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[October 2020]

Beware of invitation to job-hunting seminar! Unscrupulous businesses take advantage of student anxiety

Sample case

On my way home from a job-hunting counseling session, I was asked to answer an attitude survey of job-hunting students. I wrote my name and mobile phone number on the form. Later, I was repeatedly solicited by phone to attend a free seminar for job-hunting students. Then, I visited an office and attended the seminar. When I was about to leave there, I was invited to another seminar and accepted the offer, intending to be an observer. After observing the second seminar, I was induced to sign a contract for a training course at a job-hunting school costing about 20,000 yen of initial fee and about 20,000 yen of monthly fee. I said, "I want to consult with my parents and think about it at home." A staff member intimidated me, saying "If you cannot decide without consulting with your parents, you lack a sense of independence," "If you cannot decide to sign a contract now, you will not be able to survive as an adult member of society," "Pay for it by working part-time." I declined, but the sales pitch went on for three hours. I thought they would not let me go until I accepted the offer. I made an oral contract with the business and went home. Nevertheless, I want to cancel the contract.

(man in his 20s)

Problems and advice

Recently, an increasing number of job-seeking students have got in trouble with businesses that solicit students to attend a job-hunting seminar or job-hunting school capitalizing on student anxiety. According to the consumer complaints, the businesses often suddenly approach students by using a questionnaire and inviting to a free seminar, and make them sign a contract. Service they offer may not be helpful for job hunting. Sometimes, students are asked to introduce other students. In order to avoid trouble, remember the following.

Do not easily disclose personal information when receiving a questionnaire. Ask the purpose in advance.

If you are suddenly asked to write your personal information on a questionnaire around a campus or on your way home from a career open house, do not easily disclose such information. Ask the purpose for using the information. If you disclose your personal information, you may receive phone calls and emails soliciting to attend job-hunting seminars. Consider and act carefully.

Flatly refuse to sign an unnecessary contract, even when being solicited to do so by your friend or senior student.

There are many cases where students just intend to attend free seminars or training sessions, but later they are induced to sign a contract for paid seminars or training sessions. Unscrupulous businesses often fuel anxiety and intimidate students to make them sign a contract. Sometimes, they deny integrity of students. Flatly refuse to sign an unnecessary contract.

There are other cases where students are solicited to join a money-making scheme using educational materials for job-seekers by seniors at a college or part-time workplace, or by acquaintances met through social apps or internships.

When being solicited by your friend or senior student, it may be difficult to say no. Even so, flatly refuse to sign an unnecessary contract, rather than giving a vague answer.