A Texas-based college admission company has been ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 and refund over $2,000 to an Iowa family who they misled into a forced contract for college-preparation services, according to the Iowa Attorney General.
College Admission Assistance LLC, a Delaware company headquartered in Arlington, Texas, has agreed to change how it markets its services to Iowa households with college-bound students following a complaint that the company misled and took advantage of a Haitian-born Iowa couple, pressuring them into a contract requiring payment of nearly $2,000 for private counseling and other services intended to prepare their teenage son for college, help select a school, and arrange financial aid.
According to the complaint, the couple had received an official-looking letter from the “Director of Student Services” at College Admission Assistance directing them to attend an upcoming meeting about their son’s college prospects at a local venue. The mother attended with the student, and once there a company representative allegedly pressured her to sign a contract for college-admission-related services that the couple later determined they did not need and could not afford.
The Attorney General’s said that the quality of the counseling and other services the company provides its customers was not the issue, and that consumer complaints filed with other state attorney general offices and the Better Business Bureau typically focus on the aggressive approach to marketing, not the underlying services themselves.
The agreement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, provides that any Iowans who signed up for CAA’s services can obtain a refund for any unused portion of the contract term. The Attorney General’s office urged any Iowans currently paying on such a contract to contact the office.
Further details on the case can be found here.