Claims About Trump University Being a Scam-Truth! & Fiction! & Disputed!
Summary of eRumor:
Questions have been raised about whether or not the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (formerly known as Trump University) scammed its students, and what its Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating was.
Trump University is facing class-action lawsuits from former students who claim that they were scammed, but there aren’t any clear answers aside from that.
Former Trump University students in California have filed class action suits, and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has brought a separate case against Trump University in New York. Politico describes the lawsuits as:
Former Trump University students have been suing Trump in California since 2010, and the case could head to trial this year. They allege Trump University charged them as much as $35,000 for real estate seminars and mentoring that did not teach them the skills they needed to become real estate investors. A separate case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman makes similar claims.
The case could go trial by the end of 2016. Questions about whether Trump University was a scam or not probably won’t be resolved until then.
There have also been specific questions about what grades the Better Business Bureau gave to Trump University over the years. Trump argued after a Republican debate that it’d been given an A plus by the BBB, while critics have argued that the BBB gave Trump University a D minus.
As it turns out, both claims are true. The BBB released a statement clarifying that Trump University had been given multiple grades over the years ranging from A pluses to D minuses. BBB doesn’t currently grade Trump University, according to the statement:
March 08, 2016
Over the past week, Better Business Bureau has provided several statements in response to public inquiries about the BBB Business Review for Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (formerly Trump University). These statements remain available on our website. We are issuing a further statement today, in response to a number of inaccurate reports that continue to be repeated.
For purposes of this statement, we will refer to Trump University, which is how it is most often referred to in news stories. There is only one BBB Business Review for Trump University, and we noted the name change to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative when it was brought to our attention by the company.
1 BBB did not send a document of any kind to the Republican debate site last Thursday evening. The document presented to debate moderators did not come from BBB that night.
2 Trump University does not currently have an A rating with BBB. The BBB Business Review for this company has continually been “No Rating” since September 2015. Prior to that, it fluctuated between D- and A+.
3 The document posted on social media on Thursday night was not a current BBB Business Review of Trump University. It appeared to be part of a Business Review from 2014.
4 BBB ratings are based on information we obtain about a business, including complaints received from the public. The reporting period is three years. Detailed information about BBB ratings is available on all 5.3 million Business Reviews on our website, bbb.org.
5 At no point did BBB change the rating of Trump University based upon a demand from anyone. BBB followed its standard evaluation process applicable to all businesses.
6 During the period when Trump University appeared to be active in the marketplace, BBB received multiple customer complaints about this business. These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010. As the company appeared to be winding down, after 2013, no new complaints were reported. Complaints over three years old automatically rolled off of the Business Review, according to BBB policy. As a result, over time, Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015.
7 Trump University has never been a BBB Accredited Business. The document handed to the debate moderators on Thursday night could not have been an actual “Better Business Bureau accreditation notice” for this business.
8 To be accredited, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB Accreditation Standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.
BBB publishes ratings for both Accredited and non-Accredited businesses when we have sufficient information and the business continues to operate. While a business may earn an A rating from BBB by improving its customer record over time, BBB Accredited Businesses must meet higher requirements. Businesses must first earn a high rating and confirm compliance with other BBB Accreditation Standards before being eligible for Accreditation. Once Accredited, they are vetted annually and must maintain compliance with the Standards to continue as a BBB Accredited Business.
A lot of questions remain about Trump University, and unfortunately we won’t be able to answer them until ongoing lawsuits are resolved.