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Marc S.

2 Level 2 Contributor
  • 9 Reviews
  • 56 Helpful Votes
  • 0 Thank Yous

Experience: Real Estate, Education, Computers & Technology

Member since February 2010

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9 Reviews by Marc

Home Depot's website engages in repeated survey spam by default.

You must enter an email address if you pre-order a product for pickup at a store. That's reasonable and necessary for Home Depot to keep you informed about the status of your pre-order. After the purchase is complete and you have the item, they send an email request for you to fill out a survey. That's reasonable but not necessary. Some people like filling out surveys. There's the tiny chance of winning some cash prize, but I didn't care. I deleted the survey request.

Then a few days or maybe a week later, they emailed the same survey request a second time. I deleted it. Then they sent a third and fourth survey request and maybe more.

Yes, under the old CAN-SPAM act, I could and eventually did deselect myself from all Home Depot emails. I waited until the fifth or sixth time because the easiest thing to make an email go away in the short term is to hit delete, and I didn't expect to find the same stinking email appear in my inbox again and again later because I still have the naivete to think that the IT professionals at and CIO of Home Depot might have the social decency of shutting the hell up when another person says no to your survey spam the first and the second time.

The CIO of Home Depot is Matthew A. Carey, and, according to his profile at Business Week he "has decades of experience in information technology, corporate strategy and best practices across complex organizations." Perhaps, thanks to Mr Carey and Home Depot, shareholders will soon regard opting in to repeated survey-spam by default as a best practice for corporations like Home Depot to maximize feedback obtained from consumers like me. Maybe this has already happened. I usually try to buy from mom-and-pop stores or Amazon because they seem to have the decency that Mr Carey's organization lacks.
So it's 1:30 am on a weekend in mid-October 2013 and the internet is full of hate over yahoo mail's slow and buggy changes to their interface, and I'm one of those haters who are switching everything over to gmail and completely abandoning this nasty yahoo mail thing I've been using for so many years because I've been trying to download an attachment for hours, and their mail search function is not accepting the letters "l" and "k." What does Yahoo have against "l"s and "k"s tonight? If I want to search for other letters, and even punctuation marks like a semicolon, that's not a problem.

More importantly, at least one email that I composed and sent which was now located in the "Sent" folder had not been received after over 12 hours and a file that had been sent to me as an attachment could not be downloaded. Most media outlets are reporting this as a "user preference" issue about tabs or the interface, but a few of them are getting it right. From http://www.cnet.com.au/yahoo-mail-redesign-plagued-with-bugs-339345681.htm:

"... the mail service itself is failing at its core function: as a means of sending electronic communication. Emails are failing to be delivered, arriving up to 24 hours after the original email was sent, inboxes are disappearing entirely, the "reply" function has stopped working and contacts are being deleted."

For thousands of years before the internet, humans relied on mail to do two things: send information and receive information. Yahoo Mail is failing to do what a guy on a horse with a bag full of papyrus or hides did in the ancient world.

A snarky and usually correct older relative recommended gmail to me when it came out years ago, and he switched over right away, but no! I had to stay with yahoo and trust these people when I should have listened to him. And if you knew this particular relative and my own obstinate self, you'd have some idea about the ridiculously petty pain I'll be experiencing when I have to admit to him that YES, I learned my lesson and am now switching everything over to google and I'll never trust yahoo with a damned thing again.
I have two complaints about lexingtontutoring.com based on emails I received yesterday and this morning. First, lexingtontutoring.com used spam tactics and unethical competitive practices by misrepresenting itself as a student while attempting to recruit me as a tutor. Second, the unwanted spam they sent left the impression that lexingtontutoring.com does not understand what an independent contractor is or the legal protections afforded to independent contractors.

I'm a proud, independent tutor, and some of my business is through wyzant.com. Students use that website to send emails to potential tutors. However, a tiny fraction of the emails I receive this way aren't from students. They're actually recruiting emails made up of invitations to work with Wyzant's competitors: other tutoring agencies or student-tutor matching services.

Until today, I thought it was amusing to imagine small business owners growing so desperate for good tutoring help that they log on to a competitor's site this way by impersonating a student. Most of the time, these recruiting emails are obviously not from a student because they include the name of the company or say something like, "Would you like to be part of our team?" But yesterday, I received a Wyzant request for a chemistry and calculus tutor that only said, "Would like to talk with you about working with us." Many families with more than one student have sent similar emails in the past, so I took the time to reply by treating the sender of this email like a parent (perhaps with one child taking chemistry and another taking calculus) instead of like a recruiting spammer.

The other shoe dropped this morning when I received a recruiting pitch informing me about working with lexingtontutoring.com from the same Wyzant email address. Wyzant's TOU makes it clear that its site is only for students and tutors, so lexingtontutoring.com misrepresented itself by misusing its competitor's site, but what really bugged me is that it misrepresented itself further by writing, "Would like to talk with you about working with us," something an actual parent might write. This morning I also received an invitation to join the LinkedIn network of the owner of Lexington Tutoring LLC, a person with the same first name and last initial as the Wyzant account holder.

The recruiting email this morning included this information:
"The tutors who work with us are independent contractors who work exclusively through us... All work exclusively through us." Guess what, spamming-lady? If you require that your tutors work exclusively through your company then they are not independent. Massachusetts law at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/independent-contractor-advisory.pdf makes it clear that an independent contractor "is capable of performing the service to anyone."

If these unfortunate tutors are required to work exclusively for this company then they are part-time employees. Calling them independent contractors might help the bottom line, but that is a different sort of misrepresentation. If you're a lexingtontutoring.com tutor and your contract has an exclusivity clause, I hope you consider sending a copy to the state attorney general's office. If you're a parent looking for a tutor then why not find one the same way that lexingtontutoring.com tried to find me?

After being a tutor for several years, I've grown disgusted at how some former educators behave when they form their own small tutoring agencies. A certain moment must come when their memory about the joys and trials of actually educating children becomes so distant that they begin to treat their own tutors and potential tutors like cattle, and then they become surprised, desperate, and unethical when they can't attract and retain good people.

It amazes me that a business owner in 2013 would engage in spamming and misrepresentation online and then have the audacity to send a LinkedIn invitation as if they'd done nothing wrong. The difference between right and wrong does not seem to be important to Lexington Tutoring LLC, and thanks to sitejabber, I finally have a chance to let others know about this company's unwanted spam, misrepresentation, and suspect contracting practices.
MacKeeper took a bad situation and made it worse. If you enjoy taking the time to reinstall Microsoft Office and lord knows what other applications that MacKeeper destroys, then definitely try this software. Maybe you're looking for an excuse for not getting a project done or you're a masochist.

Maybe you hate your Mac. As for me, I was just stupid.

My MacBook Pro has been behaving poorly. It seems to be getting hotter than it should, and it crashes in a certain way. First I tried Sophos Free Anti-Virus for Mac. Sophos claimed to have found and removed a few nasty virus-like things. Yay!

But my MacBook Pro was still behaving poorly. So I made my first mistake. I clicked on one of the ubiquitous ads for MacKeeper that are everywhere. Why did I reward them for such an annoying ad campaign? Because they got a good review on cnet, and I like and trust cnet. So I downloaded MacKeeper's free trial software.

While MacKeeper was running the first time, Sophos tried to download an update. The two pieces of software wouldn't let each other finish either job, and my computer stalled in a different way than it has previously. The active symbol on MacKeeper and the downloading symbol on Sophos both kept on going for a very long time but otherwise the computer was frozen. Then I made my second mistake. I restarted my computer, prevented Sophos downloading, and kept trusting MacKeeper after it had stalled my computer once.

MacKeeper didn't find any additional viruses that Sophos had missed. No big deal there. When it claimed to have found and removed a bunch of unneeded files, I thought that maybe one of the files it had removed was causing an unwanted process that made my computer heat up and crash. So when MacKeeper requested my payment to continue removing more unnecessary files, I shelled out the dough. That was my third mistake. After a paid-for MacKeeper was finally done its scan, it seemed to have removed a huge number of unneeded files.

Some of these unneeded files were needed.

I discovered after MacKeeper's first full scan that all my Microsoft Office applications were dead. After three live chats with customer service, we had this exchange:

Joseph: are you able to reinstall Office?
Me: I am hoping to avoid having to do that.
Joseph: to be honest it will be easiest solution. Just don't use mackeeper again before we answer you what exact caused your problem

I am not alone. See https://www.google.com/search?q=+site:answers.microsoft.com+mackeeper+microsoft for the complaints to microsoft. Why aren't there complaints on MacKeeper's site about it crashing Office? I don't know, but I have my suspicions.
I signed up at care.com as a tutor in Feb 2010. Since that time, I have not connected with a single student through their service.

Perhaps care.com isn't to blame for that. Maybe my profile is just not very appealing to potential students and their parents? This might be true except...

I used nearly the same profile information at a competitor's tutor-student matching service, and I've been connected with several dozen students in the same time period. In addition to the intrinsic reward of helping so many people, I also earned over $35k since Feb 2010 from tutoring students I met through the competitor's site. Using the competitor's site, my students are happy, and I'm happy.

For me, Care.com has failed miserably in the exact same situation where others have succeeded.

Maybe if my profile stood out by purchasing a "premium membership" from care.com, I would have met more students from the service. Maybe if I purchased a highly suspect "tutor certification" from the woefully corporate-compromised American Tutoring Association or National Tutoring Association, I would have worked with more students from care.com. But after nearly two years of receiving nothing, I'm not prepared to pay to receive more of nothing. As of today, I'm removing my profile from their site.

They are receiving two stars instead of one because they only wasted my time and didn't take any of my money.
Jennifer M. – Care.com Rep
Hi Marc,

We're sorry to hear that you were unable to find the jobs you were looking for through Care.com. If you look through our Articles and Resources page, we have a lot of suggestions of ways to make your profile stand out more.

Additionally, we have a "Profile Strength" feature that helps show what you have and haven't completed on your profile. Having a complete profile, as well as being active on the account (responding to every message you receive, logging in every day, and applying to new jobs every day) helps boost your search result ranking.

Of course, purchasing the Premium Membership is another way to help your profile stand out; you show up as featured in search results, and you have access to messaging even more families looking for care, but this isn't the only option.

We again apologize that you weren't able to find a tutoring job using Care.com, but are happy to hear that you were able to find a job!

Care.com Member Care Representative
I was exploring the possibility of joining tutorfind.com when I turned up some wacky unexplained things. Then I discovered what seems to be the most likely explanations for those things. I've been a tutor on and off for 12 years and I have over 1000 tutoring hours with clients, and I am sick of being treated like garbage by these types of people. Stay away from tutorfind.com and be very wary of the American Tutoring Association (ATA) until you understand more about their relationship to each other and to CER, LLC.

After clicking on the web site's "Be a TutorFind Tutor" button, I read that all TutorFind tutors must be certified by the ATA and the company will help me process my certification. For a tutor/student matching service or a tutoring agency to absolutely require all its tutors to be certified seemed strange, but for it to require all its tutors to have one and only one type of certification seemed downright bizarre. A college professor or a 20-year veteran of a great school district would not be able to join tutorfind.com as a tutor without ATA certification, so I headed over to the ATA site at www.americantutoringassociation.org and read about that organization.

For a one-time fee of $95 and a recurring fee of $65/year, the ATA would provide me with a background check of myself (a useful thing for a tutor to have) and several useless things--for me at least--like verifying my own references and confirming that I have a Bachelor's Degree or the equivalent. How much of my fee would go into the background check? Probably less than $10. Where would the rest of my certification fee go? The ATA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so chances are that nobody is getting rich off of those outlandish and unreasonable certification fees, but that money must be going somewhere. Now for a question to ponder later: Is it still perfectly legal for non-profits to compensate their board members with high salaries?

Now imagine you'd never heard of tutorfind and go ahead and search for tutors at the non-profit ATA's web page at http://www.americantutoringassociation.org/index.php?action=search and which tutors do you find over and over? I find nearly all of them are tutors at the for-profit tutorfind.com. How and why does the ATA care so much about TutorFind?

Back at tutorfind.com, I was trying to figure out some details about their organization from a tutor's perspective. Namely, how do funds get transferred from the client to the company and from the company to me, and who pays how much for what and when. Before being provided with answers to some of my most basic questions, I was presented with an independent contractor agreement between myself and an entity called "CER, LLC." Who the hell is "CER, LLC" and why are they expecting me to agree to anything when I know so little about everything?

How dare tutorfind treat potential tutors in this shabby and disgusting way by asking us to agree to terms and rates that we don't know with a limited liability corporation we've never heard of? How can they get away with this in 2011?

And the contract has one bizarre clause: "Occasionally, TutorFind will pay for all costs associated with ATA Certification. In these cases tutor agrees to give TutorFind two hours of tutoring at no charge." What? How and why does TutorFind care so much about ATA?

What's tutorfind.com like from the client's perspective? Try it and see. Eventually, you'll receive a list of possible tutors in your area that tutor the subject you want, and you're asked to click a link to "Schedule Work With This Tutor" and enter how many hours you want to buy BEFORE knowing how much each tutor charges! Eventually, you reach a payment screen with the statement: "A one time $95.00 Registration Fee will be charged to new clients prior to the first tutoring sessison. [sic]" Strange... a one time fee of $95 for doing almost nothing... that sounds familiar...

One possible answer to these mysteries is at http://www.americantutoringassociation.org/?action=meet_board. The first board member and a founding member of the ATA also founded TutorFind. She must like the number 95. After all, her non-profit charges tutors $95 in return for doing almost nothing except directing potential customers to her for-profit that charges clients $95 in return for doing almost nothing. If I were her, I'd like the number 95 too.
My complaint about this site is similar to Stef P.'s. When I pay money, I expect to receive ALL the information I need to decide who to contact and who not to contact. Roommates.com does not let paid members know the identity of other paid members. What that means is that they expect me to email many people who will not be able to read my emails without paying to unlock their inbox.

The company's goal is to have you pay them in order to give you the ability to waste your time trying to get other people to pay them with very little potential benefit to you.
I remember a scene on a TV show when I was a little kid (I think it was from All In The Family) where one of the characters has an awful experience with a business and yells, "I'm going to call the BBB!" It's still around and it's still useful and it's still powerful, and it's incredibly convenient to use their site.

A few years ago, I was ripped off by a company for a small amount, only $20 or so, and filed a BBB complaint on their web site. My complaint was the first one. They had no records about this company. The owner refused to return my money. It took a while for the gears to roll into motion and for additional complaints to accumulate, but sure enough, about a year later, the scammer was investigated and exposed by a local television station for ripping off thousands from other people who had been more trusting than me. His business was forced to shut down and information about his business and about his name will remain on google forever.

The BBB can be a great force to resolve individual conflicts with businesses or to battle businesses with a history of scam-artistry, but I am wary of more subtle distinctions like their A-F rating. The idea that an A+ business can't get any better or that there's some quantifiable distinction between an A- business and a B+ business seems silly to me.
As a tutor, I've had a very positive experience with WyzAnt for over two years. With Wyzant, when I meet students or their parents, the only topics we need to discuss are educational topics.

It's true that when a tutor begins with Wyzant, the company takes 40% of the client's money if the client doesn't pay in advance. What's not true is that this 40% take lasts FOREVER (like the previous reviewer wrote). It rapidly decreases by 5% increments to a 20% take as the tutor's hours increase. Also, if a student purchases hours in advance, they receive a 20% discount that comes from Wyzant's side of the business. This discount reduces the company's take to nothing--yup, 0%--for tutors who have many hours with Wyzant under their belt. Of course, Wyzant's cash flow still benefits by holding the prepayments, and, for all I know, this pay structure and discount offer may change in the future.

My experience with tutoring before Wyzant was that brick-and-mortar agencies near me usually took 50%, this percentage never decreased, they told me what my rate had to be, and they often requested that I travel further than I wanted to go to meet students. It was a pain in the butt to advertise my own tutoring services, and students inevitably would forget cash or forget their checkbook. Messing around with advertising, bookkeeping, credit cards, or paypal would be a waste of my time. Wyzant's credit card processing and email system is convenient, but their real benefit to me has been the advertising service they provide by letting potential students compare my profile and rate to many other tutors in my area. After gaining enough hours to reach the 80% pay rate, this advertising service to the tutor is nearly free because most of my hours are from students who pay in advance.

What's most important to me is what WyzAnt does not do. They've earned their take by not sending emails to tutors or students in situations when they aren't requested, helpful, or needed. I like that they remain invisible unless they have something useful to contribute. Because of their trust in the student and tutor, working with WyzAnt has been refreshing and empowering for me and for my students. I think WyzAnt utilizes the internet and automation in a common-sense way that has improved the process of tutoring throughout the country by creating an open marketplace for tutor profiles with rates included. Wyzant, like this site, has helped to build a transparent internet.

I like that Wyzant offers referral bonuses to its tutors. If you become a Wyzant tutor or student by signing up after going to

XXXXX [link edited by moderator]

Then I get a cut of Wyzant's take. If sitejabber determines that posting this URL makes my review a conflict of interest, then please delete the URL or replace it with XXX's or something but please keep the remainder of my review.

My only criticism is that Wyzant's built-in email system doesn't handle cut/pasting and copy/pasting correctly because of some strange carriage-return issue.

Marc Has Earned 56 Votes

Marc S.'s review of Better Business Bureau earned 3 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of Lexington Tutoring earned 4 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of Care.com earned 24 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of Roommates.com earned 4 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of TutorFind earned 3 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of Home Depot earned a Very Helpful vote

Marc S.'s review of Yahoo Mail earned a Very Helpful vote

Marc S.'s review of WyzAnt earned 7 Very Helpful votes

Marc S.'s review of Mackeeper.zeobit earned a Very Helpful vote

Marc S.'s review of Care.com earned a Well Said vote

Marc S.'s review of Yahoo Mail earned a Well Said vote

Marc S.'s review of Better Business Bureau earned a Great Find vote

Marc S.'s review of WyzAnt earned a Funny vote

Marc S.'s review of TutorFind earned 4 Fraud Buster votes

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