He Said, She Said
Got poor Windows 2000 training? One group considers filing suit.
- By Dian Schaffhauser
What do you do when you feel you’ve had a poor
Windows 2000 training experience? In the case
of a group of students that attended a two-week
boot camp in Billings, Montana, you consider filing
According to Christopher Urban, an
MCSE who does network consulting for TEKsystems,
from the moment he entered Technology Outfitters’
classroom on a Monday morning in early December,
he wondered about the training he was about to
In a letter sent to MCP Magazine
describing his experience, Urban said that
during the first week of instruction, the six
students in the class formed a study group on
night two because they weren’t getting enough
detail from their instructor. “There were some
bumps along the way ... such as [the trainer]
not fully understanding RIS—utilizing his company’s
script but not really being able to explain why
it was set up the way it was.”
In the course of talking with the
other students that night, Urban learned that
the company had run a “Christmas Special” for
$6,500, but hadn’t informed him or his co-worker,
who each had paid $1,000 more.
The next day, the group tackled the
Win2K Server exam. While in the testing center,
the group learned that—in another room—the instructor
was taking the test for a course he was supposed
to teach the next day—one step ahead of the class.
When they complained to Technology
Outfitters’ management, the company flew in an
alternate instructor, who ran the class for the
next several days. According to Urban, the substitute
The following Tuesday, a third instructor
was in place, who, according to Urban, “read word
for word from the materials the entire time.”
According to another student, Stephen
Hogate, several people left the class to study
on their own. Hogate stayed another hour, then
also gave up and returned to his room to study
Urban and the other students started
demanding refunds from the company. Urban says
he’s been offered $1,250 but considers that inadequate
because it’s just $250 more than the amount he
believes he overpaid in the first place.
The company denied Urban’s charges.
Thomas Propp, a manager, replied, “Technology
Outfitters Inc., like most businesses, strives
to meet the needs of its customers and clientele;
sometimes despite all efforts, not all consumers
are 100 percent satisfied 100 percent of the time...
We have made countless efforts to resolve Mr.
Urban’s dissatisfaction, but he has chosen to
ignore such attempts.”
Regarding the instructors used by
the company, Propp said the first trainer was
a college-level teacher with some field experience.
“The manner in which he taught was recognized
as a problem for some of the students—not all.
When this was brought to our attention, a new
instructor completed the course work. Even then,
some of the students found the new instructor
to be less than adequate for their needs, while
others offered a high level of praise. Following
this, we brought in yet a third instructor to
meet the needs of the students. Some—not all—students
complained about the instructor’s teaching style.
Once again, others preferred his style. Interestingly
enough, all of the students passed the course
exam that was taught by this instructor, except
Regarding the difference in pricing
for the course, Propp said, “The difference in
cost for some of the students was due to a ‘holiday’
promotion that the company ran. Students committed
to the class prior to that time were not eligible
for the promotion.”
Student Hogate said, “The idea of
coming to Billings—to get away from distractions
and focus on studying—never materialized, mainly
due to all the distractions created by [the company’s]
poor class planning. I honestly would not recommend
this boot camp to any of my coworkers...nor any...friends
[who] work at other high-tech companies in the
Urban said the group has been in
touch with an attorney to discuss the possibility
of filing a lawsuit against the company. In the
meantime, he wants to prevent other MCPs from
falling “victim to [Technology Outfitters’] false
Is there a lesson here for others
seeking training on Win2K? Urban said he thought
he knew what he was getting into.
“That was one of the first things
I asked [the company]—if they taught the product
or how to pass a test. They said they taught the
product, but in reality it was all about passing
Urban also criticizes Microsoft for
eliminating the requirement that trainers possess
certification on each course they teach.
“They’ve lowered the bar for their
training providers, so what do they expect?” (It
should be pointed out that nothing on Technology
Outfitters’ Web site or in its advertising claims
status as a Microsoft Certified Technical Education
His conclusion: “If you learn the
product in depth, passing the test will be a no-brainer.
I’m glad that in the class of six of us we were
able to band together, share our knowledge from
our practical business experiences, and pass some
of our Win2K track while in Billings.”
Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.