May 18, 2004
Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch has sued Bernard Haldane for misrepresenting the services it provides to job seekers, to whom it charges $5,000 to $16,000.
Bernard Haldane represents to job seekers that it has exclusive access to a hidden job market with thousands of employment opportunities not available to the general public; that its fees are based on a purported market analysis and will likely be reimbursed by the hiring company; and that consumers who use its services obtain a job within 90 to 120 days.
The lawsuit alleges that these representations, and others, are false, deceptive, and misleading.
In a time where a high number of people are looking for employment and family budgets are tight, Bernard Haldane took consumer's money and their trust, said Solicitor General Lori Swanson.
Our lawsuit hopes to help stop other consumers from being deceived by the misleading claims of this company and to help recover money for people who were taken advantage of by its promises.
Over 1,000 Minnesota consumers paid Bernard Haldane between $5,000 and $16,000 for its purported career counseling program during the past two years, totaling millions of dollars. The lawsuit also names as a defendant Barry Layne, the president of Bernard Haldane.
Illinois filed a similar suit against Haldane last October.
The lawsuit cites the experience of two former Haldane clients.
Susan Zimmerman-Rowe said she was promised exclusive access to employment opportunities and a large starting salary. Instead, I got a website address with old listings, a videotape of interviewing techniques, an outline to create my own resume with little guidance from Haldane, a couple of hours of false promises from a Haldane counselor,' and no response when I requested a refund of the unused portion of the exorbitant fee I paid to Haldane, said Ms. Rowe.
There was a real disconnect between Haldane's representations about their database of jobs and the reality that I basically had to generate my own leads. I didn't pay Haldane nearly $14,000 to tell me to go around contacting my past business associates begging for a job, said former client Don Egan.
The suit also charges that Bernard Haldane misrepresents its exclusivity. The company says it only works with a limited number of people. If a consumer did not earn at least $45,000 per year and have five years of experience, Bernard Haldane represents that the consumer would not be allowed to meet with a sales representative or be eligible for its purported services.
In a further attempt to appear exclusive, Bernard Haldane states that it gets five hundred calls and resumes a week, but only works with ten people. In reality, Bernard Haldane's training materials indicate that it will accept anyone who has $5,000 to pay its fee, regardless of past work experience or whether the individual made less than $45,000 a year.