SAT and ACT Prep Center Helping Kids or Helping Themselves to Consumer’s Wallets?
Complaints Allege Misleading Sales Practices and Difficulties with Refunds
Austin, TX – August 11, 2009 – Parents of high school students who are planning to take the upcoming SAT and ACT college admissions tests are being misled by one test preparation service, according to complaints to Better Business Bureau.
Since August, 2008, there have been 119 complaints from families across the U.S. on The SAT and ACT Prep Center Inc. in Coppell, TX. In the complaints, parents of high school students allege misleading telephone sales and difficulties with refunds for test preparation materials offered by the business. 91 of these complaints received by BBB are left unanswered by the business.
Complaints allege that telephone sales for The SAT and ACT Prep Center misrepresented that their son or daughter had asked to get test preparation software for the college admission tests through their local high school. After buying the software for $119.99, parents discovered that their children had not requested the study materials, and their local high school was not involved with the offer.
“Of course parents want to give their child every advantage in applying for college, but they need to check out any offer for test preparation services before spending their hard earned dollars,” said Carrie A. Hurt, President and CEO of BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas. “Check with the school counselor and comparison shop. And always check out www.bbb.org to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.”
Complaints on The SAT and ACT Prep Center also allege dissatisfaction with the software, non-delivery of the materials, unauthorized charges of $49.95 for monthly service and difficulties in obtaining cancellations or refunds.
The SAT and ACT Prep Center has a BBB rating of “F” due to the number of unanswered complaints. On July 27, 2009, the Attorney General for the State of Texas filed an enforcement action suit against the company and the case is currently pending. The State’s enforcement action seeks an injunction against the company that will prevent The SAT and ACT Prep Center from making deceptive or false claims and from failing to truthfully disclose all terms of a consumer’s purchase.
An Ohio parent complained: “We received a call … She said that my daughter expressed interest in her high school that she would like getting her ACT, SAT, and PSAT scores up … After we got the program I found out I can get the same program at Best Buy for under $10. We got the CD and called them and returned the program… When I was paying my bills on line I found that the charge was still on my account. I called them, they said the software had been opened and there will be no refund issued to my account … I'm out $119.99.”
Another parent in Nebraska stated: “I went to their Web site trying to contact them with the information she gave me and none of it works. They have not given my money back and have now started debiting my account an additional $49.95 per month. I have tried calling them and I get a recording saying that due to high volume, they can't accept my call and I am to leave a message. When they transfer me to the voicemail, I get a recording saying the mailbox is full and then they disconnect. They won't respond to my emails that I have been sending either.”
A Minnesota woman complained: “On April 6, 2009, I received a phone call about a study course for SAT & ACT Test Prep for this business. At that time I was told I would receive the information for the test in 5 days. I have never received the information and they will not spend time on the phone talking to me about cancelling my order.”
BBB advises high school students and their families to check out any offers for college preparation or application products or services out first at www.bbb.org.