Varsity College - Another Greedy Corporate Monster
by, 29-Aug-11 at 07:41 AM (106752 Views)
In South Africa, and perhaps the world, there exists a culture where large corporate beasts take complete advantage of those who feed them - their customers. These monsters lure their prey in with pseudo-promises and fancy marketing speak. Once they have devoured every last cent from him, the naive consumer is caged and sentenced to below-par service and no recourse for the length of the contract that he was silly enough to be bullied into.
One such corporate monster is "education provider", Varsity College. Varsity College is a pedigree monster, concerned only with its profits and not at all with the education and interests of its students. I, being the aforementioned naive consumer, would like to share my experience with said monster.
I am currently in my third year of study at Varsity College. This means I have already shovelled out in excess of R120 000 into the bottomless pits that are Varsity College's pockets. "Wowzer! That's a lot of money!" you say? Well yes, yes it is. Let's just say that without a bursary to contribute around half of my fees each year, I probably wouldn't be studying there in the first place. Nevertheless, I (naive consumer) chose Varsity College over my other options for a few reasons, despite the ridiculous fees. I would get fantastic service delivery to justify the fees, right?
From the minute my signature went down on that piece of paper, which was immediately whisked away and buried deep within the monster's lair, Varsity College has made it an absolute nightmare trying to get fair, ethical service delivery from them. This has all culminated in a second incident this year.
Each year I register for the entire year up front and pay in full in order to take advantage of the "early bird discount" and ease the effect that the greedy monster has on my dwindling bank account. The problem with this, however, is that you register for the year not knowing what to expect regarding lectures and, in my case, lecturers. In this instance, for the second time this year, I ended up with a lecturer that was really sub-par for a particular subject. I, along with others, had previously expressed our dissatisfaction with the lecturer , with nothing being done about it by Varsity College.
Ultimately this forced me to reconsider attending lectures for that particular subject. I figured I could achieve more and waste less time working at home on my own (being a UNISA degree, this is an option) than attending lectures and wasting 3 hours a week being set up to fail. I submitted a de-registration form to Varsity College on the first day of the semester, as soon as I found out who the lecturer for the subject was, citing the lecturer as the reason for my de-registration.
To my complete astonishment Varsity College, being the greedy corporate beast that it is, reflected on my next monthly statement that I would only receive 50% of the registration fee back! That's half of my money taken for something that I have not used, or intended to use, a single minute of! On querying this amount, I was told that I was charged a cancellation fee because my reason for de-registration was a "non-academic" reason. If a horrible lecturer and my success in a particular subject is not an academic reason, then God alone knows what is!
That's not all, folks. There's more! This ravenous monster has blatantly refused to refund the credit balance on my account. I (as well as fellow students who also deregistered for the same reason) was told that the amount will sit as a credit on my account permanently, even if I don't return to Varsity College in the next year. If this is not daylight robbery, then I'm not sure what is! It would seem that this monster needs to spend some time in its own financial management lectures, because it does not seem to realise that money is worth considerably more now than it would be next year when Varsity College decides to increase its fees to new astronomical proportions.
In a nutshell, then, Varsity College is charging a ridiculous amount for something that is not being delivered to me, the consumer, and they are withholding funds that are not rightfully theirs. Nor do they pay interest on credit balances. Does that seem fair?
What gets my goat is that if I had known who the lecturer would be before I registered, I wouldn't have registered for that subject (in this case, two subjects in the current year) in the first place! Varsity College is taking complete advantage of the fact that they now have their customers' money and are manipulating that situation in a manner that I believe is completely unethical and, quite frankly, pathetic.
I have finally reached the end of my tether and, simply because I don't have a legal arsenal at my disposal, have to resort to writing scathing articles about this greedy corporate beast. Perhaps I am throwing pebbles at a goliath. Then again, perhaps I am informing many other prospective victims (Varsity College calls them "students") of the woes they will undoubtedly experience should they be considering enrolling at Varsity College. If it turns out to be the latter option, I will consider my part (in the struggle against greedy corporate monsters) played.
In the end, it's not even the money that I'm concerned with - it's the principal behind it all. Numerous students at my campus alone (surely many more countrywide) are being cheated out of money that is rightfully theirs. Will Varsity College ever own up to this and move towards corrective action? Probably not.
This is a plea to other disgruntled consumers. Do not bow down and submit to the unethical, greedy corporate monsters in our country. You have a voice, please use it. Reward those who take care of the heart of their businesses - their customers. Expose those who take advantage of long contracts and the corporate facade to cheat the individual consumer.
If you are a prospective student or the parent of a prospective student and you value your money, I strongly suggest you look seriously into a state university, where education (as opposed to profit) is the focus.
If you, however, have money to waste, aren't perturbed by sub-par service delivery and can't identify when somebody is taking advantage of you - well, you could always befriend a monster.
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