Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement to a proposed consent order from respondents New England Tractor Trailer Training School of Massachusetts, Inc., New England Tractor Trailer Training School of Connecticut, Inc., and Mark Greenberg, individually and as president of the corporate respondents.
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for sixty (60) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After sixty (60) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take other appropriate action or make final the agreement's proposed order.
This matter concerns practices related to the advertising, promotion, and sale of vocational training programs, including driver training for tractor trailer and heavy straight trucks. The Commission's complaint charges that respondents violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 41 et seq., by making numerous representations that were false and for which they lacked a reasonable basis of substantiation. These representations concerned: employment and/or placement rates for graduates of respondents' program; the availability of local truck driving jobs; the rate of passing the CDL test by graduates of respondents' program; the number of graduates of the program who pass the CDL test the first time they take it; the adequacy of training to prepare students for the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) test; the extent to which future employers will reimburse the cost of tuition; and the admissions criteria for respondents' program.
Part I of the proposed consent order prohibits future misrepresentations concerning the above, as well as other results or benefits of respondents' training programs or career services.
Part II of the proposed order requires a disclosure of respondents' placement rates. This disclosure is triggered by any representations about the rate of employment or placement of graduates of respondents' program. In addition, this disclosure is required to be given to prospective students, in writing, prior to the time that students are presented with the enrollment agreement and other enrollment forms. Appendices A and B to the proposed order set forth the prescribed manner of calculation of placement rates and the form in which the information will be given to prospective students.
Part III of the proposed order requires disclosure of the licensing test pass rates for graduates of respondents' program. This disclosure is triggered by any representations about the rate of passing any test, including but not limited to the CDL test, by graduates of respondents' program. In addition, this disclosure is required to be given to prospective students, in writing, prior to the time that students are presented with the enrollment agreement and other enrollment forms. Appendices C and D to the proposed order set forth the prescribed manner of calculation of test pass rates and the form in which the information will be given to prospective students.
Part IV of the proposed order is a record keeping provision that requires the respondents to maintain certain records for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by the consent order. These records include: (1) all advertisements and promotional materials, sales or admissions interview scripts or training manuals, catalogs, and other marketing materials; (2) all materials relied upon in making any representation covered by the order; and (3) all evidence in respondents' possession or control that contradicts, qualifies, or calls into question the representation or the basis relied upon for it.
Part V of the proposed order requires distribution of the order, for five (5) years from the date of issuance, to officers and directors of the corporations; managers who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of the order; and personnel involved in sales, admissions, recruitment, or responding to consumer complaints and inquiries.
Part VI of the proposed order requires that the Commission be notified of any changes in the corporations that might affect compliance obligations under the order. Part VII of the proposed order requires that, for a period of five (5) years, the individual respondent notify the Commission of any new business affiliation or employment that involves the advertising, promotion, or sale of vocational training programs.
Part VIII of the proposed order requires that for a period of five (5) years, respondents undertake a monitoring program to ensure that all employees or independent contractors engaged in admissions, recruiting, sales, or other customer service, comply with Parts I, II, and III of the order.
Part IX of the proposed order requires the respondents to file compliance reports with the Commission. Part X of the proposed order states that the Commission, without prior notice, may use investigators to pose as prospective consumers of respondents. Finally, Part XI of the proposed order states that, absent certain circumstance, the order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date it is issued.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed consent order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify their terms in any way.