The OTA has ceased to provide me with necessary continuing support for my education; and staff members have ignored my many requests for help.
I enrolled for a futures trading course at the Online Trading Academy on 11/17/13. My course contract indicates that I was to take two classes in addition to a module called "XLT courses". Professional Trader Part 1 cost $2,995, and Professional Futures Trader cost $4,990 according to the signed contract. The school also charges a $290 processing fee. The total for these classes is $8,275, leaving a balance of $6,505.
I took and successfully completed the Professional Trader Part 1 and Professional Futures Trader classes between 2/1/14 and 2/12/14. As I was taking those classes, I reached out to my "coach" to make arrangements for my next steps after the first two modules. There were several questions I needed answered, such as: (1) How should I go about taking the XLT classes while starting to trade? (I had been clear about my time and financial concerns when I met with my coach at the time of enrollment) (2) When do I get to practice with paper money?; (3) Some students have had real money accounts opened for them. I thought I was to be one of those students, but I am not sure. Who should I speak to since the accounts manager seems unable to address anything in the absence of the coach? ; (4) How am I going to afford the Tradestation platform, which costs over $280 per month?; (5) Can anyone give me the OTA's federal tax ID number, since you didn't bother to send me form 1098-T?
This last question (5) was particularly vexatious because I called the *********** office several times between 2/21/14 and 2/26/14. No one would give me that tax ID number. In fact, one staff member in ********** told me it was illegal to obtain it! This is obviously untrue. Furthermore, when I signed the contract I was told that I would be able to claim a deduction on my tuition. That was part of the reason why I signed up since the costs looked more manageable that way.
Please understand that I was particularly frustrated as each call I made ended up either in a call center, or with staff members who simply passed me along. ***** after failing to reach my coach over the phone, I called the *********** office one more time on 2/26/14. I said I was fed up and wanted a refund of $6,505 for the XLT courses that I was yet to use - I really don't know how to get into this module given my current circumstances and the negligence of my coach. It was only then that the accounts manager instantly gave me that tax ID number and hurriedly transferred me to my coach. When asked to meet at the *********** office, I told the coach that because the school had been unwilling to let me take my last day of class on a different date from the Friday on which snow storm Pax descended on ***** ********* my car had broken down and I could not make a trip to ********* within the next few days. The coach then mentioned that he had just had a baby and would be unavailable for several days. But while a newborn is always a joy, my coach's personal affairs have nothing to do with me. I expressed my unwillingness to wait any longer, and he said he would call me on the following Monday (he has not done so to date). He also gave me a woman's name to look up on the OTA website, who presumably could address my problem on his behalf. As a college teacher, I know it is not a student's responsibility to chase down unreachable teachers and staff members when I am unable to fulfill my obligations for personal reasons.
At that point - and given the frustrations of the week - I decided that my best recourse is to file this complaint. I will also seek remedy in court if the company continues to ignore me and fails to address this matter promptly.
I simply want a refund of $6,505 for the XLT courses that I can't take. My situation has changed somewhat since November, and all I needed was a professional to guide me. But as I can barely get anyone to attend to my affairs, and because my progress is wholly dependent on that professional guidance, I wish to terminate my relationship with OTA immediately and have the funds returned to me.
This was the first that I heard of this issue. I am very concerned that the issue progressed as it did. Online Trading Academy has over 37,000 students worldwide and we do everything within our power to ensure that all students are taken care of in all ways requested to have a great experience with the education. In this case, we obviously dropped the ball and for this I apologize. I have had a meeting with Mrs. ****** and I have attempted to resolve the situation in every way that I can in keeping Mrs. ****** enrolled as a student so that she could complete the path of education that she has started.
I offered Mrs. ****** the following:
1. Additional classes equating in thousands of dollars in tuition to make good on the experience up to this point.
2. For me to be her personal coach and mentor in the path of education that she has started. This would be the first time I had committed to a student that I would be their personal coach. As the owner of OTANC and OTASC, I have coaches that work with the students and I work with each student through the coaches. I offered a direct line to me with my personal cell phone number to where Mrs. ****** could contact and work with me directly.
Mrs. ****** seemed to think this was a joke and said that while I speak really well (not sure what this was intended to mean) that she just wants the refund. The reality is that Mrs. ****** is struggling financially. Many things have changed in her life since enrollment and her financial situation has changed in a negative way since her enrollment. Some of the unfortunate items in her complaint did happen and this falls on us completely. I have put a team in charge of looking into this situation to ensure that this will never again happen to any of the other over 37,000 students still enrolled. The biggest reason why a refund was request and why Mrs. ****** has decided to quit is because she just needs the finances. She is in school, she is moving out of NC, she has no car, and there are many more. I have submitted for and Mrs. ****** has received the refund that she requested with her being unwilling, no matter what I offered to make things better, to continue.
One of the things that I love about this company most is that if a student is not happy, we go above and beyond to correct the situation. This is the case even if we are in the right and the student is misrepresenting the situation. You cannot have been in business for over seventeen years as we have without having this approach.