After the battle over security I was approached by a number of Esthiology students who expressed dismay at how their program was being run. I agreed to meet them after school and help them write a group challenge/solution. I met with about 10 people, helped them write a petition, and then gave it to them to do as they wished.

The next day Holly asked me how my meeting with the Esthiology students went… I said “fine” and went to class. From what I've been told from an employee, one of the students showed the complaint (I've attached a copy) to Holly before people signed it, then some people chickened out of signing it because they were afraid of being treated differently, then they wanted me to re-write a small section… but before I could do that I was told by Holly and Chase that they wanted to see me.
I met with Holly and Chase after school and was ushered into the conference room.

Chase told me that the school had decided not to revise the attendance policy to grant me an exemption. He told me that he, Holly, and their mother had spoken to an attorney and that since I didn't have anything from them in writing, then they didn't have to grant me anything! I told them that this was wrong, and that I would file an EEOC complaint, a State Board grievance, and that if I had to then I would go on a chemo/hunger strike in front of the school to protest their lack of compassion! Holly tried to explain that this was so everyone would be treated equally and that I was nowhere near my allowable 10 days, but I explained to her that this was also not what we had agreed upon before I ever signed my contract!

When I left, I went straight to K. Charles Salon to talk to Kathy, the mother of Holly and Chase and the owner of the Institute. Through tears, I explained everything. Kathy listened, and then told me, “Jeremiah, we are much more willing to work with people who aren't always questioning our rules. I have an employee right now out with a serious medical condition who has never questioned me and who I could depend on to do anything I asked… I've jumped through hoops to help her, but there have been other employees in similar situations who I have let go without a moment's hesitation because I couldn't count on them. Jeremiah, you don't need to be the Jimmy Hoffa of hair school! Holly has told me a whole lot about you… about the incident with State Board, about some letter with the Esthiology students. Jeremiah, you really need to mind your own business and let Holly run the school.”

Then I explained that Holly and Jo had told us repeatedly to write challenge/solutions whenever we saw something that could make the school better and that I really loved going to the Institute. I also explained that at least one student's family was told about my condition by Di and that they were also told about the school's willingness to make allowances for it. (A violation of my privacy and the law if I decided to press the point in court, but also a witness to what the school had said.) Kathy then told me to write and appeal, (I've attached a copy), and since she was a cancer survivor herself, she would talk to Holly and Chase as long as I promised not to help any more people write complaints. (A promise I did not agree to.)

As soon as I got home I wrote my appeal. The next day I turned my paperwork in and waited for a response… a response I was not soon to forget. The next week, I was told by Holly that me, her, Chase, and Kathy would be meeting at 1:30 in the conference room. At 1:30 I checked in up front and was told to have a seat… about an hour later was called in.

Upon entering the room I recognized Holly, Chase, and Kathy, but had to be introduced to their attorney. Kathy said that she had gotten my appeal and that since it was apparent that I was unhappy at the Institute, they had decided to terminate my contract. I asked why and was told because I was disruptive to the educational process. I asked for examples since I have never received a write-up or been sent home, and was told that they had plenty of documented incidents. I told Kathy and her attorney that this was unfair and the school was discriminating against me because of my request for them to change their policy towards people with serious illnesses or disabilities.

Kathy said that it didn't matter, I was disruptive and they were terminating my contract. Security and Chase made me gather my things and leave the premises… the whole time refusing to give me a letter explaining my expulsion or any sort of documentation!

On 8/19/05 Holly and Chase had a meeting at the school for all of the students. During the meeting Chase explained to everyone that I had not been kicked out of the school due to my medical condition, but had been terminated because I was disruptive. (Once again, this was a meeting with all of the students to discuss my medical condition and the reason for my termination from the cosmetology program!)

I feel that my rights and my privacy have been violated yet again! If I want to let someone know about my medical condition or the reason for my termination from the Institute then that is my right… not the school's! I would like to point out that I was terminated from the Aveda Institute over a week ago and still have not received any documentation as to why! Or even been told in writing that I am really kicked out! I would also like to repeat again for the record that the entire time I was at the Institute I was never written up, sent home, told to clock out, or disciplined in any way! I have never even received a verbal or written warning for any behavioral problems or concerns!

Please read the student handbook concerning suspension, expulsion, and termination… the school has decided to ignore their own policies/procedures! I ask that you investigate this matter immediately, restore me to school, change this unfair policy, and properly chastise the school administration! And while I know this is difficult… do it all this week! I don't want to have to draw negative attention to Aveda or its schools, but I feel that I have been discriminated against and treated unfairly.

Birmingham, US
Feb 08, 2012 6:26 am EST
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I am also an Aveda kick out I guess you can say. I can also say from personal experience the schools that are owned by Beauty Basic's are horrible and they do try and break you. As far as the Yale of Cosmo, lol... They are a post secondary school and are no Yale my dear. I see you don't aim that high if that is your Yale. I have two degrees one in Culinary Arts and another in Hospitality Mgmt and never had a problem in school before. I wanted a career change and thought this would be a great fit for me, little did I know, my teacher was a recent graduate herself with no formal education other than Aveda and she did not understand 504 plans or ADA neither did the Director of the school. It was truly a horrible experience for me and I can only imagine what this girl went through. I feel for you. Find yourself a good lawyer. I did and I am in the process of suing Aveda.

sally mae
durham, US
Jan 08, 2012 3:07 am EST

angela is absolutely right about her aveda & since it's a franchise, these "schools" are run first as a business to make money, 2nd as a school. although the franchise does have different owners, b/c of $ being the most important factor in a business - angela's "case" is pandemic. i also have been attending aveda - have a masters degree (aveda is not at all the yale of anything i can tell you) & have witnessed the same situations, harassment etc... directed at students of every age and color...

The Woodlands, US
Oct 02, 2011 3:47 pm EDT

I can't believe you think people are going to believe this crap! Aveda is like the Yale of Cosmo schools! They have an AMAZING curriculum and they have a high success rate too! I highly doubt these people "harassed" you as you say and then called you back the fallowing week to continue said "harassment". It sounds to me as though you WERE rude to a customer.(why on earth would you "break into uncontrollable tears" if you were being accused of something you didn't do?) I think what happened here was that you freaked out and made yourself look highly unprofessional, they told you to chill for a week, mulled it over and decided Aveda wasn't for you. Aveda is a place where PROFESSIONAL & well-mannered students can go to make a future for themselves with an amazing career.

, US
Jul 18, 2011 6:09 am EDT

I have seen your posts about this lawsuit on Aveda Institute sites for cities other then your own and would just like to reiterate the fact that all Aveda Institutes are privately owned. Just because it happened at your school doesn't mean it's happening at all of them. I was a student at the Institute in San Antonio and we were allowed to keep our tips(which was something else you claimed ALL Institutes weren't letting you do). Clearly you have not done your research or just weren't paying attention when you signed all those papers when you enrolled, but they do state that if you get terminated after a certain amount of hours you do owe the school back the money for the education that you received. Your story seems incredibly one-sided and over dramatic, but I obviously wasn't there to see. Feel free to complain about how you say you were treated but please stop lumping ALL Aveda Institutes in with your bad experience from YOUR school. Like I said they are privately owned and you are giving a bad name to all the other schools by posting this lawsuit on their websites.

Houston, US
Jun 08, 2011 11:03 pm EDT

Gotta love people who begin their paragraph of defending a private institute with the word "###". Classy. Also loving the run-on sentence. This isn't an assuming board, this is for people to share their experiences. You clearly have not had an experience with the school, all you did was google.

You suck angela
Decatur, US
Feb 27, 2011 6:25 am EST

### this is one sided and googling complaints about aveda nationwide, it's only yours that I found, either you were kicked out of the school because of your attitude or you're someone who is trying to bring them down, honestly according to FAFSA website, they have decent graduation rate, sucks for you!

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