A Word On Guarantees

(make that “a lot of words on guarantees”)

There’s the quick version and the long version here. For those of you with stuff to do, here’s my guarantee, the strongest one in test prep–unmatched by any company I’ve ever heard of–short and sweet, no fine print:

“I guarantee your satisfaction with any test prep course you buy from me. If you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, you can let me know within 60 days of your purchase and get every penny back, with no questions asked.”

Really? Really. Here’s the longer story behind our iron-clad, industry-leading guarantee, if you’re interested:

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute–imagine that you have a way to look at standardized tests that tends to make them significantly easier for you and your students than they are for most people. Imagine that a lot of the advice you give (don’t memorize vocabulary words, don’t learn formal logic, don’t take a thousand practice tests, et cetera) probably sounds crazy to most people who don’t know your results firsthand.

If you’re in that position, how do you help people realize that it’s okay to trust you with their time and energy?

The strongest way to do that, I believe, is with an iron-clad guarantee, backed up by a trusted third-party payment processor. So that’s what I went with. Please let me explain (and then let me contrast that with what most other test prep companies seem to do–even if you don’t work with me, you should know what you’d be getting into with a big company).

Our Payment Processor

I use Paypal to process my payments in order to give you an added layer of protection; if something ever went wrong with a transaction, you’d be able to contact my company directly and you could also contact Paypal, the payment processor, directly. Here’s what that means:

Because Paypal processes my payments, I couldn’t possibly scam you or anyone else, even if I wanted to. Let’s say that you bought something from me, and decided you wanted your money back. Even if I had been kidnapped, and this whole site was being run by some handsome impostor in a custom Mike suit who wouldn’t answer your e-mails, you could just contact Paypal directly. Let them know that you’re trying to get a refund and you can’t get in touch with the company. They’ll look into it, and they’ll refund your purchase. Problem solved.

Now, of course, if you did ever try to get in touch with me about a refund or anything else, I would just handle it directly with you and you wouldn’t even need to worry about that–but I want to make it clear that even if I dropped off the face of the Earth, you and Paypal could still make it right without me. Not that it will come to that :). I like being on the face of the Earth.

It costs us a little more money to process payments with Paypal than it would cost if we processed payments ourselves, but we think it’s worth it for the security and peace of mind it provides you.

Our Refund Policy

And, speaking of security and peace of mind, let me explain the refund policy that all of my online video courses carry:

If you decide, for any reason, that you don’t like my course within 60 days of buying it, all you have to do is send me an email, or call 800 511 9330, and we’ll refund your purchase. No hard feelings, no questions asked.

That’s it. No fine print. And remember that all of my payments are processed through Paypal, so you could always file a claim with them if you decided for some reason that you weren’t getting a satisfactory response from Testing Is Easy.

So Now For The Obvious Questions . . .

A lot of people can’t believe that’s really my refund policy. But it is. And I can only stay in business with a refund policy like that because the vast majority of the people who try my courses like them–if I were getting tons of refund requests and chargebacks and complaints, I’m pretty sure Paypal wouldn’t let me stick around–and even if they did, my company wouldn’t last too long.

Some people ask if I’m worried about getting taken advantage of. I’m not really worried about it, frankly. I know it happens once in a blue moon, but I see it like this: If I’m going to share my underground test-prep ideas and try to prove to people that standardized tests are much, much easier than they think, then I’m going to have to bend over backwards to reassure them that I’m for real. When you’re constantly contradicting the mainstream, you have to prove that you’re legit. Having the strongest guarantee in the industry lets me show people, perhaps better than anything else would, that my approach works.

Wait a second . . .what does everybody else do?

If you’ve looked around on the Internet, I’m sure you’ve seen that lots of test prep companies claim to offer strong guarantees.

But their guarantees typically come with some significant fine print. Let’s take a look at the “money-back guarantee” of one of the most popular test-prep companies, Kaplan. Here’s the link to their guarantee page.

Read the fine print all they way at the bottom. Here are the relevant parts:

“You must . . . attend all required classes or make-up sessions, complete all required tests, and complete all of your required homework as outlined on your student homepage. . . . To be eligible for the refund, you must present a copy of your official score report, your diagnostic score results, and your course materials at the time you invoke the guarantee.” [from Kaplan’s guarantee page]

So in order to exercise the guarantee, you have to demonstrate that you did everything Kaplan asked. That sounds pretty reasonable on the surface, right? The problem is that Kaplan, like most traditional test prep companies, seems to ask you to do a lot of stuff. When I was a Kaplan instructor, back a million years ago (which lasted all of a couple of months), I remember the manager of the center telling me that nobody ever completed everything, so he never had to refund anyone. The most he ever had to do was let somebody re-take the class for free. But seriously–if taking the class didn’t help you the first time, why would re-taking it suddenly help the second time?

The other giant of traditional test-taking is Princeton Review. Their guarantee page is even more complicated than Kaplan’s, but it boils down to the same thing: If you can jump through a lot of hoops to show that you did absolutely everything the company told you to, never missing a class or an assignment, then you can get your money back–provided you can produce the official paperwork showing your scores. You can also elect a “free” re-take of the PR course that didn’t help you the first time (except by “free,” Princeton Review sometimes means “for an administrative fee of $200”). One thing I love about Princeton Review’s current guarantee page is this gem:

“If you take our SAT Ultimate Classroom Course, and your test score does not improve by at least 150 points, you are eligible for a full refund if you continue to work with us by taking our LiveOnline Refresher Course, or if our LiveOnline Refresher Course is not available within 90 days of your request, by retaking our SAT Ultimate Classroom Course, you retake the test, still do not improve by at least 150 points and you meet the following requirements with respect to both your initial SAT Ultimate Classroom Course and the refresher or repeat course that you take with us under this Guarantee . . . [this legalist train wreck rambles on for a few more lines on the actual page, but you get the idea]”

(I was a linguistics major and a pretty good law student, and I’m just about sure that isn’t even a sentence.)

Other companies do pretty much the same thing. For example, Testmasters guarantees that if their course doesn’t raise your score, you can re-take the course that didn’t help you raise your score, just like Kaplan and Princeton Review.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really find those guarantees too compelling. Why would you want to re-take a course that didn’t help you the first time? Why should missing one assignment keep you from exercising a guarantee?

The Strongest Guarantee In Test Prep?

As far as I’m aware, the 60-day, no-questions-asked, 100% guarantee that backs my online video courses is the strongest guarantee in the entire industry. It’s stronger than the guarantees offered by the most prominent traditional companies, like Kaplan, Testmasters, and Princeton Review, and it’s stronger than anything else I’ve run across.

If you don’t like my course within 60 days, you just let us know and don’t pay for it. Period.

I can only offer such a strong guarantee because my approach works, and the vast majority of my students are happy with it.

If you think you might like to learn more about my courses and my approach, you can poke around this blog or follow these links: