How Not to Master Social Media!

by mediocremum on 21/03/2011

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As many of you know I went to a Mastering Social Media Course a few weeks ago run by @thomaspower of Ecademy.  Some of you found that very laughable, but I genuinely wanted to learn.  I hummed and hawed about attending the session, mainly due to the cost as it was £420 inclusive of vat.  However, I was assured by a colleague of his that it would be well worth the money and I hold her in high-esteem.  I received the course outline prior to the course, there were one or two things I was happy with but I was very keen to learn the rest.

Hubby and I sat down and talked about it, as I would like to go in the direction of Social Media Training, we decided that it would be a good investment.  In the end, the whole day cost me in excess of £500, which we can’t really afford, once you factored in train fare, parking, and child care and I do appreciate the latter is not their issue.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that they covered what was advertised, which contravenes the Trading Standards Act.  Below is the course outline as advertised.  I have highlighted in red what I ‘feel’ they did not cover satisfactorily.

  • How to grow your Twitter followers we only sent one tweet and were not shown how to use the search facility to find people.
  • How to blog and grow your blog followers I was surprised that you opted to use your own subscription blogging platform and not one of the more widely used ones (wordpress, blogger or typepad)
  • How to record and upload Youtube video and grow your video followersPenny did demonstrate how to take a video using a flipcam, however most of attendees had iphones and we were not shown how to upload them to youtube.
  • How to feed Twitter and all your social networks into Friendfeed so you can watch your own news channel and filter faster – you did cover this, but found it interesting that friendfeed is no longer popular.  In fact, I embarrassed myself mentioning it on Twitter.
  • How to distribute all your content across the web using managed feeds we did sign up to Google Profiles but it really wasn’t clear how to actually use it.  I was also surprised that 3rd party clients such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck weren’t mentioned.
  • How to set up My6Sense on your iPhone or Android to notice and share the right information to attract and grow your followers – have it on my phone now but haven’t used it since.
  • How to use location services FourSquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places to grow your brand prior to the course we were asked to register with these but we did not touch any of them.
  • How to build Facebook pages to grow your brand worldwide We didn’t even look at a Facebook Fan Page.
  • How to build your Linkedin network to find more clients faster prior to the course we were asked to register with LinkIn but we didn’t touch on it on the course.
  • How to use Quora and realize why Q&A is the hit of 2011I now have the app on my phone but clueless on what to do with it.
  • How to use Gmail to radically reduce your email time – yes, this was covered but it took about 30 seconds to show us how to use the priority inbox.
  • How to identify and raise your Klout and PeerIndex online influence score – yes, I have a good klout score but what do I do with it?

I was very reluctant to complain as they were a very nice couple, good presenters, welcoming and very successful as a brand.  Nonetheless, I’ve asked for a full refund unfortunately, they have point blank refused stating that they had overwhelming positive feedback (95%) from the course.

However, I’m having troubles believing this as two people spoke to me directly after the course saying that they were unhappy and I have had four others contact me privately via Twitter saying they too didn’t feel the course met their objectives either.  Is it 95% of the 14 attendees or 95% of evaluations received as I know I didn’t fill one out as I didn’t have anything positive to say?  My maths isn’t too bad but 6 out of 14 is a lot less than 95%.  I have now also learned that one other person has also asked for their money back.

However, he did offer to give me some feedback?????  The bottom line is they didn’t cover what was advertised, as you can see above and I would like my money back.

I would appreciate any advice on how I can take this further?  I will be popping into the citizen’s advice bureau tomorrow.  I did try to deal with this quietly and with dignity but they don’t seem to be listening.  I can’t help thinking if they had any business sense they should have given me back my money and I would have gone away quietly.

In addition, if you attended the course I would appreciate your feedback whether it is positive or negative.  If you feel the course was worthwhile, then please say so and I will drop my case.

Thank you in advance,

Chrissie

Please note: That the views in this post are my own, but the views in the comments section are those of the individual author and whilst I believe in free speech, I take no responsibility for their opinion. I will endeavour to remove any comments which could be deemed as libellous/racist/etc.

If you see any comments that you feel are inappropriate, I would appreciate it if you flagged them by hovering on the comment and clicking on the flag button.

 

 

 

 

 

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{ 148 comments… read them below or add one }

1 maggy, red ted art March 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Oh dear. I would change your twitter avatar to that of a “Mug”. What cheeky devils they are…. really DO hope you get your money back – certainly at THAT PRICE (OH MY WORD, you paid HOW MUCH!?!?). The course described could be run by any of us bloggy mummys on twitter, blindfolded and with babes in arms.

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2 socialworkuk March 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm

What about a thread on mumsnet.. :) Seriously though, good luck with your cause and campaign.

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3 Karen Hanna Kruzycka March 22, 2011 at 12:52 am

I agree about the price. It’s roughly the daily rate that I pay for technical training from an industry leader which contributes to valuable professional certifications. It sounds like Ecademy were overcharging you.

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4 Karen Hanna Kruzycka March 22, 2011 at 12:52 am

I agree about the price. It’s roughly the daily rate that I pay for technical training from an industry leader which contributes to valuable professional certifications. It sounds like Ecademy were overcharging you.

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5 Claire March 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Want to run a social media course with me? We can charge 498 quid and pop to M & S for sandwiches. If 95% of people are happy with that its not a hard act to follow!
I cant believe this firm are refusing to give you your money back, thats appallingly bad. Do they know nothing about Social Media and PR?? Surely it would be in their interests to keep this and you very low key…

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6 Bekidavies March 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Keep pursuing this. What we are good at in this country is moaning and being apathetic. You are being constructive, clear and make really relevant points. I wasnt there, but your complaint makes sense to me. Dont lose momentum on it though. Trading standards springs to mind, by I reckon CA will be more helpful than me on the how to. Please keep us updated though! Good for you!

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7 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I will do thank you!

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8 Cass@TheDiaryofaFrugalFamily March 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Good luck – I would’ve thought it would have been much better for them repuationally do just give you the refund.

I think it’s good that you’ve named them though it will help other people in future to decide if they want to take the course. I just Googled ‘Mastering Social Media Course Ecademy’ and your post is the third result down so people who do the same before booking the course will see your post.

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9 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Brilliant! Was wondering if it would show in google.

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10 Laurafinch84 March 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

You mentioned trading standards, have you contacted them? As far as I’m aware they come down pretty hard on things like that.
Other than that I would say to generate a lot of negative fuss. maybe contact local press “mum blogger conned” etc
Call them out by name on Twitter.
Threaten small claims court.
Whatever you do though don’t give up, sounds like the ripped you off.
Good luck

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11 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Tempted to go down the route of local media. But too be honest, I would have just liked to have dealt with this quietly.

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12 Annieqpr March 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I am getting so angry on your behalf Chrissie, I am aware of your knowledge already and know you would have considered carefully what you could get out of this course. To pay that much money and for them not to cover what they promised is an absolute disgrace! Thanks to YOU I now know how to tweet, facebook and blog effectively and my Klout score has gone through the roof! I’m so sorry I’m not able to offer any real sound advice, except maybe to issue a complaint through the source you paid for it, but behind you 100%.

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13 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

But I do need to point out that it wasn’t a mismatch of ability….there were two things on the course outline I was happy with…twitter and facebook but the rest was unchartered territory…

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14 Steven Healey March 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I empathise and wish you a speedy resolution to the matter .

We can see what the course did not cover , which topics were covered ?

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15 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Not a lot honestly. It was a full day course and I didn’t learn anything until 3.50pm. Really didn’t want to make a fuss but they won’t listen.

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16 Morag March 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have to say, I have been asking Steven’s question myself: what DID they teach you?!

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17 Binnsy29 March 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

It really does sound as though you are justified in asking for a refund. I hope the company see sense and offer you a full refund as soon as possible. By the sounds of things, I’m sure Trading Standards would love to hear from you.

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18 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I tried to be as diplomatic as possible, not my strong point, but bottom line is they didn’t deliver what was advertised. It’s not personal, I just want my money back.

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19 Kim Layzell March 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Can’t believe that it cost over £400…I done a day last week for £99 with sarsaparillo marketing on social media. Sorry, know that’s not what you want to hear, but does seem like daylight robbery! I’ve started following you on twitter and retweeted your tweet. Good luck x

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20 Faysky March 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm

After reading through this blog and all the replies, your comment above confirms my thoughts that you invested in this session in order to phish for material to use on your own social media training. I would imagine that there will be some who react to you in the same manner?
It’s all very well trying to teach newbies who are obviously very naive but when you have a groups of very differently skilled people keeping it all together so all get something out of it is quite an art.
Most people go to these things with such a load of baggage of what they think they know they really should have a pre-session to offload it so that all can start on an equal footing. Some of your arguments..especially re use of credit card in order to get a free session on Ecademy seem rather futile since you would probably have had to do that with other sites that could get instant feedback.
I watched with interest the day when many were blogging on Ecademy from a session like this. I thought they were grasping the whole thing rather well and indeed one guy got his first Ecademy blog onto number one in Google within a few hours…a very valuable lesson. Ecademy is a very valuable tool for internet marketing. I have learned a great deal from being a member there for 8 or so years. Mainly from help from other members as well as listening and reading from many experts. Also learning how not to behave from many fools!
I think I was one of the earliest to use the Google factor regularly for marketing in very subtle ways most of the time and blatantly obvious ways when I could get away with it.
Surely if you feel you are in a position to invest such a sum to enhance your own business, which is what seems to have been your goal. I would have thought you would have researched a little more before embarking on something you clearly could not afford and were not fully prepared to enjoy?
I have taken many course etc. on-line and off. One particular language course costs a little more than what you paid and for a year I thought I was being ripped off. I persevered and began to enjoy it…so much so I paid for the second level in advance and am now really learning and enjoying. I realised that worrying about being ripped off in the beginning actually spoiled my experience and caused most of my problems with it anyway. Only when I did my research and homework thoroughly did I get what it was all about.

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21 Rachie March 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Ahh so Thomas has done his usual and asked the Blackstars to pile in has he Fay?

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22 Adam Arnold March 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm

This sounds like a paid reply.

Unfortunately my full response keeps failing – perhaps because I am including links. However in essence my point is that you don’t need to use an Ecademy blog to do well in Google SERPs. If Ecademy courses are suggesting this then they are pumping out utter garbage.

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23 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Sorry Adam, if there are links I have to approve them. I have done it now. Thank you.

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24 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Hi Fay, Thank you for taking the time to comment and you’re right I did go to the course to further my own professional development, I was very transparent about this in the post as well. However, I did not go with the intention of undermining the course. In fact, I was very excited about it.

But the bottom line is they did not deliver what they promised, it’s as simple as that. It’s no different than if I bought a £2 BLT sandwich and had no bacon on it. I would take it back and ask for a refund or be given another one. I have had no such offers.

Thanks again and all the best.

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25 Lorraine Williams March 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

you deserve a medal for your restraint in responding to Faysky there Chrissie!

I hope you get your money back and if not you have done well to raise awareness of the shortfalls of this course.

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26 Marie March 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

You seem to have overlooked the point. There was an agenda and the agenda was not adhered to. For that sum of money, I would have at least expected all items to have been covered to some degree. They were not!

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27 Guest March 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

what complete tosh…

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28 P_hickey March 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

As an attendee of the course, I did fill out an evaluation form so I am part of the 5% who was not satisfied. It did not meet my learning objectives either. I have not asked for my money back because I did get something out of it. Having said that, I agree that it did not fully deliver the course objectives. But I would have thought any reputable company would agree to refund the money (or at least part of it) to someone who was deeply unsatisfied with their course? Or offer you an additional session free of charge….

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29 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

To be fair he did offer to give me some feedback but he has never spoken to me personally and has never offered to cover the missed content.

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30 ivet nikolov March 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Don’t let this one go Chrissie, from what you’re saying you’ve got the right of a full refund. Am amazed that people are so unaware of the power of social media especially when they are teaching a course on it! If I can be of any help let me know.

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31 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

What I can’t work out is he knows damn well I was going to make a lot of noise…I wonder what he has in store…I’m thinking solicitors will be on the doorstep soon. However, I’ve been very careful…no slander or libel.

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32 GothicBlue March 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

I’m pretty sure a solicitor would advise giving you your money back!

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33 Caroline Bolam March 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm

If they have any social media profile or savvy, they will realise that saying no to you is not good for them. In fact i am amazed that if they are so keen to keep your money they have not realised that you are writing about them and replied in their defence! i think this says alot about their ability to use social media! Have you pointed them in the direction of your blog and the responses you are getting?

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34 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I did hang back for a couple of weeks and did handle it with dignity. I really didn’t want to name and shame but I’ve come up against a brick wall and really felt I had no other choice.

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35 Morag March 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Well I hope you have given them the link to here, so they can read for themselves how amateur and unprofessional they are coming over as. In my own business (nothing to do with IT, but driven online), if a customer was unhappy, we would go out of our way to sort out their problem and make them happy again. It’s called good PR.

Seems your course instructors haven’t heard of that.

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36 Claire Boyles March 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

sorry to hear that you’ve had such an experience Chrissie :(

It’s unfortunate that their marketing doesn’t match what was delivered, if they hadn’t included so many things on the marketing, my guess is that you’d have left feeling satisfied.

I’ve delivered many “Tweeting for Business Success” seminars over the last few years, and can understand it from their point of view too. However, to say that refunding your money back wasn’t possible because other people were satisfied is false logic.

I probably wouldn’t have offered a complete refund, given the information you’ve provided, but I would have offered a partial refund, or a free place on another course which covered the missing parts. Or as a 3rd option, I’d have offered 1-2-1 coaching on the areas you felt weren’t covered adequately.

I hope you get a result that you are satisfied with at the end of this.

Good Luck!

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37 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I do IT training for a living. I once, in the last 12 years had a bad experience, but we sorted it. Another trainer went in and corrected it. If not we would have given a full refund.

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38 Lynne M-F March 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

To answer your question ….. yes, it is! I used to think (when ‘first’ visiting the US) that Americans complained a lot. They don’t – they make a point – and expect something to be done about it! It ‘is’ so British to complain and do nothing – because it ‘is’ so British to offer naff service and ignore someone who complains. Don’t let it go Chrissie. You have every right to complain and they have an obligation to put it right.

P.S. I make a point of praising to the hight heaven businesses that DO offer good service and there are many here in old Blighty that do!!!!

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39 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Obvioiusly, I’m not British, Canadian actually, but I only complain if I have just cause.

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40 Lynne M-F March 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

PMSL I remember the first time I saw a Canadian woman dressing someone down in a restaurant for bad service. I thought ‘my complaining’ was comparative to a wet lettuce after this – I DO see the point though! We British have a lot to learn about the art of complaining ‘and’ getting something done about it – otherwise, how will we receive good service and how will it be put right (if we don’t).

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41 Steph March 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

interesting. would you like me to retweet this for you?! Twitter power I say!!

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42 LT member March 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

If they dont get a refund sorted out, maybe look at money claim online, – government site but may not be suitable as it is really to claim money for bad debt.

Trouble is the people that run ecademy do not like it when someone dares to disagree or challenge them – Even when they lie about the membership numbers. TP will simply call you a digital muppet and not answer the questions or points you raise.

Good luck, and may this serve as a warning to anyone thinking of chucking away £500 on this. I pity the fools who are forking out to be a Digital expert!

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43 Rgw2005 March 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

In my opinion, you and the other dissatisfied attendee should make an approach to attend further (free) training until you learn what you were supposed to learn. Ask to sit in on one of their scheduled courses – which of course they will decline – but expect them to offer you a private catch-up class. At the end of the day, you want the skill/knowledge. Cheers, R

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44 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

He did offer to give me personal feedback but hasn’t offered to fill in the gaps.

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45 Adam Sargant March 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

That would pre-suppose that the customer is left with any confidence that the trainers involved are actually capable of delivering what is promised

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46 Documentally March 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Stick to your guns and demand a refund. What on earth does Thomas mean when he tweets “@mediocre_mum you are the perfect case study”?

He’s not doing himself any favours. He should at least do you one before this really backfires.

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47 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Really not sure what he’s up to but I have worked out he isn’t listening.

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48 mediocremum March 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Really not sure what he’s up to but I have worked out he isn’t listening.

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49 Lottie Lockwood March 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

They must be wishing they gave you that refund! Good that you spoke up and hopefully others won’t sign up to something that’s not quite what is promised…

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50 Pauline Randall March 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I think it it’s safe to say that they don’t really understand social media otherwise they would have seen this coming. I teach social media, looking though the course programme I suspect that they had been a bit optimistic (aka making it up as they go along) to expect to cover that much ground properly.

Stick to your guns, you paid a lot of money and you haven’t received what you expected. It would have been cheaper for them to have refunded you straight away rather than generating this level of bad publicity!

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51 N N Riaz March 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I have recommended you get in touch with BBC Watchdog. If they have nothing to hide, they will not mind the free publicity and to see social media from the viewpoint of the iconic BBC and plug their digital business britain manifesto from there, so you will indirectly be doing them a favour! :o)

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52 Roberta Ward March 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Hi
Not sure if you mentioned it in the piece but was a money back guarantee offered with the course or not? You might have a job proving it for trading standards otherwise. Ive tried chasing stuff via trading standards before and they were useless to be honest. Best route would be small claims- as they have to respond to that within 14 days either way or it goes automatically to court case with a potential CCJ against them if they dont pay up.

Admire you for standing up, there are so many social media gurus out there now who know bog all about the subject they teach. Vast majority are charlatans. Social Media is the ‘new black’ and every man and his dog is jumping on the band waggon to make money. Sorry you got caught by these guys. There are plenty of folks on twitter who will gladly help you with tech stuff without expecting a big fat payout. good luck with your quest to get your cash back.

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53 Fran March 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I think you’re perfectly right to bring this to peoples attention. It’s a well written criticism of something that you paid a considerable sum for and didn’t receive what was advertised.
The fact that Mr Power seems to be tweeting personal remarks gives you an idea of the sort of person you are having to contend with frankly, I think thats below the belt!

I am a free Ecademy member and after this will never upgrade. It always looks like an ‘all singing & dancing’ network that promises great things too.
I really hope that they give you a full refund, I think that at the very least they are learning a fair about social networking today!!

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54 Anonymous March 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm

It doesn’t matter how many other people found the course satisfactory. If you found it lacking that’s all that counts, keep pursuing your claim for a refund.

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55 Henrietta Miller March 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Just keep using this medium to show these so called experts the real power of social media. I am reading and responding to this in Sydney. Keep blogging, keep reading and keep networking, true learning comes from the time you put in.

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56 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Thank you.

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57 Karen Hanna Kruzycka March 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

Even if they didn’t flat-out life about the ’95% positive feedback’, there are a myriad ways to twist the truth. They might consider that anyone who doesn’t actively provide negative feedback is satisfied: so they’re just telling you that only 5% of all attendees returned a form that said they weren’t happy. Or indeed, they might consider that any score above 3/10 is “positive” (for example – I have no idea what scale was used in the feedback form).

Anyway, I digress. I think you should stick to your guns. If you want your money back, your focus should be on your *own* experience. If you want them to admit that they’ve lied about their feedback, or that their course description was inaccurate, then by all means work with the other unhappy attendees. I don’t think you should get the 2 issues confused though.

Good luck!

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58 Karen Hanna Kruzycka March 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

Even if they didn’t flat-out life about the ’95% positive feedback’, there are a myriad ways to twist the truth. They might consider that anyone who doesn’t actively provide negative feedback is satisfied: so they’re just telling you that only 5% of all attendees returned a form that said they weren’t happy. Or indeed, they might consider that any score above 3/10 is “positive” (for example – I have no idea what scale was used in the feedback form).

Anyway, I digress. I think you should stick to your guns. If you want your money back, your focus should be on your *own* experience. If you want them to admit that they’ve lied about their feedback, or that their course description was inaccurate, then by all means work with the other unhappy attendees. I don’t think you should get the 2 issues confused though.

Good luck!

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59 MissDingDong March 22, 2011 at 2:28 am

I feel for you with this! If you buy a product that is substandard then you return it to the store. If you are served a meal that wasn’t up to standard then a good restaurant would refund or offer something to make up for it. There are so many review sites for all these kind of things but where do you review a course like yours??

It’s like me setting myself up as an Estate Agent, taking your money, putting a sign in your window & telling others your house is for sale. Yup that’s me selling your house & what are you going to do about it!

I agree that Trading Standards are probably the best option Chrissie. I read his comment to you & maybe he’s turning the tables on you to say ‘you’ve come away from the course & become a social media/networking sensation’. Please tell me if you think I’m off the mark with that.

I really hope you get some success here, good luck lovely x

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60 Info March 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

Hi chrissie

What makes me smile is I have shown many friends and people in my community all that and more, free of charge. When I say more I mean MUCH more like linkinking it all together, using different mediums etc…. ( I won’t bore you) but do I call myself a digital coach? Nope. Have I trained? Nope. I had @nicktadd as a great mentor, giving time and advice free……

I am a mum, I run SurreyLets my business, largest online letting agent and I use social media all the time……but this expensive digital coaching in the from they have it is all wrong. It’s a rip off.

I like Thomas and Penny but this is all hype and little substance from what I see / hear from others. Someone like you who wants to learn, wants go be ale to understand and quite simply the course you paid a hideous amount for was disappointing.

Demand a refund, hold your nerve and do contact @nicktadd or even come and spend a day with me, free! ( choccy Bics for morning coffee!) and you can have some practical use if blog writing, seo linking, tweeting your blogs too get traffic up, linking your sm sites, though we will miss quota as I am not sure there is much in that…….

SM is being exploited by too many self confessed guru’s…..we don’t need all the hype, people just need guidance on practical application

Good luck

Sally

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61 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Sally,

Many thanks for the offer and I would love to take you up on it. I don’t eat biscuits but do enjoy a glass of wine???

Cheers,

Chrissie

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62 Rosie March 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

Don’t think you mentioned how you paid? If with credit card then query with them as they are part responsible

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63 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I paid by paypal and apparently you can only dispute goods and not services. Good idea though.

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64 Jacqui March 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I think you will find thats not correct. We have a merchants account with paypal, and do not sell goods only services ( in the most professional sense!). Luckily in the five years that we have accepted PayPal payments we have only ever had one dispute ( that was resolved amicably) but this shows that purchasers of services can raise a dispute. Good luck , I hope that you get a refund. I know that a la “Ryanair” all publicity is good publicity, but I cannt help thinking that this time the course providers have “shot themselves in the foot”.

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65 Jubg04995 March 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Mum maybe mediocre but like all good Mum’s she is right here is a segment of PayPals Ts&Cs:

PayPal Buyer Protection only applies to PayPal payments for certain tangible, physical goods that can be posted. Payments for the following are not eligible for re-imbursement under PayPal Buyer Protection:

* intangible items
* services
* real estate (including, without limitation, residential property)
* businesses
*vehicles (including, without limitation, motor vehicles, motorcycles, caravans, aircraft and boats),
* custom made items
* travel tickets (including, without limitation, airline flight tickets)
* items prohibited by the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy
* items that violate eBay’s Prohibited or Restricted Items Policy
* licences
* access to digital content
* industrial machinery used in manufacturing
* items equivalent to cash (including, without limitation, gift cards)
* Items purchased using Website Payments Pro or Virtual Terminal
* Personal transaction payments

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66 JUBG04995 March 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Go direct to your credit card company and ask for a chargeback as the supply did not meet the description. Here is the paypal guide for sellers re chargebacks:

Why do chargebacks occur?

There are a few reasons why a buyer would request a chargeback:

* An unauthorised payment was made with the buyer’s card
* The buyer didn’t receive the item that was paid for
* There were errors in processing the transaction
* The item does not match its description

The maximum time a buyer has to file a chargeback with their credit card company is typically 120 days after the expected delivery of the agreed goods or services. Certain exceptions may apply.

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67 Sue McGaughran March 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

Why not use your energy into putting together a letter advising them of what they promised, what they did not, in your view, deliver and a deadline for repayment in full? Ask them them to respond in writing and you ca take it to court if they refuse and their terms allow for a money back guarantee.

Its a small claims matter and blogging about it may get interest and support but most courts take a dim view of running a dispute in the public domain. If they do not offer a money back guarantee then you need to take a case based on legislation, the CAB will help you with this.

The issue of a claim on money claim is an online court summons issue. You still may need, if defended, to attend court and any judgment you may get will still need to be paid or enforced if not paid. It can be a long drawn out affair very often.

There is so much on the internet free of charge re social media I really don’t understand the need to be trained in using what is a strand of marketing. I do totally get however the number of businesses setting out a service around its use and charging for their expertise, but its aways ‘buyer beware’ as in most things service related.

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68 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Sadly, I did do this. I have written two emails outlining what they advertised and what they did not cover. I also gave them 7 days to respond. They came back saying they would not issue me a refund as they had 95% positive feedback. However, if you look at the comments below four others on the course, in addition to myself, also felt it did not meet their expectations.

I really didn’t want to go down this route and it’s all got a bit out of hand but they wouldn’t listen. I’m resigned to the fact that it’s very unlikely I will ever get my money back but pleased that others have the necessary information and they can now make an informed choice.

I could have handled this privately via CAB, solicitor or small claims court but this would cost both time and money and I feel I’m already out of pocket enough.

Thank you.

Chrissie

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69 Marie March 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

Don’t laugh everybody but I travelled all the way from Turkey at great expense to attend the ‘How to Master Social Media’ course! I too wrote to Thomas Power requesting a refund as I came away with next to nothing from the course. We were all asked individually as to what we wanted to take away from the day – I stated I wanted to learn how to combine blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in order to provide a social networking marketing strategy for my business Snazzy Specs. We never touched on Facebook nor LinkedIn. We sent one Tweet, for what purpose I know not – even I knew how to do that prior to the course – and submitted a blog using … yes, you’ve guessed it … ecademy. I had rather assumed that WordPress might have been mentioned? Thomas replied to my request for a refund with: “We did cover everything Marie as I can see from the 95% positive feedback we received in writing.” Although he has offered to spend time with me on Skype to teach me ‘how to grow your brand and reach online’ given the amount of money I have spent on flights, accommodation as well as the course I find it rather laughable to think I needn’t have budged from my home computer in the first place! Chrissie, thanks for this blog – I think we should pursue getting our money back together.

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70 Sue McGaughran March 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

There is a huge benefit in a number of people with the same story on non delivery of any any service joining together and requesting payment refunds. Much harder to ignore a jointly united front if you do feel strongly enough about it and all are prepared to share the costs in taking it further.

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71 Bangs and a Bun March 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

I would definitely not let this drop. These people sound like complete cowboys. Those things they were supposed to cover seem so basic and they didn’t even cover them? Ridiculous. I’m pissed off that people like this exist because they reinforce that stereotype to larger companies that social media is piss easy and not really needed.

Definitely stick to your guns. Bottom line, they didn’t provide the service they advertised. I hope this works out for you because that is an awful lot of money to part with and not get what you wanted.

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72 Natashaf March 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

I too attended the course and although I did find out some new things from the course I felt that all the learning objectives that were advertised were not delivered (as you rightly said). The reason I have not asked for my money back is because I did get some things out of it. Although I did feel that too much time was spent on parts and what really did annoy me was the fact that in the afternoon 2 or more hours were spent on blogging/how to use ecademy (self promoting there product). Which if you were not already paying for the use of ecademy you had to register for a week free trial where you had to give your credit card details. Therefore if you were reluctant to sign up for the trial and give your credit card details- you would spend 2 hours doing nothing! What a waste of time and money. I ended up paying for the trial and lucky remembered a week later to cancel my card details before I started paying out.
I think you should definitely keep fighting to get a refund of your money. It’s funny how a ‘social media guru’ is not listening to his customers right now….so much for two way communication! Good luck!

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73 Adrian March 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

Wow! Judging by the response you are getting, you don’t need any help with your understanding of social media! I hope the situation gets resolved positively.

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74 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Me too and thank you.

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75 Jonathan Pollinger March 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

Don’t give up on this! You really deserve your money back. Incredible that Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places and LinkedIn were advertised and if I understand correctly not even touched on in course. I’ve been sent the link by 3 people so far today so word is spreading and that’s to your advantage. Good luck!

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76 Tom Doerr March 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

This is rubbish, they sound like they just took you all for a ride! It seems like a lot of people are doing this lately, too many inexperienced professionals looking to ‘up’ their social media skills and clicking on the first well advertised course.

I wouldnt be surprised if they barely knew anything about it themselves, just figured social media was pretty easy so teaching it was even easier. The reality is that using social media is one thing (and its easy) but making money or business use from it is completely different and much more complicated.

The reality is that if you are just beginning, know how to use social media but want to know how to ‘make use’ of it, there are plenty of marketing agencies who offer free seminars and training days all over the UK. It’s a good bit of promo for them but you will often earn much more than you would at one of these overpriced courses and if you don’t, it was free!

The agency I work for throws them all the time, even makes them sector specific, lots of existing and potential clients come along but also plenty of people who are just interested.

Good luck with getting you money back, maybe this will go viral and the sheer irony of it will force them into a refund!

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77 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I’ve been contacted by another course attendee and she has asked me to post this on her behalf as she was unable to use the comment system…

‘I attended the same course and as I mentioned in my tweet @ganztolledinge, straight after the course: I learned more from talking with Chrissie. The course was rather pointless for all the above reasons and more. Not the least, because it was centered around the presenters’ professional interests (encouraging ecademy subscription, promoting ecademy, masterclasses and books) and personal preferences (citrix camera, chrome bowser, iphone). For my part, I missed the delegate (audience) research, the listening and the people centric approach, so fundamental to social media. Money back? Definitely. I am with you on this and support you all the way.’

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78 ganztolledinge March 24, 2011 at 3:10 am

I finally managed to make this work: Thank you, Chrissie, for posting my comment!
Yes, I also attended the course and can confirm what Chrissie says is true.

Much time was wasted sorting out technical problems and un/installing browsers. Little time was spent on delivering the agenda.

Like Chrissie I didn’t learn anything until very late in the afternoon. By then, I was feeling drained and Thomas was racing through the content.

Ambitiously, I tried to work through the agenda by myself, the following day. But, this proved particularly difficult in the absence of any course notes or hand-outs.

On the evaluation form I made very clear that I was disappointed with the course. But it was not Thomas or Penny who picked up on my feedback.

Instead I received multiple customer service emails. I responded that I was not interested and disappointed. I was then asked again for feedback which I provided.

I also requested a full refund, but I have not heard back from them, yet. Like Chrissie I would have preferred to sort this out privately, and amicably.

I must emphasize that I am very disappointed with Thomas’ conduct and so I will delete him from my entire network.

On a positive note, comments and support here have been absolutely brilliant and I salute Chrissie for taking a stand against the machine.

I will give it another week now, before contacting my credit card company and then I will ask them for a charge back. And if that does not work out, perhaps we grab Marie and make a joined complaint to the OFT?

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79 Alice Elliott March 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

A very interesting post – which I found via Twitter. This stems back to a post I wrote recently about giving away 80% for free and retaining 20% for money, whereas in this case what they presented at this course should have been part of the freebie 80%, and for £420 should have consisted of substantially more.

BTW, it seems you are already very well clued up on social media, so why did you want to go on this course? Those who have successful blogs (like this one) probably know a lot more than they think they do…

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80 Ben March 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Wait till you try to unsubscribe from their mailing list…

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81 Adam Arnold March 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hahaha, so true Ben!

I remember trying to unsubscribe from Ecademy spam and there were something like 15 or 20 different lists that I had to remove myself from!

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82 Steve Ward March 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Oh jeez really – ‘m desperate to unsubscribe from their tosh too – at least I know I’m in for now!!

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83 Ella March 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

It sounds to me that you really do deserve a refund, but why on earth did you not fill in a feedback form?

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84 Maxxy March 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I think you are right, the british do complain but tend not to do anything about it.

Personally I dislike seeing social media used to hold a gun to peoples heads. There’s lots of “fail” posts around and there are usually two sides to every story. The “winner” is the person with the most social media clout (not Klout! lol)

However, peoples perceptions are their reality. So what whether it was 95% or less. The fact is that YOU didn’t feel you received the appropriate level of value for the fee involved and you are perfectly entitled to share your views wherever and however you like. Whether you shared your views down the pub or online, same difference, you have a negative view to share.

I really don’t know why a supplier (social media or otherwise) wouldn’t want you to go away feeling happy. Either happy with the value of the course or with the way you were dealt with afterwards. Surely a quick response with either a full refund or a partial refund would be appropriate and professional.

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85 Suz March 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

By there actions they seem not to have understood the SOCIAL element of social media, but just the technical bits if at all.
Your blog quite clearly demonstrates that you don’t need this kind of training.
Congratulations & don’t let it drop

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86 Richard Baker March 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Hello. I’ll happily fill in all the gaps for you for free. Well, it might cost a coffee! Get in touch. :-) @theintrapreneur

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87 Nickie at Typecast March 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

oh yes, I’d recommend Richard :) His blogs are great !!

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88 Britishbeautyblogger March 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

This is such a shame as there really are some great Social Media teachers out there who could even have done a one to one with you (for less money of course) and shown you exactly how to do what you need to do. Great that you have flagged it up – can’t see many people queueing for that course now, so even if you don’t get your money back, you’ll be saving many from the same expensive fate.

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89 Rebecca Hollis March 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I charge the same for a one to one session and I would like to think I am considered as one of the industry leaders in the UK with a proven track record.

Feedback like this is incredibly valuable for them to improve their program moving forward. If it’s taken on board it will help other peoples experience and the value they gain from the course.

Penny and Thomas are great people so I hope you can all get this resolved without it having to be taken much further.

Becky

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90 Nickie at Typecast March 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

The way I see this is that a couple of “social media experts” base their knowledge on their very limited use of services or from what they have researched. If the course content was not covered within the allotted time, for whatever reason, an alternative date to continue should have been arranged (free of charge, naturally).

I really annoys me when I see people (like myself) who invest time and energy into trying to create a social media identity to promote myself and people are charging upwards of £400 to “teach” what I have probably coached people through in less than half an hour. On Twitter of all places!!

I’m far too kind and need to grow a spine and then start charging people ;)

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91 Jonnie Jensen March 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

If you can coach someone to understand the use of social media and the importance of a structured digital engagement strategy in half an hour then good on you. If you choose to give your time for free then equally that is your choice and gracious of you. To presume that your goals, objectives, ways of working and value that you can add to someones business is the same as someone else’s however is misguided. Do Harley Street Doctors not earn more than others? What about coaches to Olympic stars – do they provide the same service as the trainers at your local gym? It just doesn’t stack up to compare like this. The cost of anything is based on what the market will pay. The point of this whole conversation is about product not price. And yes, if you are giving value to people then you should put a price on your time. Unless you are financially free….. then I’m all for charitable gestures

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92 Nickie at Typecast March 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

I’m not sure using Harley Street Doctors and Olympic athlete coaches is relevant to be honest because, in essence, they do provide the same service – they just charge for it and sometimes provide poorer results. Just because you pay someone £x really doesn’t mean that their diagnosis or coaching methods are better – it just means that they *should* provide a more speedy and/or individual service. I could pick out any number of online references to this but I’m sure you can research it for yourself.

There is a comment in this feed somewhere that refers to the fact the course could have been split into two separate courses – those with little knowledge and those with advanced knowledge. Thomas and Penny could have boosted their income even more then.

And with regards to my time – I’m not financially free but I do believe in helping friends and “pay it forward”, something that has reaped rewards in its own way on a level that is important and beneficial to me.

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93 Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I am sorry to have read this today Chrissie and hope that something good comes of your efforts to explain this – and yes complaining when you do not get what you had paid for is OK even when you are British.

This smacks of again, social media training days and presentations made by people who have built a large base for themselves in their business but don’t live in the world of social media and therefore are not qualified to train others… particularly at a heft price tag like that.

Does this duo have any real success story yo tell from anyone that attended their course’s and are now profiting from it? If the general consensus in the room was overly negative… everyone should shout.

You can if you want to, find all the ‘How to’ notes on all these systems for FREE online. I know this does not help now… but you can. What social media consultants, like myself, should be doing is focusing not on the ‘how to’ but the ‘why’ and then have practical application to business. The combination of how the systems all work with strategy and implementation advice for your business, coupled with why you should be doing it is the next step in social media training. Social media training needs to grow up!

I look forward to the day that the ‘how to’ seminars that deliver no re value any more are gone.

I hope you do well fighting for your money back.

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94 Shekhar March 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Truly terrible way to be treated, I have been running training courses for years (not in SM) and do not offer a maoneyt back guarantee but if there is ever a dispute (Only one in 20 years) I would immediately refund the money, it is just basic customer service, it puts ecademy and the powers in a very poor light.

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95 Pauleen Cracknell March 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I am amazed that as business people offering a service they did not feel it paramount to sort this out privately with you, AND, to reach a positive conclusion somehow. I refuse to believe that they could not do this, it speaks volume in terms of customer service attitude and service integrity, ignorance of Social Media/marketing knowledge, understanding and skills. I am amazed that as ‘Social Media experts’ they deliver a course that appears to advocate ‘automation’ and that my friends really says it all!

I would encourage you to continue to seek a refund as I would to the other delegate who flew in from Turkey and I would suggest the public considering these course options need to be aware of the legal phrase ‘Buyer beware’.

Wishing you the best of luck and hoping they do the right thing and offer you a refund before we all start talking ‘compensation’!

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96 Steve Ward March 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Ahaaaa!! – beware the `Social Media Trainer`. Easy money for basic advice.
The reality is Chrissie (and beware of this in your own delivery and service) – is that characters like the ecademy couple know that knowledge of social media is limited amongst many who sign up. Give them just enough, and they’ll either be thrilled to bits they know stacks more than they did already, or will come back and ask for more… and another £420, etc, etc.
Message to all – check the genuine credentials of the person who is going to train you. I was trained by Raj Anand who used to run a social media agency in Brighton, therefore had actually delivered social media strategy and delivery to small and large clients and seen success, failure, and industry to industry nuances. Raj sadly doesn’t train anymore – otherwise I would recommend – although to be fair I paid a small fortune – but it was one-on-one.
Message to Chrissie – be careful of not falling into the same trap of being considered the typical image of a typical independent social media trainer, and work alongside a reputable social media professional to validate your delivery and then endorse it with influence and substance. I could suggest people, but don’t know where you are based geographically.

Good luck with it Chrissie, and make sure you get your money back. Brits have to deal with complaints too…

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97 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Thank you, I’m based in St Albans. Please do get in touch. There is a contact page on this blog.

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98 Faysky March 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Oh dear, with advice from people like you Adam and Stig? this poor lady is not going to get anywhere with her claim.
I am quite sure Ecademy would not do as you infer..the reference to Google was totally mine and I noticed it myself around 8 years ago…no one had even made an issue about it in those days. SEO is a fairly recent thing. But it is a fact that Ecademy is Google friendly…well it certainly was until one little queen of the night stuck her oar in!

You are totally wrong, and always have been, inferring that Thomas or Penny would ask me to stick up for them…I doubt if they have asked any Blackstars either. Why should they? I certainly haven’t received any information…mind you I have not looked in the Blackstar forum for about a month now, too busy.

I am a little miffed at the suggestion that I may have been paid to reply, I suggest that you change that reference so it does not look that way.
I merely read this blog because of another person, who likes to deride the Ecademy management and those who enjoy what they produce, who posted this juicy little tit bit.
It is not an area of interest to me to attend digital media courses. However I have attended many events arranged by Ecademy with Thomas and Penny present and have always come away after a very enjoyable day learning something new and making some really interesting contacts.

I do think that the author of this blog has become a victim of the sour grapes brigade and is being goaded into something not only futile but potentially expensive. Also they are encouraging a complete failure in communication so that no solution could possibly be offered in good faith.

One thing I have learned about social media is that it is not wise to associate with networkers with a grudge. Not unless you are wearing anti flack jackets

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99 Adam Arnold March 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I won’t be changing my reply.

It is clear from this review and others that Ecademy social media courses suggest signing up to an in house blog when really, there is more benefit from having your own blog hosted on your own domain.

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100 Nikki Pilkington October 3, 2011 at 8:36 am

“this poor lady is not going to get anywhere with her claim.”

:) I believe she got more than double her money back in the end.

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101 mediocremum October 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

Sorry I shouldn’t have giggled! But I am very happy with the outcome, however, I wish it wasn’t such a struggle. Thanks again for your support.

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102 David Cushman March 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I’ve read through (almost) all the comments here. I do occasionally run social media training for orgs myself (usually less tactics focused) – and from that perspective I have to say you were somewhat over-promised. To get through all that in a day in any kind of hands-on depth was never going to happen.
But what really surprises me is that Thomas Power has failed to engage in this thread.
If anyone’s case is good, engaging in public should be free from fear.

If you get nowhere with your refund I’ll be happy to help fill knowledge gaps FOC if you happen to be passing our offices In Holborn. I presented for EConsultancy on Location Based Services (Gowalla etc) in London, Leeds and Manchester at the end of last year, for example.

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103 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm

That would be great, thank you.

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104 Dlong March 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Try the small claims court and complain to the advertising standards authority about their new remit regarding web based adverts.

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105 Jim March 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Power and Power also do a four day accredited “digital coach” course – I’m not sure which official body accredits the course.

I hear that lots of people are signing up for that at £7000 a throw (yes, that’s seven thousand pounds). It also offers a money back guarantee. There seem to be several happy graduates.

More here: ecademydigitalschool [dot] com/about

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106 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Good to hear they have happy graduates. It just seems like an extortionate amount of money to me.

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107 Andrew Crook March 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

>>I’m not sure which official body accredits the course.

err I believe its probably none.

£7000 a throw? bloody hell (sorry) I am in the wrong business. I could do that for a fraction of the price.

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108 Simon March 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Anyone who has been on Ecademy for the last couple of years would know that Thomas has a religious type zeal for Social & Digital Media. Ecademy has turned into a cult, there are a number of blackstars there who think the sun shines out of his backside and unconditionally agree with whatever he says. If he came out and said the world is flat, I am sure at least 50% of Blackstars would agree and knock anyone who thinks otherwise. The Powers cannot deal with criticism, if you do dare to criticise they think you are bullying them online!! Everytime someone questions Thomas he avoids the answer and is surprisingly quiet.

They are only offering this course as they see it as a way of boosting the quickly decreasing Ecademy numbers. People are leaving in their droves, although they were claiming something like 10,000 people a day were joining or some such nonsense which was shown to be a massive lie.

I urge you to take this to the small claims court. Last time it cost me around £80 and they will need to travel to your local court to defend themselves.

Let this be a warning to anyone thinking of doing the Ecademy Digital or Social Media course… go to a reputable provider!

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109 Simon March 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Oh, and Penny has claimed to have members from 234 countries. An amazing feat considering wiki-answers say there are 196 !!

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110 Jon Stow March 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I suppose in view of a comment already made I had better declare that I am a Blackstar and I know Thomas and Penny quite well. I should also say that I have not been “sent” by Thomas and I picked up on this thread from Twitter.

I might have been interested in the course had I not thought that I was quite well versed in social media. I have written before several times that I don’t believe there is such a person as a social media expert.

Chrissie, there are good measures of activity in social media such as Klout and PeerIndex. They are not measures of influence as they suggest, but they are an indicator of how much you use Twitter and Facebook and PeerIndex also records blogging activities. I have higher scores than some of the Digital Coaches, so I do not think I would be a suitable candidate for the course.

My klout score is at the time of writing 46, yours is 69, one more than Thomas (68). My PeerIndex is 59, yours is 41 (so perhaps you haven’t linked your blog) and Thomas’s is 70.

Your klout-measured output is impressive. You have a premium theme WordPress blog. You really seem to know what you are doing. I don’t understand what you hoped to gain from the course. As to the price, surely you went in with your eyes open? I wouldn’t have paid that sum because it would not have had enough value for me, but if I knew nothing about social media marketing it might have been a real eye-opener.

The course is clearly designed to touch a lot of bases but most of the different subjects would have needed at least an hour or so to be covered in detail. You already seem to have had the knowledge and the skills to run a social media course. Are you not just upset that you wasted your money on an inappropriate course, akin to someone signing up for an evening class in basic maths when they already have a GCSE in maths? Is that really the fault of the providers?

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111 mediocremum March 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Hi Jon,

Thank you for stopping by. Prior to signing up for the course I received the course outline. I must admit I thought it was a bit ambitious for a one day course, but was really excited about it. As I said in the post I was happy with a couple of the areas, mainly twitter and facebook. However, the rest was unchartered territory and I was really looking forward to it.

I think we need to stay focussed on the issue. The bottom line is that they did not cover what they said they were going to. It was not a mismatch of my ability and the course content. If you have the opportunity, and read the 4 comments from other course attendees, some of who are new to social media, also felt that it did not meet their expectations.

Thanks again,

Chrissie

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112 NikkiPilkington March 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm

A balanced response Mr Stow, as I have come to expect from you. Glad to see you here :)

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113 Kevin March 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Hi Jon, having a premium theme wordpress blog doesnt mean you know what you are doing, I have loads but was fortunate enough to have someone set them up for me, it doesnt mean i know anything about them, same with twitter yes i use it but it was set up and tweaked by someone else. Why wouldnt people with these things go on a course to maybe find out more from ‘experts’ so they can progress themselves.

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114 Adam Sargant March 23, 2011 at 10:05 am

Hi Jon… given your closeness to Thomas and Penny, can you please ask them to comply with my requests to stop using my identity in their email promotions? I’ve asked twice and received no response to either request. The request included a request to have my data removed from their database which clearly has also not been complied with.

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115 Andrew Crook March 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

>>My klout score is at the time of writing 46, yours is 69, one more than Thomas (68).

Mr Powers tweets are nothing more than his social media feeds fed through Friendfeed, basically auto tweeted junk. This is where Klout fails on many fronts, one would expect to have a good Klout score would require an actual human and human interaction, however, this is not the case.

Andrew

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116 Jon Stow March 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

Yes, Andrew, and despite that Chrissie has a higher score.

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117 peter syme March 23, 2011 at 1:44 am

Something not right here. You seem way way to online savy to be caught for a daft price for a SM course that is going to teach someone of your knowledge next to nothing.

Everything about your online presence shouts that you know what you are doing so no basic simplistic course was ever going to teach you anything looking at your already considerable presence.

That said obviously a course that gives money back statements has to stand by that otherwise as we are seeing just gets trashed. The fact that this course was in social media just makes it all the more ridiculous that the facilitators obviously do not grasp the medium and considering what they run and preach that is a bit laughable.

Always ask the question show me the money. Not from running social media businesses or social media training businesses but from real day to day businesses who are making real money from social media. However, I am sure I am preaching to the converted so why did you go on that course in the first place?

BTW I am not backing the course or the providers, I think it is a complete waste of time and cash for anyone with any online sense, something you seem to have in abundance.

I have had various online discussions with TP over several years and always found him to be very aware and knowledgeable of future online trends. His ability to action them and his awareness of the online web of dangerous info he was weaving that was always going to bite back was lacking in the extreme. You are just one of many examples.

That said I still sense something not right here? Still I am sure your cash back would help and for the amount surely any business would just pay up would they not?

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118 mediocremum March 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi Peter,

Nice to meet you. Just because I have several thousand followers on Twitter by no means makes me an expert. Prior to the course, as I said in a previous reply, I received a copy of the course outline and there were only a couple of things I was happy with. I’m not insane and wouldn’t spend that amount of money on a course I didn’t think I would get anything from. I thought about it long and hard before registering and was assured by a colleague that it would be worth every penny.

Sadly, I think we are losing sight of the main objective. The bottom line is they did not deliver what was advertised. Hence why I have asked for my money back. You may not have noticed but 4 others on the course, with varying abilities, have also commented on this thread and they too feel it did not meet the objectives.

I did not want to go down the route of publishing it on my blog and can assure you I had no idea it would receive this level of attention. I have written to them twice, detailing the shortfallls and asked for my money back but they have point blank refused stating that they had overwhelming positive feedback. Other than spending more money and time on CAB, small claims court etc I really felt I had no other choice. I’m sure they anticipated this happening.

Cheers,

Chrissie

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119 peter syme March 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

Hi Chrissie

Fair enough, lessons learned on all sides and for us all reading this so we should all thanks you for bringing it to attention.

Online advertising rules changes recently you may want to have a look at them if your refund does not appear quick sharp.

Looking at this saga maybe as well as getting your money back which should be a given, maybe you can get a free place on one of the longer courses and use this saga as a reputation management module?

That would be keeping with the open and supportive nature of the social web, does not seem likely though if you cannot get back your initial payment.

Good luck

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120 Adam Sargant March 23, 2011 at 9:35 am

Ecademy are the organisation who persist in using the identity of members/ex-members to advertise their services by using said identity in emails “So-and-so invites you to…”… without permission and despite communications from said members asking them to stop doing this. So I’m not surprised. I would like you to get your money back, but I won’t hold my breath unless you get them in a position where it becomes financially unviable NOT to give you your money back.

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121 Andrew Crook March 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Is this what ecademy the platform for helping small businesses has really come to? Very sad. I realise the importance of social media, however, I left ecademy after all this digital coaching nonsense started. I don’t think it gives small businesses the true picture, how can a company teaching online reputation get theirs so wrong.

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122 Karen Hanna Kruzycka March 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Jonnie, with respect, I don’t think most of what you said here is very relevant. I don’t care whether the person who sold me the mis-advertised jeans is a family man, or whether every other customer is happy, or whether his other jeans are spiffing. I just want an acknowledgment of my complaint, and an attempt at resolution. It doesn’t seem like Chrissie is getting either of those things.

You may admire Thomas a great deal, but can you honestly say that he has handled this situation well? Has he handled it like an expert in social media would?

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123 Adam Arnold March 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm

A very valid point, Karen.

However, I do still feel charging £400+ for a basic social media course is a rip off whether or not the content was met.

Based on the review provided above (and others!) I would say it constitues nothing other than daylight robbery.

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124 Jonnie Jensen March 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hi Karen. I dont think this has been handled particularly well – no. I have had conversations about it with people involved in the course so they do know it is going on. How they are choosing to handle it is I suppose their decision. There are two sides to the situation of course but I would have wanted to avoid this comment tree if it was me.

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125 mediocremum March 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Hi Jonnie, Thanks for taking the time to comment…if you follow me on Twitter I’m more than happy to DM you my mobile number. As you said there are always two sides to the story. I also have a plethora of emails to support my claims. Sorry if I sound abrupt…just getting a bit tired of it all and not looking forward to going to court, which is the next step.

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126 Belinda March 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I don’t know anything about these types of courses, I’ve just blundered through Twitter learning as I’ve gone along however, I do know a lot about business, about consumer rights and the overwhelming importance of keeping your customers happy. Your training provider’s inference that because everyone else (allegedly) was happy with the course your complaint has no grounds is just idiocy and a total irrelevance. If they aren’t prepared to cover the course content they omitted free of charge or to provide you with a refund they are not operating within the law – very simple. Furthermore, I’m certain Trading Standards would be very interested to hear more about their unique ‘no refunds’ policy.

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127 Chris Butler March 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Greetings. We at WeCanDo.BIZ mansions have maintained quite a silence on this one so far but I will say that this whole subject will form one of our blog articles on the Social Customer and how to treat them (or not). We have run a few already on our corporate blog at wecandobiz.posterous.com.

I am not going to wade in with a diatribe about the rights and wrongs of what has happened here…you’ll have to wait for that :) but I would like to make a few points.

Firstly, ‘social media’ isn’t hard. To suggest that you need to spend hundreds or even thousands learning to use simple tools is frankly ridiculous. We have very few support calls for example from our members asking how to use our tools. We make it simple.

To suggest that an individual organisation can somehow ‘accredit’ its own offering as an industry recognised qualification is equally ridiculous, unless you happen to be a Microsoft or a Cisco where your products are highly technical.

Secondly, what I do have to offer however is this;

My colleague Ian Hendry and I are happy to offer you a day of Social Media training in the London area….for FREE…well almost. We will split the cost of any venue hire between anyone who attends and do that on an open book basis. We want nothing out of this other than to show how easy it is to do all this stuff and to do that with interactive practical sessions. We are not doing it to promote our own tools and we are not interested in showing how to use our personal favourites…just giving some ideas that you can take away and use. This is something that we do for various groups. We don’t regard it as precious knowledge for the privileged few. These things are just tools.

So, if this sounds interesting and enough people want to do it, let me know and we will sort it out.

I’ll even make up some accreditation certificates if you really want but I’ll check my Professional Indemnity Insurance first :)

Chris

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128 Jonnie Jensen March 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm

You are not wrong to suggest that using any tool cant be learnt but to suggest that it is easy for a business of any size to slap up a twitter account and be successful is simply wrong. You take a broad range of businesses from self employed, through owner managed, Ltd Partnership and Plc and the needs and challenges are very different. More over there is risk from mistakes – this conversation highlights the point – and a company would be wise to invest in the skills and knowledge if they do not exist in the company. Why do marketing Agency’s and business consultants exist if this point was not valid? Not everyone can afford them but that does not mean the service has no value to those that choose to make the investment.

Your brand building gesture above is decent of you but be clear it is not made for nothing. You are a competitor in some way to Ecademy and you have a Pro account which I’m sure you would be keen to have more people register for.

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129 Chris Butler March 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Jonnie

Couple of points (in fact, more than a couple).

Firstly I have never suggested that to ‘slap up a twitter account’ will achieve anything. Out own site has over 130 of them with a complex set of autofeeds etc. Secondly, the tools are simple. We know how they are used and we are happy to pass on that knowledge. Free.
Thirdly, of course a company is wise to invest in expertise if they need it, I work as a consultant with my ‘other hat’ on so it would be hypocritical of me to suggest otherwise.
Fourthly, to be clear and ABSOLUTELY clear; the offer is absolutely for nothing. I have already said we will not be training anyone to use our tools. We have no interest in doing that (and no need). We will not be ‘selling’ Pro accounts nor promoting the product. That would be disingenuous in these circumstances.
Fifthly, I don’t consider us to be a competitor to Ecademy for many reasons. I know Teep and Penny from Ecademy and we talk, mostly amicably too. We don’t agree on everything but we do agree we don’t compete in the same market.

So I would suggest you read what I wrote again, don’t make any assumptions and have an open mind about my offer. It is genuine and I have no hidden agenda. I don’t do those, I always say if I want people to buy stuff. It makes life so much more simple.

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130 mediocremum March 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

I would be interested depending on when and where. Feel free to drop me an email via the contacts page on this blog.

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131 James Coakes March 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

Giving away a free day of time to a handful of people in the hope that they would upgrade to pro doesn’t sound like an optimum use of resource. I’m sure Chris has better strategies to grow his business. I think the offer is made in good faith and I would take it up.

I know a fair amount about the subject, self taught without too much difficulty with a fair amount of reading about what others are doing and some Youtube tutorials. I agree that you don’t need to pay thousands, or even hundreds, to get on top of this parrticular strand of online marketing.

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132 Jim Wade March 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

“I would take it up.”

Me, too.

What size of group are you looking to get together, Chris? Looks like you have the beginnings…

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133 Simon & Seema March 25, 2011 at 12:00 am

Hi Chrissie, I would carry on trying to get your money back, I have so far resisted courses on social media as I have a suspicion they are not value for money, then out of the blue, we got a letter from Business link with a free social media course it seems to have similar objectives. I will let you know if its any good. At least I know this one will be good value for money! Good luck with getting yours back.
Simon

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134 Laury Burr March 29, 2011 at 7:08 am

Ooooh Jim you are awful, but…

To be honest, I suspect that a year at Oxford at £9000 would be rather more enlightening than four days at £7000 (and I write that as a Cambridge graduate!)

Have you signed up yet? ;)

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135 Jim March 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

Not yet, Laury. I’m waiting to get some indication of just how much the initial twenty accredited and freshly certificated graduates make in their new profession.

Yes, I know it’s not all about money and that they are expected to do their pro bono bit to support Btitish industry. But I’m afraid I have a bit of a mercenary streak, so I’d expect to get a financial ROI.

Meanwhile I expect to be going on Chris Butler’s course. And on Steven Healey’s when that eventually runs. Both look like excellent value for money.

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136 Sarah March 29, 2011 at 11:06 am

Hello Mediocre Mum -

What is the current state of play regarding getting a refund? Has Thomas Power or Penny Power of Ecademy offered it now? Or are you going to complain to the Trading Standards or the Advertising Standards Authority? I think it says a lot that an SM practitioner who will/should (as we all should do) be monitoring his own online reputation does not take immediate and effective action to counter what is becoming and industry story by engaging in dialogue to resolve the situation. Ecademy was a somewhat successful enterprise though when you look at eConsultancy which launched at the same time, it is very obvious which has succeeded and which has failed.

Sarah

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137 Jim March 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

As it seems that several customers think the course was not fit for purpose, maybe the Sale of Goods Act applies?

Anyway, don’t give up. I’ve just persisted with Volkswagen UK about a fault on my Passat which seemed to me to be potentially dangerous and which I think should have been the subject of a recall. I’ve just this minute heard that they have agreed to pay 100% of the cost – about £2700.

So – never ever give up if you think you are in the right. Good luck!

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138 Adam Arnold April 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Is there any update on this situation?

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139 mediocremum April 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Still no refund, I refused a 50% refund and now he is threatening to countersue me if I pursue it any further.

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140 Jim May 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Threatening to countersue you for what exactly? For the crime of being a dissatisfied customer? How very 20th century. But how typical a response from Ecademy.

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141 Guest May 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit the consumer advice pages on Directgov.

It’s very straightforward and I have always found them v helpful in similar situations.

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142 My slimming tweets June 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Did this ever get resolved?

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143 mediocremum June 10, 2011 at 7:30 am

Not yet!

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144 Laury Burr August 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm
145 Jim Wade August 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm

ASA caught up with the buggers at last, eh? About time.

I imagine they will now refund?

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146 Jim Wade August 30, 2011 at 11:01 am

I see that “ASA Adjudication on The Ecademy Ltd – Advertising Standards Authority” is top news item on Ecaca’s own TweetyyNews: http://tweetedtimes.com/#!/search/ecademy/en

That’s very ORS of them, isn’t it? ;)

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147 Howard Wooden February 29, 2012 at 12:07 am

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148 Jim April 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

Maybe a fitting postscript to this tale of customer misserivice: Ecademy sold. For just £1

Discussion here:
http://www.birdsontheblog.co.uk/a-lament-to-the-death-of-an-old-friend/

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