A company that claims to train users in tech sales and guarantees them a job has been hit by a lawsuit by Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson.
“Your 6-figure sales career starts here,” boasts the website for Prehired, a South Carolina-based company. Prehired guarantees users that they will land a job offer worth $60,000 or more within a year of finishing its online program, or they will be released from payment obligations.
The guarantee “proved to be a lie,” said the attorney general’s office in a statement this week announcing the lawsuit. The statement added: “When students failed to pay on massive debt from the program, Prehired used aggressive collection techniques like lawsuits and forced arbitration to get the money.”
Prehired’s website claims to offer training, mentoring, networking and “lifetime access” to additional opportunities. But in practice, the program consists of 15 hours of videos made by Prehired’s owner, Joshua Jordan, said Ferguson’s office.
The office said it had evidence that at least 39 Washingtonian’s had signed on, and that they could together owe more than $1 million.
The lawsuit alleges that the company engaged in “unfair and deceptive advertising, recruiting, and lending practices targeting Washingtonians looking for work, and unfair and deceptive methods used to enforce and collect upon unenforceable financing agreements.”
The lawsuit seeks restitution, as well as costs, fees and civil penalties under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
In addition, the lawsuit asserts that the contracts are invalid because Prehired does not have a license to operate a for-profit vocational school in the state, required by the Private Vocational Schools Act.
According to the lawsuit, the program’s users who could not afford the full costs were encouraged to enter into an “income sharing agreement” to finance the program. The agreement required consumers to make minimum payments equal to between 12.5% and 16% of their gross income for four to eight years, or until they paid $30,000 in total, the lawsuit alleges.
The company “failed to advise consumers about the cost of these loans, and deceptively represented that the ISAs [income sharing agreements] are not loans.” The company also was deceptive in telling consumers they would pay nothing until they got a job, the lawsuit alleges.
“Washingtonians forked over tens of thousands of dollars in hard-earned money based on Joshua Jordan’s lies,” Ferguson said in a statement. “I intend to make sure Jordan and his company do not prey on anyone else. I will fight to see his victims paid back and help get them out from under these illegal contracts.”
Jordan sued nearly 300 students across the country to collect millions of dollars but stopped after the Delaware Department of Justice began an investigation, according to Ferguson’s office. Jordan then turned to trying to collect money through private arbitration.
Ferguson also announced Thursday that he had won $500,000 for people who had paid for unproven stem cell treatments from Seattle-based US Stemology. The company ran the Seattle Stem Cell Center in the city’s Queen Anne neighborhood, and is no longer allowed to advertise, market or receive payment for such treatments.
Washington state AG sues ‘deceptive’ tech sales training company by GeekWire on Scribd
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