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Urgent Warning for Parents

 

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Warning from Back To The Future Education

Families using Back To The Future Educationís Maths POWER programs have alerted us to companies claiming to have an association with us and/or passing off as us in order to sell their products, using material such as our slogans, etc in web advertising, copying parts of our web site almost word for word, as well as companies coming to your homes, also making false claims. In the past we have had companies take names from small sections of our programs and use as their company name, now there are more copying anything they can to ride on our good name as the most trusted company in the industry. As the Leaders in Maths Learning Programs, others will (and do), try to confuse the public into believing that they are us.

Be aware!! Back To The Future Education is the ONLY provider of the Maths POWER programs; is by far, Australia's Leading Maths Program and does NOT send salespeople into your home.

Our qualified teachers and advisors discuss with parents, a childís requirements over the phone and together we can assess your child's mathematics through our FREE online, confidential assessments.

Beware of new maths companies cropping up everywhere, claiming to instantly have 45,000-50,000 students or claiming to have 1000 lessons (as we do), only to find that they have less than 500, and then claiming to be trust-worthy! Do your homework. We've done some of it for you on our Maths Program Comparison Page

MathsPOWER is the original, authentic Leading Maths Program in Australia (and now in the World) and Back to the Future is in its 10th year!

The number of media reports and reviews on Maths POWER should tell it best and the thousands of comments from parents, teachers & principals, kids, pyschologists, homeschoolers and software experts, prove that Back to the Future/Maths POWER is the Maths Program that more parents trust.

To discuss your childís needs or anything about our company and products or education in general, please feel free to contact us on 1300 133 831 or 1300-1-MATHS 24hours, or email your daytime contact details to info@mathspower.com.au by clicking here.

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Warnings from Government agencies

A number of warnings have been issued by state government agencies warning parents about certain other companies and their selling tactics.

VICTORIAN CONSUMER LAW CENTRE WARNS ABOUT MATHEMATICS SOFTWARE

The Consumer Law Centre warns parents to think carefully before spending $6,000 or more on computer maths software. Catherine Wolthuizen, the Centre's Director says that some parents who sign up are finding themselves in financial difficulty. The Consumer Law Centre of Victoria (CLCV) warned that heavy marketing of the programs - and high-pressure sales tactics, are leading some parents to sign up without doing their homework.

While all parents care about their children's education, Catherine advises parents to take time to think about the cost, find out what other programs are available, and talk to their child's teacher before committing themselves financially. There can be a short cooling off period in some cases, but Catherine warns "There's no going back if it doesn't suit your child, your child refuses to use it or you canít afford the payments."

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NSW Education Minister Media Release


New South Wales
The Hon. Carmel Tebbutt, MLC
Minister for Education and Training

Embargoed until 5am, Sunday June 26, 2005

MEDIA RELEASE

ALERT TO PARENTS ABOUT MATHS AID

The NSW Minister for Education and Training, Ms Carmel Tebbutt, today warned parents to exercise caution if they are considering buying a computer tool which claims to dramatically improve a student's performance

Ms Tebbutt said the company selling the product, which costs around $4,000, wrongly claims it is recommended by the Department.

"Let me make it clear. This program is not endorsed by the Department of Education and Training.

The Department does not endorse commercial products.ĀE

The Department has already received a number of enquiries from parents about statements made by ĀEĀE. sales people regarding the product- advertised on the internet, radio and in shopping centres.

The Department has requested the company associated with the product to remove references to the Department on more than one occasion.

ďThe company has not done so and the Department is now seeking legal adviceĀEMs Tebbutt said.

Ms Tebbutt said parents are advised to contact their school directly if they need further advise on their childís learning needs.

ďStudents get results through hard work and dedication. There is no magic fix and I urge parents to exercise caution,ĀEMs Tebbutt said.

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Questions to ask before Purchasing Education Software

  1. How much is the program going to cost me?

    Donít fall for the line ďI donít know until I assess your childrenĀE

    The salesperson knows exactly what they are going to sell you purely from the information about the year your children are in at school. It is safe to assume that the programs are going to cost somewhere between $4 000 and $10 000.

  2. Is the program produced by Australian teachers?

    Verify by asking who the teachers are. An inability or a reluctance to give a specific answer to this question should ring alarm bells.

  3. Is the program based on Australian syllabus?

    Verify the answer with your school or Department of Education. Ask to see specific topics rather than just accept the selections they show you, e.g. ďCan you show me a lesson on Surds?ĀE

  4. Does EVERY lesson have verbal explanation as well as graphics to ensure visual and auditory teaching?

    If the answer is ďNOĀEor ďnot sureĀEthen your child will miss out on the most important aspect of any learning strategy, the ability to hear and see an explanation of a lesson is essential. (Students need to hear the little secrets or tips often added by the teacher to help understanding of a concept).

  5. Does the program have printable worksheets attached to every lesson?

    Written worksheets are essential so the student can demonstrate that they have understood and learnt how to set out their work appropriately. Interactive-only programs are O.K. for a bit of drill and practice when a student already understands a concept, but in an exam the student is not usually asked to simply ďclick onĀEor ďtype inĀEan answer. They will need to show full setting out and working out. If the student hasnít practiced this physically they will not know how to do it.

    Some programs have features that allow students to enter aspects of their homework and are then guided in a trial and error process to an answer. Again, this fails to provide the student the full understanding of the concept, as most of the work is being done for them.

    Direct entry programs (where all work is entered via the computer keyboard) fail to give students the tactile experience of appropriate setting out because the programs place the information in the appropriate place on the screen automatically.

  6. Can I pay for and only use part of the program for one or two years to see if it improves the studentís results?

    Ask if you can use the program for just one or two years for a nominal fee ($200- $400). If the answer is ďNOĀEyou should avoid this program totally. No matter what argument is presented to you, no program is worth $4000 - $10 000 up-front.

    The reason that many of these companies will not sell year-by-year programs is because the programs have been deliberately packaged as a long-term program to maximize the up-front fee. This usually occurs when a program is not effective and the companies know that families will not come back to purchase the next yearís work.

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Claims you should verify before Purchasing Education Software

  1. The program is endorsed or recommended by the Department of Education.

    If this claim is made you should ask which State Education Department it is and you should then make a phone call to verify the claim. You should do this even if you are presented with a document that seems to support this claim.

    Education Departments do review curriculum resources for teachers for the purpose of giving teachers and principals an idea of whether they represent value for money and relevance to the needs of students. For example, they may recommend a program to teachers if it is presented with a purchase value of $400 but the same program would not get a recommendation at a value of $1000.

    Unfortunately, some companies alter the reviews to give false and misleading information about how the department sees their products.

  2. The program is being used in hundreds of schools.

    Ask for a list of 10 schools that will verify that they are using the program with the students in the classroom.

    A failure to provide this or excuses that the information is confidential and schools might be inundated with phone calls from parents are more reasons to question the claim being made.

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Have you been visited by somebody from a company with an official sounding name?

Beware of sales organisations that have official sounding words as part of their name. These words give the impression of some sort of connection to official bodies or places of higher learning.

Unfortunately, there is no law preventing sales companies from using the terms in their names to give parents the impression that they are in some way an official body.

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The Hard Sell

Unfortunately, the education industry has attracted many sales companies who prey on the emotions of parents. They generate enquiries and gain access to homes through a variety of methods: - shopping centre stands, competitions, radio advertising, television advertising and letters sent through schools with promises of free programs to schools if the majority of families respond to the letters.

The one thing they all have in common is that they will not divulge the cost of their programs up-front because they need to have a salesperson in a face-to-face situation with the family.

Education is a very emotive topic for parents as it affects their childís future. This makes parents vulnerable to these types of tactics.

Emotional blackmail is the tactic most commonly used to force parents into signing purchase agreements that commit the parents to over-priced, inadequate programs and services before they have a chance to verify the claims made about the product or compare it to alternatives.

Buying goods or services from in-home presentation, door-to-door salespeople or direct marketing (telemarketing) can be expensive and wasteful if you allow yourself to be pressured into buying something without having time to verify claims made by the salesperson or to look at other options.

'Unconscionable conduct' occurs when actions that could constitute illegitimate pressure are applied by the salesperson to affect a sale.

If you feel that you have been pressured into purchasing a program without being given time to think about what has been presented to you or if you feel that you have purchased a program based on false information presented to you by the sales person, you have rights under the Fair Trading laws in each state and may be entitled to a refund.

Many people feel embarrassed after purchasing a highly priced item through high-pressure sales presentations. However, the laws are on the side of those who are understandably over-whelmed in such a situation, especially when it is borne out of concern for their children.

It is a simple procedure to lodge a complaint. See below for a link to the appropriate Fair Trading department in your state.

When goods or services are purchased through door-to-door sales for an amount over $100, the law provides for a 'cooling off' period. This means the householder can cancel the contract within the relevant number of business days. The cooling off period varies from state to state. The trader must give the customer a written document outlining their right to cancel and how to exercise it in case they change their mind.

If you are unsure about your cooling off period contact your local office of Fair Trading (See below).

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Advice from Department of Fair Trading

Snap decisions are often bad decisions. By all means listen to the offers of door-to-door salespeople, but keep your options open. Don't be pressured into signing contracts without taking the time to weigh up the pros and cons.

Links to Fair Trading Departments for your State
ACT
NSW
NT
QLD
SA
TAS
VIC
WA
Go to What the Media is Saying About Maths POWER

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