This really pisses me off. My roomie says to me today "Can you lend me $500 so I can teach in China like you?" I guess I should explain that he works as a volunteer with an NGO for a Christian youth organization that comes to China every summer to teach sports to orphan kids. Anyway I was really confused as to why he needed $500 to teach and asked him to explain since I just assumed some fake agent was shaking him down for some up-front fees. (A typical scam in China) But the explanation I got back from him blew me away!
Somehow he got mixed up with a company called i-to-i.com in the U.K. for a travel package quote and then after he turned them down based on the price, he started getting calls from another girl in the U.K. with a company calling itself OnlineTEFL.com who asked him if he wanted a full time job teaching in China for 20,000 yuan per month. That got his attention I imagine.
He told me that they had three conversations and he was told that if he bought a TEFL training course from them they would guarantee him a six month paid teaching internship that would turn into a full time job after 6 months. The girl told my roomie that they have been doing this since 2005 and sent hims some links on "Chalkboard" that had great reviews about the company. They even gave him the phone number of "three satisfied teachers in China" that he could call as a reference. Of course they gave good feedback about the company to roomie - because they were probably paid to do exactly that!
And they convinced him that without one of their TEFL certificates, nobody in China would hire him. Anyway, he believed all this horseshit and was short on cash do he could take advantage of this "great deal". He hd no clue that their TEFL certificate has little value since most countries do not recognize or accept it.
So not being familiar with this Chalkboard and OnLineTefl.com I started to google them and immediately saw they are "affiliates" with the i-to-i travel group. I dug a little deeper and discovered they operated out of the same U.K. address, have the same telephone number, and have the same fricking owners for the two web sites! So I started digging some more and found a bunch of negative stuff posted all over the internet. Here is a sample of of what I found and the dates span 2007-2013 on these complaints...http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/c ... -i-from-ukhttp://www.ripoffreport.com/r/I-To-Icom ... -I-1078645http://www.abroadreviews.com/warning-on
So warn your friends about this little band of British thieves who are aggressive and very much determined to swindle people. Do not be fooled by the fake references and magnificent web site. My roomie is not dumb by any standard - just new to China and these people are quite smooth.