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TechSkills / Misrepresentation of services

1 206 S. Hoover Blvd, Suite 100Tampa, FL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 813-491-1000

I was given a one-time opportunity by the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance (TBWA) to re-train for an in-demand career after being laid off from my job of over 6 years. I selected database administration as the course of study, and TechSkills as the institution to learn based on their persuasive on-line information

The promotional information doesn't describe the actual learning environment. They advertise classes, of which there are none. They offer one-on-one instruction from certified pros which I took to mean a lot of personal one-on-one interaction during the learning process and available to me at all times (which I knew I would need), but which turns out to happen only when a student has a question and is fortunate enough to find an instructor who knows the answer and who isn't busy with another student with a million questions. As this is a very technical, involved course, I also had many questions.

Since there was only one instructor who specializes in the program I was studying, Oracle9i, and he is only there on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 8pm and every other Saturday, he was in great demand and I felt very bad about bothering him, as I know he also has administrative duties he must attend to. They have since added another person who knows a bit about the Oracle 9i database, which is a good thing, but it was too late for me.

I wasn't able to keep up on my own, which I virtually was, not having the resources promised. I felt like I went through the one-hour orientation, was handed the books, and pretty much set free to sink or swim. I was told I could ask questions whenever I wanted, but as mentioned above, finding someone who knew the answer was another story. They also said I could e-mail the particular instructor with a question, but I found an answer would not be forthcoming in a timely manner. This is an intense, condensed, accelerated course, and when a question needs to be answered before moving on, the question needs to be answered. It can't wait until the instructor gets to the school to open his e-mail, especially when he is only there 3 hours in the evening twice a week, and every other Saturday.

When I asked about the intense small group sessions, I was told they used to try to hold them, but not a lot of people showed up so they stopped. I would have shown up if they'd been made available to me, which they should have been.

The Oracle textbooks issued to me were supposed to come with a CD containing computer-based practice files which could be installed on my home computer, but there were no CDs.

One of the labs for Oracle9i was supposed to cover the use of the Oracle Universal Installer to install Oracle9i. This requires 3 CDs to complete, but disk No. 2 is missing from the school. I went as far as I could, through disk No. 1, and had to stop there. I guess the school considered my attempt at this lab complete, but I didn't.

When I went to the school to see what we could do about canceling the rest of my contract with them (the contract is for a total of 360 days) and getting a refund for the rest so I could cut my losses and try to salvage some of the money to attend a school that actually teaches what it says it teaches, I was told the Cancellation and Refund Policy issued to me doesn't apply, as TechSkills contract is with the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance and not me, and that none of the money is refundable.

The Alliance gave TechSkills $3, 000 to teach me Oracle9i in the manner they advertised they would teach me. If I had been aware a different set of Cancellation and Refund policy rules was actually in effect, not the one I was issued, I would have cancelled sooner as I gradually came to realize they weren't going to provide what they said they were going to provide. I certainly wouldn't have jeopardized TBWA's money so cavalierly, nor my own one-time offer of the much appreciated and much needed scholarship money.

This is not a sore loser letter. If I had gone into this association aware of what was actually going to be (or not going to be) provided, and failed.then, too bad for me. I've failed before, and will surely fail again before my life is over. I honestly felt I was lucky to find this institution that would provide the intense, comprehensive, accelerated, course of study I desired and required to prepare myself for the new career I've been forced to seek. I just wish they'd held up their end of the bargain and given me the actual Cancellation and Refund Policy to which I would be bound.

When I asked the director of the Tampa campus, Mike Smith, if all of TechSkills campuses were managed in the same manner as the Tampa campus, he said they were. I wonder if Mr. Jeff Miller, a Regional Manager for TechSkills, and any of his superiors, will collaborate that answer.

I don't think any of these things were done (or not done) with malice; it may simply be a matter of management becoming complacent and gradually letting their standards slip until they lost sight of how these oversights and omissions were affecting their students, but the consequence for me is still the same. I didn't get the education I contracted for, and now I, and the TBWA, are out a very precious $3, 000 of educational money now safely in TechSkills coffers and no longer available to me.

I certainly would like to hear from The Commission for Independent Education and from Mr. Jeff Miller and any of the officers of TechSkills. I understand for any business, the bottom line is making money, but making money at the expense of trusting students not given the facts up front is at best reprehensible, at worst, criminal.

If anyone thinks I'm alone in my dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the method of TechSkills bait-and-switch operation, simply type in TechSkills complaints in your Google address bar and take your pick from the many sad stories of trusting, then bilked, consumers

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Comments

  • Ac
      23rd of Sep, 2008
    +1 Votes

    Every month I get sick. Paying for nothing. I enrolled totally spontaneously. I thought it was pre-interview. Signed and now I have a balance of $6000.00 plus. I went to class 2 times. Asked for a withdrawal. Now I enrolled mid Nov...There are the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years...etc. which they were closed. Finally spoke to someone 1-12...and they said they would refund 3/4 but only refunded less than half. I am paying for nothing. I should have known something was up when Sallie Mae sent 2 checks. I in there name and one in mine. Now the sad thing is; I can't even file for bankruptcy. I pay 60 bucks for being to trusting, and not reading the fine print. Never will it happen again. Perhaps one day all the representatives will have true justice come upon them. I did not even know this website existed; wish I would have known 2 yrs ago...

  • Ri
      17th of Nov, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I am in a dispute right now with the campus I attend and I to have become a victim of the old bait and switch. I was told when I signed up that Techskills will be covering the cost of my vendor exam and it also stated that on the brochures that they distributed to Workforce. Also when I was signing up my counselor said that they give Test Pass Assurance so basically they were guaranteeing that if you pass you final with a certain score you will not fail the vendor exam "GUARANTED".

    Well when I contacted them for the voucher to cover my Vendor exam they would not honor it and I could not get anyone to call me back to discuss it. After many unanswered voice messages the my various employees at the campus I decided to email them in which I finally got a response stating that it was a misunderstanding on my part but they will cover the exam fees.

    I then ask about the test pass assurance and once again the reneged on what they promised. I feel that they should not be aloud to rip of companies that are paying good money to help people become more marketable when trying to find a job nor should they be aloud to take advantage of the people trying to get there life back on track after being laid-off.

    Signed
    Ripped of In America

  • Sp
      3rd of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    At just 18 years old I signed up for an 8 month unlimited class program at TechSkills in Houston. $10, 000 for 8 months of unlimited courses, to work as fast as I could. I too signed up spontaneously and was assured time and time again that I only pay for the classes I take, my advisor said I could stop at any time and only pay for my classes so far. For example, I put a $2, 500 down payment, and the first course I enroll in cost $2, 500 total, on it's own. She said if I wanted to stop after the first course, I could just walk away from the loan and they would consider the $2, 500 as payment for just that class. She made this VERY CLEAR, as my dad and I said I would NOT sign the contract if I would be forced to pay for classes I might not take.
    So she assured us, and I signed. Right after that, hurricane Ike swept through Houston, the campus was shut down for almost a month, and for at least two months after that we had classrooms shut down because of broken windows, flooding in the hallway from burst pipes every day, the bathrooms were always closed. In the midst of all this, I managed to almost complete the first half of my first course. When I realized that about half of my '$10, 000' time was up, and I had only completed one half of a $2, 500 course, so I decided to withdraw because I knew I couldn't get my moneys worth.
    I went to see my advisor, Tonya, and she said "Oh, don't worry about it! I'll extend your time if you need it, free of charge, you just take as long as you need!" and I said "Well Tonya, I'm sure you can't extend it forever, and I have gotten almost nothing done after four months." She continued to tell me not to worry about it, so I said "Ok, I will try to really focus and see how things go." But things didn't work out, I have a job that requires me to always be on call, so I never found time to really devote a lot of time to TechSkills.
    I went to see my advisor Tonya again, and said "Look, this is really not working out, I know it's your job to get money out of me but I am just a kid, I really can't afford to be paying all this money for nothing. I am not interested in continuing, I only finished half of a $2, 500 course, please give me some of my money back and stop the loan, or at least stop the loan payments." and suddenly I see the true face of Tonya. She looses the peppy, happy attitude and gets much more serious with me, and says "You can't do that, you signed a contract with us, you are not allowed to just walk out like that." I brought up that she said I could stop at any time and only pay for the classes I took. She says now "That was only for the first 30 days, it has been four months, you are too deep into this now!" She never said ANYTHING about 30 days, and the campus was ruined for months! I tried to be as clear as possible when I signed up that I would only do this if I could walk out at any time without paying for more than I studied. So she says "They are not going to be happy about this. I'm going to see what I can do." She walks away for 15 minutes, and comes back, and says "Ok, I can get you off of the loan, but you will have to pay $1, 400 on top of what you already paid, right now." So lets calculate this.. $2, 500 down payment, 6 months (by that time) of $140 per month ($840), and $1, 400 to cancel the loan.
    So I am supposed to pay about $4, 750 for taking HALF of one $2, 500 class? $4, 750 for a $1, 250 value. I could not afford the $1, 400 at the time anyway, so I walked away. Now I've paid the loan for 17 months, almost $2, 500 in monthly payments. So now I have paid $5, 000 for nothing, no certification, no lasting education, absolutely nothing. Even the very few things I learned in that half of a class are outdated now, as it was a computer maintenance class. $5, 000 down the drain, and I am looking at another $5, 000 to be paid. Now I am almost 20, and I want to go to a real college in New York where my family lives, and I can't afford to live in New York safely because of this STUPID TechSkills school!! And I completely agree with the original complaint, there is almost NO help, no support, no one-on-one tutoring, it's all a scam. They tell you whatever you wanna hear to get your money and your signature, they give you a book, and leave you to sink or swim. TechSkills might work for a VERY self-motivated, disciplined individual with lots of free time on their hands, but if that sounds like you, buy a freaking $50 study course and do it yourself at home!! It's the SAME EXACT THING!!

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