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Wisconsin
BBB Alert! Be careful of ACT/SAT test prep services
May 06, 2009
Parents of high school students who are planning to take the SAT and ACT college admissions tests are being misled by one test preparation service, according to complaints to the Better Business Bureau.

Since August, 2008, there have been 67 complaints from families across the U.S. on The SAT and ACT Prep Center, Coppell, TX. In the complaints, parents of high school students allege misleading telephone sales and difficulties with refunds for test preparation materials offered by the business. Due to the nature of the complaints and the lack of response from the company to the complaints, the BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas has referred information on the business to the Texas Attorney General’s office.

Complaints allege that telephone sales for The SAT and ACT Prep Center misrepresented that their son or daughter had asked to get test preparation software for the college admission tests through their local high school. After buying the software for $119.99, parents discovered that their children had not requested the study materials, and their local high school was not involved with the offer.

“The BBB advises parents who want to give their child every advantage in applying for college to check out any offer for test preparation services,” said Randall Hoth. Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “Check with the school counselor and comparison shop. To check out a company with the BBB, start at www.bbb.org.”

Complaints on The SAT and ACT Prep Center also allege dissatisfaction with the software; non-delivery of the materials; unauthorized charges of $49.95 for monthly service; and difficulties in obtaining cancellations or refunds.

The SAT and ACT Prep Center has a BBB rating of “F” due to the number of unanswered complaints. Since August, 2008, when the first complaint on the business was received, there have been 47 complaints closed. The company has not responded to the BBB on any of the complaints, however, in 4 cases the customers confirm the complaints were resolved with refunds. An additional 20 complaints are pending.

An Ohio parent complained: “We received a call … She said that my daughter expressed interest in the high school that she would like getting her ACT, SAT, and  PSAT scores up … After we got the program I found out I can get the same program at Best Buy for under $ 10.00. We got the CD and called them and returned the program… When I was paying my bills on line I found that the charge was still on my account.  I called them, they said the software had been opened and there will be no refund issued to my account … I'm out $ 119.99.”

Another parent in Nebraska stated: “I went to their Web site trying to contact them with the information she gave me and none of it works.  They have not given my money back and have now started debiting my account an additional $49.95 per month.   I have tried calling them and I get a recording saying that due to high volume, they can't accept my call and I am to leave a message.  When they transfer me to the voicemail, I get a recording saying the mailbox is full and then they disconnect.  They won't respond to my emails that I have been sending either.”

A Minnesota woman complained: “On April 6, 2009 I received a phone call about a study course for SAT & ACT Test Prep for this business.  At that time I was told I would receive the information for the test in 5 days.  I have never received the information and they will not spend time on the phone talking to me about cancelling my order.”

The BBB advises high school students and their families to check out any offers for college preparation or application products or services. To check on a business or to file a complaint, start at www.bbb.org.