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5. Misleading Employment Advertising


These case studies show just some of the ways in which people have used misleading advertising to rip-off many hopeful job hunters.

Read them, and then look at the questions at the end...

"Junior to join our city team. 
Bright and enthusiastic girl to enter 
the computer world. Training provided. 
Typing an advantage. Ph..."
When Simone got to the interview she was told that they were recruiting for an EDP training course which would last for three weeks... and would "only" cost her $400... and they would help her locate a job with a leading computer firm when she finished the course.

Simone later heard from some of the girls who did the course, that it was over crowded, there were not enough computers or teachers or books, and it was in a grotty, very unpleasant building. After completing the course, the girls that did get jobs did so with no "help" from the firm, or from the great "Diploma" they had.


- the job advertisement said "excellent pay" and "exciting career prospects", but Nick soon found out that instead of getting all that, the job cost him plenty of worry and time.

After weeks of work, he'd only got about $40 from his commission on sales. His door-to-door success rate was lousy, and now he'd sold all he could to his family and friends. At least he'd got back the $25 he'd paid out for the "Sales Kit".

MARY was desperately looking for a job, so she decided to apply for one that she'd seen advertised regularly for the past few months, which asked for:
"attractive young ladies and 
men for some occasional TV work. 
Must be presentable. No experience 
necessary. Phone..."
When she rang, Mary asked if she had to pay out any money and was told that she wouldn't... so she went in for an interview. She was told of her "terrific potential" and her "great future", but naturally, she would have to pay an agency fee so that a portfolio of photographs could be prepared by them.

When Mary told them that a photographer friend would be able to do the photos for nothing, she was told that the agency could only find work for her if she paid them a "distribution fee" of $50. Mary decided not to part with her money.

Later, she learnt from a newspaper that some of the people who, believing that they would get good job, had paid out between $50 and $200 to the agency. These people said that after the photographs were taken and the fees paid, they had not since been contacted. Later visits and phone calls told these people that they had been ripped off - the offices were empty and the phones were disconnected.

WHEN Rick answered an advertisement for a field consultant's position, he was told that his "hidden potential" could be released by doing a training course (that's why the ad also said that no qualifications or experience were necessary).

He soon found out that the "course", carried out in a tiny office packed with other participants, was worth nothing! Even though it cost him a lot, there were no jobs. It turned out that the firm that advertised was receiving a commission for every person it referred to the training school.

WILLIAM was only looking for a holiday job, and after getting nowhere answering ads out of the paper, decided to answer an ad from an employment agency.

Obviously a lot of other people had seen the same ad, and just after 9.00am, the place was packed. When he eventually got to the head of the queue, he was asked to fill in a form, take it to room "x" and there, part with a $25 "fee".

Everyone was very pleasant... "now would you take a seat upstairs so that someone can interview you? Thank you."

There were just as many people up there too. After what seemed like ages, and only a few people being interviewed, and thinking that to even go to the toilet would cost him his spot in the queue, William went back to room "x" to say "I've changed my mind... could I please have my money back?" "Sorry mate - your name's on our books and if something comes up, we'll give you a ring..."

Well... something did come up - a few days later it was reported in the newspaper that the Fraud Squad busted the place, but had just missed getting the people behind a nationwide racket which had extracted $25 from many thousands of people over the last few years.

JULIE was 16 when she left school, and had high expectations of doing a "useful" training course and getting a good job. She was very impressed by an advertisement which promised "a challenging job", "meeting lots of interesting people", and a "glamour life".

The receptionist course she took was very expensive and very short. The "Diploma" she received was worthless as she was knocked back by employers for not being properly trained, and for being too young.

When she finally did get a "receptionist" job, she found out that it mainly involved running messages, and hours of filing. She now thinks that the "glamour job" and "fabulous position" lines she sees in other advertisements are designed just to trap you into a life of drudgery and boredom!

  1. Can you work out what is the most common rip-off ploy?

  2. Can you understand why it might be easy to "con" someone who has been out of work for a while, by saying that they "have great potential" or "have a terrific future"?

  3. What guidelines would you draw up which might help you or one of your friends from being ripped-off in this way? What things should you look out for?

  4. What should you do if you are a victim of one of these rip-offs?

  5. It is now against the Trade Practices Law in many states to include advertisements which involve "training" courses in the actual "Positions Vacant" section of the papers. Have a look in your local/major papers and see if you can spot any "suspicious" advertisements which might be misleading.

Using your phone book to find jobs!
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