FTC Sues Company Advertising in Tucson for Jobs with the U.S. Postal Service

November 20, 2012

Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to a Kentucky-based company, Career Exams (also known as Career Advancement Group), that purchased newspaper ads in Tucson, advertising employment with the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Career Exams and another Kentucky company, O’Brien Marketing, in federal court accusing the two companies of deceptive advertising. The companies have since been barred from selling what they say are guides to jobs with the Postal Service.

The lawsuit against Career Exams stems from the newspaper and online ads that ran in Tucson, and across the country. According to the FTC, job seekers who answered the ad were talked into buying study materials for up to $127. Once bought, they received a book titled the “Federal Employment Guide,” which included information about the USPS’ hiring process.

BBB was alerted to Career Exams when a consumer called inquiring about an employment ad she found in a Tucson newspaper. The ad was advertising “2012 postal positions,” that paid $13 to $32.50 per hour. The ad also included language indicating the position came with “full benefits,” and that no experience was necessary.

BBB called the phone number on the ad, and reached an operator who asked several brief qualifying questions- age, education level, etc. When the operator did not identify the company or organization she worked for, BBB asked if they were speaking with the USPS or a private company. The operator told BBB that they were a private company, and were selling study materials to people who wished to apply for jobs with the Postal Service. The operator went on to claim that the positions advertised in the newspaper ad were available in Tucson.

The USPS website currently shows they are hiring for two part-time positions in Tucson: one with “limited benefits” and the other is a “non-career” position with no benefits.

Additionally, study materials for any written exam are free to applicants through the USPS or a local library, and all applicants must apply through the USPS website. The USPS never charges application fees or guarantees someone will be hired.

BBB Tips for job seekers:

  • Be wary of any company that claims they can guarantee employment with a government agency or guarantee success on government tests for employment. If you have any questions about the government hiring process, directly contact the agency you are interested in applying.
  • Study materials for various government jobs are available for free directly through the government agency you’re applying with or at your local library.
  • Federal job information is available through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov.

To learn more about job openings with the postal service, go to www.usps.com/employment. For information about employment scams, consumers can contact BBB by visiting www.tucson.bbb.org or by calling (520)888-5353.