BBB Accredited Business since

College Planning Network

Phone: (866) 207-5545 Fax: (216) 464-2085 23625 Commerce Park Ste 200, Beachwood, OH 44122 http://www.collegeplanningnet.com View Additional Web Addresses


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Description


This company is a national servicing organization for its network of independent College Funding Advisors and their clients.  It provides college admissions, funding and financial aid services to families with college bound students. 


BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that College Planning Network meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.


Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for College Planning Network include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 15 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

15 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 1
Billing/Collection Issues 1
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 13
Total Closed Complaints 15

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

76 Customer Reviews on College Planning Network
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 72
Neutral Experience 1
Negative Experience 3
Total Customer Reviews 76

Additional Information

BBB file opened: May 14, 2007 Business started: 03/01/2006 in OH Business incorporated 02/05/2008 in DE
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Ohio Department of Commerce / Division of Financial Institutions
77 South High Street, 21st Floor, Columbus OH 43215-6120
http://www.com.ohio.gov/fiin
Phone Number: (614) 728-8400
Fax Number: 614-728-0380
webdfi@dfi.com.state.oh.us

Type of Entity

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Business Management
Mr. Scott Weingold, Co-Founder & Principal Mr. Adam Blumenthal, Director of New Enrollments Mr. John Hollis, Co-Founder & Principal Ms. Lisa Janasek, Human Resources Coordinator Mrs. Tanya Koons, VP – Operations Ms. Jody Polster, Service Center Manager
Contact Information
Customer Contact: Ms. Lisa Janasek, Human Resources Coordinator
Principal: Mr. Scott Weingold, Co-Founder & Principal
Business Category

Educational Consultants Financial Services

Business Management

Mr. Scott Weingold is also a principal of Strategic College Funding Solutions, Inc. which is located at the same address in Mayfield Heights, Ohio and shares the same telephone number of 216-468-0363.

To access a detailed report regarding this company (s), call the BBB Anytime Line at 216-241-7678 and enter the telephone number of the company you would like a report on, or check the BBB's website at www.Clevelandbbb.org.

Industry Tips
Financial Services

Additional Locations

  • 23625 Commerce Park Ste 200

    Beachwood, OH 44122

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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

10/16/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We, ******* * ******* ****, request a refund of the moneys invested in what we thought would be a worthwhile asset in planning our daughter *******’s college career, but disappointingly was not as advertised. During our initial interview in fall 2012 as our daughter began her journey into higher education, we told the CPN representative that we were self-employed and as such have scant little spare time, and thus we were an easy up-sell to the Cadillac plan which promised to hold our hand throughout the entire process, from picking a college, to paying for it, to keeping up with forms and filings for the next four years. After we pre-paid, to achieve CPN’s hot “quick response limited-time discounts”, the sum of $5,491.00 on September 20, 2012 for the Advanced Placement plan, holding our hand is about all they did, as they provided very little input on college selection (which we did ourselves), college application process (as we were still required to fill out the enrollment forms and file them with the various institutions), financial aid (we sought and received every penny ourselves, as all CPN could offer was some website referrals to determine eligibility), and despite numerous requests for aid in all of these areas, their responses from continually changing new staff were of little assistance or consequence. We were also originally sold on the promise that the fees paid to CPN would easily be received back to us in terms of money saved in scholarships over the course of ********’s enrollment, but any scholarships (and mostly loans) was researched, requested and realized by efforts on our part, not CPN’s. In support of these statements, we offer the following timetable of our CPN experience, from initial consultation to present. As ******** plans her sophomore year at ********* *******, there’s still been little to no help from CPN other than stock emails, from 2011 even, and a FAFSA reminder. TIMELINE – SEP 2012 – Started with CPN: Received paperwork, guides, had initial meeting. They wanted to know all of our finances to set our money up where it won’t affect ********’s “need”, and then they found out that we have NO money to “move”. OCT/NOV/DEC 2012 – Received nothing but emails (College Funding Tips & Client Only Newsletter) JAN-SEP 2013 – Received nothing but SAME emails ------ So for basically one year after initial meetings, CPN has no personal contact with us!! ------- OCT 2013 – WE requested meeting, as we had heard virtually nothing personal from CPN and our daughter was entering her Senior Year. They asked we provide “My Set” forms in hard copy. OCT 2013 – From that meeting and “My Set” forms, Daniel ****** sends us form letter style financial aid reports for the schools ******** is currently interested in attending with them having little or no information on her top choices. NOV 2013 – Contacted CPN regarding any upcoming deadlines we should be aware of so as not to miss out since Early Decision I timelines were coming up, and if our FAFSA is prepared properly (since we do it!) and if they need anything else. Also requested what the “next steps” would be to assist in getting college PAID FOR. NOV 2013 – Dan ****** forwards our email to a local girl in the Beachwood office. NOV 2013 – Kerry ********* emails back that although we had turned in the “My Set” forms at the Beachwood office, we now needed to fill them out online, as well, along with other family and financial information… “Once those items are completed, we will review them and prepare the financial aid forms for ********.” DEC 2013 – All online information completed. Kerry emails back, received… JAN 2014 – FAFSA & CSS Profile FINALLY submitted in January 2014 NOT November 2013! JAN-APR 2014 – CPN again has NO direct contact with us! APR 2014 – WE contact Dan ****** to tell them our daughter was accepted into Champlain as an Early Decision II and forwarded the college’s Financial Aid package, which was without much monetary help at all, and request CPN for their expert assistance as this IS the main part we hired them for… to get her college paid for and lower her/our responsibility. He called us and his response… “I heard Discover private student loans are pretty good.” THAT WAS THE EXTENT OF CPN’s EXPERT HELP!!! APRIL 2014 – WE inform ********* ******* that our daughter won a Congressional national art Award and ask them to revisit her financial aid package. WE inform CPN also. Champlain returns email the next day to say they have given ******** a $9,000 annual merit scholarship (through no help from CPN). Inform Dan of revised financial aid package and ask for next steps again to help get her/our out-of-pocket lowered. MAY 2014 to CURRENT – Received nothing but SAME regurgitated emails as previously and when their upcoming workshops were happening at schools or in areas for current high school students. Whoopee! CURRENT UPDATE: It’s now Fall 2015 and we recently took our daughter back to ********* ******* in Vermont, where she is now beginning her sophomore year, and we have gotten absolutely no assistance in trying to find any additional scholarship funding, and again whatever money we got we had to find and procure ourselves, with nothing to show from CPN except bulk e-mails which we have no time to read because we’re busy doing the job we supposedly paid them to do on our behalf. Disappointed & Displeased, William & Darlene ****, parents on behalf of our daughter ******** **** ***** ******** **** ********* ** ***** ***** ******** ****************

Desired Settlement: Services provided were/are of little to no benefit to us, and therefore we request a complete refund of $5,491 fees paid to the College Planning Network.

Business Response:

Dear Sir/Madam:

 We have reviewed the **** account and would like to give the following response:

 The **** family enrolled with the College Planning Network in September 2012.  Since 2012 we have provided many services, CPN was not aware that the family was unhappy with the services that we have been providing until we received the BBB correspondence.  The last contact CPN had with the **** family was March 2015 at which time we updated their fafsa with the tax information that they provided to our organization online.   

 During the time that the **** family was active with the College Planning Network our records indicate that many of the services that we offered were indeed used.  Our records show a student interview was completed which assisted with a school list being developed for Rachelle, essay review, an additional college planning session for the student along with timely and accurate submissions of the FAFSA and CSS Profiles since 2013, in addition to available financial or educational support at any time requested. 

 The College Planning Network does require this process to be a partnership, we are here to support or families in all educational and financial questions that may arise.  We do not offer finding scholarships or grants for our families, we do however provide them the tools they may need to find scholarships or grants.   Every family that we service have many different variables that do allow for The College Planning Network to receive additional aid in which we have been very successful in doing.  We are sorry to hear that the **** family was unhappy with the services that they were provided for 3 years.  We do have a 90 day money back guarantee in which the **** family would have received information on in 2012. 

 We are disappointed that the **** family did not share their disappointment with CPN until 3 years of service was provided, however we will refund the family the entire amount of $5491.

 Thank you.

 The College Planning Network

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that their resolution of a full refund of $5,491.00 is satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

******* ****


7/14/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I am a single mom that works full time without time knowledge and resources to help my daughter plan and decide her college situation. I attended a seminar and decided to enroll I the CPN program because they were the experts and they could help her. We have had three agents assigned to our account and none were better than a the other. Three to four years later and we are no better off than we were when we started. They have not been preemptive at all during this process. I was told they would guide us through this process and they did not deliver. My daughter has graduated high school and is going to a community college. How was CPN helped us? I believe we deserve a refund.

Desired Settlement: A refund

Business Response:

The ******* family signed up with the College Planning Network in May 2012.  During those three years many services were provided.  The family spoke with our Educational Services department many times about the college process including a personal student interview with one of our college counselors.  During that conversation the counselor spoke to the student about the college admission process and the family spoke to our counselors many times as a follow up.  The College Planning Network also completed all financial aid forms for the family.   College Planning Network helps guide a family through the college planning process but where a student ends up attending is a decision that the family makes together.

While CPN believes we provided many services to the family during their three years of service we also want all of our families to have a positive experience.  We believe that a refund of $1,646.50, half of what the family paid is a fair resolution.    

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

We had two or maybe three phone consultations totaling a liberal 5 hours. If we calculated the hourly fee at a generous $50.00 p/hr charge the fees would be $250.00 and add a generous fee of $250.00 to complete the FAFSA and the generous amount of services rendered equals $500.00. I think the refund amount should be $2791.00. Again my daughter is no farther ahead than where we were when we contacted CPN in the first place because CPN didn't follow through with the level of service I was sold and that is not because we didn't follow through on our end. I think we are deserved a FULL refund; however I recognize a small effort was exercised on CPN's behalf so I am willing to forego a liberal $500.00.

We will not slander or post any negative reviews and we can part ways on a positive note.


Regards,

******* *******




 

Business Response:

College Planning Network does not agree with *** ******* when she states that no services were provided.  Many services were provide for the 3 years she was a client with CPN including her family speaking with our Educational Services department and receiving guidance on the college planning process.  We do want all of our clients to have a positive experience with CPN so we will agree to refund the requested amount.  Please note that the refund check may arrive in two separate checks and may take up to two week to receive.  We wish *** ******* and her family the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution of $2791.00 is satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

******* *******


4/4/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Complaint Details Unavailable
11/14/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
11/7/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I was notified of continuing services with CPN (before last two payments of current contract were paid) with annual options or monthly options. When I initially signed up with CPN for our daughter, I was verbally told that the services included financial support for our process without additional cost to us. Their website and emails indicate that this is part of our contract with them and they are working with us to support this portion. I have received and am in the process of working with the financial team with CPN to accomplish such tasks. In the interim, a CS representative named ****** informed me that we needed to make a decision in order to continue services with CPN. I sent an email describing my concerns and stated "I will have to think about this option before implementation." and also expressed my concerns about current contract obligations that were promised to me including the FAFSA process and other financial guidance.In turn, ******'s response was "The services are going to be put on hold until you decide how to proceed."I responded with "all services"? and her response was yes, "all CPN services".Needless to say, I see this as a threat and we still have 2 initial payments left for the current contract services and yet to complete the financial assistance promised to us.****** and/or CPN has yet to respond. So, what did I sign up for? What did I pay for? This is totally unacceptable customer service/business practice. I have yet to receive additional response from them regarding such decision.

Desired Settlement: I would like CPN to stand behind their verbal and written contract to us and complete our process including the financial portion. I would like to know why they are threatening us until we make a decision about further association? "****** ******" is stopping us from following by stating all CPN services are on hold. How is this parallel with CPN's services to their clients and their college support options a positive one to promote themselves and their products??

Business Response:

We spoke with *** **** on Monday, October 27th.  During that conversation CPN acknowledged the miscommunication regarding her membership fee.  We were able to resolve the issue and reactivate her account.  Following please find the follow up email to confirm our updated agreement.

 

Email sent to *** **** on Monday, October 27th:

 

*****-

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.  As you and I just discussed I have reactivated your account.   You have agreed to pay the next payments that are due and then the renewal fee will not be due until after those payments are completed.  We look forward to assisting you now and in the future.

 

****

11/6/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: College Planning Network {CPN) promised me that they could help me with getting my daughters financial payments lowered no matter what school she picked. We were already working with a "paid" professional" who was going over all her paperwork for admittance. All we needed from CPN was someone who could help us get into a school and lower the costs by getting grants, scholarships etc. Our family was dealing with an ultimately fatal cancer-stricken member in our home and we hoped CPN would do as they claimed so we could concentrate on care giving. CPN promised that this would be a "no brainier" if we followed all their tactics - which we did and they all failed. We just now (2014)found out they filled out our FAFSA wrong and lost my daughter a huge amount of grant money! Which we can not get back for last year. They gave us ***** ******* in finances that told us to lie about our savings and to put our daughters savings into other peoples names...illegal. ***** ********** who 1st formed a relationship w/ helping us, suddenly wrote us she was going to another dept and we had nobody to help us. Finally a **** **** had us send colleges letters asking for financial help and they all said no. We later found out they never would have helped as they offer you help in grants and the letter of intent when they ask you to go the the college....CPN is a scam!CPN had us give them all our personal financial information for the FAFSA....they filled it out wrong....made my daughter lose thousands of dollars in financial aid- all along leading us to believe that they were the "true specialists in this field" ...all of which was lies. We wasted $2455 on CPN fees. We want a full refund and we want them put out of business! On 8/20/13 I asked for a full refund from ***** ******* at CPN. She told me to call Noel Johnson, which I did and never got a call back about a full refund. Unfortunately , I was dealing with my mothers death and did not follow up.

Desired Settlement: $2455 Refunded ASAP FOR FALSE ADVERTISING.

Business Response:

CPN was founded in 2006 and has helped thousands of families through the college planning process.  We provided many services for the ***** family and took every step possible to help their student get the best admissions and financial aid package for their specific situation – and never under any circumstances do we ever guarantee an amount of financial aid nor have we ever told a family to ‘lie about their finances’. 

 

The ***** family signed up with the College Planning Network on 10/24/2012.  Many services were provided to the family including: a personal college planning website built for the family that contained numerous resources, tools and information on the college admission and financial aid process.  We had constant communication with the family from the time they signed up with CPN till the date they cancelled, which was on 8/20/2013.  Following is an example of an email sent to the family on 12/13/2012: ******** and Family, I hope all is well with you as we approach the holiday season! I’m writing to check in with you to make sure we are doing everything we can to provide service for you. If we can be of assistance in any way, please email us at studentservices@collegeplanningnet.com. It has been a pleasure working with you, and I hope you have a happy holiday! 

 

The FAFSA and the CSS Profile (financial aid forms) were submitted on 1/15/2013 for the student.  We updated the FASFA with their tax information on 4/3/2013.  We evaluated the award offer and wrote 2 separate appeal letters on the student’s behalf. 

 

Ms. ***** contacted CPN on 8/20/2013 to cancel her account.  Following is an email sent to Ms. ***** on that date:  Good Morning *****, I received your voice message regarding the renewal fee for ********’s membership. Per your message, ********’s membership will not be renewed at this time and there will be NO charges to your credit card. I encourage you to contact the **** *******, one of our Service Center Managers, if you would like to discuss any of the concerns you mentioned on the phone. Otherwise, we wish ******** the best in her college endeavors.

 

Ms. ***** never contacted Ms. *******.  Two months later on 10/22/2013 CPN did receive a message from Ms. ***** asking to be contacted.  Ms. ***** was contacted on 10/22/2013 by Noel ******* but CPN never received a return phone call.  We have not heard anything from this family until we received this BBB complaint 1 year later. 

Consumer Response:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  

See my attachments (16 pages of emails dated from 2012 to 2013 from myself (***** ***** to CPN  (College Planning Network) Staff, ***** **********, **** ****, ***** *********, along with my final contact with ***** ** ******* (August 20, 2013) 

These email will show you  how upset I over the lack of assistance I got from CPN.  It will also show you that with all their promises, my daughter was never awarded any aid  from any college that she applied to. 

CPN made promises, knew what my income was and still told me that they could get my daughter grants and "free" money for her to attend college.

None of which ever came true.  Worse of all, they filled out my daughters FAFSA forms wrong from day one (see pages 9 were they had not even sent out here FASFA;s until the exact day they were due only because I was calling them

asking why colleges were asking us for them. I even told them the forms were filled out wrong and they still must of refilled them out wrong, because my daughter just found out a few weeks ago that she was denied

scholarship money because her FASFA was filled out incorrectly.  Since CPN filled out her FASFA, I hold them responsible and want a full refund!

On page 11 you will see ***** ********** who is suppose to be our link and our financial aid specialist, suddenly sends us an email (no phone call) and tells us she will no longer be helping us?!? We now have to start over with someone

new, named **** **** who will be doing *******a's Financial Aid processing (This is Feb 15.....right when the FAFSA should already have been sent out to the schools!!).

On page 13 you will see that I sent **** **** an email from me, stating that she filled out the FAFSA wrong writing that I had two salaries $36,062 and $36,250 (both taxable)....when in reality I am a disabled police officer and 

my income is a disability retirement and it is tax free so the amount should have been ZERO..$0.oo.   This made a HUGE difference in my daughter's eligibility for grants/awards.  **** **** filled out the form wrong.

Judy was the specialist I was paying $2500.00 to, to make sure the form was filled out correctly.

It was not!!  I have to call her on the phone twice to make sure she is making the change.  

Page 14 & 15, College Planning Network, **** **** sends me a print out of what looks like financial aid......but it is not.  It is aid that *******a has already been awarded prior to  us using College Planning Network.  College Planning Network

has not gotten my daughter one dollar of money to go to any of the colleges that she has applied for.  So now I am out $2,500.00 on their lies and promises. 

They may be claiming that this was not made in a timely manner, but my daughter, *******a ***** just went into her financial aid councilors office and was told that the reason she did not get any aid last year was because whom

ever filled out her FASFA filled them out incorrectly....that would be either **** ****, ***** *** ***** ******* in the Finance Dept.  He evidently did not put that my disability pay was non taxable.  You see I am a disabled police officer.  I do not have

to claim my income as taxable, which I guess Mr. ***** ******* did on my daughters FASFA which put her out of the realm for getting any type of aid which she would have been able to qualify for.   

I paid this company $2500.00 just to help my daughter with getting financial aid....nothing else.   I did not need their other services as I had already paid someone else to help her with all her applications and essays.  CPN knew this!

Page 16 is an email I got from ***** * *******  I spoke with her on the phone August 20, 2013. I told her  how upset I over the lack of assistance or aid I got from CPN.  They had made promises, knew what my income was and still told me

 that they could get my daughter, *******a *****, grants and "free" money  to attend college.  CPN promised that my $2500.00 would be paid back in 10 fold with the amount of grant money that *******a would get with thier

assistance.  They kept saying that they have an excellent track record and that the Better Business Bureau backs them and they have never had a complaint in their history.

None of what they have told me was ever  true.  Worse of all, they filled out my daughters FAFSA forms wrong from day one (see pages 9 were they had not even sent out here FASFA;s until the exact day they were due only because I was calling them

asking why colleges were asking us for them. Because I chose to use CPN my daughter did not get any financial assistance grants/awards etc., that she should have been awarded.    This is CPN's fault and their failure to take responsibility.  We wish we never used

CPN as my daughter lost not only financial assistance money, but we also lost the $2500 in what we paid to CPN (because we got nothing that they promised).   

We would like our full refund of $2500 from College Planning Network.

 

Regards,

***** *****


 

 

Business Response:

In *** *****’s response, she stated that she is upset that…“my daughter was never awarded any aid from any college that she applied to” and that “since CPN filled out her FAFSA, I hold them responsible…”.  College Planning Network has never and would never guarantee any family any amount of financial aid.  CPN cannot guarantee any student financial aid as the individual colleges award the student financial aid, not CPN.  We certainly apologize if there were any miscommunications about what services CPN provides.  *** ***** paid CPN a total of $2,493.  Although many services were provide to the family we will be offering the family a refund of $2,200.  We believe this is a fair resolution.  The refund will be in the form of a check and will be sent in 7 to 10 business days.  We wish the ***** family the best of luck in their future endeavors.          

3/19/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: we signed with ******* ****** and College Network(CPN) in 2012. They stated that this was a all around service. Program proven to raise score by at least a few point, all financial paperwork(FAFSA,CSS profile app) done and negotiate with colleges to get best packages, counseling for child for college/path chose and they would be there for all questions. From the beginning there with issues with no follow thru from freeman(they stated they would get better financial aid packages and had program to get better ACT scores)(which didn't). When we finally got a counselor with CPN i spoke to **** (supervisor) about the issues with Freeman. She said we would get a refund of everything minus the $500 and monthly fee$39 we would stay on and CPN would do financial aid work and negotiate with colleges to get better package. Our counselor wouldn't return call or emails all the time. I spoke to the receptionist about this and she said she would take of it. this behavior continued. when I would send colleges to be added she wont it would take calls/email for it to get done. I had to again turn to **** multiple time so things could get done. I also called when I had question about A CSS form I had to fill out and the counselor stated that she couldn't help and to get a hold of College board my self. When our financial packages come I called counselor and she stated that they wont do anything else. I was shocked and then talked to **** with said the same. I told **** that I displeased with CPN and that service we were give was not worth what we paid. And that I had to keep on top of the counselor to get thing done which I should have not had to do. We attend a ISAC workshop and they explained that companied like this made promise they would not keep.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of the $500 and the monthly fees we paid 7 month for a total of $273. This company should not take advantage of parents with 1st college students. The FASFA and CSS profile form should not cost over $700 I am truly displeased and feel taken by CPN.

Business Response:

The ***** family signed up for services with ****** ****** ******** (an independent college funding firm) in August 2012 and paid a total of $2,000.  ****** ****** ******** signed up the ***** family with College Planning Network as their third-party service center on 08/24/2012.  There was no direct contract signed between the ***** family and College Planning Network.  ****** ****** ******** paid College Planning Network for the family’s services. 

On October 31, 2012, Mrs. ***** contacted CPN stating that she was not pleased with the services that she had been receiving and requested a refund.  Since the family did not pay CPN directly for their initial enrollment fee a refund in the amount of $1,500 was refunded by ****** ****** ********.  College Planning Network also refunded the ***** family in the amount of $500.  Check number 3630 in the amount of $500 was cleared on 11/27/2012.  CPN did review the family’s file and determined that many services were provided: CPN assisted the daughter with the initial admission application, guided her on the ACT/SAT prep-courses and gave the student a personal student mentoring session. 

Even though the family stated they were not happy with our services they still wanted CPN to submit their daughter’s financial aid forms.  We agreed to this request in an email on 11/21/2012 with the agreement that the family would continue to pay CPN a monthly fee in the amount of $39.00.  Once the financial aid forms were submitted, CPN and the ***** family would relinquish our relationship and the total amount that would be paid to CPN would be $273.  The family cancelled their services in April 2012 after the financial aid forms were submitted. 

No additional refund will be provided by CPN.  The $273 was agreed to by Mrs. ***** and on top of the $2,000 already refunded ($1500 from ****** ****** ******** and $500 from CPN) she is requesting an additional $500 dollars than the family actually paid. 

 

Consumer Response:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

Regards,

***** *****

 

I review paperwork and CPN is correct about the $500 I am sorry for that but I would like the remainder returned.  The only real service that CPN provide was FAFSA and CCS application filed and that all.  The my daughter had taken the ACT prior and CPN stated ACT course would improve score.  It did not.   My daughter had a high score to begin and we told that it would help her get a even higher score that would result in more aid. CPN also stated they negotiate final aid package and did not.  $273 for filling a forms was a rip off.  If anything that at most I would say was worth $50 and that is pushing it.  This company promises parents a world of help and in fact does not do much.  I filled out the FAFSA and CSS with no issue  We signed up for help and were given nothing but form filing. Truly upset. and feel taken in a moment when parents are looking to make best choices for childen.

Consumer Response: Sorry didn't put total amount and settlement I would take.  I tried to go back in after submitting but I didn't know how to revise

 
Paid total (without money CPN refund) was $273 .  I would settle for $223.  Since I believe that is what filling out fafsa and Css paperwork might be worth at the most
 
Thank you,
 
*****

11/14/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Be wary! This company has a large initial fee and monthly payments. They promised to save us thousands of dollars in college costs and I don't see that ever happening. The services we have received have been of little or no value. They are requesting that we complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile on their website and sign it electronically. A red flag went up for me!

Desired Settlement: I would like a total refund of all monies spent for this company's services. I am concerned that there was a clause that will make this impossible. I would like to warn other consumers to be wary of this company.

Business Response:

The College Planning Network was very surprised to receive this complaint from the ******** family.  After receiving the complaint we contacted the father whom we have been in constant contact with.  He stated that it was his wife who filed the complaint and he was not aware of her plan.  He only found out after the complaint was submitted and does not approve of the complaint.   All contact with this family had been through the father.  He had never indicated any concerns with the services he is being provided.  


The family has been active since June 5, 2012 and we have been in constant contact with the family throughout that time. Our client services specialists have had multiple conversations with the father helping him with the financial aid process.  There was even a conference call that was previously set up for the day after CPN received this complaint (as previously stated the father was not aware of the complaint).We do not have our families complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile on our website and sign it electronically.  The FAFSA must be completed on the www.fasa.ed.gov website and the Profile must be submitted on the www.student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile website. 


Although the father did want to continue with our services, he ultimately decided to cancel his account. We did come to an agreement the CPN would refund the entire enrollment about of ******.

 

 

**** *******

 

College Planning Network, LLC

23625 Commerce Park, Suite #200 | Beachwood, Ohio 44122

Toll Free: 866.******** **** ****| Fax: 216.********

www.collegeplanningnet.com

Consumer Response:

***** ******** **********************
4:45 PM (15 hours ago)

** **  ***** *******
.

I don't agree with the business' representation of what occurred.  My husband was taken advantage of. He was a gullible victim.  I needed to step in and see if I could get him his money back.  He was contacted by this business and was convinced by them that they could help him through the college planning process and also save him thousands of dollars in college costs.  He was very worried about how to do things and when, where to look for scholarships, how to manage his money.  I knew he was in contact with someone.  I never new the initial fee he payed or what information he was receiving.  Recently he became overwhelmed by the volume of e-mails and had them sent to me also.  I found them of little use, and wondered what we were paying for this. One e-mail had tips on preparing for an exam by getting 3 good nights of rest and eating a good breakfast? I found it silly and worthless.  I've concluded that their services could be found on my own for free.  I began questioning my husband about what he he had payed for these services.  I attended a financial seminar at our school and picked up a booklet from the ********* Office of Higher Education.  Inside was a page warning about scams. As I understood a recent e-mail from the College Planning Network, my husband was to complete a financial form on their web site which would be used to fill out the CSS Profile and FAFSA.  This was to be signed electronically.  I will send you this email.  My husband stated to me that he had been unhappy with what he was receiving. He was in agreement with me on cancelling the account.  He was worried that my contacting the BBB would cause himself more stress.  I assured him that I would handle the complaint myself and try to get his money back.

Sincerely,

***** ********  

Consumer Response:

***** ********
Nov 8

 
*******-

We are willing to accept the company's refund offer of *********.  This is a refund of the initial payment only,  not of the monthly payments which total approximately * ******.  I have spoken to my husband about a contract and if my name is on it.  He says that there was not really a contract.  He says he only paid a bill and that the company's services were purchased for our family.  E-mails from the company came addressed "to the parents of...."  My husband says that I may speak on his behalf. 

Thank you.

***** ********
 

10/23/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I have paid $2295.00 for College Planning Network's Platinum Package, purchased in Oct.2010 when my son was a high school freshman, and an additional $928.00 in FAFSA Retainer Fees since then for a total of $3223.00.After it became apparent that collecting on the services included in the package would require hours of self-research,very little proactive help or guidance,time consuming attempts to communicate personally with employees of CPN, and more computer skills than I possess, I requested a refund on 9/11/2013. While they do have a 90-day money back guarantee, I asked CPN to take into consideration that I had only been able to truly experience their level of service since July, 2013. This is when, worried that it was the summer before senior year and very little personal contact had been initiated by CPN, I began to actively pursue their services. Until then, believing they were the experts and they would deliver on their promises to walk us through the entire process, I was not alarmed. I asked that they honor the "spirit" of their guarantee if not the letter. They refused to refund any of the purchase price. No offer of a prorated refund either, even though nearly five years of services remained to be fulfilled.Additionally,charges on my credit card for $29 per month have been automatically made since at least January 2011 for FAFSA retainer fees..described by CPN as fees collected to ensure CPN would fill out four college years' worth of FAFSA forms. Because my son is only now beginning his senior year in high school,these services were never provided. It is not even possible to file the first FAFSA until Jan. 1, 2014. They refused to refund these fees despite never providing the services they were for.Lastly, upon denying my requests for refunds of the purchase price or FAFSA fees, they also cancelled my account without any further discussion or any prior notice, preventing further access to many of the products and services I have paid for in full. CPN has discontinued contact.

Desired Settlement: I am requesting:1) A full accounting and refund of ALL FAFSA retainer fees that have been charged to my credit card. According to my records back to Jan 2011, at least $928.00) Because CPN willingly initiated the cancelling of my account after refusing any refund, I would like CPN to provide me with a fair prorated refund of the initial purchase price of the Platinum Package that takes into account both services rendered AND services effectively withdrawn by them. I propose half, $2075.50.

Business Response:

The College Planning Network would like to respond to the complaint from ****** ******.  As the client stated, they signed up for our services in October 2010.  For three years CPN delivered continual services to the client.   As part of the services provided, a personal college planning website was built for the family that contained numerous resources, tools and information on the college admission and financial aid process. They also had access to our SAT/ACT prep courses. We provided on multiple occasions a personal touch to guide Mrs. Guerra through the college process and assisted the family by answering their many questions.  The College Planning Network provided an initial student interview with a professional college counselor from the National Association of College Admission Counselors as well as provided a written summary of the interview which contained specific recommendations tailored to the specific student’s unique situation.  We provided guidance on school selections that included an extensive report on specific colleges that are being considered by the student.  The Roadmap to Success was provided allowing the client to utilize the essay review, application review and mock interviewing.  No time during the three years that these services were provided did **** ****** indicate that she was unhappy. 

 

Furthermore on 9/11/2013, even when **** ****** was asking to cancel her services and receive a refund, she asked if it was still okay if her student participated in one of our expert sessions, titled, The Application Coach.  The College Planning Network found this to be contradicting, **** ****** stated she was dissatisfied with our services that had been provided since October 2010 yet still wanted to take advantage of our services.

 

The monthly fee that **** ****** was referring to is not a FAFSA retainer fee, but a monthly maintenance fee for all of the services provided.  The College Planning Network does not charge clients for the completion of the FAFSA, we complete this form for our families as a bonus for our services. 

 

We’re sorry this family was not happy with their experience.  We have successfully helped thousands of families navigate the college admissions and financial aid process and make paying for college more easily affordable – regardless of the cost.  Although it is not our policy to offer a refund after a client has been active for 3 years with no indication of dissatisfaction of our service we are offering a refund of $928, which is the initial refund amount the client requested on 9/13/2013 as a resolution.  The refund will be sent in the form of a check and will be sent within the next 10-14 business days.  We sincerely wish them the best in their endeavors.

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.


****** ******

Sep 27 


to ***** *e 

RE: BBB Complaint #*******

      ****** ****** against College Planning Network


*** *******,


Though not referenced, I'm assuming you received the complaint I filed with the Better Business Bureau.  I will accept a refund of $928.00 as resolution to the first part of my complaint. Please issue me a check and mail it to ***** ******** **** *** ******** ** *****.  


Could we please resolve this matter in full by additionally addressing the second part of my complaint?  I asked that CPN provide me with a prorated refund of the purchase price I paid in full for the Platinum Package ($2295.00).  I suggested half ($1147.50) as a compromise that takes into consideration services already provided by CPN and services withdrawn by CPN by the cancellation of my account.  We'd previously established that I desired a full refund based on my dissatisfaction, and CPN declined any refund based on the expiration of their 90-day money back guarantee and services provided to that point in time. 


My current request for a prorated refund of $1147.50 is based on the following:


I don't believe it is fair for CPN to retain a client's payment in full and yet cancel their account, thereby ensuring  that they have no access to many of the online products and services they have paid for. This act seems retaliatory for having requested a refund after expressing dissatisfaction with your services.  I question whether this is really the only way to stop the automatic monthly charges as suggested in CPN's initial denial of refund. I suspect it is not. 


Your  latest email suggests that I requested my account be cancelled. I did not.  CPN actually took the action of closing my account and informed me this had already been done when it declined my request for a full refund. My  subsequent request was only that CPN no longer charge $29 per month to my credit card and was made only after CPN refused any refund and closed my account. I thought it wise at that point to put that request in writing, so I did.


I would also like to point out that while CPN has provided some services, our association was to continue for nearly another five years during which many services remained to be provided.


I look forward to hearing back from you to resolve this situation.

 

Sincerely

****** ******

Business Response:

The College Planning Network would like to respond to the complaint from ****** *******  CPN did not retain the payment in full and cancel *** ******** account as stated.  There is an initial enrollment fee and a monthly maintenance fee for all of the services provided.   If the family does not feel they are benefiting from our services, we allow them to cancel their contract with CPN which in turn also provides the family forgiveness for the remaining monthly payments during the length of the contract.  Even with the many hours of time spent, the expert college resources and personal contacts with the client over the three year period, we will honor *** ******** request and refund an additional $219.50.

 

We truly wish the family success with their college journey.

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I maintain that $2295.00 was the purchase price of CPN's Platinum Package, which I paid in full.  Attached is my receipt dated October 22, 2010 showing amount due as $0.


I also maintain that CPN retained that payment, in full, and cancelled my account in an email response to my request for a full refund of both that payment and all monthly fees paid to date.  Attached are my email dated Sept. 11,2013 and CPN's response email dated Sept. 13, 2013.


Whatever the $928 in charges made to my credit card were for, be it FAFSA retainer fees as described to me when I purchased CPN's Plantinum Plan or monthly maintenance fees for all services as CPN states, they are fees to maintain services, and when I inquired as far back as January 2011, I was told that the fees were to be assessed monthly FOR 48 MONTHS IN TOTAL, the purpose being that this would retain whatever type of services through the four years (48 months) my son would be attending college.  Feel free to correct me if that is not the case.


If it is the case, then I was paying those fees off early due to the fact that we signed up for CPN's services in my son's freshman year of  high school.  It stands to reason then, that I have paid 32 out of 48 of those payments in advance and since there will be no services to retain come college time due to the fact that I no longer have an account with CPN, those fees should be returned to me in full.


IN ADDITION  I've already described in detail the reasoning for my request for half  ($1147.50) of the purchase price of the Platinum Plan.  In a nutshell, it is because in response to my expression of dissatisfaction and request for a full refund, I received an email stating that CPN had cancelled my account and would not be issuing any refund, thus retaining the purchase price of the Platinum Plan and all maintenance fees paid to date. (See previously referenced email copies, attached)  That is not an equitable solution.


I continue to suggest a refund of BOTH the maintenance fees AND half of the purchase price.  The latter being a compromise that takes into consideration services provided to date and services withdrawn by CPN by the cancellation of my account.  CPN has argued that they have provided services for nearly 3 years; I counter that they were to continue to do so for nearly another 5 years.


Therefore, to reiterate the desired outcome of my complaint, I would like $928 in fees AS WELL AS $1147.50 as a prorated refund of the Platinum Package purchase price refunded to me for a TOTAL OF $2075.50.  I received a check on October 7,2013 in the amount of $928, leaving an ADDITIONAL $1147.50 refund as the complete resolution to my complaint, not an additional $219.50 as CPN has stated and offered.


However, in the spirit of compromise and in an effort to end this dispute, I suggest we consider all payments made by me to date as part of the purchase price ($2295 + $928= $3223 TOTAL) and "split the difference" for a total refund of $1611.50.  Since I have already received a check from CPN for $928.00, that leaves an ADDITIONAL $683.50 to be refunded. 


 This resolution is acceptable to me.  If it is also acceptable to CPN, I ask that they please issue me an additional check for $683.50 and mail it to me at ***** ******** **** *** ******** **  *****.  When it is received, I will cash both checks, one for $928 and one for $683.50, for a total of $1611.50 and consider the matter closed.


I look forward to hearing back from CPN and hope to resolve this situation.

****** ******

Business Response:

The College Planning Network would like to respond to the complaint from ****** ******.  With the many hours of time spent, the expert college resources and personal contacts with the client over the three year period, we believe that a refund of $1,147.50 is more than a fair resolution.  Therefore CPN will not be refunding any additional fees to *** *******

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

CPN has informed me they are not willing to refund any further fees, leaving me no choice but to accept what has so far been refunded to me.   

Since they have chosen not to address the discrepancies and supporting documentation I have submitted to them, I can only conclude that they are unable or unwilling to do so.      

 

****** ******

7/16/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: When we joined College Planning Network (CPN) in November of 2011 we made a down payment of $1,595 for their 4 year service program costing $2,987. We then began paying off the balance in $29 monthly installments which were to continue for the next 4 years. Soon after joining my wife and I had a meeting with our assigned financial counselor, **** ******. We were advised to move all the cash we could afford into these special annuities he could sell us and would also be our representative to the insurance company. In addition, he suggested that we surrender our daughters existing 529 savings plan, pay the penalties and tax on it (over $3000), and move her entire college fund into these annuities. This was all supposed to make her eligible for financial aid that would make it affordable enough for her to attend a college we could otherwise never pay for. So we took his advice with high hopes for our daughter. Then the financial reality came. Although she was accepted at all six colleges she applied to, she only qualified for loans to pay their sticker price tuitions. The highest loan offer was $25K ($21.5K unsubsidized) for her first year. We were stunned. After all, we did not sign up with CPN to qualify for loans. Our daughter ended up going to a local state college paying their sticker price which was in our budget. At the time we just accepted our CPN experience and hoped for something better next year.Later we were surprised to be hit with the tax liability from the annuities that our financial counselor failed to inform us about. He then assured us that we would not have to pay tax on these because CPN had special forms to be filled out and submitted to the IRS to waive the tax. This turned out to be false. He then said the tax due on these annuities was due to a new law just enacted. This too was false. Then he stated that any tax we paid on interest accrued would be ours to keep and could not be taken away under the terms of the contract, since it has already been taxed. And again this was false. I then called CPN and asked to speak with *** ******* supervisor who was John Hollis. He said he would take over as our financial counselor. As a result of my disappointment with *** ****** he offered us $500 and to also waive the $29 monthly payments for one year. Instead, my wife and I decided to discontinue service with CPN while offering to pay for the 18 months of service already provided; prorated at $1,120 from the $2,987 total cost of the 4 year plan. We have already paid CPN $2,117 for 18 months of service I regret. The over payment refund I have requested is $997. Since making this request, Mr. Hollis has not returned my e-mail or phone calls. I am requesting a refund of $997.

Desired Settlement: I am requesting a refund of $997. I only want to pay for the 18 months of service already provided; prorated at $1,120 from the $2,987 total cost of the 4 year plan. I have already paid CPN $2,117 for 18 months of service I regret. The over payment refund I have requested is $997.

Business Response:

Dear **** *******,

 

We received your complaint and have had the opportunity to review the situation.

 

College Planning Network will refund the request amount of $997.  The refund will be in the form of a check.  Please allow 14 business days to receive the check.  

 

We hope this is a satisfactory resolution. We wish *** the best of luck in her future college endeavors.  Please let us know if there is anything further we can do.

 

Sincerely,

 

College Planning Network

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.   

Regards,

 

**** ******* 

 

 

 

7/11/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: We sent CPN this letter Cert. Return Receipt:Dear *** *******,We are writing to request a refund of enrollment fees that we paid to your organization. We initially thought it would be in our best interest to seek the assistance of your organization in hopes of getting additional financial assistance from our daughters college, ***** **********, towards her cost of attendance. However, we struggled just to keep up with the enrollment fee and the cost outweighed the services that we were receiving via emails and calls.When we first contacted CPN back in July, 2012, we had already begun an appeals process with ****** financial aid office. I communicated the same to ***** **********, who asked to see what I had sent to ***** in order to help with the appeals process. I did so. In the meantime, our appeal to ***** awarded ******* with an increase of aid via a private loan in the amount of $2,650, and I faxed a copy of the updated Financial Aid Summary to ***** on 7/23/12, as she requested. Of course, we would rather that ******* had received a grant that would have reduced her financial obligation.We also had a telephone conversation with ***** ***** on 7/18/12, who asked lots of questions about our financial situation, including retirement information of which my husband found the conversation to be rather intrusive and ****** tone a bit condescending concerning our financial situation. I sent the 2011 tax documents requested by ***** and emailed our FAFSA pin codes to ***** on 8/21/12. The last communication that I have record of from ***** was on 8/24/12 requesting the FAFSA Pin Authorization Form, which was not needed since we already had pin codes.As you can see, after the last enrollment payment that was made, we have not been communicated with by your organization. I have no record of any attempts of contact by you. We thank you for your attempt to assist us; however, we would like a refund of enrollment fees paid because you were not able to service us.

Desired Settlement: CPN never signed and returned the certified letter in which USPS tracking indicated delivery by 6/14/13.We would like a refund of enrollment fees that we paid.

Business Response: Date Sent: 7/3/2013 2:30:34 PM

Dear **** ***********,

 

The College Planning Network received the certified letter on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm.  After reviewing the tracking information on the USPS website, although it states the expected delivery time was to be by June 14, 2013 our office did not receive the certified letter until June 28, 2013.  Please see attached confirmation from the USPS of the delivery time.  We contacted the family by email on Monday, July 1, 2013 responding to the letter.

One of the family’s main concerns when they signed up on July 14, 2012 was the cost of ***** ********** where J****** was attending.  One of our many services provided is to appeal the financial aid award offer received by the student.  The manager of our appeals department, ***** H., contacted **** on July 17th to discuss the appeals process.  **** had already sent a letter to ***** ********** so the next step was for ***** to review that letter.  ***** did receive the letter and stated that she would touch base later during the week to see if a response had been received.  She followed up with **** on July 23rd, when she informed ***** that J****** received an additional $2,650 in student loans.  ***** asked her how she would like to proceed from here.  ***** again followed up with the family on August 2nd to check in and see if they had any additional questions on the appeals process.    

On July 18th the family had a family financial analysis session with ***** Rosen, a college funding advisor.  During that session ***** counseled the family on the college financial process and answered all of their questions.

As part of the services provided by CPN, a personal college planning website was built for the family that contained numerous resources, tools and information on the college financial aid process.  The student was provided a student interview on August 8, 2012 with a professional college counselor from the National Association of College Admission Counselors as well as provided a written summary of this interview which contained specific recommendations tailed to J******’s unique situation.  The family had access to this counselor to follow up on any questions or concerns that may come up along the way. In addition to having access to their professional counselor for follow-up, the student was also provided unlimited access to a career and major search engine to assist her in career path which was used on July 18th.

The family paid one installment of $416.66 on July 23, 2012. The total enrollment fee was $2,500, which was to be paid in 6 installments of $416.66.  On August 20, 2012, CPN processed another installment of $416.66 through an EFT (electronic funds transfer).  This was returned to CPN due to non-sufficient funds.  CPN never received any additional payments yet the family received our services for no cost for 2 months.  Our billing department contacted the family numerous times regarding this issue but never received a response.  On September 10, 2012 the family was informed that we would be suspending their account due to non-payment.  We have not heard from this family since.  It has been over 10 months since our last contact.

With all of the services provided and the non-payment of fees, CPN does not believe a refund is appropriate.  We wish the *********** family the best of luck in their future endeavors.

 

Sincerely,

 

College Planning Network    

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau: 

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

As CPN mentioned in their response, our main concern was the cost of our daughter attending ***** ****., and more specifically, the family portion of our financial obligation to *****.  I did respond to ******s 8/2 email on 8/3 informing her that I didn't want to appear unappreciative of the add'l. $2650 loan awarded as a result of the appeal; however, this just adds to more indebtedness.  CPN did not offer any assistance concerning the appeal, that we initiated, other than reviewing the appeal result letter.  We did not need assistance with finding a college or review of college applications/college essays, etc., just the reduction of our EFC.

They are accurate that the 2nd payment we made to them was returned due to NSF, that I was not aware of until I inquired of my spouse as to why I had not heard anything else from CPN.

CPN said that "the student was also provided unlimited access to a career and major search engine to assist her in career path which was used on July 18th."  This is inaccurate.  On 7/17, I received an email welcoming us to CPN.  Instructions were given to click on a link to establish a username & password to access DISCOVER, a student assessment tool.  This is what was done on 7/18 by me, not my daughter.  She was not aware that we had connected with CPN until I told her to schedule an interview.  She was scheduled for an interview with CPN on 8/8.

In any event, I am not in agreement that a few phone calls, emails, review of an appeal letter, parent interview and student interview were worth spending $416.66.   I probably should have inquired if we had to access their college planning tool in order to receive assistance with the financial planning, because the latter is the only help we needed.  CPN may help many clients, but we are not one who found that they could meet our needs.  We will count this as a lesson learned and accept the loss.

Regards,

**** ***********

 

 

7/10/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: College Planning Networks relationship with Arizona College Planners of Chandler, AZ is still unclear to me, and CPN has been unable or unwilling to clarify. I am not sure if ACP sells CPNs services, or contracts them to provide services in their name. In any case, the service was pitched as very in-depth and personal in terms of their dealings with my daughter. It was not noted that most of the service was remote and impersonal (canned write-ups). Student interviews further "outsourced" and essay reviews, etc. were superficial, at best (mostly comma placement; no input on approaches to addressing college essays). The service was completely misrepresented and oversold. In the end, it seems to be a ploy for the local ACP agent to sell me insurance.I contacted CPN and expressed my dissatisfaction. They seemed genuinely concerned and I was given the impression that a partial refund was possible (pre-paid 3-4 years of monthly charges). It appears that this was never really being considered. I was told that they needed to contact Arizona College Planners to discuss. I did not hear back for over a week. When I followed up again, I was told thar ACP refused and that, since they collected the funds, CPN could do nothing. I had been told that the complete prepayment of the monthly fees ($39/month) had been paid by APN to CPN. I was told to contact APN directly, but my calls to discuss were never returned. Even though CPN refused to offer a refund, they then went and cut off all access to the services web site. Since I pre-paid for 4-years of service and a refund was not given, how can they justify cutting off access? I questioned them on this nearly a week ago, and have still not received a response. I know that others have had major issues with this service and the provider; and particularly their Arizona counterpart.

Desired Settlement: I had been looking for a fair settlement that refunded the portion that was prepaid, but not used ( 2/3 of the total). My frustration level is now to the point that I would like a full refund. I am completely dissatisfied with the service received.

Business Response:

To clarify, Arizona College Planners is a local independent financial planner who uses the College Planning Network as a 3rd party resource to outsource his client’s college admissions and financial aid services.  He has his own independent college advisory business with his own pricing policies, refund policies, etc….  The client signed a contract with the local independent financial planner, and paid him, not CPN, there was no money paid directly to CPN.  

 

As part of the services provided by CPN, a personal college planning website was built for the family that contained numerous resources, tools and information on the college admission and financial aid process. The student was provided with an interview with a professional college counselor from the National Association of College Admission Counselors as well as provided a written summary of this interview which contained specific recommendations tailored to the specific student’s unique situation. The family had access to this counselor to follow up on any questions or concerns that may come up along the way. In addition to having access to their professional counselor for follow-up, the student was also provided unlimited access to a career, major, and university search engine to assist him with finding schools which match his needs and academic credentials.  They also had access to our SAT/ACT prep courses, college application coaching and college essay coaching.  The family used all of the student services provided. CPN also submitted all financial aid forms for the student. We have reviewed all of the communications with this family and at no time did they indicate to CPN that they were unhappy with any of the services provided.  

 

Although the family did not pay CPN directly for our services and that their contract is with Arizona College Planners and not CPN, we will still offer a refund of $696 which is the unused portion that the family prepaid of their monthly fees.  We believe that with the services offered this is a fair resolution.   Again as stated earlier, CPN is a 3rd party resource for Arizona College Planners – no fees were paid directly to CPN so it is up to Arizona College Planners (with their own pricing policies, refund policies, etc…) to refund any additional fees that the client paid to them – not CPN.

 

We’re sorry this family was not happy with their experience.  We have successfully helped thousands of families navigate the college admissions and financial aid process and make paying for college more easily affordable – regardless of the cost.  We sincerely wish them the best in their endeavors.

 

 

Sincerely,

College Planning Network

Business Response:

Dear ******* *****,

 

We agree to refund the amount of $936.00. The refund check will be send within the next 21 business days due to the July 4th holiday.  We wish your student the best of luck in their future college endeavors.

 

Sincerely,

 

College Planning Network 

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me. 

One point I do want to make, while I am satisfied with the response and actions from the College Planning Network in Ohio, my complaint associated with *** ********* and Arizona College Planners and filed through the Better Business Bureau of Arizona (ID# *******) is still open and unresolved.

Regards,

 

******* *****

 

 

 

5/20/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: CPN is more of a sales business than a service business. We had many complaints about the service we were getting without much resolution. Our 'financial expert' gave us no help. His advice was "are you sure you don't have an older family member who is willing to leave your child $ to pay for college?" and "re-mortgage your home". When we asked for someone else, we got the first sense of how this business is run. When you ask for help through the info or "ask us" link, your request is merely directed to the last person you last talked to at the business. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. After complaining about the financial advisor, our child's interview, and about the 'team' approach we were sold but did not receive, we were assigned an "Educational Specialist Coordinator" who simply soothed my ruffled feathers and promised me a better future experience. She said she would be my 'go to' person through the rest of the process. When it came to obtaining the "Chances Report"; a customized report of your child's chances of getting into their preferred schools,I was sickened to find that they had never run the numbers for an IB student before. The IT specialist was getting annoyed with me because our numbers were not fitting into their format. I kept asking, "have you not done this for IB students in the past?" The final product was of no help to us whatsoever. And if you think that CPN will keep track of SAT, ACT, and submission deadlines for you; think again. The only deadline they keep track of is your FAFSA information. AND they asked us for that 3 times! Each time they requested it, we sent it. When we finally complained, our 'coordinator' passed us on to someone else. She had apparently forgotten her promise to be our 'go to' person. My final; probably my 10th complaint was ignored. When I followed up, I was told on 03/27/13 that my 'financial complaint' (which it was not) was forwarded to the "Team Manager'. This person has never gotten back to me.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of $******* plus $*****/month since 04/12. I paid for a financial consultant who offered no advice, a student interviewer who simply regurgitated the interview in writing, an essay reviewer who's advice was "good job", a "chances report" that was of no use to us because their database was not set up to handle IB students, constant reminders to submit paperwork already submitted, and a 'profile' that was never updated unless I requested it. I should charge CPN for my agro.

Business Response:

We’re sorry to hear *** ***** had a poor experience.  CPN contacted the client to discuss the complaint and resolve the situation.  After conversation with the client, CPN will refund the fees the client paid to us.

As part of the services provided by CPN, a personal college planning website was built for the family that contained numerous resources, tools and information on the college admission and financial aid process. The student was provided with 2 interviews with a professional college counselor from the National Association of College Admission Counselors as well as provided a written summary of these interviews which contained specific recommendations tailored to the specific student’s unique situation. The student was also provided unlimited access to a career, major, and university search engine to assist her with finding schools which match his needs and academic credentials.  They also had access to our SAT/ACT prep courses, utilized the college application coaching and utilized the college essay coaching.  The family used the entire resources through student services.

We’re sorry this family was not happy with their experience.  We have successfully helped thousands of families navigate the college admissions and financial aid process and make paying for college more easily affordable – regardless of the cost.  We sincerely wish them the best in their endeavors.

 
Sincerely,
College Planning Network

Business Response:

Dear ******* *****,

Since the client signed up over a year ago, 4/12/2012, the refund must be processed in the form of a check.  It can take up to 21 business days for this process.   The client should receive the check by May 17th.  In the future, we will state this time frame for the refund in our response.  Please let me know if you require any additional information.

Sincerely,

College Planning Network

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau: 

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I would like to keep this matter open until I actually receive a check.  Thank you.


Regards,

*** ****

 

 

5/20/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We purchased the services that CPN offers concerning financial aid. They were supposed to draft a "special circumstances" form letter and handle communications with our daughter's college of choice concerning her financial aid offer. However, they're phones and internet have been offline since Friday, making it nigh impossible to get this job done because the forms are due, by mail, on May 1st. I'm EXTREMELY UPSET because this company had such high ratings with the BBB as well as other agencies. I can't even contact them to get out of my contract! This is crazy!

Desired Settlement: I want my money back and for this complaint to be on their record.

Business Response:

Dear Better Business Bureau of Cleveland,

We respectively ask that complaint ******* be removed based on incorrect information the client stated in her complaint.  Our phone were down for 50 minutes from 11:00 am – 11:50 am on Friday, April 26th, not the entire day as she stated.   Before 11:00 am and after 11:50 am our system was back up and we did not have any phone issues for the rest of the day.  The client signed up with the College Planning Network on April 24th.  We spoke to the client multiple times on both April 25th and April 26th.  We also gathered the information to write the appeal letter they referred to their complaint.  We believe that this complaint should be removed based on these facts.

 Sincerely,

College Planning Network

Response to Complaint

Dear *** ********* ******,

We received your complaint from the BBB and appreciate the opportunity to respond.  I am sorry that you did not have the opportunity to fully experience the College Planning Network resources and services.  After signing up with us On April 24, 2013 we had communications with you multiple times of April 25th and again on April 26th for planning for the quick turn around since you needed information filed to the schools by May 1st.   During the conversation on April 25th, we understood your excitement for our services and you looked forward to working with us.  I am sorry to hear during the weekend you made the choice to file the complaint.  We would have been happy to discuss your concerns on Monday morning.  We apologize and take full responsibility for our system being down for less than an hour on Friday.  Since you decided to cancel our service within the first week, you are well within the refund period.  CPN will refund the charges to you.  While we do not feel we fell short of our services, we wish your daughter success in her college journey.   We wish we had the opportunity to provide her with our great resources and services that would assist your daughter through her 4 year college experience.

 

Sincerely,

College Planning Network

5/3/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Learned of CPN August 2011. Service states will guide parents through college process save you and child thousands of dollars. Selected for free phone consult told to provide CPN rep tax return/financials showing income,investments, savings. CPN said they could help put our daughter in the college of her choice for less money. Program was expensive; we signed up with Basic Plan($1495)hoping to receive services promised with "light at the end of tunnel." First counselor bordered on being rude, did not return calls/emails. Next rep wrote appeal letter to older childs college for additional aid, which was declined. Rep did complete FASFA.College-bound child interviewed over phone;report typed about their talk, but no point to this, as never referred to again by CPN staff to help guide or instruct. Months passed no contact from CPN other than weekly-generated email tips,common sense, more annoying than helpful, all the while $29 monthly fee. Dreaded contacting CPN, phone or email, felt distressed about money spent, lack of service/involvement(this was big investment for our family with hope of getting financial instruction. Husband working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Voiced this numerous times to several reps-where was the personal relationship they promise, the guidance, the information on what colleges were the best choice for your money. CPNs service stayed the sameuninvolved until another phone consult which again focused on our financial status. CPN recommended our child enroll in a community college because we had no money to send her anywhere else-no money-no kidding. That was why we signed up-for help to send her to a college of her choice. My child has 3.9 weighted GPA, honors/dual credit classes. Accepted to all 5 colleges applied in addition to acceptance in their nursing programs(3 private,2 state)offered grants/scholarships based on grades. Not a full ride-direct loans will still be needed for her to get there but she did this on her own with no help or instruction from CPN.

Desired Settlement: I want a full refund of fees $1959 (enrollment of $1495 and $29 x16 months) due to CPNs misrepresentation, lack of promised services, misleading advertising, and the emotional distress of the whole situation.

Consumer Response: ***** ****** **********************
   
7:51 PM (17 hours ago)
       
to me

*******
 
I would like to update you regarding the above complaint which I filed against College Planning Network. A representative contacted me and extended an apology that things did not work out and offered a full refund for all fees incurred during my membership (2,016.99) as resolution to my complaint. I have agreed to this resolution and their refund; I appreciate their prompt response. A check in the above amount is forthcoming and is anticipated in 21 days or less.