Exam prep company pays in Texas

Keith Loria Oct. 5, 2010, 3:18pm


DALLAS (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he has resolved an enforcement action against a couple who allegedly misrepresented that their college entrance exam preparatory materials were requested by some students.

John and Frances Stuart, operators of the Coppell-based SAT and ACT Prep Center, Inc., and Student Resource Center, allegedly deceived parents of college-bound students by sending marketing materials to them, claiming that their children had requested them.

Telemarketers for the companies also allegedly falsely described themselves as "certified" teachers or counselors when offering Scholastic Aptitude Test and the American College Testing exam preparation materials.

The State alleged that these telemarketers would routinely contact parents and pretended to be familiar with the parents' sons or daughters. The telemarketers claimed that the students expressed an interest in the study materials, Abbott says.

During the calls, a $120 CD-ROM with study materials for both tests was marketed to parents, Abbott says.

Many parents say that their children had never actually expressed an interest in receiving the study materials and the CD they received matched an outdated 2006 version that was offered by a nationally recognized standardized test preparatory company and was available online for approximately $10.

Although parents complained and tried to get refunds, they were told that refunds weren't available due to the CD packaging being opened, Abbott says. Others never even received the products they purchased and were never provided a refund, Abbott says.

Under terms of the judgment, the defendants will pay to establish a $10,000 restitution fund for parents who purchased the defendants' materials. They will also pay $5,000 to cover legal costs associated with the case and must halt misrepresenting their sales personnel as counselors or teachers unless they have actually obtained those positions.

They are also required to refrain from falsely representing that they are associated with developing their testing materials and must satisfy any promises made to customers in their marketing, which includes refunds.

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