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TEFL Reviews and Testimonial Scams

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  • Chris Westergaard
    7 April, 2012 at 18:49
    • Total posts: 19

    Hey Everybody,

    It seems more and more prevalent these days that some TEFL providers are writing their own TEFL/TESOL reviews and even creating their own TEFL review sites. It should be a concern to you if you are researching courses and a sound way to pick the good courses from the bad.

    The problem appears to be getting worse, but luckily there is a quick fool proof solution that you can use.

    My advice is this – reviews and testimonials are great, but if they are not backed up by Facebook profiles or a clear way for you to contact these reviewers/graduates, they may be fake.

    I know it sounds crazy (and it is) to think that there might be a 40+ year old man pretending to be a 23 year old Californian girl, but it’s happening and it’s happening a lot. Keep your eye out for this kind of thing. In today’s social media climate, there is absolutely no reason for a school to not be able to get you in contact with a few dozen graduates of the course. There are good TEFL courses/schools out there and there are bad ones. Both want/need students to stay in business.

    Positive TEFL reviews for courses are great way to get new applicants and if a school is sub par they will have to resort to writing fake reviews about their TEFL program to compete with good courses that don’t need to. Believe me when I say that they do. Now it appears to even going to the point where some schools are creating their own TEFL review websites where they have complete control over everything.

    Most legitimate courses have graduates that are happy to share their real experiences with you via email or Facebook, Twitter …etc because they understand the apprehension and anxiety that comes with packing up your things and moving abroad. They themselves went through it before. Real graduates of any course are happy to help and a quick email or Facebook chat isn’t much to ask for.

    If you encounter a course with tons of positive feedback, but no way to actually contact these people, there’s probably something fishy going on. If a school can’t or refuses to connect you with graduate contact for whatever reason, they probably should be avoided. Best case scenario is that it shows the school is not connected with their graduates post course (which they should be for job/housing/networking help), worse case is that those testimonials might not be from real graduates at all. This doesn’t mean that you need hundreds of emails or Facebook contacts, but at least bit more than a handful of recent graduates should be enough.



    Note to forum – I’m posting this based on first hand experience with this problem and from feedback given to me from new TEFL students. I’m not naming anyone or promoting anything. My advice is pretty clear – get in contact with graduates directly to check on the quality of a course and if what they deliver is real. I think we can all agree that this is some good advice.

    Cheers, Chris Westergaard, The Language House TEFL Course in Prague http://www.thelanguagehouse.net

    David Young
    9 July, 2012 at 13:02
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: TEFL Reviews and Testimonial Scams

    I think I may have just encountered the same thing as Chris. A review site which seems to be run in a slightly strange manner but which I presume I am not allowed to name here. A review site which refuses to print our ‘school blurb’ as submitted and subsequently refuses to communicate. Very strange.

    As outlined above, be careful about what you read. I don’t think even an email address given as a contact is much guarantee that the person you are contacting is really someone who has taken a course.

    David Young
    Course Director
    Trinity CertTESOL
    OxfordTEFL Prague

    11 July, 2012 at 9:52
    • Total posts: 158

    Reply To: TEFL Reviews and Testimonial Scams

    Our school is on a number of these review sites. Following a tip-off we looked into the situation with one of these sites and the highest ranking school shown on the review site.

    And it came out that the school website and the review site website shared an almost identical IP address. In other words, the school had set up a fake review site and invited all other schools (including ours) to post details there.

    But should you go there you’ll see the school which set up the review site is Number 1 on the list.

    Very sad days if you ask me. This industry really does need some proper regulation!

    ICAL – TEFL Courses & TEFL Resources

    China Scam Patrol
    2 August, 2017 at 15:59
    • Total posts: 26

    All of you are correct-especially today in 2017. We have investigated 19 ESL/TEFL review sites and only 5 of them are not frauds. When we say fraud we mean reviews that are either paid for or self-created. The legitimate sites:


    The best reviews are the ones you ignore and just do your own investigation by checking black and white lists and speak with other foreign teachers who have worked there. Good Luck!

    For current news about China scams you can check the CFTU or CTA blacklists or visit http://reddit.com/r/chinascamcentral. Remember to read thrice and sign once!

    3 August, 2017 at 14:16
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi there,

    have you heard anything about “Top Wise Education Group” in Tianjin? I’ve seen they have some good offers, so I just want to make sure they aren’t in the blacklist before I proceed any further (btw, I did check their names everywhere but couldn’t find a thing)

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