Now that school is back in session, many consumer advocacy groups have been warning students and parents to avoid falling for scams or signing up for deals that sound too good to be true. The Better Business Bureau's latest alert is about the company Edifi, which hosts free seminars to market services aimed at helping families prepare for college.
According to its web site, Edifi has been in business more than 20 years. But the BBB reports that the company has a history of complaints from consumers over misleading sales practices and dissatisfaction with its services. During its seminars, the company informs potential college students about financial aid options such as grants, scholarships and other types of assistance. Those who sign up and pay for its services can get help with preparing for the SAT, filling out financial aid forms or appealing the amount of financial aid assistance that's been offered.
The BBB has given Edifi an F rating. During the past 36 months, it has processed a total of 178 complaints against the company. Of those, 125 were resolved and 52 remain unresolved. One complaint has not had a response, according to the BBB.
John Braat, the company's COO, told Consumer Ally the BBB's assessment is wrong. He said the agency's rating has more to do with the seminars the company hosts than with the actual services it provides. He said 10 years ago, the company began marketing its services in a seminar format and that prior to that, it had a good rating with the BBB.
"The fact of the matter is that the BBB does little more than spread rumor and innuendo," Braat said.
College prep company Edifi gets poor grades from BBB