In mid-October I purchased a 10 unit online course called Foundations of Herbalims (FoH) from Vintage Remedies. I had a number of technical issues with this course. 3 of the 10 units were missing information, as evidenced by a significant number of questions on the tests that were not covered at all in the course materials. When I took the test for unit 3, 3 of the 10 questions had not been covered in the materials. I sent a message to my course instructor, Colby, letting her know about the missing information. I did not receive any response to this message. When I took the test for unit 6, 7 of the 10 questions had not been covered in the materials. I sent another message to Colby letting her know about the missing information, and again mentioned the missing information in unit 3. At this time I also sent a message to Jessie Hawkins, owner of VR, letting her know about the missing information in the two units as I was unsure if Colby would respond to my message since she hadn’t responded to the other one. After about a week Colby responded and said that she’d forwarded my message to Jessie to look into. Later she told me that a PDF had been added to unit 6 and that I should go back and read it. She still did not acknowledge the missing info in unit 3, nor was anything added to that unit. When I got to unit 10, almost all of the information was missing from it. There were about 10 subtitles in that unit, and about 2/3 of them were blank–there was nothing there when you clicked on the subtitle. The course description on the VR website stated that there were supposed to be 100 recipes to download and over 2 hours of video demonstration in the course. There were no recipes at all and only a few short videos. I sent another message to Colby on November 24 letting her know about the missing information. Then I posted a one-sentence message on the VR student Facebook page, asking if anyone else in the FoH course was having problems with missing information in their course. Another student messaged me and said that she was in unit 10 also and had had the same problems, and had been waiting for a month for Colby to respond to her messages about the missing information. That same day I purchased another course, Family Herbalist, from Vintage Remedies during a sale. The following day, November 25, I was having trouble logging in to the student portal to access my course and I contacted Colby through the instant message feature on the VR website. After the log-in issue had been resolved, I told Colby about the missing information in unit 10. She said that they were having problems with the server deleting content from the course and they would look into it the following week, after Thanksgiving. I suggested that they post a message on the student FB group so that people would know what was going on and Colby stated that “no other student was having problems with their course”. She also told me that I was causing confusion among the other students by posting to the FB group instead of contacting VR about the issues with my course. Shortly after this conversation I again spoke with the other student who had been having problems with the course and she told me that Colby had finally responded to her that same morning. She also told me that she knew of another student who was having the same issues with their FoH course. At that time I sent a lengthy message to Jessie detailing all the problems I’d had with the course. I also told her about my conversation with Colby and stated that I felt that Colby had not been honest with me about there not being any other students who were having problems with their FoH course. I told her that I was concerned because I had just purchased another course from VR and I wanted some reassurance that that course would not have the same technical problems and that if it did, VR would correct them promptly. Six days later I received a two sentence response from Jessie to my message. Her exact words were: “If you’ve upgraded to FH, then we’ll actually be moving you over to that course and you won’t need to worry about the technical issues you’re having with Foundations of Herbalism. In the future, if you have any questions, just feel free to let me know.” At this time my FoH course was completely deleted and I no longer had any access to it. I messaged Jessie again telling her that I didn’t think her response was an acceptable one and that I’d actually wanted the information in the FoH course, especially the recipes. I did not receive any response to this message. On December 3rd or 4th I called VR and spoke to Colby. I asked when the books that were supposed to be included with the Family Herbalist course would ship. I was told that they were waiting for a shipment of books and that mine would ship either that Friday (the 5th) or the following Monday (the 8th) and I would receive a notice when they had shipped. I told Colby that I was unhappy that my FoH course had disappeared. She stated that it was their policy to delete a course when you “upgrade” to another one. Nowhere on the VR website did it state this. The description for the FoH course specifically stated that purchasing the course gave you 6 months of access to it. On December 10 I still had not received a shipping notice for the books so I again called VR and spoke with Colby. During this entire conversation I never yelled, used abusive language, nor did anything other than clearly state my concerns with VR. I asked when the books would ship and was told there had been an unavoidable delay and they’d ship either that afternoon or the following day (I cannot remember which). I then described the problems I’d had with the FoH course and VR’s lack of response and stated that I didn’t feel very confident about taking the new course with the unresolved issues with the old one. I again told her that I was unhappy about the FoH course being deleted. I also told Colby that I felt that she hadn’t been honest with me about there not being any other students having problems with their course. When I finished speaking there was dead silence on the other end for about 10-15 seconds. I finally said, “Hello?” several times and heard a bit of background noise so I knew she was still there. I had to ask to speak to someone else several times as it appeared that Colby wasn’t going to say anything. Finally Jessie came on the line. I repeated my concerns to her. Jessie told me that there was no other student in the same unit in their FoH course as I was so there couldn’t possibly be anyone else having the same technical issues. Aside from the fact that I’d personally spoken to someone who was in the same unit and having the same issues, it is not even reasonable to ask anyone to believe that there was not a single other student in unit 10 of a 10 unit course out of the 2100 current students Jessie stated that VR has, with the 13 courses they currently offer (making allowances for there possibly being a couple more courses that have been discontinued but may still have current students), and FoH appearing to be one of the more popular courses based on the number of comments on the student FB page made by students in that course. Two different times Jessie told me that I had violated the VR “terms of service” by not treating VR employees like “decent human beings”, apparently because I told Colby that I didn’t feel she had been truthful with me. Jessie stated that it was redundant for someone to continue in a course when they had “upgraded” to another course and didn’t make any apology for the fact that this was not disclosed on their website. Jessie told me that the VR staff had spent more time dealing with me than with 90% of their students. At no time did she offer any apology for anything that had happened or admit that VR had made any mistakes. She told me that every message that I’d sent VR had been responded to. When I specifically asked, several times, if the message I’d sent to Colby about the problems in unit 3 had been responded to, she would not directly answer the question but kept repeating that every message I’d sent had been responded to. She finally told me that she didn’t think I really wanted to continue with VR and she would refund my money for the new course and reload my FoH course. I requested a refund for the FoH course too and she refused, stating that I’d “received service” for that course. As of December 20 I have not received a refund from VR, nor has my FoH course been reloaded, nor have the books for the Family Herbalist course shipped so that I can work on that course. I messaged Jessie on December 16 asking when I could expect to receive a refund and have my course reloaded and have not received a response. At this point it doesn’t appear that VR has any intention of refunding my money or reloading my course. I really hope my credit card company will reverse the charges for both courses or I am out several hundred dollars. .
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