[Resolved] Bangkok Success Group Ltd / Fraud, liars, cheats, Farang owner

5 184-73 Ratchadapisek Road, Forum Tower 16th Floor Huay Kwan, Thailand Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 02-402-7766, 081-143-1008

This is a teaching agency based in Bkk, operated by an American. He is unscrupulous, dishonest, a liar, cheat and scam artist.

Many teachers have been hired by this agency and sign an employment contract only to find that the agency does not do what it promises in the contract.
1. They claim to provide assistance in obtaining a Non-B visa and work permit. BS! they stall, delay and outright lie. This agency has the new teacher sign a 4 month contract. If the visa documents are not processed in that time, you're screwed.

2. They promised to renew your contract after the 4 month period, but they do not. In the one school I taught at, prior to my arrival the school had 5 teachers from this agency. None of whom chose to extend their contracts. They all left for the above and following reasons.

3. Getting paid late every month! It's the norm, and if you complain about it, they will not renew your contract.

4. No duplicate signed copies of the contracts are ever issued to the new teachers.
Beware of this agency avoid them.

Dec 18, 2014
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  • Bk
      28th of Jan, 2015

    Juan Morales has an inaccurate recollection of his employment with BKS and an overall troubled history working in Thailand.

    In response to his claims:

    1) Mr. Morales already had a Non-Immigrant B visa upon starting his employment with BKS, and requested at our orientation that we not process a new visa for him. Our company had approached him many times asking him to allow us to process his visa during the semester and before the school asked us to fire him. He rejected our offer, which put our company in an uncomfortable position. We always want our teachers to work on our visas.

    He only requested that we start the process of obtaining a new NIB and a work permit three weeks before the end of the semester when he realized that the school was unhappy with his performance, and didn't want him back. At that time, his visa had two months remaining.

    2) We never promise to renew contracts. Contracts are issued for a 4-month semester period. Mr. Morales worked for 4 months and 11 days.

    Teachers with good performance are welcomed back with open arms for the next semester and/or school year. Our company retains more than 80% of our teachers from the first to second semester, and roughly 60% from school year to school year.

    Mr. Morales performed poorly, and we certainly did not invite him back. He left the school early at noon on Thursdays and Fridays and fought regularly with the Thai teachers. The school asked us to fire him three weeks before the end of the semester after he had been warned repeatedly - both in writing and verbally - about both his early departures and negative attitude, but we decided to let him finish as there was only a short time remaining in the semester.

    We have never had more than two teachers at this school. We would welcome the opportunity to have five teachers.

    3) Of the five pay periods that Mr. Morales worked with BKS, he was paid on-time three times and early two times. We also advanced money to him at the beginning of the semester in order to help him get settled.

    Mr. Morales attempted to make the case that he had been paid late in the local labor office, and when they contacted our company, we provided bank statements proving he had never been paid late and had in fact been paid early twice. The labor office dismissed his claim.

    4) Juan has a copy of his contract.

    Mr. Morales has a history of failed employment here in Thailand. We unfortunately did not investigate his background thoroughly by calling his past employers. He has left his previous positions on bad terms, and has attempted to file lawsuits in some cases.

    Hiring Juan without investigating his past is our company's fault, and we take full responsibility for sending an inept teacher to a school that we care deeply about.

    The record of BKS stands solid with the hundreds of teachers we have worked with, and the nearly 80% retention rate we have from semester to semester.

    Feel free to contact our company with any questions you might have at [protected], or call our office at 02-645-4300.

    +2 Votes
  • Ch
      10th of Mar, 2015

    There is a.lot of truth in Mr. Morales' complaint. I know 1st hand. As I'm writing this BKS is holding my pay and another teachers pay. They are claiming that the reason they are doing this is because my school Charoensuk Wittaya has not paid them. Rather this is true are not doesn't matter. Our contract is with BKS. I have emails to prove their promises that aren't being kept. I have already contacted the US Embassy and the Thailand labor board.

    -2 Votes
  • So
      12th of Mar, 2015

    Mr. Morales' complaint is absolutely valid. I worked one semester for them, and it was ridiculous.

    We were paid late the first month, because "the schools weren't paying them." My school told me they had paid the agency several months in advance.
    When we were paid late, some people were paid more than others. Some got five percent, others in other schools got ten.
    And it was called an "advance." Is it possible to "advance" someone pay that you are already late paying them?
    Afterward, pay was on time.

    Visa support? Nothing was said about a class B visa until I threatened to quit. Suddenly, the paperwork magically appeared.

    Work permit support? I finally got the work permit one week before the end of my contract. And had to pay for a visa extension to stay in Thailand one more month because it was so delayed. Had I got the work permit before the last day of my visa, and checked in with immigration, it would have been extended for free. Instead, I was made to pay 2000 baht at immigration for a one month extension, so I could finish the last few days of this contract.

    Lesson plan support? Nope. I was told they don't currently have a curriculum for the level I was teaching. I was told by other teachers that the lesson plans they do receive are not useful.

    The purpose of this agency is to sponge money from your pay every month, for the service of placing you at a job. Which may or may not be the original job they promised you. Don't bother expecting any more than that.

    -2 Votes
  • Bk
      25th of Mar, 2015

    The above complaint comes from Lisa Peterson, who worked with BKS in northern Thailand at a government elementary school. We advised her upon hiring that we provide lesson plans to high school level teachers, but not to elementary. At the time, we had very few elementary schools in our system, and had not created an elementary program.

    We have significantly increased the number of elementary schools in our company, and our curriculum director is currently developing a full elementary program. Ms. Peterson accepted a position with our company knowing that at that time we provided lesson plans to high school teachers only.

    Teachers were indeed paid a percentage of their salary on the first pay day in May 2014. We paid the remainder within several days of the original pay day. In no case did teachers receive only 5% or 10%. All teachers received more than half of their salary on pay day, and some received their entire salaries. We are happy to release bank records showing this with the consent of any affected teacher.

    At that time, a number of schools were directly affected by the military coup, and many local districts were late releasing money. Rather than pay teachers late in a few districts and on-time in others, we made the decision to take payments we did receive and spread them across our entire system. This allowed all teachers to receive a portion of salary on pay day with the remainder coming soon after.

    Our company stands behind this decision, and it was the right thing to do.

    In Ms. Peterson's case, we offered her substitute work immediately following orientation at a school in the North. Her original placement at a school in the South was starting two weeks after orientation, and the substitute work was to last for that time only. Rather than go to her original placement, Ms. Peterson chose to stay at the school where we had sent her as a substitute. This came after we had already hired a permanent teacher for that school.

    Our company did obtain a work permit for Ms. Peterson as we do for all teachers. It is our obligation, which we take seriously, to process working documents effectively. Our company pays for the work permit, which ranges in cost from 1, 600-3, 100THB, and teachers pay for their visas, which range from 800-1, 900THB. This is clear in our contract, discussed with teachers upon hiring, and is standard practice for not only most government schools in Thailand, but at most schools in general.

    The record of BKS stands solid with the hundreds of teachers we have worked with, and the nearly 80% retention rate we have from semester to semester.

    Feel free to contact our company with any questions you might have at [protected], or call our office at 02-645-4300.

    +2 Votes
  • Ro
      27th of Jun, 2015

    I can vouch for this complaint. These are some of the shenanigans going on at BKS. I consulted a lawyer in Bangkok to see what legal actions I could bring against the company for breaking their contractual obligations. But I left Thailand, moved on and chalked it up to experience.

    However, this complaint should remain here for any prospective teacher doing their homework.

    -3 Votes
  • Ru
      20th of Aug, 2015

    Teacher agencies in Bangkok have a bad reputation and BKS could be the poster child.

    Strange dynamic upon landing for "Orientation". All new teachers were taken out to karaoke, with free food and A LOT of free alcohol. Still jetlagged (and likely hung over) the next day we were given vague information about which bus to catch in order to reach our school.

    ** BKS strategically disorients new teachers in order to take advantage. **

    Disorganized arrivals, unclear lesson plans, bad communication between the agency and the school. This is just the within the first few days and it was a pattern that continued throughout the semester.

    They have been taken to court AT LEAST once by someone with enough knowledge of the law to feel confident fighting BKS: An agency that using INTIMIDATION and manipulation to deter naive teachers from their full rights in Thailand... see an example of this HERE in with they listed a previous teachers name without her consent... "The above complaint comes from Lisa Peterson"

    An agency, in general, is supposed to be providing a SERVICE in exchange for a percentage.

    BKS provides bad service, psychological games… and takes a big cut.

    -2 Votes
  • Bk
      11th of Sep, 2015

    At BKS, we provide all teachers with an intensive, 10 hour orientation before the start of the semester. We do teaching practicums, help teachers get a basic grasp of Thai language and inform teachers of what to expect in their schools and cities. The orientation is meaningful and meant to help our teachers get off on the right foot here in Thailand.

    We do indeed provide a fully paid for karaoke party and dinner following the orientation. After a long day of training, our teachers deserve a chance to relax and blow off some steam.

    We've certainly never received a complaint about providing dinner and having a karaoke party, but will take the previous poster's concerns into consideration in the future.

    In fact, we're proud of the amount of material that we manage to cover in just a day - it provides our teachers with an advantage when they enter the classroom and interact with the Thai teachers.

    We work with hundreds of teachers every year. Given the sheer number of teachers in our company, it is to be expected that some teachers will complain. We take any complaints we receive seriously, and always work to improve. We're human, and we want our teachers to have the most we can provide them with.

    Nearly 80% of our teachers continue from semester to semester. Our retention rate speaks to the overall performance of our company, and we are proud of the work we do.

    For any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 02-645-4300.

    +2 Votes
  • De
      21st of Oct, 2015

    The owner of Bangkok Success, Eli Roberts, snickered uncontrollably in my face. "You look depressed in that photo you sent me." This is the same photo I sent when I applied to a language institute in Korea. After looking at my photo, the school manager told the foreign teacher supervisor, "He looks like a responsible person." That photo got me a good paying job in a well developed country, so I kept using it for several years. I used it to get several jobs in China. Well Eli, either I look depressed or I look like a responsible person. You can't both be right. Anyway, after he literally snickered in my face literally uncontrollably, I should have known what type of person I was dealing with. But I wanted a chance to teach science. I didn't have a teaching certificate in the US and getting alternative certification in the US is much easier for science teachers.

    By the time Eli worked me over, I was down to 100 Chinese yuan and it took me 2 years to financially recover. I recently returned to Thailand and saw that he was repeatedly running large box ads on the website. Apparently he was prospering the whole time I was climbing out of the pit he dug for me. I contacted him, rehearsed the disaster he perpetrated on me, offered to let him reimburse me for all the money I lost because of him, and warned him that I would post a blacklist report otherwise. He didn't answer, so here goes. The story is a bit long, but it gives you the full picture of a situation that disintegrated under my feet. The story starts out very promising, but quickly turns into a nightmare.


    I got an interview for a science teacher position here in Thailand. Eli Roberts, the owner of Bangkok Success employment agency, started by asking me how long I planned to stay in Thailand. I said, "A long time because I like Thailand." He asked me what I like about Thailand. I said, "What's to not like about Thailand?" Friendly people. Beautiful, clean nature. Developed transportation system. Flights everywhere. 7-11 on every block. Cold drinks. Fresh, peeled, sliced fruit a stone's throw from your apartment door or school gate."

    Then he started asking me science teacher questions. "How would you teach science?" "Well, science is conceptual, so you need vocabulary. But it's also visual. A chemist watches in a test tube. A biologist watches in a microscope. A rocket scientist watches on the pad. Tune into any science channel or nature channel and the presentation is very visual. So I would use videos." "Suppose you don't have videos." "Then I would use pictures." "How would you get the students involved in the lesson. For example, if the lesson is on photosynthesis." "Well, I would have the students draw an illustration of photosynthesis." "How would you use competition?" "I would have the students get into groups. Each student would draw an illustration of photosynthesis. Then they would look at the drawings of the other students in their group, take the best elements of each drawing, and make a group drawing. Then each group would show their drawings to the class and the class would vote on the best drawing." "How would you test their skills?" "I would make 2 columns. One for concepts, one for nouns. Have the students match the words in each column."

    I had never taught science. I had never been interviewed for a science teacher position. I had no idea what questions he would ask. I was making this up as I went along. But he was pleased with my answers. His preferred candidate was in the States and struggling to book a short notice flight in time to arrive in time for orientation. I was his backup plan. He called me to tell me his preferred candidate caught a flight and asked me if I was available for other positions.

    While I was in Cambodia getting a new Thai tourist visa, he called me at my guest house to inform me that his first choice didn't work out and asked me if I still wanted to teach science. The other foreign teachers at the school where he sent me told me his preferred candidate showed up for orientation, didn't go to lunch with the group, and never returned.

    When I arrived at the bus station, the school's foreign affairs officer was not there. Eli called me while I was at the bus station to make sure I had arrived. When I told him no one was there to pick me up, he said, "Doesn't sound like anything I need to get involved in." No sooner had I moved into the apartment the FAO had arranged for me, the building manager told me to move out. My tourist visa was only 15 days and she refused to submit a resident report to immigration about a resident with such a short visa. At an alternative apartment, the sink didn't have water, the bathroom had multiple chronic leaks, the wifi had reoccurring startup problems, and the door key didn't work.

    Meanwhile, neither the apartment nor the building had a washing machine. The day after I moved in, the water went off. The landlord refused to answer the FAO's phone, so I got the agency's teacher supervisor involved. Finally, the FAO used my phone and the landlord answered. She told the FAO that the pipes were under construction. She didn't tell the translator when I moved in and she didn't put a notice on my door. After 4 days without water, I was finally able to take a shower and shave.

    Meanwhile, Eli told me during the interview that coming to Thailand from Cambodia on a 15 day visa was no problem because the agency's visa coordinator could get the paperwork in order in a week or two and I could zip up to Laos and back (this school is on the border). Not so. The visa coordinator told me I would have to get a 60 day tourist visa at the Thai consulate in Laos, then return for a work visa when the paperwork was ready. Had I known this, I could have gotten a 2 month visa before I left Cambodia instead of making 2 trips to Laos.

    Eli told me I would be teaching life science and that the agency's other science teacher at the school would be teaching physical science. Not so. Turns out the chairman of the science department expected me to teach general science. According to the textbook chapter order the Thai science teachers gave me, general science turned out to be mostly physical science. And the full range of physical sciences - physics, chemistry, electricity, geology, weather, global ecosytem, astronomy, space exploration. Plus nutrition, drug addiction, and even sex education.

    They wanted me to use three textbooks and teach three different lessons each per week to 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. And they had a prearranged order for the chapters. So one week, I would teach three different physics lessons to 7th graders, three different chemistry lessons to 8th graders, and three different electricity lessons to 9th graders. The next week, I would teach astronomy to 7th graders, geology to 8th graders, and ecosystem to 9th graders. The 3rd week, weather to 7th graders, space exploration to 8th graders, and nutrition to 9th graders.

    I was expected to plan the lessons, build or Google the teaching tools, and write the exams. And make every lesson useful and interesting and fun. All this on a week's notice. So my lesson planning had multiplied nine times and the paperwork I was supposed to submit to the agency's curriculum director had multiplied nine times as well.

    Speaking of the curriculum director, Alissa, when I told her about this situation, first she sent me links to the homepages of ESL Cafe and Ajarn - and some weekly lesson plan forms to submit to her. Thanks, Alissa. Later, she sent me links to general ESL sites that have games, puzzles, etc. Namely Boggle's World ESL and ESL Games Plus. The only thing science related she sent me was a link to the University of Colorado's PhET.

    Even for someone who majored in general science or majored in education, the above described feat was just not even logistically realistic without living at the office. I'm qualified to teach algebra and have taught algebra in Thailand successfully more than once (and aced algebra in college.) But I'm not qualified to teach calculus. I've never taken a calculus course and calculus is a completely different math field than algebra.

    In the same way, I can teach life science, but I'm really not qualified to teach physical science. I don't have a strong science background and don't have any experience teaching science, but I have a lot of teaching experience and a lot of curriculum development experience and a natural aptitude for and strong interest in life science. But physical science is another realm, just as algebra and calculus are drastically different. So I told Eli there was no sense in even attempting to accomplish all this.

    He decided to replace me. He didn't even bother to inform me. When I got back from my visa run to Laos, the school's FAO told me, "Eli is sending the school another teacher to replace you and told me to tell you to return to the Bangkok Success' headquarters." Very unprofessional, Eli. And never mind that the Bangkok Success' headquarters is in Bangkok, a 12-hour drive. Well, at least I didn't have to make that extra trip to Laos.

    While I was in Cambodia, I had three job offers from China. One was for teaching college students and the school offered to pay for the flight, the tourist and work visas, and the visa run to Hong Kong to change the tourist visa to a work visa. Another offered to process the paperwork and mail it to me so I could get a work visa from the Chinese embassy in Thailand instead of making trips 2 trips to Hong Kong. Another was from a school in the business district of Guangzhou, which is just two hours by express train to Hong Kong - and the school is in the same district as the train station. The third school was willing to let me teach kindergarten even though most kindergartens prefer younger, female teachers. All of these schools paid exceptionally well. And all of them wanted me to arrive immediately.

    I turned down all these offers in favor of gaining experience teaching science. These bridges had been burned. The jobs had been taken by other candidates. And so has my science teaching job. So much for alternative certification in the US.

    -3 Votes
  • Bk
      27th of Oct, 2015

    The teacher above disappeared from school unannounced for 11 days. During that time, he made no contact with the school, our company or his fellow teachers to inform us of his whereabouts.

    We sent a new teacher to replace him after 3 days had passed.

    For obvious reasons, it is of the utmost importance that teachers attend class every day.

    Feel free to contact our office at 02-645-4300 with any questions.

    +2 Votes
  • Je
      28th of Oct, 2015

    BKS is not a scam. They are just sneaky little bstrds. They help you find jobs but in the process they manipulate you, mistreat you and if you dare challenge them, they will make your life hell. They will take advantage of you. The staff is very unprofessional and owner knows how to hide once he is caught in the wrong.
    If you want to teach in Bangkok, go somewhere else. You can tell that every response from BKS in this forum is well thought out and always puts the blame on the teacher. The videos on FB and other social media are of people who have just gotten there and haven´t had a chance to work and find out the conditions of their contract and what goes on there.
    These forums don´t come up out of nowhere. There are serious issues there. Better go somewhere else.

    -1 Votes
  • De
      30th of Oct, 2015

    "The teacher above disappeared from school unannounced for 11 days. During that time, he made no contact with the school, our company or his fellow teachers to inform us of his whereabouts. We sent a new teacher to replace him after 3 days had passed. For obvious reasons, it is of the utmost importance that teachers attend class every day."

    This is a flat out lie.

    If you'll notice, Eli Roberts, the owner of Bangkok Success, has been quick to respond to blacklist reports about his company on this forum. Never longer than 3 weeks. In my case, 6 days. In one case, 2 days. He's very good at putting a spin on the situation and very good at discrediting his critics. I felt certain my blacklist report about him would be so convincing, he would not even attempt to respond. But now I see he has resorted to blatant lies.

    I was in the office every day until my visa run to Laos. I informed the company, the school, and my foreign and Thai colleagues in the English and science departments about the visa run. When I returned, I immediately called the school's foreign affairs officer. I also called and emailed one of the other Bangkok Success foreign teachers and I have the email messages to prove it. And no, I definitely didn't contact anyone at Bangkok Success. Not in a million years would I give Eli a chance to burn me again. Not after I had already lost a staggering amount of money because of him. As for, "it is of the utmost importance that teachers attend class every day, " classes hadn't even started when I made my visa run.

    Oh and Eli, I have recommendation letters from 14 schools.

    -2 Votes
  • Ji
      22nd of Mar, 2016

    I also worked for Bangkok success. Nice school I was placed to, naive I might say, to let the manipulating smooth talkers of BS run riot all over them. Can't pay on time. Can't provide visas. They only work well for a low IQ individual who don't really care when they get any money or what they do.

    0 Votes

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