Washington’s Attorney General’s office files a lawsuit concerning allegedly predatory training program.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit accusing a South Carolina-based Prehired LLC of offering a “predatory training program to scam Washington citizens into paying as much as $30,000 for online video courses.” Ferguson specifically took issue with the company’s statement, “We guarantee you land a $60k+ job offer (from a tech company YOU choose).” The lawsuit has been filed in King County Superior Court and claims Prehired has engaged in deceptive marketing practices.
Thus far, the AG’s office says, the court allegedly has evidence that at least 39 Washington residents entering into a formal agreement with Prehired, in which they currently owe the company about $1 million. Prehired’s site displays a Better Business Bureau (BBB) emblem and boasts, “After 12 weeks, Prehired members average $69,000 in their first year with 6-figure potential after that. Start with zero upfront cost and a job guarantee.” The company has been in business, operating online, since 2017.
Ferguson contends, “Washingtonians forked over tens of thousands of dollars in hard-earned money based on [Prehired CEO] Joshua Jordan’s lies. 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.”
He says Jordan’s online course consists of videos of Jordan, roughly totally 15 hours, instructing paid customers how to “begin a six-figure career.” While Jordan indicates his company has been able to help people achieve at least $69,000, this figure is merely an industry standard with or without his advice. Nevertheless, the company continues to lure students into paying between $5,000 and $15,000 for training and a membership upfront or agreeing to an “Income Sharing Agreement” to pay up to $30,000 each year for eight years should they secure employment.
“The starting salary is reflective of industry standards for software sales but not of Prehired’s ability to get a larger salary for anyone,” Ferguson said. The AG also took issue with the fact that Prehired claims 90% of its students will be hired by tech companies while failing to mention that they have to apply to at least twenty or more positions or the “job guarantee” can be voided.
Ferguson explained, “If students did not adhere to a ‘Code of Conduct,’ including not disparaging the company and returning communications from the company within two business days, they could be removed from Prehired’s program and still be charged full price.” Moreover, should the student not be able to meet the fine print guidelines, they could face aggressive collection tactics, including lawsuits. In fact, the company’s owner has pursued almost 300 students to date.
The AG’s office previously sent a cease-and-desist letter to Prehired to stop collecting debt. However, Ferguson said it has not sufficiently responded, so he is taking further action. The Consumer Protection Act allows the AG to request up to $7,500 for every violation as well as restitution, costs, fees and civil penalties.
A spokesperson for Prehired responded, “Prehired and Mr. Jordan are shocked and surprised by the filing of the complaint by the Washington Attorney General’s Office, and the allegations contained therein. We categorically deny the allegations in the complaint and look forward to defending these allegations in court.”