Local Workshop Promised Federal Government Jobs To Mahoning Valley Consumers…For A Fee

April 26, 2010

The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to be cautious of a business that held local seminars and claimed to have expert advise on how to obtain federal employment.  

Public Service Pathways, of New Jersey, had been holding seminars in the Mahoning Valley.  Consumers contacted the BBB with questions about the legitimacy of the company’s claims.  Several BBB employees attended the seminars in order to research Public Service Pathways.

All attendees were required to pay an up-front fee of $5.  The BBB found that the company representative at no point told attendees that he was not a federal employee, but rather an employee of Public Service Pathways.  The representative asked all attendees to fill out an informational form and take what he claimed was a sample civil service barometer test.  The representative did explain the application process for federal employment through government websites.  Attendees were then told that this application process was difficult and if it did not work, attendees were able to apply for an online study course “to assist in the application/examination process for government/private industry and criminal justice agencies.”  The fee for the online study course was $1000 and monthly payments would be accepted.

The representative told attendees that it was only possible to sign up for the program in person and the company would not be in the Youngstown area again for another six to twelve months.

The BBB contacted Public Service Pathways for comment about misleading sales practices.  The manager, Michael Bell, would not comment on the Public Service Pathway’s sales practices.

“These companies are offering consumers false hope and are using high pressure sales tactics in order to bilk consumers out of their savings.  We urge these consumers to research the company before paying for a non-existent job” said Patricia Rose, President of the Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers should be cautious of:

  • Any employment-service firm that promises to get you a job, even if employment service firm guarantees refunds to dissatisfied customers.
  • Check their BBB Business Review for their BBB Grade and complaint history.
  • Do not give out your credit card or bank account information unless you are familiar with the company. Anyone who has your account information can use it to take money from your account improperly.
  • Get a copy of the firm's contract and review it carefully before you pay any money. Understand the terms and conditions of the firm's refund policy. If oral promises are made that do not also appear in the contract, think twice about doing business with the firm.
  • If you sign a contact at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business, The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more. Under the Cooling-Off Rule, your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale.  The salesperson also must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send) and a copy of your contract or receipt.
  • Be wary of firms promoting "previously undisclosed" federal government jobs. All federal positions are announced to the public.