|Hi, my name is Ben E. Brady and I thought it was important enough to set up
this web site to alert you of, what I think are, misleading and unscrupulous
business practices carried out by Video Professor, Inc. and John W. Scherer.
(not to be confused with the other
John Scherer, a motivational coach
actor John Scherer, both of whom
also have web presences.)
You have seen the advertisements on television, all hours of the day or night. John W. Scherer, CEO and Founder of Video Professor smooth-talks his way into your living rooms and coaxes computer neophytes to call the toll-free number and order a free computer tutorial lesson on CD-ROM purporting to teach you the ins and outs of many popular computer applications or even Microsoft Windows itself. All you have to pay, according to the commercials is $6.95 for shipping and handling, a seemingly reasonable request.
The problem with their 'FREE' lesson offer is that it isn't as free as they make you believe.
In all of their advertising on television and on the web, the word "FREE" is emphasized.
On the face it sounds like a great deal. And Mr. Scherer promises you will be so satisfied with your free lesson that you will want to buy more lessons for other applications from his company.
But wait... like anything else that is too good to be true, you have to be aware of the 'fine print'. Unfortunately, you don't get to see the fine print until you have already provided a credit card number to the company.
Like many people, I was intrigued by Mr. Scherer's offer. As a computer professional for more than 30 years (who could probably teach Mr. Scherer a thing or two about computers) I was interested in one of the free lessons. Yes, I have been around computers most of my life, since I was 14 years old, (I'm 47 now) but I am not so arrogant as to think that I know it all about computers, and particularly some of the new software that has come down the pike lately.
Since I wanted to learn about Photoshop to support my quest in a degree in Journalism at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, I decided to pony up the $6.95 for the free lesson. It arrived in the mail a few days after I placed my order via their web site at www.videoprofessor.com.
I opened the package, which came only protected by a clear plastic bag with an address card on the inside to display my delivery address, (so much for the expense of providing protective packaging for their product) and started reading the additional instructions (along with the additional advertising copy included) and found the package contained 3 CD-ROM disks which claimed to be my FREE Photoshop lesson. But wait...
|As you can see
from the scan of the Photoshop lesson packaging above, the FREE lesson in
Photoshop that I ordered is actually comprised of three (3) CD-ROMS, and each of
the CD-ROMs is treated as one (1) lesson.
Reading further (image above) you find, that you have 10 days to try out the lessons however, you must call them to return the third CD-ROM "on or before the 'trial period' ends and you won't be charged." Charged for what? The only authorization I gave for any charges to my credit card was for $6.95 for shipping.
Not quite the same as the television and web advertising would lead one to believe. (see the image at right)
Clearly, each lesson is represented as being 3 CD-ROMs rather than being 3 individual lessons. The verbiage on the web site "lesson set", at least in my understanding, was that my free lesson would be comprised of 3 1-hour CD-ROMs.
The television advertising is even less descriptive.
|Video Professor Website
representation of a lesson
from the Video Professor
|So, what did I do?
Well, I called the number and asked them "How much is the third CD-ROM?" The answer I got from the very courteous representative was $69.95. Hardly a free Photoshop lesson at that price, isn't it?
At this point I told the woman on the telephone that I thought the whole thing was a scam and that I didn't appreciate the underhanded business tactics Video Professor uses to lure unsuspecting consumers into shelling out $70 bucks for a supposedly free lesson.
Personally, I was expecting 1 CD-ROM with a reasonable Photoshop computer based tutorial for the $6.95.
Nowhere in the television advertising does it say that you will actually receive 3 lessons and that you have to pay $69.95 for the third lesson. Perhaps Mr. Scherer forgot to mention that fact to their advertising producers... (but I don't think I would be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, after all it's MY money.)
Video Professor Shopping Cart snapshot
|I went back to the Video Professor web site and entered their shopping cart
system and went through the steps any normal customer would go through to submit
an order. I found only one small reference in their shopping cart, and it
was not likely to provoke any action by a potential customer while submitting
their order. I know when I submitted my order via the web site, I didn't
even notice it the first time. As I said, I had to go back looking for it.
The natural inclination of the offer, (i.e., the offering of a FREE lesson) is to check the checkbox and then submit your credit card information to complete the order.
Unless one specifically clicks on the "HOW IT WORKS" link (yes this is a link but the colors just don't seem to make it obvious to the customer) they have no advance warning about the details of obtaining the free lesson.
The telephone representative even chuckled when I told her that I was going to purchase the www.videoprofessorscam.com domain name to post a warning on the Internet about these 'bait and switch' tactics. Obviously, she was simply and order taker and not someone who was actually employed by the company.
The representative gave me a return authorization number and instructed me to package the merchandise in a bubble-pack mailer and send it back to the address listed in the packaging, at my additional expense, of course.
So, my message to anyone who might happen to be reading this page is be forewarned, if you choose to do business with Video Professor and John Scherer.
It is my personal opinion that if Mr. Scherer was so confident in his product, he would not have to resort to such tactics in selling additional lessons to customers. I have re-invested the $6.95 to purchase this domain to try to keep as many people as possible from falling victim to this scam.
NOTE: I did NOT install the lessons on my computer. As such, I cannot
comment on the quality of the lessons that one receives from Video Professor.
|I am apparently not the only one
who thinks this way.
Here are some additional links for you to visit to see what others have to say about the Video Professor offer.
|Video Professor contact
information: (you will not find this on their web site.)
If you feel you have been a victim of this company, please contact the consumer protection office for your state's Attorney General.
|If privacy and security on your computer are important to you, please check out our main site at http://www.firewallreporting.com|
|4yeostamp font courtesy of www.4yeo.com|
|If you are looking for computer based tutorials at a reasonable price, you might want to check out the following companies who offer similar products: http://www.599cd.com or http://www.quickclicktraining.com|