Dear Joyce: I was conned by a local job-search marketing firm, which has offices in one other city. With so many people out of work today it seems doubly unjust for the unemployed to be the target of a swindling job-search marketing firm.
I was laid off from my job as an engineer in January. After a month of playing the job field and finding that pickings were slim, I came across an ad for a job-search marketing firm we'll call Brand X. In a meeting with my wife and me, the firm's representative told us the Brand X method of job-finding would provide me with information and insight that would give me an edge. But most important, by using the Brand X "networking" approach, the rep said I would have access to inside contacts in companies -- contacts in departments other than human resources.
I signed a contract and paid $3,000. I filled out a personal profile form.A month later my consultant my marketing strategy:
1. He advised me to continue my search for employment in the communications field. (My last job was in this field.)
2. He gave me 50 pages of public information on job searching, a list of headhunters in four cities I selected and a list of about 150 technical company names in these cities. This information is found in any library for free, or bookstore for about $30.
I voiced my disappointment. They had done nothing I was not already doing and they helped me in no real way. Their chief contribution was to suggest the addition of a sentence about the target company in my cover letter.
I had been told any refunds based on dissatisfaction would be handled on a prorated basis, depending on the work already done. After asking for my money back, I was told that Brand X has completed its part of the agreement and does not owe me any money.
I say 95 percent of the information given to me was done by a
computer that filled in the blanks and the list of companies was not personalized but printed straight from a database. It would be generous to say I received about six hours of consultation, as well as a little computer work for my $3,000.
I was conned with verbal promises of insider networking contacts in companies, which I never received.-- C.A.L.
I've already contacted the counseling firm on your behalf but if my reasoning dosen't prevail, contact the state attorney general's office and a local newspaper or TV action line. I've parinted virtually your entire lettaer to show how people can get tricked into disappointing job-search marketing deals.