Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting job seekers to Government Careers, Inc.(GCI), a Tucson-based company that helps “government job seekers assert themselves into the government workforce,” according to its Website, www.governmentcareersinc.com.
Since June 2, BBB has received 32 complaints against GCI. Complaints have come from 18 states, including Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Alaska, New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland, Connecticut, Washington, Florida, New York, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, and California.
Complainants tell BBB they were unaware they were signing up for GCI’s services when they responded to what they thought were job postings for government positions with the U.S. Postal Service, Border Patrol, and National Park Service at CareerBuilder.com and other job listing sites.
Employment advertisements posted online indicate several government positions are available across the country, but complainants say that once they’ve signed up for GCI services – which costs between $114 and $965 – they learned there were no such government positions available in their area.
According to a consumer from Florida, he was told by a telephone representative with GCI that there were plenty of postal jobs in his area and the study materials provided by the company would help him pass the postal exam. In his complaint filed with BBB he writes, “After giving her my [credit card] number and hanging up I had a bad feeling and started to look around for the postal jobs on the USPS web page. The only job that came up in the state of Florida was 350 miles away from my house.”
Some consumers report they received an invoice for $965 from a third party financial institution, despite being told they wouldn’t be billed until they were hired for a government position. Others report that upon signing up for services, they never received an initial email or had any contact with GCI as promised, until they received an invoice requesting payment for services. Other complainants indicated that the company is either unresponsive or very slow to respond to cancellation requests.
BBB representatives met with company management in August to discuss the sudden increase in complaints. Management indicated that the reason consumers started filing complaints was because they received their bill for services. The company has been responding to BBB complaints on file by issuing refunds.
GCI, located at 4625 E. Broadway Blvd. in Tucson, is owned by Jon R. Coover and has been incorporated in Delaware since March 2009. Company Vice-President Richard Friedberg formerly owned Philadelphia-based Government Careers for America, which the Pennsylvania Attorney General sued in 2001 for allegedly defrauding dozens of job-seekers by claiming that for a fee, they were guaranteed to find employment with the government.
BBB Tips for job seekers:
• Be wary of any company that claims they can guarantee employment with a government agency or guarantee success on government tests for employment. If you have any questions about the government hiring process, directly contact the agency you are interested in applying.
• Study materials for various government jobs are available for free directly through the government agency you’re applying with or at your local library.
• If you are interested in employment with the USPS, Border Patrol, or NPS, all employment opportunities are posted on each respective agency’s website. Government agencies typically will not advertise employment opportunities on Web sites such as Careerbuilder.com.
• Never enter into a contract with a company without reading the contract first; don’t provide payment information until you have a physical copy of the contract in your possession.
• Always request that the business clearly explain or direct you to the refund/cancellation policy prior to signing a contract.
• If something in the contract doesn’t make sense, ask someone you trust to review it before signing anything.