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The ETS are a bunch of thieves

  1. Feb 6, 2012 #1
    I am so angry right now that my hands are shaking as I type this. Let me give you a timeline of events:

    August 3rd, 2011: I take the general GRE, which comes with 3 free score reports. After the test, I select the University of Maryland as one of my free reports, and I select that both general and subject tests are to be sent.

    October 15th, 2011: I take the subject GRE.

    November 2nd: General GRE scores come out

    November 12th: Subject scores come out. At this point, the My GRE website shows the following:


    Note that it says "GS" under scores requested, which means both general and subject. So naturally, I assume that both the general and the subject scores will be sent out.

    January 15th: I submit my application to the University of Maryland. They claim that I am missing my subject test score, but they have in capital letters to NOT email the admissions department about missing items until 3 weeks after the application is submitted.

    February 5th: 3 weeks have passed since I submitted my application, and it still says I'm missing my subject score. I email the admissions department.

    February 6th: The admissions department tells me that they do not have my subject score.

    One hour ago: I call ETS to see why they did not send out my score. Their answer: I requested the subject score too early, so when they sent out the score report, the subject test wasn't processed yet. It is their policy to never send out the subject score when it becomes available unless it is requested, and it doesn't matter that I did request it, because I didn't request it a second time.

    So, it doesn't matter that I get a free score report (three, actually), and that I requested the free score report before I took the subject test. Because I requested it TOO far in advance (at the end of the general test), they refused to send the subject score. This is all despite the fact that their website says both the general and subject tests were requested to be sent out.

    So, I ask them to please send out the report to University of Maryland. "No," they respond. It's too late now, and I'd have to pay their 23 dollar fee for them to send it out. I argue with the person for a few minutes that this is a service that I paid for in my test fee, and it is a service that I requested and wasn't completed. He won't budge, so I ask to speak to his supervisor.

    His supervisor argues with me for 20 minutes about how it's my fault that I didn't read the legalese buried in their website somewhere that I'd have to request the subject test a second time. She refuses to give me a one-time customer accommodation and send out the test score free of charge (as I was entitled too.) She then claims that if I had called in, say, December, she might have made an exception for me and sent out the report, but February is too late. This is despite the fact that I would have had NO WAY OF KNOWING that they did not send out the subject test score, because the website says I requested both the subject and general to be sent. I naively assumed that meant they actually sent out the subject and general test.

    I ask to speak to the person above the supervisor, and she claims that there is nobody else I can speak to. I end the call with a parting shot about wondering what a small claims court judge would think of their policy.

    The worst part is that it would cost them practically nothing to send out the scores. Much of this is done electronically, so with the click of a button, Maryland would be able to see my score. Because they're trying to milk me out of something that I already paid for, they refuse to do this to make my life easier. Instead, I'm likely to be rejected from Maryland because of an "incomplete application" that is only incomplete because of some arcane policies imposed by this monopolistic corporation.

    The worst part about this is that the ETS is a non-profit organization, so they don't even have to pay taxes on how badly they're ripping off their customers here, and as a monopoly, there's nowhere else that I could take my business (not that I'm ever taking another GRE), and this rant will be meaningless, because there is no other competitor to which future test-takers could go. What are they going to do, just skip grad school because the ETS is a corrupt den of non-profit thieves? At least with the SAT, you can choose to take the ACT instead. I am aware of no alternative with the GRE.

    I've emailed the University of Maryland explaining my situation, and I've asked if they'd accept an unofficial score report (a screenshot of my scores). I'll probably see tomorrow what they say, but I expect them to say no. They have far too many other well-qualified applicants that the ETS didn't screw over to go through.

    That comment about small claims court might not even be an empty threat. I feel that they did not live up to their end of their agreement, and this caused my application fee to Maryland to be wasted. I feel I'm entitled to a refund of my subject test fee as well as be reimbursed for the application fee to Maryland.

    Any advise for me? Any other ETS horror stories to share?

    I guess that I'll just conclude with this: If you or somebody you know ever has the opportunity to take the ACT rather than the SAT, go for it. Avoid giving ETS any of your money when possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2012 #2
    I'm sorry Jack :frown:

    They at least should have send you something that your subject test wasn't send out. Leaving you in the assumption that it was send out was very wrong from them.

    Please don't get mad about what I'm going to ask. But why not suck it up and pay the 23$?? It's extremely unfair, but you might still get into Maryland.
  4. Feb 6, 2012 #3


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    I agree with micromass. Pay the $23 fee to complete your application so you don't lose your chance to be admitted. Schools do know these types of mix-ups happen, and even if they can't accept an unofficial report, your screenshot might get consideration to hold a spot open until they get the official report.

    Then go ahead and try small claims court to get the $23 fee back. Keep notes of your conversation. Did you get the name of the one who said they might have considered waiving the fee if you asked sooner? That's an important statement. They've admitted they have leeway to correct the mistake and make exceptions to their policy by saying that.

    Good luck!
  5. Feb 6, 2012 #4


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    geeeeeeez, if that is how they treat their american customer, I wonder what sort of crap international applicant may go through
  6. Feb 6, 2012 #5
    It's not even about the $23 dollars, it's the principle of the thing. I know I'll feel differently after I've had a chance to sleep and calm down, but right now, the sense of injustice I'd feel by letting them "win" would outweigh any benefits I get from increasing my chances at admission.

    I've submitted a complaint to the BBB. Lets see if they respond to that. I've requested that either they send Maryland a copy of the score report immediately, or they refund me $75 for services not rendered.

    I worked in customer service roles (including sales, because unhappy customers don't buy or send referrals) for 10 years. Never have I worked for a company that would fight so hard against a customer over such a small amount of money. That's because in every other company I worked for, there were plenty of competitors that our customers could go to if we didn't treat them well. When I worked for Terminix, if we tried fighting a customer over 23 dollars, they'd go to Orkin. When I worked at Sleepy's, if I refused to, say, honor an online price that was 23 dollars lower than our in-store price, they'd just buy it online or from Mattress Discounters or wherever. With the ETS, there's nobody.

    I don't know who they bribed to give them non-profit monopoly status, but it's ridiculous that they can get away with things like this. Worse than being a monopoly, they KNOW they are a monopoly. They could have told me to go eff myself, and my only option would be to sit there and take it, because there is nowhere else I can go.
  7. Feb 6, 2012 #6
    Sometimes you need to swallow your pride. Perhaps this is one of these cases??

    Basically, you now have the coice between fighting for your principles and getting a chance to be admitted in Maryland. From which will you benifit more in the long term?? What good will standing up for your principles do in this case??
  8. Feb 6, 2012 #7


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    I understand it's the principle and he stranglehold they have on the market, but is the principle worth not getting into grad school? I totally support the idea of going after them for the refund, I just think it's better to not screw up your chances for admission by delaying your scores even further.
  9. Feb 6, 2012 #8
    You are, of course, right. I just expect my pride will taste far less bitter tomorrow morning. Right now, I'd rather swallow a handful of freezing cold poison.
  10. Feb 6, 2012 #9

    I do empathize with you. What they did was totally wrong and despicable.
  11. Feb 7, 2012 #10
    Luckily, the University of Maryland understood that situations like this happen, and accepted a screenshot of the My ETS website as a valid score, and told me "your application is now complete." I still intend to make the ETS send Maryland an official copy just so they have it in their records.

    That's what I requested of them in the BBB complaint, anyway.
  12. Feb 7, 2012 #11
    Oh, this is very very very good!! I'm very happy for you! :tongue2:

    Now sue the hell out of ETS!
  13. Oct 15, 2012 #12
    Hey Jack, can you tell me what ever happened with this?

    I'm taking the GRE in November and I want to avoid something like this happening... (funnily I'm also applying to Maryland).

    I registered by mail for the subject test, and included four schools that I wanted my scores sent to. Based on your experience are you saying I should re-request the scores be sent out once the exam is over? I'm a little confused as to what the issue was with your scores.
  14. Oct 15, 2012 #13
    No, I think what you did is fine. What I did was request both subject and general scores be sent out when I took the general test (before I took the subject test). When I took the subject test, they mailed me a paper asking where they wanted subject scores sent. I figured (and the ETS website agreed) that I had already requested where I wanted the subject scores sent.
  15. Oct 15, 2012 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    Ah, so you didn't reply to the letter?
  16. Oct 15, 2012 #15
    I thought it was a repeat of the one they sent for the general test, which I specified that subject and general tests should be sent out.

    In any case, it's old news. My BBB complaint worked and they sent out the score as requested. I was rejected from Maryland anyway, so it didn't matter. The point remains that they told me that they could have done a customer accommodation, but they just didn't want to (until I complained to the BBB).
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